I’m a very visual person – photos, video, audio – I love it all. What’s interesting about documentaries is you have the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes. They make you feel and understand things in a new perspective, through their creative vision. Someone posted this video on Facebook (social media, woot!) and I found it fascinating, not just because the freestyle biker has amazing tricks, but because of the angle they shot the video. Even though it’s long, it’s worth the time.
One really interesting part of this documentary is the fact that there is only one line of speech. In the beginning, the bicyclist, Danny MacAskill, describes the goal of the video – to follow his journey from Edinburgh to Skye. After the one line, the music picks up and the rest of the video is shot with continuous audio. Conversation would have been distracting from the documentary and the lack there of makes the viewer focus more on Danny’s tricks. Same with the indie-rock music, it is exciting and upbeat without taking away from the video. In many scenes the music is pushed to the background so the viewers can hear the squeak of the bike’s suspension and the whirl of the its wheels.
What captures people, even those not interested in bike tricks, is the scenery. The environment is a massive aspect to this video. In almost every scene the camera is shooting wide to show more or the sunset sky or mossy Scotland countryside. There are very few scenes with people, cars or modern civilization. Instead, the cinematography mixes an exciting freestyle sport with a romantic, old world setting. This way of filming spotlights the novelty of the subject because the bike is constantly fluid and in motion while the backdrop is natural and stagnant.
Through editing techniques such as time lapse, fish eye, slow motion, multiple angles and short shots, the documentary captures his journey in a very creative fashion. The combination of effects also gives the documentary more depth and intrigue. For instance, at 2:34 they use time lapse to show a piece of driftwood sticking out of high tide then the shot melds into low tide at sunset with Danny doing a flip off it. But that’s not all, they also replay the same shot in slow motion to emphasize the trick. Sometimes, like at 1:48, they shoot the same trick from two or three different angles to provide a mix of views and prevent the same shot every time.
Overall the video is very well done and with 17,270,467 views, how could it not be?