Posted on April 29th, 2015

Extreme Sports Filmmaker Nico-T – Questions and Answers

For my university course I have been conducting a case study looking at the workflows of extreme sports filmmaker. Along with photography I have always been interested video production so found the answers I received a huge help to my work. Because of this I have decided to share the answers I received as I believe they are an interesting read for anyone looking at extreme sports filmmaking. I would like to thank Nico-T for his help on my project so please help support his work @

Does a small/large crew effect planning for bad weather?

For filming mountain biking I shoot entirely on my own, this means often lugging equipment up and down the mountains and the riders often get used to carrying tripods and jib arms down the tracks as they ride! Bad weather is something that I go with, generally I have a look at the weather forecast and for something like free-ride I tend to go with it. But when filming BMX/Park riders you can’t film if it rains so thats always something to bare in mind. As I said I work on my own for MTB productions but on other shoots (corporate, short films etc) planning is EVERYTHING and a few more crew members always helps.

To what extent do you plan shots/how much do you work on the fly?

I will generally know the major features I want to shoot, I try not to research it too much as it can manipulate how you shoot it, I like to look at something and shoot it how I want. This was hard when I went to Whistler MTB park in Canada as its been shot 1000x.

Does the planning or crew size effect how creative you can be?

Planning helps and only allows you to be more creative as you can think outside of the box but when you’re on location a lot of my framing and composition is made up on the spot, I dont abide by the 180 degree rule (fourth wall rule) and often make tracks seem longer than they actually are by shooting several tracks and putting them together.

How much of an idea about look and feel of a video do you know before the shoot?

Im not going to lie, for my film “Being Free” I entirely built the segments in post production, I went out, did a small interview about them, the tracks, why they ride etc then in editing I was able to build the story (completely oposite for to a fictional story based film) But a lot of this is documentary style so its a mistake to try and build a story before you meet/talk to the rider. However films such as “Life Cycles” clearly has a narrative and does it very well where as the famous “New World Disorder” series just shoots segments and is all about the cycling (arguably i’m more like them)

How many days does a short video take to shoot?

One to two days depending on location, lighting and weather oh and if the rider crashes hard.

How much time do you spend on planning and logistics?

Not long, I phone the rider agree a date and location and let them show me what they think will look good/I throw ideas out there on set.

How long does a short video take from getting a brief to finished product?

Could be a day, could be several depends on the project.

Do you see smaller/larger production teams as a threat with the changes in DSLR technology?

I can undercut bigger companies by producing high(ish) quality with my DSLR (most clients cant tell the difference and love the quality.) Its definitely a threat as the industry is becoming more saturated.

And if possible anything else you think is important for my question?

Workflow: Shoot, Store, Edit, Release Online.

Camera set up:

Canon 550D
Sigma 50 f1.4
Canon 70-200 f4
Sigma 10-20mm f4
Jib Arm

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