Ride On, Pilgrim || CASE STUDY Day X4

The creative process of this project for me is huge. I have wanted to do more of a narrative concept for quite some time but have been hesitant to pursue an opportunity like that for reasons of gear/budget/persons. But, it's what I've really wanted to do; dive into a story and flesh it out through creation and imagination... to write content that speaks to a real and tangible heart. To CREATE. I want to see something that I've made up in my mind manifest into a real production, but it's been wrapped in doubt of "can I pull this off?" and "will it even matter?" How many times have you thought that, right? 

So, podcast after podcast has told me to shoot what I want to shoot, and I've finally said OK. I remember the moment this turned from the docu-style day ride Larry had originally pitched me into a narrative short. I was looking for areas to shoot him riding and what his day trip would look like and it hit me in the face, "why don't I just turn this into the passion project I've been wanting to do?" I'm going to go through the progression of how I've created the concept and let you peek into the process of how I struggle and succeed in creating and in stepping into the uncharted territory. Hopefully you can relate and maybe get encouragement for your pursuit. As I write this right now it is still in working progress.

First step was to get a treatment in order. I needed to know the concept, the look, the mood, any locations I need, gear list, etc. I work a lot better when I can see a representation of the images in my head in a physical space. I'll usually spend a few hours messing around in Photoshop creating the treatment. I'll look for mood and aesthetic ideas through frames of different movies/videos on vimeo, or I'll go to Unsplash and browse their content with keywords. Here is the treatment I've prepared for this, it's basic but enough to start moving towards nailing specifics ||


I took a drive around the West and South of Denver areas to start looking for locations. I like to get out of the house, out of the coffee shop away from the computer, and go discover places. It's where my mind and imagination seem to run wild. I wanted a look that gave me a "middle of everywhere" feel so the story could translate for anyone watching - whether you're in the south Texas fields, or on the back roads in the Michigan lakes. It's hard to find somewhere that showcases that much non-descript environment, but I came across this area that hit a lot of the bullet points for me - country road feel, great golden hour light, mountains in the distance, long straight road. Here are some scout photos ||


A lot of planning has to go into location, especially a location with fast and extensive action. While I'm not blowing anything up, I am having to get a guy cruising on a bike which makes me think of how I am going to capture that AND with what focal lengths. I know I'm wanting to keep the camera hand-held through most of the video to have an organic feeling to the movement, like we're there with him in the moment. That means longer focal lengths are going to be "harder" to keep steady, BUT as I increase the intensity in the edit, I do want more out of control camera movement. I want it to feel like a rocket is blasting off. Instead of shooting out of the back of a vehicle I've decided to use my in-line hockey skates as my "dolly". I like this because it frees me up to get close to Larry in a safer way than using a moving vehicle. Believe me, I'd love an ultimate arm out of the bed of a truck, but that is far from reasonable, and with the DIY mantra of my career at the moment, breaking out the laces are more feasible. I had Larry drop by so I could do a bit of testing with the camera cage and 5D strapped to it with my skates on, here's that test ||

It was quick, just wanted to feel everything in my hands, but I'm confident I can get the looks I want on the day. I found that using the top handle as my point of contact on the camera cage gives a huge sway back and forth, a bit too "swimmy" instead of jolting movement, so it looks like it will be two hands on the side handles instead. The drawback to this maneuver is I don't have a free hand to pull focus, so I may look at the budget and rent an Easyrig if possible. Also, Larry picks up speed a lot quicker than me skating, so I'll have to figure out how to handle that. Might get in touch with another biker to drag me along. At this point it's still in the air, but I know that the look is attainable. 


Sean Waldron