Rossland-based Juicy Studios has raised the bar, yet again, with their latest video offering for Diamondback mountain bikes. In the first week since its drop, the vid’s been seen by 200,000 people and has been chosen as a staff pick on Vimeo.
March 2017 Update: Juicy Studios, Kootenay pro rider Mike Hopkins and Diamondback bicycles have done it again with a new release of the Dreamride series. This one follows a similar format to last year’s video in which a Dr. Suess-style narrator describes Mike’s dream about riding incredible terrain. In this year’s version, however, Mike rooster-tails on frozen lakes and immerses himself deep into the jungle. Here is Dreamride 2:
To learn more about the production, and to find out how Kootenay kids can learn how to make awesome bike videos, we chatted up Rosslander Scotty Carlson who works at Juicy. He was involved with the project from the outset and below is his take on one of the coolest bike vids we’ve seen in 2016.
Hey Scotty. This is a sick vid you and Juicy did for Diamondback. Where did the process start?
I’ve been friends with Mike (Hopkins) for years and we’ve talked about wanting to collaborate on a project for a long time. I’m usually busy with (Nelson-based) Freeride Entertainment and I have a few kids now so a project really needs to stand out for me to dedicate time to it. When Mike told me about this idea, it definitely struck me as extra special so I had to sign on.
It must’ve been a good idea. You attracted an all-star crew including Ryan Gibb, the co-creator of Lifecycles.
Ryan’s amazing. He’s always willing to put an epic amount of work into everything he does. He’s been doing a lot of commercial directing lately and even those ones that have 40 people helping out on the production that’s all going to be shot in a 24-hour period, he’ll be out there days earlier setting up time lapses at night and stuff.
What was the inspiration?
It’s meant to have a Dr. Suess feel to it. In fact, the narrative was originally a really long poem but it didn’t translate well to video. I tend to think about single frames first and I had this idea of a dream-like image – really stark with a white background. Kind of like in the Matrix when Neo walks into that white room and those aisles of guns show up.
How’d the production go? There are a lot of locations in this one.
We did a bunch of research beforehand of areas that were visually stunning and where we’d be allowed to ride our bikes in and settled on Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington. The salt flats were definitely stark. You know that image of the antique white door at the end? That door was a pain in the ass. It was so heavy! But it was beautiful. The funny thing is I couldn’t nail down the ideas for a beginning and end. Even right up to the day of the first shoot we were struggling with how it was going to end and finally I was on the phone with Ryan and everyone was getting set and the concept of the door came to us. The shooting took three weeks and then we spent another month on post-production.
You grew up in the West Kootenays. How did you land such a dream gig and still manage to stay here?
My dad worked at the pulp mill in Castlegar and I grew up mountain biking, skiing, playing hockey…eventually I moved to Vancouver, like most kids from this area do, and it was cool being there around the arts, culture and movie scene. I got excited about that world and returned here to do the digital arts program at Selkirk with the intention of completing that and moving back to Vancouver. But while here I spent the winter snowboarding, then the summer mountain biking and then another winter snowboarding. I moved to Rossland with a group of guys to start a company (Juicy Studios) and it’s been 15 years since I’ve been planning to move back to Vancouver.
It’s funny because I think of my dad a lot when on a project. There’s a piece of me that wants his validation for what I do. He unfortunately passed away recently but he was big into photography and pursued that as a hobby. He was the first guy in the area to own a VHS camera for example and he would always offer a narrative on a TV commercial about how it was made and the concept – his actions encouraged me to be good at making commercials. I think, “Would my dad watch this and think it’s terrible?”
Juicy has produced some great stuff over the years. What projects stand out for you?
Living in the small area definitely makes for this weird body of work. Earlier we worked for Nokia and were part of a huge machine but then the iphone came out and killed that contract…The projects that stand out are the ones where the client gives us a lot of freedom. Like “Red Sucks” for example. We had a lot of fun with it and didn’t take it all seriously but when it came time to present it to the powers at Red we suddenly became really nervous. But the clients loved it. Sometimes we struggle and things get lean but are lives are about making products that we’re passionate about. Sure we crash and burn but the process is always about learning. I have friends in the gaming industry and others who are pigeon-holed in what they do and we’re lucky because we’re involved in so many different things.
What’s your advice for kids growing up in the Kootenays and who want to get into film and digital media?
When I first went to school in 2002 I didn’t have an email address and I didn’t know much about the internet at the time. My world was mountain biking and snowboarding and having a good time and I was really committed to TV and films. Then I entered the world of media and tech and I made a music video for the Nelson band the Toques and uploaded it to CBC’s website and it was voted on. This was pre-YouTube and I watched my music video get out there to the masses and realized I should stop hating on the web. Now the majority of stuff we do is targeted to be released online, like this recent Diamondback vid, and it’s crazy cause we live in Rossland, a town of 3,500 people, most of whom don’t know what we do here at Juicy, and there’s someone from Austria commenting on our work on Vimeo. It’s like, “Holy sh*t! Someone from the other side of the planet likes what I’ve done!” That’s powerful stuff and I envy up-and-comers today who have that power at their fingertips.
My only other advice is: if you have a passion outside of digital arts, whether it’s mountain biking or crochet, there are so many niche audiences that exist now you can tap into some huge opportunities. Seriously! People are making hundreds of thousands of dollars with their YouTube channel that teaches others how to crochet! It’s an amazing time for digital media.