Dearest Friends/Anonymous Internet Persons,
Today we bring you our BYCLE video, which you can play above. If you like pretty things, or cycling, or both, you would probably appreciate taking a breather from your day to watch it.
This spot had us in full Nat Geo mode: we embedded ourselves deep in the Arizona mountain wilderness, with only a small ragtag crew, a rough shot list, our camera, and Wilderness-Mode Joe in tow (more on that to follow.)
This is one of our favorites- the process led us to some of the most beautiful places we have ever been, and gifted us with some of our best shots.
We don’t often dabble in crowdsourcing, but this is a project we really believe in.
BYCLE is aimed at cyclists of all kind, and combines all of the features of a fitness-tracking app with your smartphone’s camera, creating an interactive recap of every ride.
The app is easy to use, and creates a complete, forward-facing recording of your entire route- you can use it to inspire others, find the quickest route, or ensure there’s an accurate record of any incident.
If you have a second and you’d like to learn more, head on over to their Kickstarter campaign, which can be found HERE: www.kickstarter.com/projects/byclewithme/bycle
We wanted to do something anthemic, something that would be an appropriate dressing for the postcard-worthy places we would shoot this in.
So, rather than something instructional, we tried to craft something that captured the spirit of camaraderie found in the cycling community.
But, honestly- this is all about beautiful footage of beautiful places, and our amazing talent putting up with us for 12+ hours a day.
Joe and the ‘Merican Way
For the first part of our shoot, we picked two remote locations in Arizona- the desert palette is near Sedona while the forest scene is up high in a national preserve in the mountains.
These places are stunningly beautiful without any camera tricks, lighting, or embellishments
so the game plan was to keep it simple- except that we needed drone footage, tracking footage of high-performance cyclists in wild, unpaved areas, and we had a crew of six to get it done. Normally, impossible.
BUT, we had Joe, who could somewhat accurately be described as a gonzo Paul Bunyan camera-and-tech-and-wilderness-survival Swiss Army professor. He flew the drone, rigged a fragile-seeming cage of steel around a rental ATV for a motorized camera vehicle (out of which he also operated the camera, wrestling gravity and bumps in the road while in full-body camo) and built an elaborate series of what look like sticks and poles to get a POV shot while riding.
Needless to say, we came prepared for snakebites and scorpions, but I think wilderness creatures were going to stay as far the hell away as possible from us.
We only had one day with each talent, and given the technical complexity of the moving-vehicle shots, both days were extremely ambitious and tightly scheduled, with hard cutoffs happening at sundown every night and little room for error.
Given that we wanted to have each talent in a variety of places and capture a variety of moods, this of course involved moving the whole crew plus ATV trailer several times per day, in areas with no cell phone reception or craft services.
Naturally, Vic and Chris (our Producers) had to work their ass off and improvise extensively to pull this off, but we ended up not missing a shot.
The footage is indeed pretty spectacular, but believe us when we say it really can’t capture the experience of actually being there- these are truly stunning places, and we tried to leave as little of a footprint as we could. All of this was shot in natural light and with a minimal crew.
Certainly the best story coming out of this shoot was our location rep for the forest location- Bobby has lived in the same remote valley for over 40 years, tending after the land and the few scattered vacation houses up the slope.
At over 70 years old, he was traipsing around the valley barefoot as if it were a rubber-floored gym, bouncing off of the floor almost comically whenever he fell, and was in better shape than all of us combined.
Plus, he downed an entire bottle of tequila on the shoot day, and accidentally left his six-shooter in our rental van.
Still, his connection to the land and his attitudes about modern society were interesting to compare to ours, to say the least.
Also we cannot fail to mention Mr. Segars on the edit and color. It took a LOT of scrubbing and trial-and-error to make the three stories cut into each other in a way that was smooth on the eyes and yet still clear logically.
And love what the edit does to race your pulse in the last segment leading up to the logo- a great energy cut by any standard.
Here’s a demo of the extent of the color work:
Till next time!