Friday, July 27, 2018

Alpine Style, the movie.

I've made a hundred+ videos from trips through the years.  On 90+ of them I spent at least a dozen and likely more than 20 hours trying to get everything 'just so' with the editing, color grading, sound quality, stabilization, etc...  All while trying to tell a story and share some of the more poignant moments.  Oh, and trying to keep it under 3 minutes so those with the attention span of a newt will actually watch.


And I'm sick of that.  It is so thankless.  I don't get paid for these vids, they are done purely voluntarily, and the motivation to do them comes strictly from wanting to share a cool trip in a way that might help others wanting to do said trip.  All those extra hours of culling and editing actually take away from that end goal -- helping by sharing -- and for what?  So that some guy halfheartedly paying attention (while eating a bagel and watching on his phone) can close the window after 30 seconds and say "I think those dudes were lost in Maine somewhere" because he never bothered to engage.


We're all like that -- distracted and moving too fast -- to some extent.  Just a fact of modern life.  I'm tired of catering to it when there are some that actually want to see the real nitty-gritties of a trip like this, even if it means they have to take a 20 minute break from Fakebook to get there.


Thus, I spent a lot less time on this video in order to give you the full-value, real-deal, unabridged experience.




I failed to capture any of the real bushwhacking.  When your field of view is like 8" to the next fully-leafed-out branch you have to plow through, and both hands are in use (one controlling the bike, one flapping at bugs or pushing alder or devils club out of the way), it's both difficult and usually fruitless trying to film at the same time.  By the time I get the camera out the guys are already 20' away, which might as well be miles when it's this thick.  So, no bushwhacking.  There are some clips of us walking through the woods with bikes -- this is NOT 'shwacking!  If it's so thin that you can see another person at more than 2' away, that's just good walking.


Very little footage of the boat crossings either.  It was important to be a team player to shorten our time spent not covering ground, which meant that I was either ferrying bikes or people, or reassembling bikes, as were the others.


I shot on a Canon 5d3 with a 28-200 lens.  Only lens I brought.  This lens is a great blend of wide and long, and it is both cheap and light.  It is not stabilized, and you will be able to tell.  Sorry.  Would have loved to have brought my 28-300L IS lens, but that would have been an extra 2.5 to 3# of metal and glass hanging off my chest.  Given that we were already cutting corners to go light, that was a bridge too far.  The only thing I had that seemed superfluous on this trip was the camera, but I can't imagine not having it along.


POV was shot with a Go Pro Hero Session, handheld or held between my teeth.  You'll hear me breathing on many of the mouth-cam POV clips -- sort of annoying, sorry.


In culling the ~95 minutes of clips I got down to the ~17 you'll see here, I'm amazed that I never once captured audio of the hermit and swainsons thrush that constantly accompanied us.  I find their ethereal, haunting songs uplifting -- also calming, like coming home -- in the extreme.  We heard them every day but they were especially welcome -- seemingly just outside the tents -- during the ~36 hours we spent parked while it snowed in the headwaters of the Chitistone.  I heard a single gray-cheek thrush riffing out it's amplified paean as we junkshowed gear at Nabesna.  It registered and brought a smile to my face even though I was busy on every other level.  Felt like a kick-start to the great riding that followed.


Back in a few days with a wrap-up on gear minutiae and any random thoughts that come to mind.


Thanks for checkin' in.

12 comments:

  1. Fantastic story as usual Mike. Based on my random Youtube video viewing, it's true that most of the videos fall in the 5-10 min range, and there's clearly an art to making something interesting in that timeframe. But there are a few videographers who let the narrative dictate the the length of the video. Some, IMHO, could chop some of the story out and not lose much (i.e.EDIT); in your case, several times I was left wanting to hear, see or learn more about a particular segment. Better to leave the audience wanting more I guess. I say tell the best story; if it takes a bit longer, so be it. I trust you :)

    The physical challenges involved in your trip were obvious. I thought it interesting you didn't mention any (significant?) mechanical (bike-related) challenges or failures. Heck, you even cut up your one tube to help with failing footwear. If so, kudos to your choice of gear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My headset came loose once and I think Doom's did the same. I think we had to do a minor adjustment to Brett's shifting once? Other than that, my failing shoes were really the worst 'mechanical' of the trip.

      Delete
  2. The word "odyssey" comes to mind. I certainly enjoyed your video and it kept my attention quite well. How do you avoid foot blisters with your feet wet so much of the time? Thanks for investing the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IMO blisters are more of a concern when things are dry and hot. We all had lots of skin (callouses, basically) sloughing off our feet from being wet and rubbed by shoes/socks, but I don't think there was a single blister.

      Delete
    2. Duly noted. Heat, pressure, and friction are the usual ingredients for a blister.

      Delete
  3. This entire series is delightful, and greatly appreciated. Your photos are always artfully done, and your words compliment them with engaging details. The entire experience hooks my wanderlust. Then it holds my mind as it relays valuable tips for my own modest outings. Does this raw-ish video hold my attention? Well, it was then last thing I came to as I finished up my pre-ride coffee. I was itching to go, but I could not put this video down. Thank you for doing this!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great video, i love the format too. Polished video edits have their place, but for those of us who watch this and use it for motivation/inspiration (and to live vicariously through other's adventures), the rawness is the draw. That's real-deal adventure dude, you're living a good life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I for one wish at least some of your videos were longer and more in depth but what you do release is usually inspiring due to the high standard of production. As a long form reader (eyes older reader) I get most from the stories you post with the pics. Now if you would make that font a bit bigger for older eyes. I'd say most of what you post challenges to do more each time I am out and that suggests to me you are connecting with at least some of us. Keep sharing and inspiring. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lots of tricks (simple keyboard combo's like COMMAND + on a Mac) that'll boost the font size pronto.

      Delete
  6. Thanks for composing this. Always great to see folks' adventures.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your videos won't gather the amount of views that much of the YouTube crap does, but they are definitely of value to a smaller group of individuals. It is great to get a glimpse of these real adventures and they do inspire people. Thanks for the videos. I will watch this one with full attention when I get home from work.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Amazing trip and great write up. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete