Mountain Biking in Northern Ireland, that was the entire speck for the filming competition, anything else goes. The film highlights a group on Facebook called “Just Ride Your Bike NI” and all the riders. It highlights some of Northern Ireland’s amazing MTB spots and shows what our riders are capable of!

How it started!
So I was posting things on reddit and got a comment from a guy suggesting that I should try make something for a competition, he then directed me to the group “Just Ride your Bike NI”. I added my self to the group and posted that I would love to enter something for the competition, after showing a few examples of our work I then got talking to Keith, where we talked about a few ideas, organised some dates, scouted some locations and then filming started.

Working in the Terrain

Mountain biking is done over a wide area and the majority of it starts at the top of the hill, that hill being rough terrain usually forest ground. One of the biggest challenges was moving the production gear we needed to each location, which usually meant climbing a hill, on one shoot alone we walked 5 miles in total. You defiantly need some sort of off-road transport device, a quad would probably be best bet as its small and could tow the gear in a small trailer, in saying that there were places we were that even a quad couldn’t go but definitely would help

Competing for light
A lot of filming was done in a forest with thick tall larch trees reaching hight of up to 45 metres tall, on the ground at some point this was almost like filming indoors. Next time I think lights would be a good idea if we had the man power, a reflector wouldn’t have even worked as there was no direct sunlight to reflect with. This made shooting with the GoPro difficult, any footage with it was grainy and was difficulty to pick a good setting to get a good result, but there was a lot learnt when shooting this and also just how much functionality the GoPro has.

Mountain Biking Hurts
At one of the shoots, our main character, Lee was Practicing a jump and came off pretty hard, it was scary biscuits and it took him a while to get up and going again. He went home after that and I discovered on the way home he had to go to hospital, he had broken bones in his back, but that didn’t stop him as he was out riding two’s week later. In the space of the time that I was filming, on of the guys, Darryl had ended up in a neck brace and I saw on the Facebook group that mountain rescue had to bring two guys down from the Forest. When out mountain biking don’t expect to get hurt, plan for it!

GoPro on mountain bike
Shooting mountain biking on the GoPro I had too main issues stability and the angle. Its just too rough a terrain to mount the camera directly to the bike, the footage is shaky and it is very much the same on the rider. I found that trying to attach the camera to something that is going to stay steady in the shot (helmet) is the best way to make the footage appear steady. In terms of angle, it is really hard to get a full body shoot on a mountain bike, I tried a few different angles and again it just ended up being too shaky to use. It was only afterwards that I realised I should have attached the GoPro to a stick and then to the helmet, the chicken neck effect kicks in and you get a full body shot.

The Backflip
You just get the film edited about a week early, ready for submission, everything perfect and organised, when you get a phone call from Nathan “what are you doing tomorrow i’ve got the backflip ready.” Hell yea! I cancelled a full days shoot and was sitting ready, raring to go in the morning to get the shot. This was the first time he was attempting it in the wild, fresh ramp carved out and ready to go, it took about an hour to get geared up to do it, was it worth it, oh it totally was, turned out to be an amazing shot!!

Ryan Loney (BNL Productions) | Producer / Director
Paddy O’Kane (BNL Productions) | Editor / Camera person
Jason Joy (Corepolo) | Animation / Camera Person
Keith Williams (Just Ride Your Bike NI) | Rider / Producer
Nathan Mccomb | Rider
Ryan Shaw | Rider
Archie Axten | Rider
Lee Sofley | Rider
Darryl Aston | Rider
Frazer Morrison | Rider