I’ll accept that, provided I can base it on concepts of “more true” and “less true”. Wow, this could get really deep really fast.
Note for what follows: I do not have experience making unicycle videos.
The impressive thing about climbing hills to me is effort and strength of the rider. I really think that’s more important than making the hill itself look impressive. As such, I’d try to choose shots that emphasize this. Here’s what I’d use as general rules:
Stay kind of wide, but nothing crazy.
Keep the camera low. This will make the rider look bigger, along with:
Stay close to the rider. Being close, in combination with a wide lens can make small things look huge.
Definitely keep the camera level or if anything very slightly tilted to make the hill steeper. If there are trees, stay level.
Don’t point uphill, unless you can make the rider almost completely fill the frame. There is nothing in the scene to reference the slope if you point up.
Don’t use a tripod. Bring the audience into the scene with you:
move the camera. Build a Steadycam and get someone to follow beside or behind. Pans on a tripod might be able to work, but make sure the tripod, not just the camera, is level.
Cut back to some shots from far away during the climb, if it’s really epic. Composition rules above don’t apply here:
Shoot up the hill, but really wide so you can see clear sky after the top, make sure nothing behind the hill shows up. Either go right to the beginning and get it close to the ground, or from far away so the hill looks like a big wall. Either way, the rider should not be close, but should be visible. Make them look small here.
Shoot down the hill, in such a way that a lot of the flat land after the hill seems to almost rise, and go to the top of the frame. Don’t show any sky if you can, but cut close to it. Again, the rider should be small. If you’re alone or don’t want to ride a lot of times, you could exclude the rider from these shots. You’d lose a lot.
Shots looking up where the rider disappears over the crest would be good.
Shots from the top held level where the road drops out (and hopefully nothing but sky is visible after the road/trail) would be cool where the rider rides up into the shot.
Just some ideas. There is an insane hill right by me right now, I may do a sequence of me riding it to test some of these shots. Again, all of this is untested, I’ve never even really made unicycling videos before.
I have this great poster of a shirtless Kris Holm riding down what looks like an impossibly steep rock. It’s tricky though: if you pay attention to the background, there are some trees for reference. If you tip the picture to where the trees are straight-up, Kris’ descent starts to look believable, if still very impressive.