Calum Darling works for Alpine Bikes, he also makes videos…
August 24 2011
Lots of videos crop up everyday but only a few stand out from the already impressive majority. We eagerly anticipate anything from MTBcut, the kings when it comes to slick and inspirational production. The Dudes of Hazard provide the good time japes, with the Barneses and friends using raw video skills proving content is just as important as filming techniques and effects. Liam Murphy, Mono, so many people with the skills to inspire us all to ride.
Calum Darling works for Alpine Bikes in Edinburgh and with a couple of great edits under his belt, we thought it was time to get some words on what makes him tick. The first video we spotted was a promo for the 2011 Five and an Alpine Bikes advert, Red versus Blue...
Who is Calum Darling?
A 22 year old bike mechanic/videographer.
Where are you from?
What do you do?
I work in the Edinburgh branch of Alpine Bikes as a mechanic.
How did you end up at Alpine Bikes?
I started working there as a way of paying myself through uni, which I finished this year. As I no longer have to read history books I have had more time to do stuff for the company.
Is filming part of the job?
Strictly speaking no, but this year things have changed a bit and I’ve been doing some more creative stuff for Alpine. It started with a little edit I did with a couple of the guys who borrowed the shop's demo Fives and sorta snowballed from there! They’ve been really supportive of my filming and having staff and bikes I can borrow to film is great!
Why do you do it?
Good question, I would be the first to admit I’m not the fastest or most mega gnar rider so I guess I always just liked to take photos of my friends that did the big/fast stuff. Being the kid with the camera sort of suited me! With the advent of DSLR filmmaking I’ve been able to just step away from photography and have got much more into the moving picture side of things. I think the best thing about making these films is knowing people will watch them and *hopefully* like them and then want to get out on their bikes.
Riding and filming, which inspires which? Does a great film inspire you to ride or get out the camera?
Ahh that depends on the film! Life Cycles and Seasons definitely inspire me to film. The part in Seasons where Steve Peat is caning it down Mont Sainte Anne and RATM (Rage Against The Machine) is playing is so beautifully shot and edited, it definitely makes me want to get some practice in with the camera. Whereas the NWD and Kranked films make me want to get out my Five and get loose. I also get a lot of inspiration from ski/board movies as they have really high production values and amazing locations. An amazing example would be the ski movie Claim, I’ve seen it so many times but it never gets old.
Is your favourite place to ride also your favourite place to film?
Glentress/Innerleithen are probably my favourite places to ride as they’re local and it’s pretty hard not to just be like 'lets go there'. Filming Forestry Commission forest isn’t my favourite place to film though! They tend to be dark, brown and uniform and that definitely makes it harder to produce something good. I’ve been meaning to do a big ‘backcountry’ epic sort of film for a while and the mountains up north are a much better place to film. I’ve already got one particular ride scoped out but it's going to be a bit of a logistical challenge!
What’s the most common thing you say to a rider?
“Can you do that again” is pretty high up there with “got the shot”.
What’s the most common thing they say to you?
Droppin' in! or Rolling! (Ed: We all want to be Thomas Vanderham)
Do you film anything else? What makes bikes such a good subject?
I do film other things but biking takes up so much of my time I never really do anything with the other stuff. Bikes make a good subject because they’re so versatile. I could go shoot trail stuff one day, road the next then at the weekend film a DH race. There’s so many different types of riding and locations that it never gets old, there’s always something new.
What camera do you use?
I use a Canon EOS 550D with a wide variety of lenses
I’ve always used Canon stuff and when the 550D was released with the same sensor and processor as the much more expensive cameras and the same video functionality I went for it. DSLRs give such a great image quality and with all the different lenses you can put on them they’re super versatile. It does have its downsides though, you can’t really zoom whilst recording and the focusing can be a bit frustrating at times.
What would be your advise for the budding bike shop videographer and can anyone do it?
Get out there and do it, if I can do it then probably anyone can. The best thing is to have riders to film who will be patient when you’re learning and the enthusiasm to hit stuff again and again if you’re not quite filming it right.
Video, the internet and the bike industry, what does the future hold?
This is where everyone says gearboxes right? Hopefully the industry will keep growing, riding will keep getting better and the videographers will be there making sure others know about it and inspiring them to ride.
What’s the next project? More of the same?
Well, I broke my collarbone before shooting my latest edit so right now I’m focussing on getting healthy but I have a lot of stuff I want to do so watch this space! Hopefully some different stuff too, I’ve got a cablecam pretty much dialled now so gotta use that soon!
So here's the latest creation from the man, enjoy...
Massive thanks to Calum, the guys at Alpine Bikes, and anyone that makes videos which inspire. We salute you all...