The long awaited full film - Being Free - is here! This summer Nico Turner has been working hard travelling across the UK and Europe to produce this master piece. Anyone with any experience of film making knows just how hard it is to create something of this standard purely off your own back. Nico rises to the challenge every time and reminds us what dedication is all about. He is behind the camera for every single shot and has spent hours in front of a monitor editing for your viewing pleasure!
Here in the UK we make the best of what we've got and I truly believe we have some of the best trails in the world. Anyone can build a little jump in some woods, but it takes a special group of individuals to build something that attracts people from miles around and makes them want to ride it again and again. This film shows what can be achieved when you bring together hard work, dedication and a passion for good trails.
Also a big thanks to Szymon Nieborak for being a big supporter of our project.
Q&A with Nico Turner on Being Free:
Why did you want to make this film?
It’s been a burning ambition of mine to finally spend a whole summer producing a bike film that is free to view for the public. I’ve tried it in the past, but only ever burnt the videos to DVD so this was really exciting as I am hoping that it will get seen by thousands of people from all over the world. I wanted to make the film just as a side project to my university work. I really enjoy riding bikes and always love filming them, so it just made sense to go all out and create a full bike film.
What sort of equipment did you use to make the film?
I was really stoked at the beginning of summer when I finally got around to getting my hands on a DSLR to film with. I’m using the Kiss 4x (or 550D) and as of yet am loving it. I was literally getting my head around how the camera worked whilst making the film which is why whenever I watch the film back all I can see is the faults within my filming. But that’s the same with anything though. As for other equipment, I use the raddest DIY dolly! I’ve been using this set up for a few years now and to be honest, can’t fault it! Although hitting old men over the head with 2 meter long plastic piping whilst trying to navigate your way down a narrow train isle isn’t advisable! I also use a Hague K2 Junior Jib arm. Hague are a cool company based in Nottingham and if you need any affordable grip equipment you should definitely check those guys out!
Tell us about that opening segment with all the time lapse leaf sweeping...
Russ came up with this idea when we first started filming for the winter series back last winter and to be honest, I thought he was nuts. But when we got the brushes out this time around I really felt as if it was helping to carve a path through the woods, somewhat following the riders on their journey down the trail.
How did Josh end up in the film?
Josh actually wasn’t originally scripted into the film, but oh my I’m glad he turned up for the first segment! It was thanks to Szymon Nieborak (Lunatyk) who was coming down to our local to shoot some photos for Being Free. He had been shooting with Josh Lane the style demon for a few weeks and thought that our woods would be perfect for some shots. As soon as I saw him riding down the tracks I just couldn’t help but think how stylish he was on his bike, so it was a no brainer to ask him if he was up for some filming.
Josh is possibly the coolest guy to film with, he’s 100% stoked on everything and always stays positive, not that anything could ever go wrong when filming with him. It's like a dream world whenever I hook up with him because all I have to say is "can you do this?" and the answer is always “Yeah I’ll give it a go” A prime example is when we were filming at Woburn and I was like "could you do anything stupid up the step up there?" Josh didn’t really know what I meant so I suggested a backflip, to which he said no, but he was more than happy to try a 360, and sure enough he did it. I mean a 360 on a downhill bike, come on!
What's with the pond in the Isle of Wight segment? That looks like a pretty unique location...
Ha ha, well Harry Steele, he’s the nicest guy in the world and is fortunate enough to live in a very nice house on the Isle of Wight. It was great fun going down there filming with him and the boys in his garden and there has to be a massive shout out to his brother Andy Steele who helped me get onto a boat with him and into that pond.
And what about the tank?!
Harry's brother is an awesome guy, and as it turns out he used to work for a local tank museum where he got to do the demonstrations “blowing up cars and plowing through trucks” as he put it. Well I guess one of the perks of the job is getting to have your very own tank! I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was super stoked when he drove that out of the garage.
Tell us about EZO BRAND Clothing.
EZO is a rad company based down in Brighton, the guys helped me out loads this summer with taking me down to Bestival with them and they also helped out with some cash for an advert that you see at the beginning of the film.
How did you meet Craig Butler and what's he like to film with?
I met ‘Grandpa’ Craig though the local riding community, he is a really nice guy, a bit eccentric, but it’s nice to film with someone with so much life (even for his age!) Craig was great to film with, always up for trying stuff as many times as I needed him to and the tracks we filmed on where his local up at Ambergate in Derbyshire, so he knew the tracks well and could hit everything first time.
What's with the clip at the end of his segment where he jumps that big gap?
At the end of Craig’s section there is a shot of him sending the 32 footer that we built down the local, he was the first to step up to the challenge and don his steed to guinea pig the jump. He crashed on his first attempt, but was straight up to send it again.
Tell us about that street section. Not seen much street from you so it was a welcome surprise!
This segment of the film was shot in Derby, but I really wanted some footage for the beginning of the section so I shot those in Nottingham. I got kicked off the roof of a local shopping centre's car park, but apart from that the filming was good. Derby is a cool place to film, but there isn’t that much to do in the way of street so we decided to buff this segment out with some footage we shot at Pursuit MTB Park where Lee Johnson was very hospitable and had us down there for a weekend to celebrate Jesse Jones' birthday.
So that Rob Williams looked pretty fast...
For sure! Rob is absolutely pinned, I couldn’t believe it when he told me that he hadn’t been filmed before. He is a dream to film with as well because he gets everything right first time. It was a little scary when on the end of day one he nearly killed himself hitting a tree and we all held our breaths as Rob checked whether he had broken his collar bone. Luckily he hadn’t and the very next morning we went over to Cwmcarn to shoot him doing a big whip over the bottom table. The trails we filmed Rob on were actually his ‘XC’ tracks, he has so many tracks near him that he just wasn’t sure what to film on and was stoked on these tracks because he knew that no one else had ever filmed them.
You finished the film off with Ryan Nangle's segment. What was that like and what was going on with the steam on the trees?
Before I met Ryan I had been very aware of his videos over at Ryan Nangle Media. Those are definitely worth watching if you haven’t already. I had heard him being described as a ‘Trick Machine’ before and damn was that statement correct. Another great rider who arguably wasn’t afraid to try anything. I arrived at Ryan's on a Thursday, and originally planned to film both Thursday and Friday, but on Thursday it rained all day. This wasn’t good and we were both pretty worried we wouldn’t even get any chance to film. But as the day went on the rain laid off so we went down to the trails to find them absolutely flooded beyond belief. 2 – 3 foot puddles in bowls and as Ryan put it ‘The worst I’ve ever seen it’. We definitely had a job in clearing out the trails so that they were ready to ride on Friday. None the less after some hard labour we woke up on Friday to see sun leaking through the blinds and the steam coming off the trees was a visual treat. It was happening all over the woods as the sun hit the wet trees. It just made sense to shoot it.
I love Ryan's approach to riding his bike, it inspired me a lot. His statement “without any building, you have no riding scene” really hit home and I hope it rings bells in some people's heads. It's a shame when people aren’t prepared to dig because as Ryan says, there would be nothing fun to ride in the UK unless people built it!
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