• Neal Barenblat

Project Breakdown: Gymkhana with Ken Block

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

ken block gopro gymkhana car snow

One hard drive. 8 terabytes. Quick turnaround. Those were the parameters for piecing together a 60 second montage for GoPro’s YouTube channel with the explicit instructions to make something “banger”. It’s actually an excellent metric to go off of if you’re in tune with GoPro’s brand: This needs to scream and explode until you are dizzy. Emotion trumps story.

The most important first step was to isolate every exciting moment in the footage. For this project, I was able to accomplish that in one 10-hour day. Insanity? Maybe. But let me break it down. 

Things to look for:

  • Interesting camera angles

  • Action

Things to ignore

  • Everything else

That thinking made the scope of this project possible. Most of the footage was without action - essentially empty. So finding those moments was a matter of simply scrubbing.

Being an incredibly impatient editor, I can't stand any delay when scrubbing through any sort of large quantity of footage. The answer: Proxy. The time must be carved out to make these for most projects.

Final Cut Pro X makes choosing selects extremely streamlined by eliminating the need for subclips or lengthy “stringout” sequences. FCPX allows you to select an in/out point on any clip in the browser and “favorite” it, essentially applying metadata to in/out points. Once you’ve spent time favoriting every relevant moment, you can then choose to only see favorites inside of your media browser. So now, you’re only looking at the exact pieces of footage that matter. To some extent, you are editing without ever touching a timeline.

Because this process is so efficient, I was able to edit a V1 in about 8 hours. This includes searching for and selecting a music track, which can be tedious for projects like this that, because of the client’s instructions, require a bit of imagination on the editor’s part. 

For music, I love sites like and Epidemic Sound. I think they’re fantastic services for editors and shreditors alike, but sometimes those sites make it difficult to find music choices when you are looking for a very specific rhythm, style, or atmosphere. Enter Extreme Music. Not only does Extreme have an ever-growing exceptional library with endless categorizations, but their customer service is best in class. When there is budget, use Extreme. 

Sound design for this project involved a mix of on-board sound and pulling from library FX. Depending on the angle, the GoPro cameras themselves pulled some powerful audio that kept the authenticity of the vehicles that were filmed. Because there was so much unused footage to reference, I was able to replace unusable audio with audio from clips that were left on the cutting room floor. This included braking, revving, driving by, etc. Sometimes it was possible to add bass and power by applying some EQ. The library sounds were mostly used for crashing into the pinatas, snow flying into the air, the rotating ice circle, and the crane lifting the bizarre gorilla-guy in the car. Basic sound was done inside of FCPX and finished and polished inside of Logic Pro X

. These are merely my preferred choices at the moment, and preferences can change. Before using these programs, I was exclusively using a Premiere and Audition workflow, and I have entertained the tempting idea that DaVinci Resolve includes everything in one package. 

The outcome? A happy client with a “banger” video executed on time and on budget. 

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