The Tatra is a combination of love for the mountains, culture and the mountain biking.
While filming, we really spent a lot of time there, and the mountains in Slovakia are spectacular. Initial estimates were slightly different, but when shooting outside, inmost cases, it is not easy to prepare a time schedule. Man often does not consider the fact that with every step an unforeseen situations might occur. During the shooting we had a lot of fun and enjoyed nature at full blast. On the other side, we have spent endless hours planning, checking of weather conditions, organizing people and preparing the necessary things and individual ascents.
Although, our mountains are beautiful, the spots for freeride mtb aswe know it (dirt that is solid and firm and when a rider goes through it, dust stirs up as a powder snow in the winter), we did not find in Slovakia. However, since film is often a fiction, one of the first shootings took place in Switzerland. We found the spot quite by chance on the way back from Tuscany last summer. Our plan was to visit Livigno where the event Nine Knights is held annually. We decided to drive through Switzerland and we could do no better. It was evening already and we needed to find a campsite.
Closely from the boarder we spotted a hill that looked suitably for what we needed. We agreed to come back if we do not find anything better. The next morning we went to take a look on the surrounding hills. One seemed suitable. It was long and wide enough, even dirt looked pretty good. It had only one problem. One could reach the hill only on the boat and the end of the finish line was in the lake. So we thought that maybe in the distant future we will return to that one. In the afternoon we went to have a look at the slopestyle line which was ridden during the Nine Knights’event and while it was still a daylight we returned to the above-mention spot in Switzerland. We are not usually lucky with the weather…It started to rain.Fortunately, we managed to do at least a couple of shots.
We ended up completely wet, loaded all the stuff in our car, got ourselves something to eat and rounded off the evening in the parking lot near the Nine Knights’ venue (2000 meters above sea level). This time we slept in sleeping bags in the car. About a month later, Red Point crew set out on a four day filming trip to Switzerland. 4 guys, 4 days in the multivan…
No comment needed. Picture says it all.
I did not ask any details of the trip. What I know is that all four of them slept in the car under the hill, cooked the meal on a portable stove and answered the calls of nature where human eye could not see. Anyway, supposedly I would not make it with them there:). And of course they were filming. Although, the conditions for shooting were rather unfavourable than favourable…After all, judge by yourselves.
The rest of the Tatra video was shot in Slovakia. We have completed several expeditions. Sometimes there were many of us, sometimes only a few. We were setting out in the morning, afternoon, evening and also at night. Oftentimes we were close to the edge, other times we just came back tired
One specific ascent should be mentioned. It has happened right after we came back from the previous one. Oftentimes we did not realize how a body can get exhausted when hiking. When one adds to this lack of sleep and food, backpack full of equipment, water and clothing, it can lead to complete exhaustion. The body breaks out in a cold sweat and has chills. No worries, it turned out well. In situations like this, we are prepared. Even though, not all ascents run smoothly that view one gets up in the mountains is indescribable and priceless.
Imagine that you wake up with fine dew on your face and actually all around you. You open your eyes, look ahead and in the distance, gradually with the rising sun, the massive peaks of the mountains are revealed. Changing its colour from purple, pink, orange to yellow. View upwards offers endless hills shrouded and exposed by the overflowing clouds. Look down, on life in the valley, forces you to realize how tiny we humans are.
Naturally, it is not always as epic, especially when filming. One day, shooting took place at night and not all of the crew members made it through the whole night. However, those who managed to stay up all night long witnessed spectacular night.
When filming, the morning also does not look the exact way as described above. The reason is very simple. When the golden hour begins, everything and everybody have to be ready and in the right place.
Warm-up, preparation, practise, testing shots, corrective shots, shots from afar, still images, follow shots, details…All of this has to be done. After shooting, the crew chills out for a bit and then packs up the stuff. It uses the last energy to descent down to the valley and to watch the recorded footage as soon as possible.
Only then, we realize that somebody from the crew is in the shot, on the other one, the clip is not sharp, elsewhere the light is not good enough and the riding part could be better…We have to go there again.
Never mind, at least now we know from the beginning that the ascent will not take an hour and a half, but four.
Photography: Marek Ģvancara | Zuzana Triebuģníková | Jakub Vojtek | Juraj Lovás | Jakub Majerčiak