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Dillon Butcher flies under the radar. He’s quiet, humble and hardworking. But speaking of Dillon and flying, there are few who do it with more style. In the Beta Original film above, Dillon brings his delicate touch to the bicycle playground that is Vancouver Island; floating through the new Jordie Lunn Bike Park and down the trails around Nanaimo.
Read on for more on the project via some words by and a Q&A with director Max McCulloch.
Words by Max McCulloch: Originally the concept of the video was to showcase Dillon’s riding with very few cuts, shot primarily with a cable cam. I really didn’t want to mask the riding with any crazy cuts or edits. His riding is so good that it would be a disservice to take any attention away from it. It sounds a little corny, but I was really hoping to create an immersive experience for the viewer where all of the focus was on Dillon.
It definitely didn’t fully turn out the way I had imagined. Not to say I’m not happy with it, but we didn’t get all of the long, continuous shots I was hoping for. It was our first time filming with a proper cable cam set up and it’s quite a complicated process. It takes a ton of time to get everything set up, and then the stress of having such expensive gear flying through the air is a little unsettling. That being said, the ability to work with a cable cam was a dream come true, it makes for some pretty unbelievable shots. That feeling when everything lines up in a continuous shot is hard to beat.
There were some challenging days. With Dillon working, and production assistant Liam Morgan and I finishing our university degrees, we had to rush a few days to accommodate all of the different schedules. There were a few long days that in hindsight probably weren’t the best idea. One of the big step down shots was done at 8 p.m., after continuous shooting since 7:30 a.m. Dillon is a trouper.
In terms of the final product, I still have a long ways to go as a filmmaker and I normally have mixed feelings about what I’ve made by the end of any project. I always look back and think of all of the things that I could have done differently. That’s why I love it so much, there’s so much to learn and always something new to push toward.
Beta: How would you describe Dillon Butcher, and his riding?
Max: Dillon is one of the most underrated riders out there. It’s frustrating–he just makes things look way too easy! On top of that, he’s one of the nicest guys around. Super humble and a great ambassador for the sport. During the shoot, Liam and I would suggest some random trick or line we wouldn’t think was possible…and then Dillon would just go do it. It was almost comical. He’s just that good!
B: How would you describe your style as a filmmaker? Any major influences?
M: Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve fallen into any style yet, it’s a little all over the place. I have a ton to work on. That being said, I’m fortunate to have so many people to look up to, especially right here in B.C. It seems to be hotspot for filmmakers. Some major influences are Aaron Larocque, Nic Genovese, Scott Secco, Liam Mullany, Harrison Mendel, Rob Parkin, Pelle Gustavs, Liam Morgan, Calvin Huth, and Rupert Walker, just to name a few. There are many more I’ve probably missed. Outside of the mountain bike world, I’m a big fan of the commercial work of Ian Pons Jewell, Los Perez, and Filip Nilsson. I’d love to do stuff like that one day.
B: Any shots that you’re most proud of?
M: I was quite stoked on the cable cam shot mid-video at Mount Benson. It was the longest shot (distance wise) and was what I was really hoping for the whole edit to look like. It was a pretty precarious shot actually, the line crossed right over the trail and if timed wrong, it would come inches from Dillon’s head at about 35 km/h. It took more than a few takes and close calls.
B: Anything else to add?
M: Shoutout to the Jordie Lunn Bike Park for giving us special access. What they have at that park is incredible and will make a huge impact on the community for years to come. It was so special to be able to shoot there. #livelikejordie