Spoke Magazine

FRANKLY THURSDAY – CLAY PORTER

Posted by Lester Perry on Friday March 11 2011

Clay getting all Dreamy - pic. Caleb Smithers

Every World Cup Downhill season I look forward to two things: Kiwis on the podium, and any film work done by Clay Porter. Whilst many web vids emerge weekly from ‘the usual suspects’ in world MTB cimematography, Clay’s work is more select.  He does have a web vid series, the Atherton Project, and the odd clip out here or there, but he generally saves the goods for full releases. “Quality over Quantity”

I find Clay’s work unique in that all his films are watchable over and over and over and over again—unlike he latest ‘Disorderly New World Order Freehuck’ film which is great for a maximum of a handful of views. Clay’s work is still relevant seasons after it drops, partly due to the stellar talent within the films but equally due to the slick filming, stomping soundtracks and the fact that they give you “that feeling”, the one where you really want to shred after watching them!

Ladies, gents and those undecided. Here’s Clay Porter……

Getting the shot with Sam Blenkinsop - Pic: Caleb Smithers

Age: 26

Where are you from originally and where are you based now? Born and raised in San Francisco, CA now living in Ventura, CA.

Best thing about living where you do? The Mexican food and the sunshine.

Worst thing about living there? The fact that no World Cups are in California and Aaron Gwin is the only top rider that lives in California so I’m never home.

What’s your day job? Making mountain bike films.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day and go to ‘work’? The desire to go better. I’m never satisfied. I always think I can do better.

It's a hard job but someone's gotta do it. Pic: Caleb Smithers

How’d you get into cinematography? After watching classic MTB race films like Chainsmoke, Transcontinental, the Sprung series and The Circus I thought ‘I want to do that’. Mountain biking introduced me to filmmaking.

Why moving images as apposed to still ones? There is a lot of depth you can get with moving images, there is so much more to it. Don’t get me wrong, I love still photography but with moving images it’s a different form of creativity. You can add music, shoot cable cams, add interviews extra. Moving images and multi dimensional, still images are flat.

If you couldn’t make films any more what would you do? Probably go into a serious depression then hopefully find another outlet that satisfies the creative needs that constantly linger in my mind.

3MG is coming…. Sum up the film in one sentence
Two years in the making, 3MG is a performance based documentary about the new school generation of downhill mountain bike racers.

Best experience filming the film thus far? Probably shooting Aaron Gwin’s section in Southern California. It was so rad to just stay at home and shoot instead of boarding a 24 hour flight to shoot. Travelling the world has made me really appreciate what a rad place California is. Like anything, it’s got it ups and downs but I always look so forward to going home.

Most interesting subject you’ve ever shot? I shot a 2 Live Crew concert back in 2006.

The money shot. Pic: Caleb Smithers

What’s you current setup for shooting MTB? For shooting racing you can’t beat the portability and quality of a Sony EX1.

What’s your favourite item of filming gear?
Probably all my cable cam equipment. They suck to set up but the results are always so good and it’s not something that any kid can just buy with Mommy and Daddy’s credit card and get dialed. You’ve got to really how how all that stuff works to get it working properly.

Got any tips for young budding producers/filmers?
Shoot as much as you can, set goals and then attack those goals as if the world rests on your ability to achieve them. Once you’ve achieved them set new goals and never be satisfied. Always think towards the future and if you want to make mountain bike films, don’t watch mountain bike films for inspiration, you’ll never bring anything new to genre that way. Get out of your element and comfort zone with the ultimate goal of being the best person in the world at what you do.

You get gifted $10,000 – do you buy a new bike or new camera gear? Definitely not a new bike as most of my best friends work in the bike industry and can hook me up with product, so definitely camera gear.

Favourite thing about the bike scene / culture? That it’s relatively easy to get into and start working.

Least favorite thing the bike scene / culture? That it’s relatively easy to get into and start working.

On Location with Blenky - pic: Caleb Smithers

When you aren’t out shooting or editing what are you generally doing? Chilling with my friends at home that don’t ride and travel the world like a crazy madman.

What’s your current bike setup? A Ti Commencal hardtail that Dan Atherton gave me and a Giant Glory DH bike that my buddy Nate Riffle hooked me up with.

Music to edit to? Whatever is the music that I’m using for that particular section.

Can’t travel without: Bose noise cancelling headphones.

What’s your fondest memory from any of your trips to New Zealand? In 2006, when I stayed in New Zealand after the Rotorua Worlds, I was filming with Justin Leov and Sam Blenkinsop and Justin’s dad purposely ran over this goat while were getting a shuttle to the top. He said they were overpopulated and were going to be killed anyway. I was freaked out. I don’t think I had ever even seen a goat in person and then Justin’s Dad runs it over with the car!

Check out more of Clay on his website HERE.

A quick teaser from 3 Minute Gaps with Brendan Fairclough: Tu Meke.