Animated Bike Tour Documentary – “Au Soleil” by Josh Wedlake

by jpc_touring-bicycle

20-year-old Josh Wedlake and three associates spent a month slowly pedaling their manner by bike from Berlin to Istanbul. After the journey was over, Josh sat down at his pc and for 4 complete months labored to create an animated movie about his biking expedition by Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Josh despatched me a hyperlink to his movie and really useful that I watch it. I did simply that and I believe you too will discover Josh’s story an unimaginable piece of artwork.

Watch the movie above after which proceed studying beneath for a fast interview I performed with Josh about each his journey by bike and the filmmaking course of.

Josh, How did you give you the thought for this bike tour? And do you know upfront that you simply had been going to be making a movie concerning the journey?

In summer season 2008 I’d travelled round Europe with two associates, Tom Bramall and Ed Wagstaff. We purchased “interrail” tickets and took our bikes as effectively. We began with an order of the cities we needed to go to, and knew how lengthy the trains would take between cities, and the way far we may cycle every day. We performed it fully by ear and ended up alternating between 3 days on the bike then 3 days in a metropolis or on a prepare. It was nice enjoyable and I loved how unplanned it was; there weren’t actually any deadlines and if we had been late or early getting someplace it didn’t matter. We’d taken no maps, however as an alternative at every place we stayed we’d try to work out a tough record of villages or cities within the order we would wish to move by them to get to the following metropolis. We carried a GPS in case all of it went improper however solely actually used it after we had been fully caught. After that journey I knew I needed to go touring once more.

Our college affords journey grants, some are tutorial and a few are only for college students who need to do one thing adventurous. Tom got here knocking on my door the night time earlier than the grant deadline and steered we apply to do a biking tour, this time with out the trains. We nearly utilized for London to Morocco, however its fairly a effectively travelled route for English cyclists and we’d cycled by France the earlier summer season and had been rained on an excessive amount of! Berlin and Istanbul had been just about random selections aside from we needed to go south in the direction of the solar and so they had been about as far aside as we may handle comfortably in a month.

I had no concept in any respect I used to be going to be making a movie concerning the journey after we set off. I’d learn “Zen and the Artwork of Motorbike Upkeep” earlier than we began the journey, after I stumbled over it on the net when on the lookout for bike upkeep books. If you happen to’re planning a protracted journey and are going to do your individual repairs its undoubtedly value a learn first! The passage I quote within the opening to my movie caught in my thoughts – concerning the automobile window being simply extra TV. I believe this triggered the thought to make a movie, which I first considered half manner by the journey. We didn’t have the time or the gear to shoot any respectable footage, and even the stills now we have are fairly dreadful – as a lot as I might have cherished to take a complete load of lenses and movie, we needed to pack minimal. I made a decision if I used to be going to make a movie, it must be a CGI reconstruction. One among my favorite animators, Kristian Andrews, describes himself as “a deeply unimaginative particular person” who has to “dredge [his] reminiscence banks for the assorted non-events and anticlimaxes which can be the main focus of [his] movies and life”. I must put myself on this class of animators!

Are you able to describe the route you took? How did you propose out the roads you had been going to take?

Some time after we utilized for the grant, two of our extra organized associates joined us, Duncan and (confusingly) Tom. Initially we’d simply caught pins into Google Earth and that was the planning completed, however the extra we appeared into it (the chance of rabies and canine assaults in Jap Europe, rumours about bandits, and journey blogs with tales of a whole lot of kilometers of unpaved roads) we had been persuaded to do a bit extra planning. Our route went just about direct from Berlin to Krakow with for much longer distances than some other legs (with preliminary delays we ended up doing 196k adopted the following day with 219k). We went over the Beskids to Budapest (a metropolis that each Tom Bramall and I had actually loved visiting the 12 months earlier than) then east into Romania by the minimize off backwaters, subsistence farming and remoted villages. We had no concept about many of the locations we had been going to cycle by, aside from they had been miles from wherever we’d ever heard of. If you happen to take a look at Romania on Google Maps or Map24 or Bing you’ll see there are barely any roads marked. Thankfully I’ve a buddy whose mom works in Bucharest, and he or she was capable of ship again extra detailed maps. What we discovered when taking a look at satellite tv for pc images nevertheless is that only a few of the minor roads are paved. We scheduled this a part of the route very rigorously leaving a number of slack time and writing down the place we may discover all of the close by hospitals and so forth. As we had a airplane house to catch from Turkey we had been very below formidable in the previous couple of days and picked scenic routes that we may shortcut out if we had been working behind.

What concerning the associates who got here with you on the journey? How do you all know one another?

All of us knew one another fairly effectively. Tom Bramall (20) and I (20) had travelled collectively the 12 months earlier than. We knew Tom Wilson (21) and Duncan (19) from faculty. Duncan was signed up fairly late on and I solely actually bought to know him effectively after we’d all agreed to do the journey.

Did you and your driving companions get alongside your entire time? How was it touring with a bunch? What did you be taught from touring on this manner? Would you journey in a bunch like this once more?

We organized ourselves fairly effectively, and even with all of the bike issues we had, we by no means wanted to separate up. Duncan was the tent knowledgeable and will put up the tents one handed in the dead of night. He was additionally the journeys accountant conserving monitor of who had what foreign money and what all of us owed one another. Nevertheless he had by no means fastened a puncture in his life earlier than the journey! Tom Bramall is very adept in negotiating with the locals (in pigeon English) explaining why they need to allow us to camp of their backyard. He’s additionally the very best chef I do know for cooking with one pan, and might whip up a spaghetti bolognase in minutes on a trangia. Just about day by day we’d eat the identical factor as we had been so drained and unimaginative by the point it got here to buying. It was often cake/brioche for breakfast, cheese and ham sandwiches for lunch, and spaghetti bolognase for dinner. Tom Wilson and I might be left to map studying, and I might attempt my hardest at primary bike mechanics (not at all times efficiently – I misplaced the desire to reside after I had 12 punctures in at some point and left the others to repair it!).

I did my finest to encourage everybody to maintain the journey on price range (on common we bought flights for £200 every, we spent round £100 every on changing bike elements and solely £300 residing bills for a month – meals, hostels, pubs and many others – in whole that’s below $900 for the entire journey!). Duncan was not too completely happy concerning the high quality of the meat we’d been shopping for and ‘to chop prices’ substituted my lunchtime ham for pet food, a joke which didn’t go down too effectively on the time!

After watching your movie, it looks as if your imaginative and prescient of the journey was not precisely like what it turned out to be. Is that true? And in that case, why do you suppose that’s?

I believe I’m a born pessimist and it actually comes throughout within the movie. It didn’t assist that I recorded the narration within the final week of attempting to complete the movie once I’d been working at round 4 hours sleep an evening! I don’t suppose I actually had that many grand expectations of the journey earlier than we began, aside from hoping for good climate, which we bought most of the time.

Partly I believe the disappointment within the movie comes from the sense of social, political and financial change that’s taking place in so most of the nations we visited. A lot of them have solely lately joined the EU, however already it has had a drastic impact. In lots of instances the potholed roads we’d examine on journey blogs merely weren’t there any extra and had been changed by large bypasses: I hope that considered one of these satellite tv for pc photograph web sites will be capable to present us a time lapse in future years so we are able to watch the sprawl rising. Globalization in structure is extremely unhappy: quickly the highways in Romania shall be similar to the highways in Britain, and they’ll all undoubtedly be suffering from the identical chains of retailers promoting the identical manufacturers in all places. Its solely a matter of time earlier than we’ll see the unfold of prefab housing, after which the lack of native languages. After all becoming a member of the EU shall be an important alternative for many individuals, particularly contemplating the dreadful historical past of oppression in a few of Jap Europe, however it’s saddening to see a lack of tradition.

What’s the greatest lesson you suppose you discovered from you journey?

Test native bike requirements first. As a result of till lately, the standard of street surfaces was so low, nearly all of the bikes bought in Romania are mountain bikes with imperial measurement tyres. It was almost unimaginable to seek out 700c bike tyres or tubes. We noticed a number of individuals driving bikes that didn’t even have tyres on them! Finally we managed to purchase a second hand thread-bare 700c tyre from a bazaar! There have been additionally far fewer bike outlets round. It appears a motorcycle on the street in rural Romania is taken into account as uncommon as a horse and cart could be in England. Its the exact opposite of what occurs at house: right here drivers sluggish proper down for horses and carts as a result of they aren’t used to them, however race previous cyclists; in Romania all of the drivers had been courteous and would steer large round us, however would trigger rather more bother for the cart house owners!

Why precisely did you resolve to make a movie about your journey? What do you hope to do with the movie now that you’re completed with it?

I’m at the moment learning Structure, and my movie was a part of a thesis on how we keep in mind travelling by locations; the movie is itself a recreation from reminiscence. I modelled immediately from reminiscence into the software program with out placing the concepts on paper first. Sadly I can’t launch the written half presently. I’ve accepted a spot on a Character Animation course subsequent 12 months at Central St Martins in London. I’ve by no means formally studied animation so the movie was partly an train in educating myself! I’m hoping to seek out work expertise in an animation studio this summer season so the movie will hopefully be helpful there! Aside from that, together with my journals and sketchbooks I stay up for trying again at it in a few years time with fond reminiscences.

How precisely was the movie was made? What software program did you employ? How lengthy did it take? How many individuals had been engaged on it? And the way precisely did you be taught to animate?

To make the movie I primarily used the open-source software program “blender.” Anybody can obtain blender at no cost ( and train themselves mannequin and animate from the hundreds of tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere, simply as I did. A few of the “color grading” (the colorful stylised look of the pictures) was completed in Adobe After Results which is rather more straight ahead than blender: in the event you’ve ever used Photoshop you possibly can decide it up fairly quick.

I used to be the one particular person engaged on the undertaking, however sometimes I’d present exams of pictures to associates to guage what labored and what didn’t. I relied on just a few favours for the music – I’m very grateful to Yarden Brody, Nick Chapman and the Electrical Furs, who all licensed their songs at no cost. I began storyboarding on the first December ’09, and completed the movie on the twenty fifth March ’10. All through more often than not I had plenty of different uni work to take action till the final three weeks it was very sluggish progress. The character and bike modelling took one month, the scene design took one other two months, and the animation took about three weeks. I did the edit in a day and a half, and the sound design in a day!

If you happen to may do your bike journey once more, what would you do in another way?

I’d make extra effort to speak to the locals. When considered one of my inside tubes blew a valve in a small city within the east of Romania we couldn’t discover a bike store wherever. We managed to elucidate what we wanted to a passer by although gestures, pointing and drawing footage. He beckoned us to comply with him, after which drove Duncan in his automobile to a market, the place he insisted on paying for the brand new tubes! Within the meantime we sat on some steps exterior a store. The shopkeeper should have seen we had been in bother and introduced us out bunches of grapes. Encounters like this occurred each time we stopped, however typically the locals couldn’t converse any English and we had subsequent to no information of their language.

And in the event you may make your movie once more, what would you do in another way?

I used to be massively over formidable contemplating how little I knew about 3D animation initially of the undertaking, and in hindsight the standard of the animation may have been so much higher if I hadn’t had so many alternative digital places to construct! I solely ended up reducing round two pictures as a result of I ran out of time. I might have cherished to incorporate extra dialogue, however was anxious about getting my associates to behave issues out – they noticed the movie for the primary time when it was completed. All in all although it was a terrific studying expertise, and the feedback I’ve had again from viewers have made it value it.

For extra info on Josh’s movie, “Au Soleil”, simply click on right here.


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Animated Bike Tour Documentary – “Au Soleil” by Josh Wedlake  
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