Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Mountain Excitement

After the heavens had closed, the sun began to shine.

Just two days after Northern England had been awash with flood water, we found ourselves in the almost spring-like English Lake District filming a mountain bike sequence. Once again in ultra-slow motion. 

I'd scheduled a shoot with a posse of mountain bikers mustered and led by Andy Smith of Cactus Creative in nearby Kendal. Andy's a keen outdoor enthusiast and he had lined us up with a spot-on location via his Lakes Locations agency. Unfortunately, this was a trek over hill and vale, and too far for the small mountain of filming equipment we had in tow. However, Andy had also arranged what looked like the kind of vehicle Batman would have if his cave was situated near Kendal.
Andy had sent me a photo of it whilst we were shooting the kayaking sequence the day before, and on my phone it resembled a sort of DIY Tumbler. In camo-green. That is if it had been constructed from the left-over parts bin at Go-Karts-R-Us and gene-spliced with a Fly-mo.

On the route out I was convinced Andy was going to press a button (there weren't many of them to be fair) and the whole thing would convert into a two-wheeled off-road dragster bike. Andy would have been happy, but the rest of the crew would have been walking.

The location was perfect. Offering us lots of potential for the selection of shots we wanted to slot in between the kayaking sequences. Loads of drop-offs, loose gravel and tree runs. Not forgetting a stunning Lakeland backdrop.

After DOP Steve Nelson and his assistant Dan had the descent shots in the can it was over to Joe 90, so-called as he's usually spotted biking off 90 degree vertical cliffs on his downhill machine.
These shots would be inter-cut into the final film and juxtaposed with Steve Edmondson’s kayak plummeting into the River Swale. Joe Lethbridge made light work of the jumps we had at hand and before long we were on the home stretch. Just in time for the December 'magic hour'. As the sun glinted through the trees and photographer Henry Iddon was able to capture the moment perfectly.

On reaching the 'Tumbler' I decided that our final shot of the day should be of the biking posse cycling through a perfectly still puddle framed by the whole of the Kentmere cirque in the evening sunlight. We fired-up the 'Tumbler' with Steve Nelson perched in the back for an impromptu tracking shot. A reluctant driver, but with new found off-road skills, I had Producer's perogative to play with the toys. So I put pedal to the metal as the cyclists got within a nose of the back of the vehicle which provided our final shot. 

As the London-bound camera crew hit the M6, Henry and I joined the Team Cactus posse at Wilf's Cafe in Staveley Yard for a sandwich and a well-earned brew. Concluding a hectic, but brilliant two days of filming.

The final film will be released shortly. In the meantime you can check out the behind the scenes video of our shoot...

David Jinks
Producer & Director

Fridge Productions Limited

Tel: 0845 604 3582

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