This past October , we traveled to Colorado with Autodesk Sketchbook to create a short documentary about Jeremy Lacy. An industrial designer by day, Jeremy spends his evenings and weekends building custom motorcycles in his home studio, Downshift Studios.

It was our crew’s first time in Colorado and I think it’s safe to say we’d all go back in a heartbeat. The draw dropping, vast landscapes come at you from every angle. Look in any given direction, and you may as well be looking at a postcard.

We spent our first day at Jeremy’s home and studio in a cozy suburb just outside of Denver. Shooting on the Arri Amira, we toured his shop while he showed us his first completed build, plus a build he’s just begun. We watched as he sketched out some concepts and later, got to see the build in action as he welded the beginnings of a wire frame.

Partway through the day, our camera crew became search party. Jeremy had taken a break from our interview to check on his dog, a rambunctious rescue, who had been in the backyard while we filmed.

The backyard was empty. Jeremy set off in his truck, while part of our crew set off on foot. A snow squabble had set in, making the situation feel all the more dramatic. We wandered the unfamiliar streets, calling the dog’s name. Panic quickly set in. In terms of things going wrong on set, losing your subject’s pet is up there.

We returned to the house. No one back at the house seemed concerned. We filled them in. Then they filled us in. It turns out, Jeremy’s son had come home while we were filming and had taken the dog to his room to keep him out of our way.

The next morning, we headed up to Lookout Mountain with a local drone operator. The foothills have great views of Golden, CO and cinematic switchback roads. It was the perfect spot to catch Jeremy in action on his custom bike. Along with the drone and the Arri, we brought out the Osmo X5R. With its smooth capture and flexibility, its the perfect camera for following action.

We mounted the Osmo on to the hood of our van and followed Jeremy as he began climbing the foothills on his bike. As we ascended, Jeremy began picking up speed. Cautiously, we tried to narrow the gap.

The van came to an unmarked speed bump and we jolted forward. The camera flew through the air. In shock, the crew piled out of the van to inspect the scene. On the cold pavement the Osmo lay in pieces.

After a few minutes to mourn our loss, we regrouped. We had planned on shooting some crucial shots on the Osmo. But we still had the drone and the Arri, so we collected the pieces of shattered glass and plastic and continued up the mountain.

We spent the day capturing cinematic drone shots (and a few beats on the Arri) of Jeremy gliding through switchbacks and zooming down long Colorado highways. Many hours later, after a great Mexican lunch and a ton of cool locations, the daylight was beginning to fade. We needed to find one more epic location for magic hour. We cruised around for a while before finding a clifftop lookout just off the highway. The view faced the mountains to the West and just below a long highway stretched into the horizon. We had found exactly what we came for.

We wrapped the shoot as the sun ducked behind the mountains. Like the peaks and valleys we had explored, the shoot had its highs and lows, but by the end of it the highs far outweighed the lows. We drove back to the hotel content, with a few great stories to tell and the sense that we had shot some of our best work yet.

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Madelaine Sawyers

Author Madelaine Sawyers

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