Mongoose BMX pro Ben Wallace recently debuted his new video edit entitled Dirt, which pays homage to his BMX trail riding roots. Ben's signature style combined with Mike King's video mastery has made this video a hit with BMX fans all around the world. We sat down with both Ben and Mike to discuss their latest project together:
Whose idea was it to make the Dirt video?
BEN: It was Mikey’s idea because when he went over the footage from the first day of filming there, we almost had 1 and a half minutes of footage and suggested to me what about a full dirt edit and I was fully with him on that.
MIKE: Originally, Ben and I had a totally different idea planned out for his video. We got started by shooting at Sheet Trails with plans to shoot in a variety of other spots. Despite being well aware of the trails for over 10 years I was so blown away by how far the place had come when I saw it in person again.
Visually, Sheet is the holy grail; the vibrant colour of the dirt surrounded by thick green woodland, along with the sun that beams through is pretty perfect, plus, something about it just feels unmistakably British, which I like too.
I just remember both of us coming away from that first day on a real high, we were both pumped on how the footage looked and as is always the way with Ben, he still had more in the tank to give... so we just decided to make a go for it in one spot.
When was the first time you went to those trails?
BEN: I must have been about 16 years old the first time I went there but those trails are slightly different from what they are now to what there where back then. They were also the other side of the common but due to them being right next to a public path the council didn’t like that so they moved about 400 feet, got given a plot to build on and they made a masterpiece of trails
What is it about dirt that you are drawn to?
BEN: Trails are endless fun regardless if you are there to do back flips or kick outs. It’s always a good time. Even though I don’t have a set of jumps or maintain any, it’s the hard work that goes in to ride something you’ve created to enjoy and for other to come and ride and cook out on a BBQ you just don’t get that anywhere else.
What was your favorite thing to film of Ben for the video?
MIKE: For me, the 360 one handed can-can to one-foot table is just awesome, such a creative mix of tricks and Ben is totally the man for that combination, love it. But also, the last clip is right up there, who else do you know that gets stuck in the branches at the trails?! Ben goes too damn high...
What was the hardest trick/line to film?
MIKE: Without a doubt, the cablecam stuff! It was by far the most complex piece of kit I’ve ever dealt with on a BMX shoot, really not as simple as just slinging a rope up between two trees and sending a camera down it! A whirlwind of challenges on the day meant we ended up only having about 40 minutes shooting with it (with about 4 hours either side to rig and de-rig!)
What was the hardest trick/line from the video and what was your favorite thing to film?
BEN: The hardest line was the bar to bar back on jump 1, bar to tuck no hander on jump 2 then super seat on jump 3 because I crashed on the super seat air pretty hard. I took a good slam and it hurt so to get going again I was a little sore.
There are a few favorite parts but for me was the hip jump when I hit the leaves into the flip whip.
Do you prefer doing these riding only video or the story pieces like the Heritage videos?
MIKE: I think there’ll always be a place for the ‘video part’ that we know and love, I also think they’re a really integral part of our BMX culture, not to mention the progressional aspect of both riders and filmers alike pushing for something better every time, not to mention the satisfaction for both the riders and filmers when finishing a project, which is immense and worthy alone.
That said, the last few years I’ve definitely found a new (and far greater) satisfaction in more ‘storytelling’ pieces.
For years, I would watch documentary series with various athletes in other sports (and more recently in MTB, Skate etc.) and just think to myself ‘well, skating is cool, but BMX is cooler, so why aren’t we watching the same films about BMX riders?’
It’s funny, I think we’re all so desensitized to the absolute dedication it takes to be a pro rider in BMX but in actual fact, it’s so insanely difficult. All the guys that I’ve had the pleasure of filming the Heritage series with (and beyond to other projects) are super interesting people who are totally deserving of where they’re at.
It’s also a much more timely process and far more intimate, trying to boil down to the emotional origin of what they do is a fun challenge and the result is so rewarding for everyone involved.
In my eyes, it lives a lot longer than a riding part but for different reasons.
Rich and Tom from Submotion totally grafted to get the set up running in time and then pretty much had to jump straight into filming a 360 double down whip with absolutely no time to practice timings or get a feel for the cameras framing, they killed it. Of course, I couldn’t of managed that day without Toby from Human too, top crew.
What is next for Ben Wallace and Mike King?
BEN: Well next year will be 10 years on Mongoose so I reckon we should do something special maybe get some feedback from fan and ask what they would like to see!
MIKE: Plenty of exciting projects on the go right now and looking forward to sinking my teeth into some new Mongoose films soon too... our agency, @HMNcreative is the best place to follow what we’re up to... other than that, my wife and I have our first baby on the way next month... so I’m quite sure that’ll be keeping me on my toes too! Life is good.
Clip below to watch "Dirt" again!