Pro Cycling Filmmaking
Shortly afterwards I was woking as an 'intern' on the Revolution Cycling Series and the Wiggle Honda training camp in Italy. I had a good knowledge about different cameras and had a relaxed approach to stressful tasks which the company seemed to like.
I decided it was time to put intern work behind me and left Cyclevox. I was approached by the owner of Wiggle Honda and started making regular behind the scenes films for the team. The idea was to upload films onto Youtube and create a fan following.
For other budding filmmakers, your probably wondering what kit I used when filming these documentaries. Take a look at the picture above. This was my main set up. I am using the Canon C100 camera with a 24-105mm L series lens. I have a Sennheiser rifle mic MK-66 and Sennheiser G3 wireless mic set attached. I was using the Ninja Blade as a monitor via HDMI cable. To monitor sound I have Sennheiser 506 headphones on which are great for blocking out unwanted sound. The shoulder rig comprised of a Genus bar system, Edelkrone handles and a Vocus shoulder pad. The rig was surprisingly expensive at around £5000. I would put the camera system on my Sachtler Carbon Fibre Tripod, using an FSB8-T Head. For interview set-ups I would use a 1x1 LED Bi-Colour Litepanel.
I would set up between 2-5 GoPro's
I worked for Wiggle Honda for one and a half years making well over 100 short documentary films. I am not going to post all of those films here! I have put down a couple which should give you a feel of the 'on the road' videos I was making.
For me, the aim for is to constantly improve my eye for cinematic shots and learn off other peoples professional experiences.
The work was long hours, waking up at 6am in the morning and filming the riders all day up until 5:30pm. During the stage race I would eat my lunch in the team car (which could last up to 4 hours). I would jump out of the car on the last lap and film the finish of the race, as hopefully it was our team crossing the line first.
Once back at the hotel, it was time to import the rushes into my editing software - FCPX. The footage would then transcode whilst I ate dinner. I would then edit the footage and have the video uploaded ready to share for the following morning. If I was quick I could get this all done by 11pm and have enough time to chat with other staff about the next days itinerary. I learned how to manage my time efficiently.
As my contract for Wiggle Honda was coming to an end, I decided that living a (full time) life on the road was not for me.
Looking to go more freelance, I reached out to Team Sky and asked if they wanted any films made in the 'Aaron Cook' way. I was surprised to hear that they had an end of season camp they wanted filmed within the next few days. I received a phone call about what they were doing and I came up with a few ideas. I had enough time to sort out my schedule and prepare the logistics. I arrived at Weymouth Sailing Club at 5:30am and introduced myself to the Sky staff, set up microphones and then got straight to filming.
This film was all about sailing and team building exercises, so it took a few hours of getting used to camera work on the water water.. I had no camera gimbal, Cineflex or drone kit with me, but I somehow managed to make the shots look smooth. Team Sky said they were very happy with filming and were looking at re-using me. Unfortunately as bad timing would have it, the person in charge of video acquisition left Team Sky and a replacement came in with their own video team.
Camp Heart Break
It turns out that the Wiggle Honda team manager was in the process of setting up a new team call the High5 Dream Team. To select this team, High5 ran a camp in Australia for the best cyclists to attend.
I got a phone call asking if I wanted to fly out to Oz to film this world renowned selection program. After a bit of negotiating on price I was on a plane within 2 weeks and headed to the Australian Institute of Sport. Here is a trailer to round-up the documentary.
I used this selection camp to test the Fly6 cameras as up until this camp I had been using GoPro cameras for the on-bike footage. Unfortunately the Fly6 is designed as a safety camera and although I was impressed at how lightweight and easy to attach they were, the quality just wasn't there. I reverted back to using my GoPro's for all the in-action shots.
The project was a huge success, 'Camp Heart Break' 2015 was given to Fox Sports and over one million people watched the documentary. Here is a catch-up version I found on Youtube.
I didn't want to put my cycling experience to waste and I got talking with a company called FastTrack Content. As it turns out one of their biggest clients was Team3M, another mens Pro Cycling Team. I was sent to Ireland and captured one day of their team at the An Post Ras stage race. I then flew back to the UK, did the editing and had it all wrapped up in a few days.
It was after making this film, I took a break from cycling for one year and focused on different work. It was time to try out other areas of filming.
As of June 2016, I have been asked to freelance for Wiggle High5 for their bigger cycling events in the UK.