Pie Trip Down Under

A few years ago my dear friend Loren, who you may remember from such films as The Pie Trip, Pie Trip II: Pie Harder, and Pie Trip 2.5, met a wonderful Australian girl named Caitlin. She was so wonderful that Loren moved to Australia and, earlier this year, they were married.

Pie Trip II was an epic cross-country road trip to reach a wedding in Wisconsin. What better way to top it than with an epic international journey to reach a wedding in Australia? This trip had sequel written all over it.

The result is Pie Trip Down Under, starring Kyle Kingsbury, Tyler Schuett, Andy Howe, Felicity Shoulders, Loren Bruns, and my creepifying disembodied voice. I hope you enjoy it.

The Video

Behind the Scenes

Technology has advanced somewhat since 2004, and so have production values. This was both a blessing and a curse, in that it enabled us to shoot so much footage with so many different cameras in so many different time zones that it took me months (admittedly, lazy months, but still months) just to wade through it all and even longer to make something interesting out of it. And yet, in keeping with Pie Trip tradition, we managed not to get any usable footage of anyone actually eating a pie (although I assure you that many, many delicious meat pies were et).

It's amazing to think that on Pie Trip II we had a single camera—a bulky, clunky thing that recorded crappy SD video onto actual magnetic tape, which then had to be captured to a hard drive in real time. Tape, hard drive space, and actual time were serious limiting factors in the making of that video.

On this trip we had more HD cameras than we knew what to do with (everyone literally had one in their pocket), shot hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes of footage, and never gave a single thought to storage space. We live in the future.

The majority of the video was shot on a Canon XA10. This was my first major project with this camera, and in hindsight there are a lot of things I would now do differently. For one, I shot at 24fps, which turned out to be a bad idea because the XA10 has major autofocus lag at that framerate. I now shoot at 60i instead, which produces much better results and still allows me the freedom to adjust the framerate in editing.

Certain scenic shots and many shots in the animal montage were shot on a Canon EOS Rebel T3i, which was also new for this trip. This turned out to be pretty good for static shots, but I was disappointed by the obvious compression artifacts and noise in the T3i's videos at wider focal lengths. In spite of the much better lens flexibility and control over depth of field available on the T3i, footage from the XA10 often ended up looking better simply because it suffered from fewer compression artifacts.

The opening motorcycle scene and the Sky Tower jump POV footage at the end of the video were shot with a GoPro HD Hero. Kyle actually shot hours and hours of motorcycle and ATV footage with the Hero, much of which is gorgeous, but sadly I wasn't able to fit it into the narrative of the video.

And of course, several scenes were shot on a humble iPhone 4S (or rather, on one of several humble iPhone 4Ses), which shoots passable HD footage and has the distinct benefit of being easy to carry and quick to use, especially in airports and other places where larger cameras are less convenient to carry or just harder to get to at a moment's notice. The iPhone was also easy to smuggle into a footie match in Melbourne where cameras were forbidden, although I didn't end up using that footage.

The video was edited in Final Cut Pro X, which I absolutely love and have been using happily since it was released. It was mastered in 1080p (a massive jump in quality compared to the grainy SD of the previous Pie Trip videos). I did quite a bit of audio sweetening and color correction for this project, all of which was painless and intuitive. It's clear why many professional editors are upset over the changes in FCPX, but I apparently fall precisely in the prosumer sweet spot that Apple was aiming for with their rewrite.