What do Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Red Bull, Cooper Webb and the Vurb crew all have in common? Well as many of you have seen by now (if not shame on you! Here is a shortcut) Cooper Webb, Tyler Bereman and Ryan Sipes were given the proverbial “Keys to the Track” to do what they wished… err producers… wished.
For me, the journey started driving to Detroit to pick up a Black Arm camera stabilizer that we would eventually bolt to a SxS, more on that to come. From Detroit, I headed towards Indy to meet up with the rest of the crew which consisted of Wes, Kyle Cowling, Jason Monroe, Danny Stu, Jason Crane and Dylan Jackson at the speedway thus beginning prep day. As a Production Assistant (PA) I am tasked with making sure the camera crew has everything they need to keep the day rolling smooth. Running for batteries, memory cards, moving cars, installing the Black Arm to the SxS, pretty much anything and everything is on the plate which keeps the day interesting. Once everything was unpacked and prepped we headed to the hotel for dinner with the whole crew working that weekend at the hotel.
The first shoot day started the morning off at the local Get Go where we needed to film a small spot for Red Bull/Get Go with Webb, Sipes and Bereman. Part of being a PA is basically always saying yes to whatever comes at you, even if that means hopping behind the counter and making my acting debut as the Get Go cashier when the three amigos cash out. Big highlight of the trip, by the way. Not because my beautiful face is going to be on your IG feed at some point, but more that I was learning something new. Sure, it was just a line or two but going through the process as the “actor” in front of the lens instead of being behind the camera was a cool perspective.
Once that was wrapped up we took to the track and got static glam shots of the riders. The weather thankfully didn’t affect us from getting the tunnel shots so we got to work. The SxS would be in the other lane through the tunnel with the BlackArm attached to a gimbal controlled by Jason Monroe as Dylan piloted the vessel for the trip nailing the shot(s) after just a few takes. Watching all of that equipment work in harmony with Monroe at the controls is one of the coolest things to witness, then you see the shots that came out of it, sheeshhhhh!
This set us up for a marathon session for shoot day #2 (Vurbwes edit note: We had a marathon of Day 2 because this was slated to be a full three day shoot, but weather gave us other plans). Starting outside the gates, the production crew built a ramp out of pallets to hop over the fence onto a container then off to flat. It was as technical as it gets and Bereman knocked it out in two shots. From there we started the trek around inside the fences starting with riding up and down the front straight grandstand stairs. That was also as sketchy as it appears in the edit. To the tunnel we went filming them launching out of the tunnel and had them head towards the straight rhythm section. Jason Baker and the Dream Traxx crew built a little straight rhythm section right on the golf course at IMS! Then it was time for the S-turn shot where Sipes would become the focal point on his flat track bike doing mach 12 through Webb and Bereman. The original story board had Bereman jumping over Sipes but due to the wind, the call was made to forego the jump segment.
Fret not as Baker had more tricks up his sleeves for the riders. Upon arrival to the dirt oval tucked inside turn 3 we were all excited to see what was up next. There was transfer line for both Bereman and Webb to hit while Sipes would go under them (on his flat track bike still) positioning the three of them to come out about equal through the rest of the oval, not without some shenanigans of course. That would be a wrap on day two of shooting so the crew headed back to the hotel to shower and get some dinner, but in typical fashion, it was not just a boring ole dinner.
We landed at Dick’s Last Resort, which for those unfamiliar, is a restaurant chain that is known for being rude and borderline inappropriate with the customers. We all knew what we were in for but the staff was not ready for us. It started off as expected, then somewhere along the line some food was tossed from one end of the table to the other. What was a little friendly fire turned into a full on food fight at our table. Pieces of chicken, steak, fries, rib bones, you name it, if it was able to be thrown in someone else’s direction it was used as ammo. It got so bad, at one point the waitresses came around and started taking the finished plates and drinks off of the table to limit our ammo. Fun governors. I will say, while the food was mediocre, the atmosphere was off the charts and would recommend it to anyone looking for an out of the ordinary dining experience.
Shoot day #3 was a pretty mellow one as we went back to the Get Go location for our outdoor shots we were not able to get yet because of the weather. We knocked those out quick and headed back to the Speedway for some front straight action. We also can’t forget about the Bereman whip at the golf course! That was a sight to be seen, Bereman whipping his face off over the 10th hole tee box.
Watching three dirtbikes haul ass around Indy Motor Speedway was certainly something I never expected to see, let alone the likes of Webb, Sipes and Bereman being the ones doing it! We set cameras up around the crash barrier to capture the speed in which these dudes were going. The guys rode from turn 3, through turn 4 and onto the front straight hitting a little ramp over the finish line. The boys nailed it per usual from the riders to the SxS shots, it all came out as anticipated. Last but not least we headed towards the exit to film the final shot of the weekend which featured the actual security guard on duty that day “kicking them out”. It was the perfect low key wrap on what was a pretty fun, low key shoot.
The work wasn’t quite done yet, we headed back to our staging area and began cleaning, breaking down and packing all of the camera equipment and to also eat some much needed lunch. I would eventually leave the track searching for the nearest FedEx to drop off equipment that needed to be shipped back out which is a pretty common theme around here. I also began the six-plus hour trek back home which included another stop in Detroit to drop off the camera stabilizer.
Shoots like this seem to happen in the blink of an eye. From a project that started back in August with a location scouting trip to IMS with Wes following a week in Kansas shooting the Imagination 2.0 course build then being able to see how a shoot of this scale comes together from idea to walkthrough to the final execution is something not many people get to see, let alone grasp how many moving parts there are to it. This is just half of the work as the other half goes down in post production, aka the editing of the segment. We hope you all enjoyed it!
I can’t wait for the next opportunity to join the crew for the next big shoot, hopefully it will be sooner than we think.
Until next time!
And here is the finished product again if you didn’t click earlier.