When first approached about photographing and filming this event, I jumped at the chance to be involved. It sounded like a great project to be involved with, a lot of fun while presenting plenty of challenges to overcome. A 24 hour cycling event riding from Newcastle Upon Tyne to Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, nearly 400 miles (643km) with approximately 6000 metres of ascent, and to make things even harder a lot of this ascent comes in the final third of the ride. Rather them than me!
The six riders had a number of charities that they were keen to support and this seemed a fantastic way to collect some money for these great causes.
Shooting an event like this takes careful planning and attention to detail, as I’m sure the riders wouldn’t have thanked me for asking them to repeat a section of the route because a shot was missed. It had to be right first time or not at all, and that was not an option after all the training and effort that had been put in. The guys and their support team did a terrific job in planning out the route, stops and timings, so we were able to plan the filming around this. Prime roadside locations were identified in advance, so we were able to get sufficiently ahead of the riders to set up in time to capture them speeding by.
The most important thing for me was to capture the atmosphere and changing emotions, and for the film to portray the journey from start to finish. Although technically challenging the night time footage was key in getting across the camaraderie of the team, as well as the hardships suffered in the early hours when temperatures dropped and the heavens opened. Castle Eilean Donan is always beautiful, but arriving there as day dawned was an extra special experience.
A lot of the filming was done from the car boot where I was harnessed to the framework, with everything I needed clamped, tied or strung up around me. All equipment had to be secured, even lens filters. I found that attaching Velcro to filter cases and sticking them to the roof of the car worked well, the same with Power Banks. Of course, any 24 hour event cannot take place without plenty of cans of high energy drink. We were lucky, we nearly had 2 hours of sleep in the front seat of the car….the riders had none!
Gear wise, the DJI Osmo held up well for a lot of the action footage. Attaching the extension arm gave some great perspectives of the riders, who a lot of the time were traveling at a fair pace. Roadside and night shots were handled by a Sony A7r mkii with the Loxia 21mm f/2.8. For stills I used a combination of the Sony A7r mkii & a Sony A6300 with a Batis 85mm f/1.8 and Sony’s 70-200 f/4. All handled well, even when the roads turned nasty with sizeable potholes to contend with.
Overall, this was a fantastic project to work on, a great bunch of lads and a lot of fun….. well, apart from the midges! They were horrific and the worst I’ve seen them in a long while, but not enough to spoil what was a terrific event and one which everyone involved should be very proud of.
If you’re organising an event and would like a video or photography of the occasion, get in touch. We will be more than happy to talk through your plans and offer suggestions on how we could capture it for you.