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The premise was simple, we wanted to make a full length bike film over the winter of 12/13 to show the wealth of riding talent on the UKs shores.
For the last few years we ( Aspect Media ) have made longer film projects in the winter while everyone has a bit more free time. So we set the ball rolling last autumn with planning, funding, getting all the boring logistical things sorted. Once press packs had been made, lots of phone calls made we got some amazing support to make the film happen in the way of Monster energy, Giant Bicycles along with Mpora and Exempt clothing. So with some great companies behind us shooting started.
The first shoot was back in December in south Wales with GT racing new signing Taylor Vernon ( get well soon buddy ) and Wideopenmag rider Rich Thomas. The idea with these 2 was one was young and fresh but with amazing talent, just going full time, the world at his feet. With Rich he has been on the scene a few years already even though he himself is only 24. The main difference with Rich and most other people is he still works a full time job as a tree surgeon, so racing, travelling and training as well is that much harder and we wanted to tell that story. Not many issues with this part of the film, weather was typical, no one got hurt and we shot it in a 3 day block so it just came together.
Next was shooting the start of Brendogs part, this meant getting Olly Wilkins and Bren down their locals in Surrey on the short travels for some fun. All went well and other than a few bits of gear getting hit/falling over it all went good. Soon after shooting this part though while out riding in France Olly came off and broke his ankle so bad that 7 months on its still buggered. So that was him pretty much out of shooting. So then it became pretty much just a Brendan section.
We had to wait a few months till he had some more free time to shoot some DH, and interview and life style stuff but it all came together pretty smooth in the end.
Then it was out to Spain for a week to shoot some stuff with Danny Hart, amazing tracks out there with RoostDH, great weather, and really tells the story of how most of the top guys try to get out of the UK for a while.
We got a grand total of 5 hours shooting DH with Danny one afternoon after he had done some testing, he then woke up the next day really ill and spent next 3 days we had booked in to shoot stuck to the loo, less than ideal and why his Spain section was a bit short. Put that with the stuff we got Sam Oakes to shoot of him on his moto, and down his local skate park, and a mornings shooting at Llangollen in North Wales ( day got cut short by rain at 1pm ) a few months later and we knew we had enough for a great section.
We then went back out to Spain to shoot for a week with the Jones twins, both amazing riders but one races WC DH, and the other free ride world events. A sure fire story there. So with everything from big jumps, trails, amazing DH, and sun all the time Spain was the one. So we all went back to RoostDH for a week, shot loads of amazing footage and all had one of the best weeks of my winter, sure they will say the same.
We then came back and with in a week or getting back on home turf, spent 3 days down their homes near Woburn and shot all the stuff of them at home.
All in one of my favourite sections of the film, varied, fun and I think that translated on to the footage.
After that we went back up to north Wales for 2 solid intensive days shooting with CRC riders Joe Smith and Matt Simmonds. We just wanted their part to be amazing DH riding which they have loads of where they live. Revolution bike park one day and some secret tracks the next.
Other than a few small mechanicals and a dusting of snow and rain, all went well. The section has a bit of a different feel with more full speed footage thrown in with the slow mo shots and a more rock sound track.
Then down south to shoot with Sam Reynolds and Sam Pilgrim. Both world class free riders, both got the same birthdays, both missing teeth, had to be them in the section.
We had shot with Sam R a fair bit along the way, days shooting with Bren he came along to and we got various stuff, same for days with Matt Jones etc but we did a day shooting with just him down at Holdshot trails, and some stuff on his DH bike.
That with the part with Pilgrim down his local spots round Colchester and his training compound and you have just the kind of section we wanted. Fun, not to serious and full of good riding.
Now the eagle eyed among you may notice that early on we had wanted to shoot with Peaty and Bryceland. With Mpora as media partner we wanted to get this section out before the first World Cup as a build up story. We were really keen to make this happen as well, but when you are trying to get 2/3 filmers and 2 of the busiest and most in demand riders in the UK to Scotland for 2 days shooting at the start of their race seasons you just have to know when its not going to happen.
Maybe next time eh ?!
We then got Aaron Bartlett to sort us some high speed race footage from the world cups for the intro of the film which really helps show just how fast, dangerous and wild what these guys do all year is, and why they need some down time in the winters.
After wrapping up shooting it was just a case of living at each others houses ( Jacobs in Bristol and Chris’s in London ) and getting it edited. Lots of late nights, lots of phone calls to Josh and Craig the motion guys but we are really happy with the out come.
The main thing we would have loved to do, is have enough time in the schedule to be able to give the film to an outside colour grader, sound designer and motion graphics guy, but we just didn’t have those 3 weeks in the post production schedule annoyingly. Still leaves us with a list of things we know we can do better next time, its that drive that keeps you going and keeps you making better and better work.
Big thanks to everyone who made this possible, we tried to mention you all at the end of the film, but you all know who you are. Its hugely appreciated by both of us here at Aspect.
We hope you enjoyed the video, because as you can read, it took a lot of work. Not perfect but we think its a good look at UK MTB as it is at the moment.