PERSONALITY: KRISS KYLE
SEEING THINGS DIFFERENTLY WITH KALEIDOSCOPE
An ever-changing environment, a moving bike park – that’s BMX rider Kriss Kyle’s new release, Kaleidoscope, and his most ambitious project to date.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO RIDE IN A MOVING BIKE PARK?
Kaleidoscope sees the young Scot perform a number of world’s first tricks on a changing set – “the most surreal thing that I have ever been involved in,” he says. Red Bull Media House and Ridley Scott Associates produced Kaleidoscope riding film using a combination of moving set pieces and stunning optical techniques which enable Kyle to showcase some breath-taking riding.
Here the director of Kaleidoscope, Ben Scott of Ridley Scott Associates, explains the challenges behind this concept.
Was the optical illusion concept more difficult to realise than your previous set designs?
“The optical illusion concept wasn’t the difficult thing. I have created both optical and kinetic sets before. That’s why Red Bull Media House contacted me in the first place. Creating optical designs that are also kinetic, that can also be ridden by Kriss on a BMX. That was the really tricky part.”
How did you find the experience of directing for the first time?
“Honestly? Absolutely terrifying. But when it came to the shoot, I knew the sets so well having lived through their birth so to say, that it was actually great fun. I was in very good hands with Alex Heathcote the producer and Marcus Domleo the DOP. Given that absolutely everything was moving – I mean everything: all the set pieces, the rider and the camera – it was quite tricky to build the shot and explain to everyone what was happening. But once we shot it, it all happens in camera, so it was a real treat to see it all come together.
“I have been on film sets all of my career, and have seen most things, but nothing really prepares you for an athlete coming to you in the middle of a shooting day and saying, ”you know that 38 foot drop combo, well, I thought I might do it backwards.” Now that’s scary.”
Did you consult with Kyle when designing the set?
“Totally, 100%. This wouldn’t have been possible without collaboration from Kriss. I went up to Unit 23 in Dumbarton, and spent a month working with Kriss on the designs. I would show him a drawing and he would look at it and work out what he could do on it. A lot of the time he would say: It looks cool but I can’t ride it. So we would throw that one away and start again. I knew we had something great when Kriss started drawing and I would say: It looks awesome but we can’t build it! Somewhere in the middle of all that we came up with about 14 designs that we went with. There are some that were just beyond us, but who knows… maybe we will get to have another go?”
Some of the tricks on display have never been filmed before. Did Kyle need a lot of takes to land everything?
“Kriss is a very special rider. He can look at something quite conceptual and say whether or not he could do it. A lot of what we shot has not been done before. Or if it had, we added another dimension. It’s one thing to flair from a curved rail, it’s quite another to do that trick when the flat bank ramp you are landing on isn’t there, and glides in just when you need it! When it came to the filming, he really pushed himself. He would land stuff pretty quickly but not be happy with it, and just keep going until it was perfect. All that said though, nothing took very long.”
Did you enjoy working with Kyle?
“What makes Kriss so special is his genuine kindness and generosity. I think when we first met he was a little skeptical, but was prepared to give it a go. I got the distinct impression he was just humoring me. After we had spent a month on the drawing table all that changed and he embraced it. It was a real pleasure to work with someone at the absolute top of their game, pushing boundaries.”
Was the moving element of the concept particularly difficult?
“Yes and no. The moving elements were not particularly complicated in set building terms, but convincing Kriss and Vision ramps the set builders, that if a trick was worth doing static then it will be twice as cool if the ramps are moving was more difficult. They were all skeptical as it’s not something that has been done in BMX. But once we got going and had built a few, everybody got on board. After a shaky start it was all I could do to stop them all moving stuff about!”
Photos, video and inteview by Red Bull Media