Solitude by Hunt

  • Duncan Yeldham
  • Will Liney

Shot over the summer of 2020, we came together to create a piece that shows just what riding means to Dom, shot in his home town spots in Sussex and supported by Hunt Bike Wheels Featuring and co-directed by Dom Knight

This was a brilliant project to be a part of, I always enjoy working with Dom and this project came at a difficult time and was very welcome. We were filming around lockdowns, the fact that this entire project was shot outdoors with a small crew made this possible. Covid procedures were followed. This project was supported by Hunt Bike Wheels.
Above photo shot by Harry Roberts
Dom had an initial concept which laid the foundation for the film. For the introduction he wanted to show a type of turmoil or dark place which would represent time spent off the bike. In contrast we would present a brighter and more positive riding section to represent the feeling that riding gives him. The concept stage gradually evolved with references from a couple of different films such as Brett Reeders ‘Beautiful Idiot’ and Red Bull Bike’s ‘AIM’ featuring Brandon Semenuk. We settled on the burned out Brighton pier to shoot the gloomy intro, we would use a flare to represent a burning light inside of him. Dom already had the locations for the riding sorted; an improved section at his local spot which we’d filmed on previously as well as a section new to me, a kicker built into a hillside overlooking Sussex. The hillside was vital for a key shot of a tuck-no-hander at sunset, the perfect shot to end on.
The budget we had for this project was just enough to cover crew and a colour grade. The colour grade was something I pushed for as so much emphasis was going to be put on the look of the film to represent mood, especially the introduction. This is something i’m very glad we budgeted for when we saw the end result. Otherwise there was no equipment budget, limiting us to what I had and could borrow.

We shot this on a Sony A7Rii with a couple clips shot on the Sony RX100Mk4. The A7Rii would suffer in low light, however as the look we were going for was quite degraded this worked in our favour. The introduction especially looked quite grizzly. For the riding sections it handled fine, only lightly struggling in the shadows in the fading light of the woods. Ideally I would have loved at least one spotlight for the woods to sharpen up a few of the shadows we had on Dom’s body, but we worked with what we had. Lens choice was limited to the following;

Pentax 50mm T1.4
Tamron 80-220 T3.8
Sigma Cine 24mm T1.4

It was a good focal range, tho the 24mm came out soft in areas. If budget allowed there’s a plethora of solid lenses out there i’d have loved to use. Thankfully the T1.4 on the 50 and 24 allowed a good amount of light in for the wooded shots. The T3.8 zoom struggled a little bit but we kept an eye on light conditions to maximise results. They worked.

I was a little apprehensive about the rolling shutter issues with some of the tracking shots we were going to capture to join up the jumps. We had discussed putting an 8mm film grain effect over some clips to add to the degraded feel of it. So I suggested filming some of the tracking shots at a slow shutter speed to increase motion blur. I shot a few sections at around 1/12 and these sections we ended up using with a super 8 filter I built in After Effects. Additionally our grader Dan put a wonderful grain over it. Because of all the motion blur it’s hard to spot any lag with the rolling shutter. As a result for the final piece it wasn’t really an issue.
The shooting schedule over ran. With all sections we had planned to film the days were very tight and it was extremely heavy hitting for Dom putting 100% in for every run. To get everything we needed we ended up having to add a few half days on.

One of my favourite parts of working with Dom is he knows exactly what he’s looking for when we’re putting his riding sections together. At what point to start a clip and what point to cut it, down to the frame, what clips to bin and what to keep. It really helps in the de-rush and this gives me an excellent framework to edit around.
We did a three stage release, firstly we released the introduction as a teaser trailer as it combined riding sections with the dramatic beach shots. Secondly we put out a cut on Pinkbike without the introduction for HUNT Bike Wheels, there was a little caution around the introduction being too dark for the brand. Then finally we released the full edit in tandem with an editorial release about the project in Shredder Magazine.

Overall i’m happy with the project. If I were to do it again i’d definitely acquire at least one light to work with. Additionally i’d shoot it on a Sony A7Siii for its incredible low light capabilities. Additionally it would have been much nicer to be able to film in a higher FPS at a higher resolution. Tho again, with the film wanting to look a bit more rugged and grimy this wasn’t such an issue.

Solitude made ‘Video of the Day’ on Pinkbike which was amazing to see and for the project to get featured in Shredder was incredible. The film received a good amount of exposure and got some great feedback.