Behind the Scenes: Riding The Old West Scenic Bikeway
We’ve been quiet on the site, but have been busy behind the scenes. True to our mission to promote bicycle travel to a larger audience, one of the projects we’ve been quietly working on has been with Travel Oregon to help photograph, film and promote their new Scenic Bikeway Program. Everyone knows Portland is the hot Mecca of cycling in US right now, but few people know that some of the best riding in Oregon (in our opinion) is across the mountains on the Eastern part of the state. We were sent out in early summer to write, film and photograph our experience there and we’re finally glad to say it’s all live and public! Check out our article for TravelOregon and watch the video we’ve been fine tuning for months below. The Old West Scenic Bikeway completely took us by surprise. In the five days of travel the landscape varied so much you were always wondering what the next corner would bring.
The Making of the Video
For those that are curious about some of the behind the scenes details, I carried 3 cameras in total (2 video, 1 still), a tripod, video slider, a bevy of lenses, laptop and other filming and still photography equipment in addition to our regular touring load. Somehow, it all managed to fit in two rear panniers, a Carradice saddle bag and a handlebar bag. We were originally just going out to write and photograph the bikeway but the idea to film it came at the 11th hour, so that meant some liberal use of Amazon Prime and expedited shipping. Some of the gear, didn’t arrive until the first day of riding and shooting. I had to overnight some gear to Laura’s brother in Bend (the other rider in the video) who then met up with us in John Day. While he unloaded his gear and bike, I ripped open packages and figured out how to use everything in about forty minutes before it was showtime : ). Perhaps the biggest bane but also greatest asset was the video slider. It didn’t come with a bag so I literally trucked it around for 5 days in its original packaging to protect it. This made for slow setup and deployment so I had to be really judicious about using it, since we were riding some tough miles and didn’t want to get us over tired. By the end of the trip, the box that the slider in was more or less destroyed. Duct tape was holding one end closed. About 5 miles from the end of the ride I hit a bump and heard a big kerchunk as the slider managed to fly out of one end of the box and on to the road.
Something else I was experimenting with was neutral density filters to give me narrow depth of field for portraits and details in bright light. Downside is a decent ND filter costs about $40 to $50 and my lenses are all varying diameters. The solution was to buy them in the largest lens size and get a handful of step down filters. This made for a lot of unscrewing and rescrewing step up and step down filters. Not the most elegant solution, but the most cost-effective solution.
And of course, there is all the post processing. I was already fairly adept at FCPX having used it on our previous Kiwi Chronicles series, but relatively new to motion graphics. So this meant hours of watching tutorials and hours of fiddling with After Effects for about 15 seconds of video. The biggest challenge was how to convey the concept of Oregon being bike friendly, and the scenic bikeways spatially while having it all flow together in visually coherent way. It made sense to use the bike silhouette inside the state of Oregon since it also neatly mimicked the actual scenic bikeway signage. What I’m learning is that video production is all problem solving. How to communicate a clear message in a compelling way. With still photography it is relatively easier because you are working solely in a one dimension and your major tools are composition and color. With video, it is infinitely more complex. There is composition and color but also time and audio! It is like the difference between 2D Tetris and 3D Tetris : )
All this to say that although the video was only 2 minutes, there was a lot of time, effort, false starts, re-recording that went behind it all to make it appear seamless and effortless.
Read our itinerary of the trip, watch the video and enjoy. We hope it gets you fired up to explore the Old West Scenic Bikeway (and the other 8 Bikeways Oregon has announced)!
(Keep our adventures going and the site growing! If you’ve enjoyed our stories, videos and photos over the years, consider buying our ebook Panniers and Peanut Butter, or our new Brompton Touring Book, or some of the fun bike-themed t-shirts we’re designing, or buying your gear through our Amazon store.)