Create a short film which properly highlights what cross country riding means to us in British Columbia.
Pinkbike is inundated with media, videos and photos, photos of the day, video of the year, etc. In 2013, media has become a disposable unit of our collective mountain bike culture, unfortunately to be viewed and minimized when the next new video drops. Whether this is a reflection of our ridiculously shortened attention spans, being inundated with advertisements, commercials and video… or maybe the next video really is better. You could pick any VOD, and it would easily have the same production level and riding quality of high budget projects from 5 years ago, albeit maybe with less Cineflex.
With so much high quality media being released every day it is easy to forget the amount of time, effort and work which goes into each piece. Take a look behind the scenes of our Fresh from the Barn ‘BC-XC’ series with Fraser Newton, presented by Platypus Hydration. This will give you an inside look into the process, however I’ll leave out the creative process, and pre-production as we still need to have some secrets…Talent
This film needed a strong, fit rider as the protagonist, not just any rider would work, we wanted an athlete who best embodied the spirit of BC-XC. The more riders we tossed around, the more the answer became obvious, we needed our friend and trail beast, Fraser Newton. Fraser is head wrench at Corsa cycles, family man, downhill rider, ex-xc racer, ex-sled dog trainer, Iditarod competitor…the list goes on. Fraser was the first person we shot with who has a steady job and a family and that created a shoot with extremely complicated logistics. Luckily Fraser’s wife Kate was stoked to see her man immortalized on the interweb and did double parent duty for a few weeks. These time constraints are a large factor in what makes Fraser such a shredder, he rides harder in an hour after work than most people do if they have a full day. He is full pinned, anywhere, all the time. He’ll regularly pin it to whistler at 7:00 and get 4-5 runs and a sweep in the one hour he has until the park closes.Locations
To find the appropriate locations for this piece required almost two weeks of scouting, building and maintaining. First step, the ArtBarn team headed out into the lesser known and ridden sections of Squamish B.C., compiling enough trail and features to shoot a 10 minute piece. After which Fraser joined us for several days to choose the features he was most stoked on. To our surprise and Fraser’s credit, all of the gnarly features we selected were not ‘gnarly’ enough, requiring us to revisit some lines made famous by Anthill from Seasons and Derek Dix’s Ultramontane project.
|I saw more hidden gems shooting for 4 days in Squamish, with the ArtBarn crew, than exploring for the previous two years. It was an eye opening experience that has motivated me to look for riding off the beaten track...way off. - Fraser Newton|
Establishing and maintaining a specific look is one of the most challenging aspects of creating a video piece. Coupled with the less than consistent weather one is exposed to on the Coast of B.C., it adds a level of variability that you can’t really plan for and can only react to. The look we wanted to achieve for this piece can be summed up as ‘classic pacific northwestern’ (well south western to be exact), requiring lots of greens, lush forest, big trees, loam, iconic granite and the odd cedar rung ladder bridge. After your first day of shooting, your look becomes set, requiring you to match every subsequent day of shooting to the same weather, sun and cloud conditions. This is where this edit really started to become complicated, as we had to match the weather and then overlay Fraser’s 50 hour work week, family and daddy duties. To complicate matters, the BC Bike race was rolling into town, and if you’re racing, Fraser is the guy you want wrenching on your bike… Every project has its unique challenges, and every challenge has its own unique solutions. To solve Fraser’s unique scheduling problem we took a page out of his book, shooting for 1 hour sections after work, just before we lost the light. It probably amounted to 4 total days of shooting, spread out over 12-14 after work chunks.
The two major features were Dix’s steep, hipped rock roll, which Fraser managed to air into on an old 4-inch travel Trek, and Anthill’s rock line to ladder bridge made famous by Andrew Shandro in Seasons. Trying to stay consistent with our lush look, we found ourselves at the rock to ladder in misty, damp conditions, not the most ideal for a 60-foot rock to wood feature. To increase the difficulty level, the moss on the rock has regenerated since it was filmed 4 years ago, creating a slick line from start to finish. This would have intimidated lesser riders, but Fraser was keen to send it. He was so keen he didn’t really scope the run and failed to notice a massive fallen tree. Being committed to the line, he decided to mitigate the slick rock and ladder and didn’t brake until he reached the dirt. Pulling a fistful of anchor wasn’t enough, and we heard the sickening sound of Fraser slamming into the fallen tree. Fraser is a consummate bad ass, so naturally he headed up for a second angle before the adrenalin wore off and the reality of three broken ribs set in. Broken ribs will complicate a freeride downhill edit, but the impact on a cross-country edit is more significant, with all the uphill riding, sprinting and heavy breathing taking a serious toll on the rider. Fraser toughed it out, and several of the climbing shots in the piece were shot with his broken ribs. We just tried not to make any jokes, as laughing hurt him more than heavy breathing.Partners
To make high quality pieces it is best to partner with a receptive company, and by receptive I mean a company that believes in your creative and does not want to change it, add over the top branding or micro manage the process. We found this partnership with Platypus Hydration, a Seattle-based company that manufactures stellar hydration bags. Knowing that they were introducing their Tokul XC packs and Duthie All Mountain packs to the mountain bike market created a perfect relationship. To see Fraser up close and personal outlining his favorite features of the Tokul pack, check out the product spotlight video below. The standout feature for me is the taste-free antimicrobial hydration bag, if you’re prone to leaving water in your bladder for a few days or even weeks, this is the bladder to run. Platypus also attracted us with their program of giving back to trails. After you purchase a Platypus pack, you can send in for a Platypus jersey and they will donate 20 dollars to your local trail club, #winning.Post Production
This is the most exciting element of producing videos, instead of being surrounded by Nature in the middle of nowhere, we were cooped up in the office choosing music and then cutting, compiling and finishing the piece. Although the edit process can feel monotonous, it is here that a piece really takes shape, where the story is crafted and the magic happens. We found a song we enjoyed that had the pace to carry the footage; Candyland & Clark Kent vs. Slow Skies - On the Shore (Original Mix). Sometimes it takes two California DJ crews and an Irish folk band to bring the whole piece together.
I hope this behind the scenes breakdown has given some perspective on what goes into creating these video pieces. Once you know how much hard work and effort goes into each piece, it may be harder to skip to the bangers or click on the next link before the video you were watching is even halfway done. Check out the final product below, and stay tuned for more from ArtBarn Film.