This 4 Minute Long Take of a Mountain Bike Run is As Cinematic As It Gets
The long take may be widely associated with cinema and television, but it's pretty damn cool in an action sports context as well.
In a segment from the recently released mountain biking/adventure film unReal, biker Brandon Semenuk tackled a custom-built trail in Cambria, California while a pickup truck fitted with a GSS C520 gyroscopic stabilization system and RED EPIC captured the entire 4-minute run in a single glorious take. Since Brandon had an injured wrist, he was only able to do this once, which makes it all that much more impressive for everyone involved. Check out the video below:
And here's the BTS video, which gives a bit of background on how long it took to plan and execute this single shot:
Here's more from Vice Sports on how they did it:
The TGR and Anthill crew spent a week on location to get the shot. There was only one cameraman, TGR's Brian Wulf, and a single camera, a Red Epic. Darren McCullough operated the focus for the camera, while Collin Jones called out the vehicle pacing to Wittneburg, who was the driver. All four people acted as a single unit. A custom-built rack in the bed of a Toyota Tundra pickup held the camera mount, which was originally designed for aircraft: the GSS C520, a gimbal-stabilized camera housing that famously provided the ultra-smooth footage in Planet Earth. A Honda generator strapped in the bed of the truck powered the camera, and Wulf filmed through a monitor while sitting in the backseat.
Personally, my favorite aspect of this shot is the the way it incorporates zooming in and out to different focal lengths throughout the run. Because of this, the spatial compression and depth of field changes from moment to moment, which makes the various segments of the shot feel completely unique from one another. The fact that much of it was shot at such a long focal length is also a testament to the skill of camera operator Brian Wulf and focus puller Darren McCullough. Long lenses are not at all conducive to complex camera moves on rough terrain, but these guys absolutely nailed it, and the final result is well worth the time and effort put in to make this happen.
If you're interested in checking out the other segments in unReal, head over to Amazon where you can either rent or buy the film.