Gravel Culture: The Silence Calls
Gravel Union On
10 February 2021
Those of you who have been regular followers of Gravel Union will probably know that on our Facebook page, we post a regular #filmfriday offering. Sometimes though we come across something too good to wait until Friday to share it with you. Olly puts his film-reviewer hat on and takes you into the forest on a gravel ride.
“I'm a full-time adventure ultra-cyclist from Denmark - almost 100% into the gravel scene doing races, community, films, events, blogs and other stuff related to cycling, adventure and gravel.” So started the email from Christian Orry that dropped into our inbox last week.
Christian included a couple of links to films he had recently produced with cinematographer Jakob Carlsen, which he thought we might be interested in. As you can probably imagine, when you work in the cycling media, you get to see a lot of cycling films. Some are perfectly OK, but not memorable, some are so awful that you have to switch them off straight away and some are so brilliant that you have to watch them a number of times back-to-back. For me Christian’s film “The Silence Calls” falls into the last category.
Cycling films, in fact films in general, are a very odd phenomena, because quite frequently what blows the socks off one viewer may well bore the pants off another. With my Gravel Union film reviewer head on, if I’m watching a cycling film (and gravel riding ones in particular), I’m generally looking for some/all of the following in order for me to be hooked:
- An intangible wow-factor feeling (often generated by a combination of lighting, soundscape, mastery of technique)
- Beautiful sound quality – common advice to budding cinematographers is that they should focus as much of their time on the audio quality as they do on the visual.
- Something that makes it stand-out from the crowd – we’ve all got a little jaded watching vomit-inducing point-of-view drone footage haven’t we now?
- The goldilocks length - long enough to make you feel that you’ve had an experience, but not so long that you get bored/distracted/worried that your to-do list is ever growing
- An audio track that compliments the visuals, rather than something that feels jarring and poorly suited.
What really got me about The Silence Calls was the sheer ‘cinema” quality of it. Christian and Jakob’s use of stunning natural light, shallow depth-of-field and a great mix of camera angles really hooks the viewer in.
It has to be said, some viewers may well be put off by the voiceover and the sheer ‘quietness’ of it. For viewers more used to adventure sport films full of action and drama, this one might seem a little arty!
But, for viewers looking for a little more soulfulness and spirituality, we would highly recommend you watch this:
Just remember to stick some headphones on and crank the normal pitiful YouTube quality up to 2160p resolution to get the most out of it.