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Benedict Campbell's documentary takes you inside Britain's biggest race in its biggest year yet...

Film maker Benedict Campbell’s documentary about the 2012 Tour of Britain, called It Ain’t About Cav, is now available to watch in its entirety, and it's well worth a little over an hour of any cycling fan's time.

The film, originally intended to be much shorter until Campbell realised the wealth of material at his disposal, follows the eight stages of the race, which culminated in Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, then of Endura Racing, now with Team Sky, becoming the first British winner in its current format.

Tiernan-Locke and Rapha-Condor’s Kristian House narrate the film, shot in a mix of colour and black-and-white, and it was Campbell’s good fortune to follow the race in a year when it grabbed unprecedented public attention following the Olympics and of course Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France win.

Wiggins rode the Tour of Britain – a kind of week-long lap of honour – as did then Sky team mate Mark Cavendish, in his final race in the rainbow jersey of world champion.

As for the title, in response to the question last year of how much Cav there is in the film, Campbell, an aspiring racing cyclist as a teenager until a motorcycle crash ended his dreams, said: "A fair amount - until I got bored of him".

"IT AIN'T ABOUT CAV" THE FILM from benedict campbell on Vimeo.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

19 comments

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Leviathan [1778 posts] 2 years ago
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Are a lot of Bens coming out as Benedicts these days? Thanks to the Cumberbatch.

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 2 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:

Are a lot of Bens coming out as Benedicts these days? Thanks to the Cumberbatch.

Not in this case, Benedict Campbell was working as a photographer when Benedict Cumberbatch was still at primary school  3

ps Actually I forgot how posh Cumberbatch is... that should have been prep school not primary school...

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 2 years ago
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Perhaps this could have been more tightly edited. The pacing of the film is not quite right for the shots. Not enough commentary to the pictures, and they don't really explain themselves, or where the piece is going.

Some beautiful and interesting shots. But it hasn't really engaged me. Sorry Benedict. I hope that you can see that as a challenge for next time. I don't think I would do better to be fair.

I got the impression that most of the big teams were not really expressing themselves in these races. Pretty much just showing their faces for appearance money.

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6654henry [56 posts] 2 years ago
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So happy for Benedict. Awesome job.

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roly [41 posts] 2 years ago
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i thought it was brilliantly edited. i personally loved the pacing. beautifully shot. some nice little insights like the mechanics not wanting the riders to touch their bikes.
top draw.

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localsurfer [197 posts] 2 years ago
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I got twixtor, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Good stuff, but waaay too long. Although I am in it, so that's quite cool.

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berniemaupin [13 posts] 2 years ago
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Very poetic film and love the creative use of sound that Ben pulled from the rushes. Like the pace of it but it might be overlong for some and repetitive in places.

Unfortunately I found the camera work a bit too all over the place with the focus problems jarring a bit too much for my tastes.I think this also stopped Ben being able to hold some shots longer which would have added to it.
Top notch colour grade.

As a film would certainly get me off my backside to go and watch this years tour. Great stuff !

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WolfieSmith [1244 posts] 2 years ago
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Agree. Great colour work. It looks lovely. Sure it could be shorter but if you set out to cover each stage it will repeat itself a little.It's given me some tips for completing my own cycle doc Road Racer which I've been working on in spare time for - er... 2 years now.  22

One thing I know. It ain't easy focusing on moving riders. Lot's of viewers don't seem to understand that there's no auto focus for footage and low depth of field work like this means focussing on the fly and following as you can.

Very impressed by the sound quality - as that is essential. I have a mate who edits for tv who told me the golden rule: visuals can be as arty as you like but if you can't hear what people are saying then it's not going to work.

Congrats to Benedict. Enjoyed the Wall of Death very much too.

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Luminosity [76 posts] 2 years ago
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Sorry to disagree but I found the colour grade made it almost unwatchable. As for the focus - it has purposely been made with a low depth of field. Whether it works on a 1 hour video is up for discussion.

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berniemaupin [13 posts] 2 years ago
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I actually thought the race footage was really good but the more observational stuff around the races could have could have been cleaner re focus.

It's become a trend with a lot of documentary films to abuse the 'in out' focus shots. Just because something has been shot with a large sensor camera with wide apertures doesn't necessarily mean that good solid focus can't be achieved, even on the fly. It's part of the craft or being a a cameraman. A lot of operators who come from 'stills' haven't yet developed that skill and possibly think it's not important.

In years gone by out of focus shots were just not acceptable and still aren't in my mind.

That said I hate to leave it on a negative note. Ben's film is really great and very inspirational for anyone wanting to be involved in cycling and or film making

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berniemaupin [13 posts] 2 years ago
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would love to know what you didn't like about the colour grade and why only this single element made it unwatchable ? was it the switching between colour and black and white ?

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WolfieSmith [1244 posts] 2 years ago
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Looking again it's nice to see the editor of Spin Cycle Mag around 14m10s in his day job as snapper for the Liverpool Echo. He's the Matt Damon lookalike ducking the flowers.

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ZabaZabaHey [13 posts] 2 years ago
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Fine if you're a fan of arty camerawork for it's own sake, but there's very little story to follow.
I attended two stages of the 2012 ToB, this film did not remind me of what it was like being there.
Campbell's taken an exciting sporting occasion, removed the excitement, and replaced it with his own artistic ego.

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Luminosity [76 posts] 2 years ago
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berniemaupin wrote:

would love to know what you didn't like about the colour grade and why only this single element made it unwatchable ? was it the switching between colour and black and white ?

No - the lack of image contrast (i.e. murky colours) really strained my eyes. I think it would have been appropriate for image sequences within a longer piece but, when the image itself interferes with the narrative by being difficult to watch, the point has been lost in making the video. The audience is the most important part. If you're making this video as 5 minute art installation, then fine. If this is for a broader audience then certain sacrifices have to be made to make it watchable and enjoyable - and, dare I say it, the narrative has to be a stronger element as well.

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berniemaupin [13 posts] 2 years ago
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I watched Bens film again this morning and on a second viewing i feel like I've seen through the smoke and mirrors.

It's too long, has no narration despite saying it has one by House and Tiernan Locke who give nothing more than some off the cuff sound bites. The camera work is shonky, saved by the grade and the sound design.

And worse there's no emotion in it. It's vapid chewing gum for the eyes. It's 1hr 6 mins long. It has been edited with no self control and the wide screen format alone does not make it cinematic in any way and the use of slow mo footage is over indulgent and adds very little.

There was no access to anything beyond what a photographers bib could get.

Whats most frustrating is that I know I could do better.
There you go I said it was inspirational. I'm going to make my own cycling film.

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Bennyboy [35 posts] 2 years ago
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Wasn't the stage in Scotland from Peebles to Dumfries??? In the film it says Jedburgh to Dumfries??

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 2 years ago
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Bennyboy wrote:

Wasn't the stage in Scotland from Peebles to Dumfries??? In the film it says Jedburgh to Dumfries??

2012 - Jedburgh to Dumfries
2011 - Peebles to Dumfries

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rliu [33 posts] 2 years ago
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Completely agree, I was bored out of my wits with this film after halfway. It captured none of the tension or the excitement and I don't know why you would use so much slow motion footage for a documentary about a race.

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bikecellar [268 posts] 2 years ago
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Just got round to watching it now, (whilst on turbo) Pour un Maillot Jaune, it is not.