Time for some more visual storytelling goodness! Next up is the women’s cycling apparel brand Machines for Freedom from the US, with their inspirational short clip Free.
Nothing is for free
The video has a simple premise: nothing is for free, but that’s what makes the payoff so sweet. The narrator goes on to explain anyone who’s trained hard will have asked themselves why they do what they do, and describes that wonderful moment when you get to the why. In the brand’s own words:
For us, riding bikes is about so much more miles and elevation. It’s a means to something greater. It’s about personal growth as much as it is about pedaling. That feeling of weightlessness after cresting a mountain can release you from other things weighing you down in ways you wouldn’t suspect. The simple knowledge of the amazing things your body can do – like climbing to the top of a mountain – can buoy you up when you begin to doubt yourself.
If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to explain this thing we do to a group of people who just aren’t getting it, show them this film.
Showcase for Machines For Freedom’s philosphy
What I really liked about this film, was how it is extremely genuine and has no pretence of marketing or selling whatsoever. It is a pure statement, detailing the brand’s values and beliefs. The video is about more than just the brand though, it is about a feeling and emotion shared with the entire cycling community, regardless of skill level. In fact I think the feeling can be felt by anyone practicing any sport. The film makes it every so easy to feel sympathy for this brand: they get you, understand what you’re doing. There isn’t even any mention of the brand’s name, and no visual branding is given any overt screen time. I think the riders are probably wearing Machines for Freedom, but you’d have to be familiar with the brand’s apparel to recognise it. No swooshes or three stripes here.
In terms of visuals, I feel this film nails it without doing anything too innovating or fancy. I especially liked the wide angle shot of the athlete on her home trainer, focused, wearing earbuds. The color grading is slightly moody, and I mean that in a good way. Cinematic light, beautiful shallow depth of field for the close up shots and tack sharp wide vistas complete the picture, making it easy to relate to. Another thing I think the team at Machines for Freedom got right were the exact times they shot at. Every single take presents some interesting light and vibe, with many of the shots taking placing during sunrise or sunset.
After watching this film, I want to be out there, training, suffering, finding my why – though climbing may just be my answer to that question.
All photos are screengrabs taken from the video with permission.
Director – Andre Stringer
Cinematographers – Andre Stringer, Julian King