February 29, 2016
Adventure Cycling Association and The Path Less Pedaled partnered this winter to make a short video about the upcoming 40th anniversary events in 2016. We recently had the opportunity to talk to Laura Crawford and Russ Roca of The Path Less Pedaled about their process for making the video and their excitement about being part of the Montana Bicycle Celebration on July 15–17.
Can you explain your process for creating this short video about Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary?
We knew we wanted to pay homage to Adventure Cycling’s great history, but also very quickly move forward and talk about the exciting events for the 40th. So it was a real balancing act of giving the viewer the flavor of what touring was like in ’76 with the awesome source footage, then really quickly conveying information about the events around the 40th celebration. Process-wise, we had to gather all the historical assets we could get our hands on to see what was available and sift through them for great representative images. From there, we had to write a script (toughest part), find some music (also tough!), and slowly piece it all together.
You did a great job of explaining the history of Bikecentennial and conveying the energy of the 40th anniversary events in less than two minutes. How do go about selecting music and the tone of the narrator? What’s your process for editing the video down to a manageable length?
Music is a huge component of telling a story and we knew we wanted something that sounded like a 70s garage band that felt a little raw and upbeat to mix well with the vintage footage. In our heads, we were thinking of VH-1s “Behind the Music Series” as the sort of tone, so we wrote the first part of that script with that voice in mind. The other challenge was finding music for where we talk about the present and future events. The song had to feel similar, but sound modern. So still rock, but not as grungy sounding.
While the video was coming together, we probably watched it a few hundred times, lengthening some shots and shortening others until the timing felt just right. We’re so use to watching short video content, that everything in the video had to be purposeful and move the video along. If it was extraneous or distracting, it got the axe!
You received some original footage of Bikecentennial when you were close to finishing the project. You ended up replacing some of what you had previously created with the original footage. Is it hard to scrap a section of the video that you worked hard to create?
One of the first hard lessons we learned making videos is to “kill your babies” (metaphorically of course). Individual sequences or shots often have to be sacrificed if they don’t serve the larger story or if, in this case, there is better material. We spent a few hours painstakingly masking photos, putting them in 3D space, and animating them. The original motion graphics intro was good, but when we saw the newly surfaced source footage, we knew we HAD to use it. So we basically scrapped all the animation work and watched through digitized 8mm tape of someone’s home-video footage from Bikecentennial. It was a little tough scrapping the animation, but in the end, it was the better choice since that new footage gives a unique glimpse into bike touring at that time.
Adventure Cycling is looking forward to having you both as guests at the Montana Bicycle Celebration. How do you feel about being part of the celebration?
We’re excited. We’ve been big fans of Adventure Cycling for a long time and even stopped once when we did a portion of the TransAmerica Trail. We’re really looking forward to meeting and chatting with people that did the original Bikecentennial, as well as all the people who have recently discovered bike touring as well!
Story & photos courtesy of The Path Less Pedaled.
Join Adventure Cycling Association for the biggest bicycle travel celebration since Bikecentennial 76 — the largest cross-country tour in history. We’re commemorating 40 years of bike travel with special events including bike overnights throughout North America (National Bike Travel Weekend, June 3–5), rides in national and state parks (Bike Your Park Day, September 24), special tours, reunions, and an extraordinary weekend celebration at our headquarters in Missoula, Montana (Montana Bicycle Celebration, July 15–17). Forty years is just the beginning. Thank you to the 40th anniversary sponsors: Raleigh Bicycles, Montana Department of Commerce, Salsa Cycles, Advocate Cycles, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Visit Mississippi, Visit Idaho, Travel Oregon, Osprey Packs, Experience Plus!, Destination Missoula and Missoulian.