Friday, December 2, 2011

Complex robot algorithms

Once again, Alex Rankin delivers the movie with the best action from the world cup. I don't want to see the shots from all the $10,000 cameras set up on tripods and platforms and cranes and ziplines that freecaster littered the course from top to bottom with. I want to see the shots from some english bloke wandering around trackside with his camera in his hand. No one captures the action on and off course better than Alex Rankin. Period.

How does he do it? How is he always in exactly the right place at the right time? Whether trackside filming Gee almost die at 3:02 or catching Ratboy in rare form... later in the trailer... Rankin gets the shots no one else can. The Parkinsons have twice as many people on the hill, and they can't hold a candle the awesome and terrifying power of Rankin. I talked with Clay Porter recently, and he said his budget for 3MinuteGaps was, like, $25 million, and he still only captured maybe 5 minutes of actual race footage in the whole movie. The rest was timelapses of twilight and slow-mo cable cam close ups of Dan Atherton's face. What is Rankin's secret?

He is one of us. Rankinbot 3000 was designed and built in the Robot Mothership specifically for DH filming, and for that purpose, he was engineered perfectly. Unfortunately, he does have some major defective hardwiring in his toothbrushing circuits, his speaking-with-a clear-American-accent circuit, and his making-a-new-movie-every-year-without-taking-4-years-off-after-Earthed-Five circuit. We are working to overcome some of those problems, but we feel that Rankinbot has performed well enough that we feel comfortable overlooking some of these flaws.

Rankinbot's secret weapon is his complex robot algorithms that determine where to be filming before, during and after races, and how to edit the clips he gets. These algorithms are top secret, but here's a quick sample of how his hardwiring allows him to navigate the in and outs and what-have-yous of World Cup filming:

INQUIRY: Hang out with the boring mountain bike jocks in their exclusive "hat n' glasses" club?

INQUIRY: Take all of practice setting up a huge boom cam/roller cam/zip line so that I can get exactly the same shot 80 times during finals?

INQUIRY: Ask riders where the gnarliest shit on the track is, then go film there and get dick-crushing drifts, saves and crashes?

INQUIRY: Only interview riders in a sterile, contrived situation, and use the same tired interview technique/format for every rider, for like seven films in a row?

INQUIRY: Constantly alternate between close ups and full body shots and tire shots and slow mo shots and full speed shots and sped up shots so that the viewer has no freaking clue what's going on, and play Rage against the Machine?

INQUIRY: Make sure to hang out with the race winner when he gets drunk before the race/the night after/the next morning/all of the above?

1 comment:

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

yeah buddy, AFFIRMATIVES all around.