Sunday, 18 January 2015

Recreating the Tour de France In Yorkshire

We were invited to pitch ideas for a film which would promote cycling within the Yorkshire Dales National Park ahead of the Tour de France. The purpose being to encourage visitors, especially families, to explore the park and stay a little longer, and therefore not just the cycle racing audience who would be attracted to visit anyway. The film was to be central to the National Park’s new Cycling In The Dales micro-site, and support the UK-wide promotion of cycling in National Parks.

The Pitch

Fridge has filmed cycling since 1998, but a lot of cycling videos are often super cool, and have become highly generic and derivative. We wanted to cleverly interweave geographic features with well know local cultural elements into the visuals that would widen the appeal from just racing enthusiasts, and include recreational cyclists and families.
We proposed to film a bunch of sportif cyclists out on a typical ride along the proposed Tour route, and feature life and activities that are familiar to visitor to the Dales. We were also fortunate to recruit Lizzy Windzer, Team GB Triathlete to participate, along with a young family of cyclists who would provide our final scene and finale.

To be filmed in a cinematic style, our pitch was a compelling one and we were selected after a two tier pitch of more than a half a dozen other companies.

The Concept

We had to work within the highly protected ASO (Tour de France owners) brand guidelines and not infringe their current marketing restrictions. However, securing the talents of ITV Cycling commentator Phil Liggett provided us with a recognisable Tour ‘soundtrack’ and a link between the world of cycle racing and the familiar Yorkshire Dales backdrop and culture, by ‘wrapping them’ in Phil’s phrases which have become familiar to racing fans world-wide.

The Shoot

To maintain continuity of weather, and keep a high value shoot within budget our film had to be shot in one day. The logistics of maintaining a rolling production over 70 miles involved 4 production vehicles, a motorcycle camera crew, an aerial filming crew and 5 racing cyclists. We also had to consider the take-off and landing of the remote aerial filming drone (UAV) and the legalities that it presented.

Photos: Ravage Productions & Paul Harris

Our production crew included our regular cinematographer who has filmed promos for the Daks and Vertu brands, and aerial filming specialists VuAir. We were also keen to involve as many local people as possible, so our cyclists were recruited from cycle clubs in nearby Richmond and Skipton. With a shepherd and his sheepdogs as part of the supporting cast and ‘extras’.

This was filmed on a Red Epic digital cinema camera recording in 5K Ultra HD, and completed with Phil Liggett’s 'commentary', a bespoke music soundtrack and a flock of individually rotoscoped "spectating" sheep on the main climb of the Tour de France race stage, Buttertubs Pass.

Since its launch the result has been viewed online by over 13,500 people from around the world.

Client Comments:

“Fridge Productions came up with a great concept. Using the legendary Phil Liggett to provide a fun commentary, the film shows what a great day’s cycling can be had in our stunning scenery, meeting the locals along the way. The video achieved every objective in the brief.

It has been an excellent experience working with Fridge Productions. The team understood exactly what we wanted to achieve and went to great lengths to deliver a great piece of film.
The result integrated well within the client's newly launched Cycling in the Dales website in the build-up to the Tour's Grand Depart, but with a long-term shelf life that would provide us with a greater ROI than a purely specific video relating to the 2014 Tour.“

David Jinks
Fridge Productions Limited
Tel: 0845 604 3582

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