Inside the Mind of Bryn Atkinson for “Find Focus”

Last week, Norco dropped a mind-bending edit of what it’s like to get inside the head of world-class enduro rider Bryn Atkinson. Shortly after, we got to sit down and chat with him about some of the shots, what it as like narrating his own thoughts, and more. Check out the video below and see what Bryn had to say for himself.—ML

 

Mountain Life: Where did the concept come from?

Byran Atkinson: Scott Secco (Director/cinematographer) reached out to me a few years ago with the idea. It was a bit of a pipe dream to be honest, big-budget per say. But when I was given the opportunity to produce a launch video for the 2020 Optic, naturally, I brought Secco in to bring his concept to life. The intention was to create a mountain bike version of the Sherlock Holmes boxing scene, where time stops and you are drawn into Robert Downey Jr’s thought’s during intense moments of focus, bringing clarity to the viewer.

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These shots look insanely precise—how many takes for each shot? Or was it a one time go?

Hoping I don’t come across as arrogant here, but I’m a one-shot kind of guy. Generally the best shots for me are the first. Just because I like to come in flat out and surprise myself a little.. I find you tend to react pretty naturally and something “cool looking” usually happens. Plus nothing is forced, you’re not trying to replicate something you already did. But because we were shooting at 1000fps, all the shots are at a wide-open aperture to let more light in the camera, which in turn narrows the depth of field. So some of the shots I had to do a few times because the focus has to be manually pulled at the speed of which I’m coming at the camera, it’s tech stuff. This makes it tough when you nail something but it’s slightly out of focus. But it kinda goes both ways, sometimes the cine’s nail focus and I screw up, so it’s a balance.

“Hoping I don’t come across as arrogant here, but I’m a one-shot kind of guy”

Favourite shot in the video?

The big right-hand drift shot is what locked up the video for me (“counter steer, find pedal, don’t touch the brakes”). When I first scouted the trail, as soon as I saw the turn I knew that’d be a key moment, it was just a really nice looking turn, but also pretty difficult as there wasn’t any support at the end of the arc, so I wasn’t entirely 100% I could pull a nice arc on the thing. It’s for that reason and the fact that I didn’t want to get “stuck” on something early the shoot, that we saved it for the second to last day.

 

Nailing the shot ain’t easy. The crew (loyfully) deliberates. Photo: Tom Richards

First time narrating something/writing a script? What was that like?

Yeah, first time doing any sort of narration and writing a script for that matter. I was really nervous as I knew that well-written narration could add something to the video, but on the other hand, a poorly written/ cheesy script could ruin it.. I broke it all down to keywords I wanted to use, then started to play with that. Judging by the feedback so far, I guess it turned out alright. Phew!—ML

 

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