Sports cinematographer John Colthorpe has created a new, action-packed mountain biking video, Woodhill Rush, which is designed to emulate the fast-motion feel of a videogame. The cinematographer made use of Miller’s Air Alloy tripod system, which allowed him to set-up quickly in order to capture every motor maneuver.

“I am constantly in run-and-gun mode when shooting videos like these, so I need to be working with portable, lightweight equipment that never holds me back,” Colthorpe says, he decided to go with the air alloy tripod because, “I can strap it to my back along with my backpack, which is usually full of another 15 kilograms of camera equipment, and ride down the mountain bike trails without hindrance. I’ve even ridden down Rainbow Mountain MTB trail with the Air tripod on my back without a problem, and that’s one of the most technical and steep trails in all of New Zealand!”

Mountain Biker Tom Fox in 'Woodhill Rush'. (image: Cameron Mackenzie)

Mountain Biker Tom Fox in ‘Woodhill Rush’. (image: Cameron Mackenzie)

In a case of art-imitating-art, Colthorpe attempted to emulate high-end videogame graphics, by shooting certain mountain biking elements in high-speed to allow for motion tracking and graphics. He used point-of-view footage and a “heads-up” display to add a level of depth to the video.

The cinematographer essentially operated as a one-man crew on the shoot and was constantly at the mercy of the elements.

John Colthorpe Shooting with Miller. (image: Cameron Mackenzie).

John Colthorpe Shooting with Miller. (image: Cameron Mackenzie).

“Every day, we were moving fast from trail to trail,” he adds. “Speed was so important, because I had to be ready to deal with unforeseeable lighting conditions, as I often didn’t have a chance to survey the location in which I would be working until the day of the shoot.’

This meant set-up had to be done quickly without a lot of unnecessary gear or fumbling about with rigs. Which is why Colthorpe chose the tripod system from Miller due to the fact he could quickly pull it apart and set it in place, “I simply unclipped and spread the legs, slid the camera into place, and I was ready to go in under 20 seconds. My tripod has been in mud, sand, snow, and it has stood strong through it all for more than six months now, showing no signs of weakness.”

Woodhill Rush was recently published on, the world’s largest mountain biking website. Next, the cinematographer plans to shoot The Hunters Club for a Sky TV series, which will take him to the deepest and roughest New Zealand mountain terrains.

If you want to know a little more about the Air Tripod system, then check our piece on it here, or alternatively you can visit Miller’s website directly here.
For more info on John Colthorpe’s work, check his vimeo:

Watch a scene from the film below.


Excerpts from Press Release
Image credits: Cameron Mackenzie

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