Dust, gravel, and broken gear

I spent three days in the Swedish and Norweigan mountains to shoot some of the best bicyclists in Sweden. Here are the behind the scenes.

Dust, gravel, and broken gear

Hey, I saw the stuff you did for Ryde at Gotland! I have this gravel race between Sweden and Norway that I think would be great if you could join and film?

It all started when I got a message from my friend Niklas that I hadn’t heard from in like 10 years.

It took me about 5 seconds to say yes :-)

After a few planning meetings, I was in my car on my way up mid-north in Sweden. I arrived a day earlier than the others so I could have a full day of solo recon.

Trip music

Quite often, on these long drives, I end up playing one song on repeat. This time it turned out to be ”Nattbuss” and ”Puff Daddy issues” by Fricky. I think it has to do with me trying to plan, think through, and visualize as much as possible beforehand … then the same song becomes a catalysator for that. I don’t have to think about the music.

No second chances

The thing I both love and hate with this type of project is the total lack of second chances. If I fuck up there are no all-nighters in the world that can fix it. Therefore preparation has become über important for me.

I always try to scout a location ahead of an upcoming shoot. Testing lights, lenses, and angles. But also saying hi to anyone working there to see if something unusual will happen at the time of the shoot: construction work, loud noises, or anything that might interfere with the shoot …

Recon day

This area of Sweden and Norway is absolutely amazing. But the distances are huge, climbs are steep and the roads are narrow and sometimes hard to access.

So shooting b-roll takes forever. Google Mapping and driving to get a few minutes of drone footage or a rippling stream can take hours.

For this project, I knew I had to drive as much of the trail beforehand to get a feel for the route. Then I can scout and mark out good locations on the map, plus I can shoot a ton of b-roll and drone footage that would just slow down us all when we have started filming.

During my recon day, I noticed that the gravel was super dry. Driving above 15 km/h raised a big dust cloud just a few meters behind the car. This might be a huge issue since all the cyclists would be hidden in the dust … but it turned out to be the opposite. The dust added a lot of drama and action to the shots.

Driving above 15 km/h created huge dust clouds where I was filming. This threatened to ruin the whole project … but it actually turned out the opposite.

My hotel room on the morning of the first day in Sälen. The other riders arrived later in the evening for the riders-dinner, so I packed for a full day of location scouting. The total route is 262 km so I didn’t manage to scout it all before the dinner. I used the Ride app to mark out and keep track of locations where I wanted specific footage.
It could be a lake, hill, or bridge. Handling gear, switching lenses, and generally keeping track of things was way harder on the shoot since we were constantly moving and everything got covered in dust.
Trying to balance the gimbal going 70km/h was a nightmare :-) The tempo was consistently high, all the riders were in a "floor it" mode at all times. Here Simon, marketing coordinator at Scott, is having a "pause". Niklas Hellerstedt from Guided Heroes, one of the founders of the race. During filming, he was my co-pilot and drove the car I was sitting in for the two days. Fredrik Rydén – Concept- and eventmanager at SkiStar Sälen I was surprised there were almost no injuries, guess it’s due the the experience of the riders. Here it’s a bit of bloodshed on Johan’s shin.

The setup

In Gotland, we used a 4-wheeler to shoot the high-speed riding. Here we only had a follow car. So we decided that I should be strapped in and sit in the trunk of the car, safety harness clipped into the back seats and feet on the bike stand.

Worked perfect!


One of the things that turned out way easier than I expected was the communication with the riders. Initially, we had talked about using radios and intercoms but since we were always in front of them in the car I just shouted, pointed, and waved my arms to communicate where and how I wanted them to form up if I needed a special shot.

Going from black to gray

What turned out way worse than expected was the dust, it was bloody everywhere. It covered everything in the trunk: camera, lenses, clothes, bags, and everything. To worsen it dust and air were backdraughted into the trunk while driving. We had to drive with the windows open to even out the airflow.

Literally, everything got covered in dust, the only clean place was my water and air-tight Pelican cases. So everything not being used I had to shove it in there. Unfortunately, that didn’t help. I had constant motor malfunctions on the gimbal. My external screen shut down several times since the fan clogged up causing the screen to overheat and sd cards malfunctioned so about 40 clips turned out to be corrupt.

After a very long, warm, dirty but überfun day, we arrived in Trysil and I could get a beer and start working on the Zero Day Edit.

At breakfast on day two, I showed everyone the Zero Day Edit.

The Zero Day Edit

The Zero Day Edit is a quick first rough proof-of-footage that I make on set.

It has become super important in my projects. In Trysil, I spent a few hours on the evening of the first day pulling it together.

Why is the Zero Day edit important?

It gets the team engaged and way more involved in what I do if they can see what the end result might feel and look like … or not look like …

Without the Zero Day Edit, all they see is me running around with what looks like a sub-standard camera rig.

I’ve had team members saying “Now I feel really inspired to push harder”. I’ve had mothers of subjects tear up saying that no one has portrayed riding in this way.

So after showing the Zero Day Edit we often become more glued together and work more like one team, one unit.

The last legs and the wrapup

The second day was a lot of rain and waiting. The majority of the first half of the route back to Sälen wasn’t accessible by car so we drove miles and miles on regular roads just to intercept and get a few minutes of film of the riders. The second half was beautiful yellow dirt roads, clear cut mountains and ideal for drone filming The rain gave the material a completely different look and feel :-)

We arrived back in Sälen in the afternoon and it was a quick gathering for a debrief, cleaning up my gear, and then into my car for the drive back home to Linköping.

I had a lovely time and want to say a huge thanks to Mattias, Jessica, Niclas, Fredrik, Madde, Björn, Markus, Åsa, Johan, Simon, and the other riders for supporting and putting up with me!

The final edit

Watch the final film on the Nofont Studio site.