The Capoeira Blog

Lights, Camera, Action!: How To Make Your Own Capoeira Video
April 14, 2008, 8:24 am
Filed under: Creativity

You, too, can become a capoeira video director!
Photo by carf (Flickr)

You may have seen capoeira videos on YouTube and thought to yourself, “Hey, I want in on that action!”

Worry not, fellow videophiles! Because Faisca (founder, owner, and sole member of FaiscaFilm Productions) is here to get you on your way to fame and fortune as a capoeira movie director.

Since this isn’t a YouTube video making blog, I’m not going to go into too much depth about the technical aspects of actually putting the video together and uploading it to the Web. I intend this to be more of a “what to keep in mind when making a capoeira video” post. I will post links to some resources that can get you started in the actual editing and uploading process.

You don’t have to be Martin Scorsese to turn out a decent capoeira video, but you will need some basic tools to get started. I’m gonna go ahead and call these the “Three C’s” just because I can.

  • Capoeira. This will be the easiest thing to come by, obviously. At least, it should be, because if you want to make a capoeira video I’m going to assume that you either A. do capoeira, or B. know someone who does capoeira. If you don’t meet either of those assumptions, then I really don’t know why you want to make a capoeira video in the first place.
  • Camera. It’s best if you have a digital camcorder, though, there are (annoying) ways to transfer non-digital tapes onto your computer. If you don’t have a camcorder, you can go out and buy one (they are a worthwhile investment if you enjoy this sort of thing) or you could borrow one from a friend. Also, make sure that you know how to connect your camcorder to your…
  • Computer. Yes, you will need a computer. But I have it on good faith that you do indeed have a computer, or at least have access to a computer, because you’re reading this post! And, as for connecting your camcorder to your computer, most digital video cameras connect via a FireWire (aka IEEE 1394) cable (they may also connect by USB). So you’ll need to have one of those, and a FireWire port on your computer. Some computers come with FireWire ports already, but if yours doesn’t, you can go out and buy a FireWire card.
  • Video Editing Software. This is really the most important piece of the puzzle, but if you own any kind of modern computer, chances are you have some video editing software. If you own a Windows PC, you’ll have Windows Movie Maker. If you own a Mac with OSX, you’ll have iMovie. I’m not going to get into how to edit the video because there are tons of resources online that will teach you much more than I could explain here.

(I know I called these the Three C’s, but you can just ignore the fact that there are four requirements, and one of them starts with a V, because the last one is connected to the one that comes before it, so it’s OK.)

There you have it folks, those are the three (four) basic ingredients for making a capoeira video. Not as hard as you thought, huh?

Now that you have the basic requirements, you need to keep some things in mind as you record and edit your video:

1. Use a tripod if you can. Tripods keep the camera steady, which keeps the video from being shaky, which keeps people from throwing up when they watch it. There are plenty of hand held videos out there (in fact, it’s probably the majority), so don’t worry too much about it. But, if you just want to make a sampler of your own moves, you’ll need a way to record yourself (though, you could always make a ghetto tripod by setting the camera on top of some books or something).

2. Film everything and edit later. When you’re actually filming, don’t be too concerned with starting and stopping the camera to catch specific moves or moments. It’s a lot better if you just keep filming, and then when you’re importing the video and making your edits, you can pick and choose the shots you want.

You might end up missing something awesome if you’re constantly turning the camera on and off (I’ve learned this from experience). Just be sure to keep some extra batteries handy if you’re going to be filming for a long time.

3. Use transitions and effects sparingly. If you are new to video editing you may be awed by all of the cool effects and transitions that come with your software. Don’t fall into the trap of using all of them (or most of them, or any of them even). Stick with the basics. Use simple cuts (one clip ends and the other begins with no transition) or maybe simple wipes, but don’t go crazy and put all sorts of circles and colors and blind effects into your video. It slows down the pace of the movie, and it just looks really bad.

4. For the most part, stick to a quick pace. This is sort of a continuation of my last point. Whether you’re doing a personal sampler or a roda highlight reel, don’t use long (longer than 10-20 seconds) clips. It’s better to use quick snaps of footage (a flip here, a cool combination there) to keep the video flowing. If you want to use long clips, you can cut them in with the snapshots, but don’t overdo it.

Now, after saying all that, clearly there are exceptions. If you want to make a video of an entire roda or performance, for example, that’s perfectly fine. Or, if you really want to show a long bit of great interplay between two capoeiristas, by all means go ahead. This really depends on personal preference. But most of the popular videos stick to the quick, highlight reel format.

Here is an example of a “roda highlight reel.”
Here is an example of a longer, complete performance.

5. When filming a game, keep both players in focus. Many times people will end up focusing too much on one player when they record a capoeira game. This might happen if one player is doing a cool sequence or florieo. I’ve also noticed that people just have a natural tendency to focus on one particular side of the game, and then the other player ends up getting cut off.

If your goal is to film a certain person’s performance (perhaps for his highlight video), then I guess it would be OK to focus on one player. But remember, capoeira is about two people interacting with each other. The flashy kicks and tricks may look cool on their own, but they look much better when they’re mixed into a great capoeira game.

Filming, Editing, and Uploading Basics

Here are the links I promised. Use these to get a good idea of the actual filming, editing, and uploading process:

Everything you need to know about uploading a video to YouTube.
How to choose the right digital camcorder
iMovie basics.
Windows Movie Maker basics.

Well, I think that’s enough from me. Now, go forth and make your videos!

If you have created any videos that you want to share with us, leave your links in the comments! Also, if you have questions about anything I covered here, or anything I didn’t cover, please feel free to ask in the comments and I will give you the best answer I can.


Capoeira: A Poem by Faisca
November 26, 2007, 11:17 am
Filed under: Creativity, Faisca

My mom was cleaning out a closet over the weekend and she found my “senior project” from high school. I’d been looking for this project for a while, and I’m so glad she found it.

We had to do the senior project in my English class; it’s basically a binder that reflects on our high school lives. It’s great to read what I wrote 5 years ago (even though some of it makes me cringe).

Apparently I wrote a poem about capoeira. It’s no Shakespeare, but I’d like to share it with you.

Gravity defying flips and tricks,
White pants and “cords.”
This game is played by
Martial artists in accord.
The master and his students
Kicking and spinning.
Roots in slavery,
An art form ever changing.
So much Brazilian culture
Spread around the Earth.
In the hearts of many,
Ever since its birth.
My nickname “Faisca,”
“Paranue, paranue, parana.”

This makes Capoeira.

I wrote this 5 years ago, in the early stages of my capoeira journey. I don’t think it’ll be winning any creative writing contests, but it’s fun to “go back” and see how much of an impact capoeira had on my life back then.

Has capoeira inspired any of your creative endeavors? Writing, art, etc? If it has, please share it with us!