The whole HD versus SD video format debate has finally simmered down and the proponents of each have chosen their routes at that fork in road. Nowadays, when it comes to bigger projects, SD is in the rearview mirror, with HD at the wheel and gimbles and drones giving directions. I know, it may sound as if I’m choosing sides here, but I’m simply setting the scene. Grant Castelluzzo is currently filming two full-length video projects simultaneously with cameras that have ten years between the two of them and couldn’t be more different from one another. An HD production for Madera called ABD, and an SD format piece for WeThePeople titled Out of Line.

Tell us about the two video projects you’re working on.
I am currently working on two different full-length video projects. One for Madera called ABD and one for WeThePeople called Out of Line. When I got moved over to the Madera team from Profile, part of the plan was to start work on a full-length, but it took a little bit to start so we have been filming ABD quietly for about a year at this point. We are making a lot of progress and I am super excited for everyone to see what the boys have been doing. I am the primary filmer, as well as the editor for the project, in fact other than my part I don’t think anyone has filmed a clip besides myself. This is definitely going to be my baby. As for the WTP video, TM Paul Robinson suggested we focus on a longer-term project when we were wrapping up some of web parts from last year and since I love filming I was more than down. For Out of Line I am primary filmer—I guess you could say—but the other members of the team all have cameras and are filming on their own when I’m not around. As for editing on the WTP video, Paul is going to be taking the reigns on the project. We aren’t too far into the filming for the WTP video yet, but we have a few trips planned to really get moving. 

What cameras are you using? Do you have a preference?
The Madera video is being filmed with my HD set up which is a Sony a7s and a Sony a6300 as a B-angle camera. It’s what I have been using for the last five years or so. The WeThePeople video is being filmed in standard definition with my Sony VX2100 and a MK1 Century fisheye for the super classic SD look. If you would have asked me a year ago [which camera I prefer] I would have definitely said my HD set up, but after using the VX again a lot it’s hard to choose. They both have their advantages and things I like about them. The HD set up is just my go to. It’s second nature for me to film with it after I bought my Canon 8-15mm fisheye with the adaptor. It’s the best thing ever.

Grant, getting the steady shot for Madera.

Obviously, you grew up filming with SD cameras and eventually made the switch to HD. How does it feel going back to your roots? And what are your thoughts on the whole HD versus SD thing?
It feels pretty good to be filming with an SD camera again to be honest. I am enjoying it a lot more than I would have thought. Its super simple to set up and with the fisheye you can just get so damn close. The 4:3 aspect ratio is perfect for filming fisheye because its’ a little “taller” which is good for bike riding. I am definitely a bigger fan of HD over all just because the footage is so clear and crisp. It’s just a change in technology that all of the consumer products like TV’ and computer screens are set up for so it makes more sense to use regularly. There is so much detail and so much information to play with which is really nice for editing. And the frame being wider gives you some more artistic freedom of what you want to include in the framing of the shots which is also fun. To me all I care about is seeing people pick up cameras and use them. I know it’s an old adage, but the saying “the best camera is the one you have in your hand” is definitely true. The camera does not make a filmer.  A person with a vision can make a cool product with literally any camera they are given and that’s what is the most important thing to remember.

Hello, old friend.

How often do you roll out with a mix of WTP and Madera riders, or be out with Dan Kruk, who rides for both brands? Besides having to carry two camera bags, what’s it like jumping between projects literally at the same spot sometimes?
I pretty much roll out with whoever is available on a given day. I figure if I am going out it makes the most sense to have as many people out as possible to increase the productivity. The WTP team is very international so most of the time they are not in town, but whenever someone is, they’re priority because their time is limited. Pretty much every time I go out, I bring both cameras just in case I need to film for either video project. Obviously, I am out with Dan pretty often due to proximity and he is kind of in WTP mode as the time of this interview. He is in a good spot and has a large portion of his Madera part done and now he is trying to get there with the WTP part, as well. I don’t really mind anything about filming two different projects aside from carrying two different camera bags. I like the challenge of switching formats to be honest. Makes you stay on your toes and not become complacent. 

Dan Kruk gets twice as much Grant time, since he’s filming for both Madera and WTP. Here’s Dan about to stomp another clip straight into the bag for Out of Line.

From a filming perspective, what’s it like switching from one style camera to another mid-session—just the ergonomics of how the cameras feel, different zoom features, etc.
Like I said I actually don’t mind switching mid-session at all. I am comfortable with both style of cameras and they both kind of feel natural. There are a few important things to remember when switching the biggest is to remember to turn off/on the steady shot on the VX2100 as well as to get a bit closer when filming with the fisheye. I have an Eazy handle v2 for my A7S set up so it makes it a lot easier to hold and keep steady while filming lines so ergonomically they film similarly for skating, which is really nice. I notice myself wanting to do more rolling long lens lines with the VX because it’s a little easier to hold and zoom at the same time, the zoom rocker on my A7S set up is a lot harder to access while holding the camera and skating so I am less likely to be confident in the shot. 

Cameras aside, are you approaching the filming of each project differently?
The biggest difference between the two projects filming wise is that I don’t have a second SD camera so there will be nearly no tripod angles. When we are on trips someone will be filming a second angle, but not from a tripod. I have been filming lead in shots and tons of stuff like that to cut in to add to the video. It is super important with only one camera to be able to tell the whole story with just one shot. I feel like having two cameras kind of makes the job a little easier because you have a fail-safe. You know the shot on the tripod is going to look the way you set it up, so you can show something a little different with the other angle knowing that you have a shot to rely on. It’s just a different mental state, but my filming isn’t very cinematic with my HD equipment, so it’s not going to be drastically different. I am still on the board for both projects and filming zooming long lens shots as well. No drastic changes in style for either video. 

What’s your work flow like as far as getting Paul Robinson the footage overseas.
I have been filming tapes and tapes of footage which I just had sitting around until Felix came to town. I sent them back with him so he could hand them to Paul. I don’t really trust sending the tapes in the mail because I don’t want to leave the fate of the video to the USPS. I also captured whole tapes as one file before sending the tapes with Felix just in case anything did end up happening. Always need to have a backup! I will be seeing Paul throughout the project and giving him tapes when I see him. When Jordan heals up, I will be sending tapes home with him, as well. 

I know you’re also filming a section for the Madera video, are you getting clips for the WTP video as well? Who typically films you for this project? And how do you juggle filming for two projects, and riding for them, as well?
I am definitely filming a part for the Madera video. Hyped to be a part of the project as a rider as well, Madera TM, Mike Hinkens made it clear that he wanted me to have a section in the video—which I was stoked on. Paul Robinson also mentioned to me he wanted me to have some footage in the WTP video so I have been getting clips here and there for that project as well. I will not be having a whole part, but hoping to get some more things I am stoked on before the filming is done. As for who films me it really depends on the day and the clip I am trying to film. I don’t really have the luxury of having a professional filmer most days so I will take help from whoever is around. My Madera part is mostly going to be filmed by Mike Hinkens, Mike Stahl, Dan Kruk, Felix Prangenberg, Jordan Godwin and a well-placed tripod or two. I have been lucky enough to have Scott Marceau film a handful of clips for me—which has been amazing. Some of those clips wouldn’t have been possible without him there to be able to capture it properly. At times it gets pretty intense filming for both of the projects and then having to get my own clips as well, but it’s all part of the game for me. I love being in videos as well as making them so I am willing to put in the work. The guys are all supportive and down if I want to try to get something done. They try to hype me up and get stoked when I get stuff as well which helps motivate me. There are some days I really feel like riding that I don’t really get to do much of it—which sucks—but I am out so often that it won’t be too many days before I ride hard again so it’s a nice balance. I am definitely busy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

How is Out of Line coming along?
So far so good! We aren’t too far into the filming yet. Just filmed in Southern California with Dan Kruk, Dillon Lloyd, and Felix Prangenberg. Jordan Godwin has been injured, but he’s back on the bike and we’re going to NYC at the end of June. All of those guys are going to have full parts for sure. We’re also hoping to get a lot of the AM dudes involved as well. I’ve definitely logged some footage with Jesse Romano, Justin Koeble, and Justin Hughes already. Hoping to get some more before the filming is done. 

Despite working a full time job, Mike Stahl still rode more than most. But that wasn’t enough, so he quit his day job and in turn forced Grant into over time. Mike is a BMX ball of energy. Bump to manual.

You’ve been filming for Madera’s ABD for a while now. How’s that video shaping up? Who can we expect full parts from and who is looking to be a stand out thus far?
The first filming trip for ABD was in April of 2018, so we are just over a year in. There are some clips from before that which will make their way into the video, but that was the first official trip. Although typical ball-ups when making a video are to be expected, the video is coming along nicely. As for full parts… Mike Hinkens, Dylan McCauley, Jesse Romano, myself, Erik Elstran, Jake Seeley, Mike Stahl, and Dan Kruk. Tom Villarreal, Jeff Dowhen, and Taylor Thompson will all be present as well. That’s the plan for now, but I have some incredible footage of everyone, so we’ll see what happens as filming continues. Living in close proximity to Mike Stahl—and with his super high motivation level—has allowed for him to film over 6 1/2 minutes of footage up to this point, but everyone is killing it and I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on. 

ABD… how will it be released?
ABD will have physical copies for sure. As for a release date, we have a few trips planned this summer, then we’ll see where we’re at and have a better idea, so stay tuned. 

With a camera that was made in 2004 and records to actual tape, the fear of messing up the heads is a valid concern. Grant’s strategy is to replay the clip once and film it on his phone—SD to HD in the push of a button and ready for the crew to review as many times as they want.

For updates on Madera’s ABD video, team, and products, follow them on Instagram @maderabmx and on the web at maderabmx.net.

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