Let’s Talk: Recording Ride Videos

We live in an Internet-based society these days. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and of course WordPress allow us to share what we’re doing with the world, whether that be via a status, check-in, photo or blog post. When theme parks come into the equation, our friends want to know where we are and what we’re doing, and it’s for this reason that a lot of people like to video the rides they’ve been on, to share this experience with their friends online and when they return home.

Modern technology has made this an even easier proposition. No longer do you have to hold tightly to your phone and camera while you whizz around roller coaster turns, more bothered about the safety of your device than the quality of your filming. Now we have things like body-mounted cameras and GoPros, so you don’t even have to worry about holding anything. Or you can film yourselves on said attraction with the aid of a selfie stick, so you can capture more of what’s going on around you. These things have made filming videos on rides even easier than ever before. The question is, is this necessarily a good thing?

By and large, theme parks loathe and detest people recording videos on their rides. With the exception of the Disney theme parks, pretty much anywhere will give you at the very least a stern telling-off for attempting to use any of the above-mentioned devices on their rides. The key reason for this is to do with safety and security, as they don’t want anyone injured by dropped possessions, but it’s also to cover their own backs so you don’t try and take it out on them if you drop and lose something as a result of riding their attractions. But the other big reason is to do with secrecy – some rides, attractions and concepts benefit from the element of surprise, and so parks will do everything they can to prevent that surprise from going viral through social media, with varying degrees of success.

The problem that I, personally, have with recording videos on rides is that people don’t take into consideration the other guests around them while they’re doing it. This is particularly evident on dark rides – let’s say you’re floating through Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, quite happily enjoying the scenery. This is ruined by bright flashes of light every so often. Is it a lightning effect? Nope, it’s some rude, inconsiderate person elsewhere in the boat who insists on taking flash photos of every scene. Or worse – using the flashlight on their phone or camera to light up the whole scene while they video it. Why do people do this? Not only are you ruining the ride for your fellow passengers, but you’re going to lose every drop of mystery and ambiance that the darkness you’re destroying creates, so whoever you show this video to won’t be getting half as much of the experience.

This is the other issue I have with ride video recordings: they’re not the real thing. Watching a POV video of a ride is never the same as actually doing it because you don’t get any of the sensation: the motion, the forces, the wind in your hair, all gone. Not only that, but the person doing the recording loses the sensation as well because they’re more focused on making sure their video turns out all right than actually paying attention to what’s going on. “Did you notice the plaster falling off the walls in the Baron pre-show?” “No, I was more focused on keeping my camera pointed at the translation on the video screen.” You’re missing out on the subtleties of a ride because you’re more concerned with trying to recreate the experience for people who, let’s be honest, would have done better coming to the park with you in the first place.

There is a time and a place for ride video recordings. Any theme park who wants you to see what their rides are like will probably have an official YouTube channel and will record official POV videos under safe, controlled conditions that they have been able to dictate. They can edit out any spoilers and give you a taster of the experience with the intention of making you want to come to their park and try out the attraction for yourself. You could argue that as amateur videographers you’re doing this yourself for free, but as far as I’m concerned, leave the videoing to the professionals. Focus on enjoying the attraction yourself, and in the long run, everyone will benefit from it.

See you around =] x x

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