The World Enduro Super Series is watched and enjoyed by millions across the Red Bull Media Network, thanks, in part, to the hard-working efforts of one of the key players Ryan Meyers and the Crown Creative Production crew.
Tasked with capturing all of the championship’s excitement and drama, Ryan and his company are responsible for the non-live Red Bull TV coverage that Enduro fans around the world watch following each event.
Managing a production crew of 25 people at each stop of the series, come race weekends Ryan can be found in the thick of the action, whatever the weather. One of the first on his feet each day, he’s also one of the last of the production crew to clock off each night before handing the reigns over to the editors and producer night owls working on the daily highlight clips.
Here, Ryan explains what it’s like to be a part of the Red Bull Media House production that brings the World Enduro Super Series to life on Red Bull TV and why his passion for the sport is stronger than ever…
Ryan, you’re owner and Executive Producer of Crown Creative Productions but what’s your background in Enduro?
Ryan Meyers: “I’ve been working in the Hard Enduro world since about 2005. I originally started out with Jeff Pakosta and Throttle Entertainment. He was one of the early pioneers in filming our sport and he taught me a lot. About three years ago Jeff stepped down and I was given the opportunity by Red Bull Media House to essentially fill his shoes with my company Crown Creative Productions. By continuing with a lot of the regular crew who followed the Hard Enduro scene with Jeff for many years, the changeover was relatively seamless. We’ve now been together for over seven years, so it feels like more of a family than a work thing. We all have each other’s back – we know what needs to be done, and when, and I think that’s why it works so well.”
What exactly does your role entail?
“It’s a lot of work behind the scenes to make it all happen. My job is ongoing. Under the lead of Red Bull Media House, we started pre-production on the 2019 championship about a couple of weeks after the 2018 WESS season ended. That involved a lot of paper work and planning to put all our chess pieces in place prior to a race weekend. With eight rounds to consider, that alone takes a lot of work. Then of course the logistics and running the production during a race is massive. The camera guys capture great footage, but it’s my job to ensure the footage tells the story of the day. So, I make sure they are focused on the right riders or sections of the track with the best action. Also, if drama unfolds in the pits it’s my job to get them there to film it and interview either riders or teams involved, to explain what’s happened.”
Producing the 26-minute Recap Programme for Red Bull TV must be a mammoth task, how many people are typically involved on-site at each round?
“Depending on the race, the size of the crew typically ranges between 20-25 people. All are tasked with different jobs and duties including camera operators, GoPro operators, drone operators, sound guys, ingest engineers, editors, runners, drivers and production managers. What’s also cool is how multi-cultural we are, too. We cover about 11 countries!”
Describe your schedule on a typical day, say at Trèfle Lozérien AMV in France?
“My days at Trèfle Lozérien began early with the alarm ringing at 6am, which is normal. I get up and go over the camera plan for the day during breakfast. Before the crew disperses to their camera points, we have a team meeting to make sure everyone knows what the day entails and address any questions that may arise. We then spend the day travelling to each camera location, filming the action and taking sound bites from the riders where needed. With so much footage being recorded, we have runners whose job it is to collect the camera chips at various times during the day and bring them to the ingest engineers, who begin downloading and sorting for the editors. Once competitors are back in the paddock and finished for the day we interview the winner or standout riders, plus collect any GoPro cards riders may still have. Then I sit down with the editors and help them piece together the events of the day so they know what to focus on. We also make notes and try to anticipate what might happen the following day and be ready for that!”
Working in such a fast-paced environment like Enduro has its challenges. How do the competitors themselves feel about being on camera while in the heat of battle?
“We’ve developed good relationships with the riders over the years and they know that we’re professional in what we do. They know that we won’t disturb them in what they are doing on the track and will give them space where needed. In turn I feel that respect earned is then paid back when they give a sound bite to the camera just moments before they start a race like Erzbergrodeo or Red Bull Romaniacs.”
We’re now in year two of the World Enduro Super Series, where do you think the championship has the potential to go?
“It’s just going upwards. It’s getting bigger and bigger. I’ve been following and watching this sport develop during the last decade, so to see it now, with some of the world’s best riders competing and doing things on a bike that have never been done before, it’s huge. By having WESS come in and show the world what dirt bike riding can be, that’s next level.”
Finally, what does it feel like to watch the 26-minute Recap Program from each round of WESS for the first time, knowing all the hard work you and the team have put in to make it happen?
“I always get goose bumps watching it and then of course critical about where and how we can improve things even more. But ultimately when you see the finished 26-minute programme on Red Bull TV entertain the millions of people who follow Enduro then you realise all that hard work is worth it. It’s why I keep coming back each year and I know all the guys on the team feel the same because that’s why they keep coming back each year, too.”
The World Enduro Super Series continues with round four at Spain’s Hixpania Hard Enduro on June 21-23.
Photo credit: Future7Media