“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know,” began Ricki Bedenbaugh.
For over 20 years, Bedenbaugh has been a sought out cinematographer and editor in the action sports world. Since starting in the skate industry, he’s gone on to shoot virtually all sports from skateboarding to the NBA, the PGA, and motocross. He’s worked for notable brands including Element Skateboards, Stance Socks, Playboy TV, Red Bull and Fox Racing but remarkably, Bedenbaugh’s start was far from usual.
“I didn’t go to school for this, everything I’ve learned is self-taught. I began by filming my friends and ended up in the right place at the right time. I knew all I wanted to do was film and edit, so I quit my 9 to 5 job, moved to California, and really focused on learning everything I could about cameras and editing. If I look back at my work from 23 years ago, it looks more than home movies rather than the professional quality you’d see today,” says Bedenbaugh.
Bedenbaugh’s body of work is just as diverse as his list of clients. His cinematography reel opens with a single shot of various motorcycle riders that includes fire and knife throwing before going to aerial footage from various locales and then cutting to exquisite close-ups and wide shots of motocross riders and live events. Uniquely, Bedenbaugh manages to capture the action and the personality each scene with an edgy flair that goes well with action sports.
He adds, “I try to do things differently. I encourage younger shooters to ask questions and to not be scared to try new things. If you want your work to stand out, shoot things differently, think outside the box”
“Filming skateboarding can be a long tedious process, so you have to have patience. Skateboarders don’t always make their trick first try, sometimes it can take hours before they make the trick. I’ve always said that skateboarders are the toughest athletes, they’ll beat themselves to death just to get a three-second clip,” explains Bedenbaugh.
“A lot of times, for skating, we might shoot at a school after hours. You may have a generator with lights but it wouldn’t be controlled set, it’s run and gun shooting. It has to be rigged so that you can break it down in a hurry.”
Bedenbaugh’s typical setup consists of his RED Gemini and Canon 70-200mm lens on his Cartoni Focus 12 fluid head with quick-release smartstop legs. The Focus 12 tripod is an extremely compact and lightweight tripod capable of handling a wide payload from 0-26lbs. The Focus 12 features a continuously variable fluid damping system on both pan and tilt movements and an unprecedented patented variable counterbalance which brings its range of use to cover all modern digital cinema cameras and medium-sized ENG cameras.
On a recent shoot in Mexico, Bedenbaugh spent his days with his camera and tripod on his shoulder. “Right now, I am filming a lot of motocross, we were shooting a rider in downtown Guadalajara, and didn’t have streets blocked off or really any sort of permits, it was crazy. We needed to set up, shoot and break down extremely quick so having a lightweight, fast set-up is essential. The Cartoni tripod is easy and very fast to set-up so I can focus on getting my shot” says Bedenbaugh.
“I love using my Focus 12. I rarely go handheld, I’d rather walk all day with my tripod on my shoulder to get steady, smooth shots then go handheld.”
Manios Digital is the official US distributor for Cartoni, Kinotehnik and Hawk-Woods.
About Manios Digital: A division of Ste-Man, Inc. and led by President Steven Manios, Jr., Manios Digital & Film has been bringing the world’s highest quality products to the broadcast, film and pro-video industry in the United States since 1992. The company has longstanding relationships with leading manufacturers around the globe and an extensive dealer network spanning the United States. It is an authorized distributor for Cartoni, Vocas, Hawk-Woods, and Kinotehnik. By working closely with its customers, and by listening to and understanding their needs, Manios Digital & Film has become a trusted partner to film and video professionals worldwide.
Manios Digital & Film 10663 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601; 818.760.8290.