Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit the Big Island in Hawaii to shoot a television feature for the German television show Rekordfieber (formerly Guinness Prime Time Germany).
The show format is people setting records, but it’s really flexible- usually they just make up records that look good on TV. In this case it was quite funny; they called me up last October and asked me to make up some record that might be worth breaking, of any sort, and I basically blew them off because it sounded a bit too stunt-oriented and sensationalized.
But then they called back and said, do you know anything that might work in Europe, or North Africa, or the Grand Canyon, or what about Hawaii? So it got more interesting and after I convinced them to hire Sean White (maker of Unizaba and and Into The Thunder Dragon) as cameraman, we ended up flying to Hawaii because, as the director said, “Every German wants to go to Hawaii”. We had no clue about anything to ride at this point.
The director and producer showed up 2 days before we did to scout locations, and when they picked us up at the airport they were really depressed because they hadn’t found anything spectacular. So we drove around a bunch and things started to come together as they learned what MUni and trials is all about, and they became happier. It was really great to work with Sean because it meant we could ride and film regardless of what they were up to.
We ended up finding some pretty interesting things, including urban trials near the start of the Hawaii Ironman triathalon, a steep descent into a super lush canyon by a beautiful white sand beach, some great riding on a beach with bright green sand, and trials on one week old lava. The lava was really cool- actually no it was very hot- too hot to touch and you could see glowing red if you looked through cracks. There was actively flowing lava only a few feet away and it was all flowing over top of a road with burnt up road signs. We also found their main “record”: riding-along-a-bridge-railing-more-than-100m-distance-200-feet-in-the-air". Ironic to fly all the way to Hawaii to ride on a concrete bridge but oh well.
The interesting thing was that this was all filmed so that they could edit it as if it were live-action. The time zone difference is such that it is day in Hawaii when the show airs in the evening in Europe, and the show format includes a celebrity host in front of a studio audience. This makes it viable that I could actually be in Hawaii, in front of a live camera, while the audience is watching. In the studio I will be on a large screen, pretending to listen to the host ask me scripted questions, and then I wait a bit for the “satellite time lag” and then answer his interview questions, and then prepare, and then ride the bridge railing, and then am stoked afterwards to the applause of the studio audience that thinks I did it live. They even had me memorize a bit of German (phonetically- I didn’t understand what I was saying). It was weird, but made for interesting filming. It will be interesting to see how this works; I was doubtful but this was what the director wanted.
The segment will air on May 3rd in German speaking Europe.