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One of the greatest challenges in cinematography is avoiding the repetition of the same ideas. It’s easy to fall into the habit of regurgitating what works to create a video, out of necessity to complete a project quickly. When Dillon and I first conceived the concept of “Shadows in the Understory,” it was daunting. We knew we had no time limit with a concept fueled by passion, but how do we seamlessly transition between seasons mid-ride in almost every shot? I wanted to do this in a way that was both challenging, feasible and difficult to reproduce. Naturally, the answer was to film almost the entire video using a Cable Cam, ensuring smooth transitions between seasons. Tripod and handheld filming would have been too simple and lacked the dynamic movement we envisioned.

Initially, I had serious doubts about whether this idea would work. I wondered how it would be possible to have the camera in the exact same spot, moving at the same speed, while Dillon’s riding remained consistent and repeatable in each season. I knew achieving this was going to be extremely difficult and time consuming. We both had a hefty job to do. The transition ideas and calculations needed to be correct in the spring, given any variation in the cable lines would result in not being able to line shots up come fall time. There were countless factors to consider. So, we devised a plan, thinking through each shot thoroughly, and set out with a tape measure and all the necessary gear.

We both knew that the only place where this could be accomplished was at our local jump spot, Spooks. The layout at Spooks is compact, allowing for similar riding speeds in each season. Most importantly, we believed we could “probably” pull this off even in the snow. Dillon is a true master of this spot, he’s poetry in motion, and watching him ride there is art. If any rider at any location could achieve this, it’s Dillon at Spooks.

The logistics of this project was nothing short of a headache. We essentially had to film the entire video over 20 times, considering the number of takes it would require to line up transition seamlessly. Fast forward to today: after 20 days of filming and being blessed with 2 days of snow all winter, we managed to create something we are both thrilled to share with the world.
I can’t thank Dillon enough for his determination and perseverance. He is truly a filmmaker’s dream and, more importantly, one of my favorite people to spend time with. While I’d like to say this video is about our creative idea, it is really about Dillon’s ability to be consistently stylish and fluid every single day he gets on the bike. AND, how beautiful the world is we live in.
This is the most challenging video concept we’ve ever undertaken. We poured our heart and soul into this project, and we hope you enjoy the result as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Special thanks to Race Face for supporting this video, every human who has ever put a shovel to dirt out there, & Cole Nichol for his snow plowing arms!

Rider: Dillon Butcher

Filming and editing: Calvin Huth

Music: Ezra Bell – a serenade to Kathy
Sundae Music Publishing

Tue 9th Jul, 2024 @ 6:30 pm

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