This is going to be insane. Seriously. NWD doesn't even enter the picture, it's all about Stance films "Life Cycles" and Anthills "Follow Me". Read a full interview with Derek and Ryan from Stance here.
CONCEPT: Take Thomas Vanderham onto trails he knows better then any other rider at night, and look at it in a new way.
MAKING IT HAPPEN: Whistler bike park gave us the location. Bear Back Biking styled us out with the accommodations. Coast Mountain Catering Liz Abby dialled in unreal meals. And we had four pro lighting dudes from the US helping shine light into the shadows.
DAY 1: Getting it rolling we had a lot of apprehensions about shooting. We have never dealt with this type of shoot and we had a lot of unknowns. Not to mention that we were spending a lot of cash every day to keep this ship floating. This shot was by far the most expensive we have taken on so far so that always adds to the stress.
Once we started to shoot we started to feel better, but also felt a bit worse. The lights are slow and getting the proper look wasn't coming easy. We didn't actually feel as if we were getting what we wanted. Adjusting to the 6pm to 6am schedule was also hurting us. We have high expectations of ourselves to pull off unique shots and day one we drove off the hill at sunrise with a bit of an uneasy feeling that we might have just blown this one.
DAY 2: After some discussions about the shots the day before we realised we were going to need to adapt our script a bit to make sure we are getting dynamic shots. We did have enough lights to spray a massive area down and shooting wide angle would be a huge challenge.
With a new game plan we set it into motion and started to execute some shots. Still feeling like we had our hands tied a bit with the limitations that come along with not having an endless budget to get the tools we wanted. We are trying to make our footage look like Hollywood on a bike film budget.
Thomas was a great rider for this type of shooting. We needed precision and the ability to hit the mark every time, because we wanted to nail shots then move on to maximize our time with the lights. He was solid through the shooting and made our jobs easier.
End of day 2 we had a better taste in our mouth for the shoot and could see after a few small successes that we were going to get what we wanted, it just wasn't coming easy.
DAY 3 and 4: Much success! We have had two days of really killing it. The crew is starting to hit our stride and working as a nine person crew we really began to ship away at the shot list. The sweet thing about using lights is that you are able to take control of the scene and not rush what you are getting. We spent a lot of time dialling in each shot and it was starting to pay off.
Day 5: Heading up we could see that we might get fog tonight.... we've really wanted some bad weather to shoot in and Gibb and I headed up early to make sure we were ready if it happened. The fog at Whistler can be dense soup; perfect for what we wanted and by luck it was hanging around tonight and not a drop of moisture to mess with all the gear, just perfect fog factory.
By the time the lights had gotten up and the sun had settled the fog decided it was also going to take off. *%#$ we thought to ourselves. All we needed was 10 minutes and we could have got a few really epic shots. After spending two or three hours on lighting I really didn't want to move on until the fog came back. But that's the thing with weather. You can't predict it and we could spend hours just burning cash and waiting for the fog unicorn to show up. Waiting. Waiting. Should we just shoot and move? Waiting. A bit of fog. Not enough. Waiting but hopeful....fog rolled in. We went into our normal controlled-chaos gear. When we get epic conditions we have to be able to react quickly and it's this weird balance of hurry but also take the time not to screw it up.
We got very lucky that night. Three hours of fog provided for some pretty sweet looks. Feeling satisfied we grabbed a 1 am coffee and headed out to see which location we should nail next and relieved we got what we wanted.
LAST day: This was a short day since the lighting crew had to drop off lights in Vancouver the next morning and head to Seattle. The only plan for the night was a scrub on a trail on A-line. Feeling pretty good about what we had in the can it was a relaxing last evening of shooting. Thomas performed as per usual and we bagged a sweet angle.
WRAP: Looking back on the shoot it really couldn't have gone any better. We have a lot of people to thank on this one. Liz Abby the cook kept us filled with awesome food that made coming home in the morning after a 12 hour shift exciting to see what was on the table. Mark from Bear Back Biking hooked us up with a mansion that included an eight- man hot tub through his friends at Whistler Dream.
Ryan and Jeremy from Whistler bike park dialled us in for locations and Kira from the patrol made sure we were safe on the hill each night. Thanks guys.
We had a two-person film crew recording what went down and it'll be coming to pinkbike very soon so keep your eyes open for that.