Inspired en République Tchèque - Vidéos & interview !

Inspired in the Czech Republic - Videos and Interview

Friday 6 September 2013
by Inspired Bicycles
popularity : 8%

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Inspired recently sent some of their team riders (Danny MacAskill, Ali C and Fabio Wibmer) over to the Czech Republic for a couple of weeks to hang out at Dressler Camp 2013 and spend some time riding street in the capital city, Prague.

Mark Westlake (Clean) was also on the trip, filming for an Inspired team video and indulging in the local plum wine. There actually ended up being two videos from the trip, one from Dressler Camp and one from the Prague part of the trip, and they’re both awesome...

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Inspired at Dressler Camp 2013

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Dressler Camp is a week-long trials festival organised by the guys at the Prague-based Dressler Shop, with the motto ’Trial, Fun and Rock and Roll’. They live up to that every year, with loads of cool events, contests and concerts over the course of the week, with riders of all ages and abilities taking part as well as a host of pro riders who regularly attend the camp. As is now almost tradition, the Inspired Team were in attendance again in 2013, with Danny MacAskill, DC regular Ali C and new team rider Fabio Wibmer all heading over to the camp. They all had a great time, with Danny saying it had been "one of the best weeks ever riding my bike", and that really comes across in the video:

Inspired Bicycles in Prague

After a week at Dressler Camp the team headed to Prague to see what the streets had to offer. Unfortunately, Danny injured himself on the first day of filming, so doesn’t feature massively in this one, but that just allows Ali and Fabio to come to the fore. Ali’s riding is getting better and better and he’s currently operating on a whole other level - it seems there’s nothing he can’t make his bike do - and Fabio shows exactly why he made it onto the Inspired team in this nine minute video:

Mark Westlake Interview

After watching the videos, we caught up with Mark to ask him about the process of planning, filming and editing a team trip video and how this particular project went. He gave a pretty cool insight into what these kind of trips are like for the guy behind the camera and what goes into a video project like this...

JPEG - 185.8 kb Was this the first trip you’d been on specifically to film a video for someone else? How did it go, in general?

It technically counts as the first time I’d been asked to go out filming for a specific video - I’ve produced videos in the past, but they tend to be self-initiated so there’s generally a bit less pressure on you. I’ve been lucky enough to go on a trip over to Europe before to shoot some photos for a BMX team trip a good few years ago so I was broadly familiar with how it would work, but it was still a step into the unknown in many ways. You definitely feel the need to produce something worthwhile to keep up your end of the bargain! In general the trip was really good. The Czech Republic was a really cool place - it’s a bit of a cliché of any write-up to mention how friendly the locals were and how nice it all looked, but it was genuinely true in this case. Lukas, Josef and everyone else we met out there (apart from that one policeman...) went out of their way to make sure we had a good time. It wouldn’t have been possible without them!

We heard this was your first international flight as well, how was that for you – any pre-flight nerves or in-flight panic attacks?

JPEG - 250.3 kb Luckily, the logistics of having to pack over 32kg of bike, camera bag, laptop, clothes and other bits and pieces into a bag that had to weigh less than 32kg took my mind off things. By the time the trip came round I was more excited about heading off to Prague than worried about plummeting into the ground, plus with Ali around I had to make sure I handled it. If I’d gone to pieces he’d have never let me live it down, haha. As it was, everything was fine apart from the rear end of my frame getting squashed in to around 120mm spacing and the adjuster dials on my tripod getting bent/broken. Cheers, Easyjet!

What goes into planning for a trip/shoot like this, from a video-making perspective? Is a lot of it planned beforehand, or is it pretty much a case of seeing (and filming) what happens?

JPEG - 304.7 kb A lot of filming videos comes down to what happens when you actually get to the location - who’s riding well, who’s carrying injuries, what the weather’s doing, etc. - but I wanted to make sure I knew what Inspired were expecting before I left. There are limitless possibilities for how you can make a video, and I wanted to make sure that I was going to make a video that Inspired would feel represented their brand properly. For example, if it had been a personal project I probably would have made the video quite a lot differently. As it was, we chatted back and forth about what they hoped to show in the video, and I tried to bear that in mind when I got down to actually filming. A lot of it does just come down to what happens when you’re there and seeing how it goes, but having a game-plan in the back of your mind definitely helps out!

How easy or difficult is it to film a trip like this? Was it easier/more fun/more satisfying filming the Dressler Camp part of the trip, or the Prague part?

JPEG - 714.1 kb Luckily for me, Ali, Danny and Fabio are great riders and all came up with some interesting lines to film so that made life much easier! Dressler Camp was a bit of an unknown quantity which made life a little harder in that I wasn’t really too sure who was going to be doing what. Plus, with plenty of other riders around I wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting in anyone’s way! Related to that though, sometimes getting the right angle was tricky as you’d have people riding/walking in front of the camera, so a couple of clips ended up being binned as someone would go through the frame at just the wrong moment. Also, as the filming was all taking place in one location it meant I had to keep in the back of my mind the types of angles I’d already used to try and not repeat similar types of shots too much, just to make it more interesting to watch. In Prague that wasn’t really an issue as we ended up going to some really varied spots, and everyone came up with some cool things to film on them.

I really enjoy riding around new places, so I think the filming in Prague was probably a little more fun as we got to explore the city a little. It was a slightly different trip to what I’m used to as it involved a lot of driving from spot to spot whereas here in the UK we tend to just pedal from place to place. Consequently we missed out on hitting some pretty good looking spots, but the flip side of that is we covered quite a lot of ground and got to film at places as diverse as a centuries old castle through to an almost derelict 200,000+ seater stadium. Being able to throw my camera bag in the back of the van rather than have to carry it all day was a nice treat though...

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As the man behind the camera, what’s the worst thing that can happen on a trip like this? What’s the worst thing that did happen? Any highlights or funny stories from the filming of either video?

The worst thing is a rider getting injured, and unfortunately that happened a couple of times on this trip. At Dressler Camp, Ali was messing around on my bike and ended up falling off on a rock and hurting his braking finger on his left hand. Not ideal! It put him out of contention for the Freestyle comp at Dressler Camp, but luckily it healed up enough to allow him to ride in Prague. Danny wasn’t so lucky though - he had a couple of really hard crashes at Dressler Camp, but then got taken out by a slippery marble slab at a plaza spot in Prague. He attempted a 360 down a fairly sizeable set at speed, and just as he carved into the spin his front wheel washed out. I wasn’t around when it happened, but Ali described it as "the worst crash [he’d] ever seen", and from the look of pain on Danny’s face I think that was probably a fairly accurate description. He totalled his left wrist and elbow and couldn’t really ride for the rest of the trip, so that was a downer.

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Aside from riders getting hurt though, equipment failure is the next thing you’re hoping to avoid. I’ve had flashes and flash stands get taken out and broken before, but luckily that didn’t happen this time! The one new aspect for me was filming with an external microphone - there was one clip in the video where I forgot to turn the microphone on and as such had no audio for that clip (sorry Ali!), but fortunately that wasn’t too much of a problem.

I think the highlight for me was probably the crash that Ali had at Dressler Camp that made it into the little teaser video. He just kept going...

What was the easiest/hardest clip to get on film? Why?

There were a couple of static tripod shots that were technically the easiest to film, but Ali and Fabio both managed to ’one time’ a couple of clips - it’s always a treat when that happens! JPEG - 224.4 kb Similarly, filming the line Danny got in Prague was nice and easy as he could just do it on command, despite both elements of it being ridiculous. It meant I got to get a couple of angles in the bag, which is always good for when you get down to editing! The hardest clip to film was probably Ali’s 360 nosepick to G-Turn down the stairset flatbank in Prague. It took a long time to get, and the way I had to crouch/stand on the stairs meant my back and legs were aching quite a bit by the end. I wasn’t really sure how do-able the line was either, but ultimately Ali got the clip in the bag so it was worth the wait!

JPEG - 307.7 kb The hardest clip to film that didn’t make it into the video was the line Ali had planned for the roof of the bus station in Prague. We had enough time to get a couple of clips of some manuals along the roof, but Ali had a sweet line planned that would definitely have been one of the bangers for the video. Just after we’d got the shot lined up and cleared everyone else off the roof, a police car showed up and we got the standard Good Cop/Bad Cop routine, but in a language neither Ali nor I understood. The guy was really not happy about us being on the roof, but then appeared to be even more annoyed when we climbed off. I didn’t really know how much trouble we were in, and with horror stories I’d heard from people getting stung with huge fines over in Europe I was a little concerned. Luckily, he realised that there were probably worse things going on so they got back in the car and headed off. Maybe next time...

Is the filming or the edit easier/harder, more/less enjoyable?

JPEG - 262.1 kb Good question! I think the filming and editing processes are both hard, but in different ways. For me, the filming side is naturally more enjoyable because you’re out there riding and doing things, whereas the editing process is generally just sitting by a computer, on your own, staring into a screen for hours on end. My route into making videos was a fairly convoluted process that was all built upon a love of riding bikes, so being able to go out and do that always makes things more enjoyable! Similarly, when you’re out filming you can be creative and constantly try out different things, come up with new angles, get little filler clips here and there - it’s much nicer to have too many clips than too few, so keeping the camera out and just looking around for things to help add context to a video can help you spot interesting things you might ordinarily miss. As well as that, you get to experience that moment when someone pulls a move they’ve been working towards, and if you can accentuate that moment by getting a nice looking video clip of it it just puts the icing on the cake. All the guys have pretty high standards for how they want things to look when they’re being filmed, so that helps push that side of things too. Not many people know, but Danny’s actually really good at filming and has a really good eye for shots (check out his video of Duncan Shaw for proof!), so having his input on things definitely taught me a lot.

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Does not having any idea what’s going to go down and just having to film whatever goes on make the filming side of things more difficult or stressful than the edit, where you know what footage you have and, presumably, some sort of idea of what kind of video you want make? Or does the footage you get kind of dictate the style and flow of the edit?

JPEG - 231 kb While you’re out there gathering clips it can be a little stressful to not really know what you’ve actually got for the final video. In Prague in particular we ended up having a couple of relatively unproductive days, and when you know there’s the pressure of putting a video out at the end of the trip it makes it feel much worse than it probably is! Everyone really pulled it out of the bag on the last couple of days though, and pushed themselves a lot.

In that sense editing is a little more ’relaxing’ in that you have all the source material to work with, but it does have its own drawbacks. Finding out you’ve made a mistake with filming something or don’t have a clip you need of a certain move can be frustrating as you’re powerless to do much about it, which again feeds in to making sure you do as good a job as possible while you’re out filming! In terms of having an idea about how the video’s going to feel or work, I have a rough idea in my head but wait until I have the clips on a timeline before I really try and pin down the atmosphere I want to go for.

What about music choice? Do you have an idea of the sort of song you want to use going into the project, or do you have to wait and see what footage you get and choose accordingly?

JPEG - 332.4 kb I usually find it a bit of an uphill struggle getting music to use - I try and get a sense of the tempo of the riding/clips I’ve got to work with and find the rough length of song I need, then just have a search around and see what I can find. Spotify is a huge help in that sense - the Related Artists options in there are a gold mine.

I guess this goes back to the planning question – do you have an idea of how the video will turn out before you start, or does the process dictate the outcome?

Overall, the process does dictate the outcome ultimately. I tend to have a certain aesthetic I aim for when I’m filming and that varies from video to video so you can alter things to some extent, but you really have to work with whatever footage you have - you can’t ’force’ clips to work with an editing style or music that doesn’t really fit, so you have to go with the flow.

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Do you have a favourite of the two videos now that they’ve been finished? If so, why?

I don’t really have a favourite out of the two, although I think if I had to choose a section from them both I’d say the last riding section of the Prague video was my favourite. It’s a nice reminder of the fun times we had out there, and the song just has a really nice vibe to it.

In general, Do you watch your videos again once they’re finished, or are you glad to see the back of them?

I generally avoid them once they’ve been uploaded/submitted. I watched the Prague video back a few times before it went live and just kept seeing other things that were wrong or that I could have changed, and I just end up focussing on those mistakes rather than watching the video as a whole. I think that’s something that would never end really. You can always improve on what you’ve done, so having to draw a line under things can help you move forward rather than dipping back into Premiere to tweak and fiddle ad infinitum...

We had both videos playing on our stand at Tarty Days this year and the Prague video was shown for the first time on a big screen in front of a big crowd of people. What was that like? JPEG - 57.4 kb Do you get a sense of pride or satisfaction, seeing your work displayed like that, or does it feel like you’re being judged a bit?

I don’t particularly rate the work I do, so having it put onto that kind of pedestal on the Saturday night was an ’interesting’ experience for me, especially as there were some much more capable filmers/editors than me in the audience watching it! What ramped up the awkward stakes even more was that I was at Tarty Days filming the official video, and part of that was filming the festivities on Saturday night. Filming people watching a video you’ve filmed - awkward...

Any last words/thanks?

Definitely! First and foremost, I’ve got to say thanks to Inspired for giving me the opportunity to go out there and cover it for them. The ’Team Trip’ is still relatively new in the trials world and requires a lot of faith from the people bankrolling it, so again - cheers guys! Ali, Danny and Fabio were all great too and produced when required. As I mentioned before, none of it would have worked without the time, resources and effort Lukas (Burianek) and Josef (Dressler) put into it, so a huge thanks has to go out to them as well. Lastly, thanks to everyone we met out there who made it such a good trip!

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Thanks to Mark Westlake for the photos and TRA for the one of Ali going up to front with Mark filming!


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