Back in October and November we were working on a hush-hush project for Rogue Fitness. It started when Steve Sanders, a SEAL in the US Navy, wanted to go back to his childhood roots of riding dirt bikes. But it wasn't a short cruise through the desert or hills in California, it was the legendary Baja 1000 he had his sights set on. Rogue commissioned the documentary and off we went.
There were three main locations for this shoot; California, Nevada and of course Baja, Mexico. We kept the film crew lean at the beginning as as the story begun to unfold, we increased the crew. Initially, on the first location, it was just Steve and I in California. We then brought on James Masters as a producer. James had spent nearly a decade filming and following the Baja 1000. While James and a few production assistants were doing preproduction work during the race week, Tim, Nate and myself were in a helicopter in Nevada filming final bike prep and testing with Steve, Bill Witt, Ryan Sanders and crew.
Most of this film was shot on the Panasonic AF100 with GoPro footage for POV (point of view) and other pepper footage. Once the race week arrived we beefed up our camera options with a wide variety of cameras. The diversity of tech is almost comical. We had 1 RED EPIC, 2 AF100s, 1 Panasonic GH2, 1 Canon 7D, 1 Canon 5DmkIII, 7 GoPro Hero2s and 2 iPhone 5s.
Here's the breakdown of race week. Bret was stationed at Ensenada, Mexico--the starting line--with a 5DmkIII. Down south we had three chase teams with a driver and a shooter. And those teams played leapfrog down the peninsula. We embedded Tim with Steve's chase crew and James and I shadowed them to sixty miles outside of La Paz. Brandt, Lynden, Jon and Nate were our other two units.
After a twenty plus minute delay at the pit, Steve got on the bike at 20:00 and started his first leg of two hundred and thirty miles in the dead of night. Steve and Bill traded the bike three times and Bill rode it to the finish. Twenty-eight hours after the race started, and one thousand, one hundred and fifty miles later, Steve and the team finished the Baja 1000 fourth in their class. And as Steve put it, "Not bad for the first time."
If you haven't watched the series I strongly recommend it and not just because we made it. It is really fascinating how much work goes into this race and how fast it is over. For Steve, the question of what lights to use was a big deal since he would be spending most of his bike time in the dark. A dark so dark people say it eats light. They went with Rigid Industries LED lights and half way through the race Steve was completely stoked on how great they worked.
GoPro just released a new video that was shot entirely on the Hero3. Their film complimented ours well because it focused on trophy truck driver Bryce Menzies ride during his first six hundred miles of the race and then flashes forward to the finish line. Ours focused on Steve in San Ignacio, which picked at mile six hundred and fifty.
If you watch in Steve vs Baja 1000 Episode 4 you'll see their truck narrowly miss Steve from non other than a GoPro we had mounted on Steve's helmet. Watch for it at 7:29. You can hear their siren screaming as they go tearing by.
We want to thank everyone who worked on this project. A huge thanks to Rogue Fitness and their passion to not only building the best, American Made fitness equipment, but to documenting the lifestyles of the athletes they support. A big thanks to Ryan Arciero and Larry Roeseler from Team Herbst, the film units comprised of Todd, Nate, Lynden, Tim, James, Bret, Joh, Brandt, Chris and the two random guys that rode along. And thanks to Score International for putting on such a grueling race.
We've embedded the four Steve vs Baja 1000 episodes here and included GoPro's video that shows the first half of the race. Let me just say we love how they just let the video live and breath during the race without any music over it.