Mountain Biking the Worlds Biggest Granite Slabs

AN ADVENTURE VIDEOGRAPHY JOURNEY

“It really opens up a blank canvas to what we can ride.”
-Darren Berrecloth (Professional Mountain Biker)

Flying drones, camping, stunningly beautiful mountains, and some badass bikes – what do they all have in common? All part of the recipe for: “A bucket list trip.”

When Skydio asked if I was interested in being a drone pilot / supporting filmer for an upcoming mountain bike mission deep in the British Columbia mountains…

Yes!

These types of trips are the ones that “button pushers” (or video/photo creatives if you prefer) set our sights on. So when they come around, you do everything you can to make it happen.

Pack your bags, we’re going to BC!

The Granite Fringe – Full Length Movie on OutsideTV
A Freeride Mountian Bike Film featuring Darren Berrecloth and Kenny Smith.

Darren Berrecloth and Kenny Smith were not only the athletes of the trip, but also the brainchildren behind the vision. Together they conceptualized the zone, the lines, and the story of riding some of the largest granite slabs in the world.

I (Alex Hogue) was hired by Skydio to¬† support the making of Darren and Kenny’s film, The Granite Fringe (OutsideTV), as well as capture stunning footage for the launch of Skydio 2+, and any supporting assets. If you haven’t heard of Skydio, they’re making massive waves in the drone industry for their unbelievable autonomy and obstacle avoidance features. If autonomy is not your thing (but it is pretty cool to record yourself), don’t worry they have plenty of manual and cinematic features, like KeyFrame.

Photos By: Alex Hogue

“Trips like this, with a good group of buds…it just fills your soul.”

After a handful of COVID-19 popsicle sticks up my nose, various documentation and some long lines; I made it from Bend, OR to BC, Canada. Packing was snug and batteries were heavy – but I arrived with everything I needed to camp, charge, fly drones, and capture some personal photos from the trip.

I met with Darren when I arrived, and the following morning we set out with Kenny, Allan (the photographer), and Calvin (Videographer for The Granite Fringe). Allan and Calvin are incredible at their talents – go check out their work too. Together the five of us set out into grizzly bear country to setup camp, hike rocks, ride bikes, and push buttons.

I brought along two drones (Darren had a 3rd) as well as about 16 batteries. At times we had 3 drones in the air simultaneously. And yes, they do have obstacle avoidance, but not for moving obstacles – so caution still advised.

Kenny Smith and Darren Berrecloth
Photo By: Alex Hogue

At the end of our production, all three drones made it back without any crashes.

The biggest challenge was maintaining connection through canyons of solid rock – a problem for any device that relies on a GPS or WiFi signal. This was mitigated by high-angles, and hiking to optimal filming locations.

We spent three days filming, and felt we had gathered all the content we needed. So our fourth day of filming turned into our travel home date. However, Mother Nature had other plans.

On Day 3 I wen’t to bed in my tent to the sound of raindrops against the synthetic material. I woke up on Day 4 to puddles around the base of my tent and a relentless downpour that continued all day long. We had to wait out the storm. I’ve camped in the rain before, but I don’t think it stopped all day long – and it was heavy rain! Yet it was also increadibly peaceful. To be remote, in such a beautiful place, surrounded by all that nature has to offer – it gives a lot of time to reflect. Trips like this, they’re not just for work, not for filming some movie – they are life. With the filming and hard part wrapped up, we waited out the storm and went home the following day.

But not without making some incredible memories along the way.

Written by Alex Hogue

Behind the Scenes:

Interview and Exclusive Content

  • Skydio Blog: Filming and Editing with Alex Hogue
    Alex has become so much of a Skydio expert through his projects with Skydio and his personal use, he’s now a regular member of the Skydio production team, thanks to his outstanding post-production and filmmaking chops. In fact, he recently filmed and edited our latest Skydio 2+ In Its Element episode entirely solo.

Post Production Workflow

Join adventure video producer Alex Hogue on Adobe Live as he takes you through a real-world client project from start to finish.