Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Making of 'Mighty Chicken: A Tribute'

Almost 3 years ago Scott P., George L., myself and the Tilton School MTB team embarked on the beginnings of a trail project.  A natural ravine at Franklin Falls was begging for more than just the trail shooting down the middle.  Chicken Ravine needed an upgrade...

Our crew spent the morning roughing in what would become Mighty Chicken.  It doesn't quite exist in the same form today as it did that day but its close.  We have probably gone through a few minor tweaks and two more major revisions.  Additional bench cutting, increasing the radius of a few of the turns for better flow and adding a new section on the end for a bit extra tech/excitement.  I am pretty proud of what it has become.  Franklin Falls has been attracting a lot of riders from all over New England lately and usually when bumping into riders in the parking lot they'll be asking how to get to Mighty Chicken.

The word is getting out and I felt it needed some proper documentation and some time in the Internet 'spotlight'.  Plus I've wanted to try making a more planned out edit with the goPro for awhile but have just never had the time.  I got a weird morning time window before an afternoon b-day party yesterday that wasn't long enough for any projects around the house but just about long enough to get an edit filmed.  Or at least I hoped...luckily I was right.

I had a song in mind, and some ideas for shots I wanted in my head but no real concrete plan of attack.  When I got on the scene I started walking the ravine trying to get everything straight in my head about how I wanted to go about this.  Turns out keeping all this stuff straight is actually kind of hard.  No wonder movies need like 500 people on set to spread the work around.  I thought far enough ahead to bring a little notebook so I started drawing rough layouts with notes on where I wanted to get certain shots and then recording which video was which shot so editing would go quicker.

Each turn was numbered and I set up and got shots linearly as I went from top to bottom.  It actually ended up being a pretty good workout because certain shots if I didn't really like the way I rode a section I would stop, dismount and run back up and ride it again trying to go as fast as possible to try and save on parsing and editing time later.

 CUT! ok lets do that again. PLACES EVERYONE! PLACES!

Some of the shots I wanted required some MacGyver'ing.  That's right up my alley so it was no issue.  One bungee cord just about handled any tricky shots I needed.  I used the goPro tripod mount exclusively and was only getting third person shots, nothing on the bike.  Camera was either on the ground on in the trees.


Hey Dad does that tri-pod look familiar?  I believe you rocked that in the 70's with your Nikon.  I think its return on investment is doing fairly well.  Trying to get things lined up was tricky at times.  It is interesting trying to shoot a 'creative edit' without being able to look at anything you are getting until you get home.  I goofed twice getting my finger in my first shot of the trail sign (didn't make the final vid, obviously) and getting the bungee cord in another shot.  That one did make the vid because it was kind of crucial to connect the big sweeping turn 7 into the bottom half of the trail.  Oh well.  Considering I couldn't see any of the shots I was getting and I was rushing some of the setups due to our awesome second surge of mosquitoes thanks to Irene I thought it came out really well.

I got some weird condensation/hazyness in a few of the shots, not really sure why.  The temps were swinging pretty strong.  It was probably 40 when I got started and almost 60 by the time I was done.  Not sure if that was it or not.  Kinda bummed because a few of the shots are lower quality because of it but it does add a weird kind of surreal effect that sort of works I guess.

I'm going to call this a success though.  Decided I was gonna try it Friday morning and I'm posting a finished product Sunday morning that I'm pretty proud of.  Not half bad.  Enjoy.  I'll embed it here but I think its better to watch it at Vimeo with more resolution...just sayin'.

Mighty Chicken: A Tribute from Kevin Orlowski on Vimeo.


  1. holy crap dude...thats alot of actually did a shot by shot analysis/blocking cue sheet?!!? lol...totally out of control...i love it....keep crushing it

  2. Ah so that is what that is called. Sounds way better than "I took some notes"

  3. Wow, Kev, really nice video. Lots of work, but some of the shots were well thought out. Perhaps, Go Pro should sponsor you?

  4. Yea man, this rules. Imagine if you got sponsored!?

    It's funny, cuz honestly, I was thinking of doing something like this that night I rode it twice and you helped me out of the woods via phone. I'm glad that although you somehow stole the idea I hadn't yet formed right out of my brain, my getting lost inspired you. This came out fantastically. I kind of want some handlebar shots, but whatevs, there are so many angles that are so great, you don't need them. I particularly like the one looking down.

    And from a fellow editor, I gotta say, you did an incredible job of editing this smoothly so it looks like 1 continuous ride. You're good. Maybe we should team up on something sometime.

  5. we definitely need to collaborate. I'm thinking a full on documentation of Thanxmas this year. Complete with 'confessional' room interviews. Thoughts?

  6. just now seeing this convo. this sounds hilarious/retarded

  7. *comment

    this won't work though, cuz we'll both be destroyed. oh wait that could make it more funny

  8. PS, the word I just had to type to prove I was human was CRUBJUGG