Red Bull Blackout was an event that brought local college film students together with a professional production crew and the world's top professional wakeboarders, all working collectively to document one of the most truly unique wake events. The shoot used the premise of being a nighttime shoot utilizing a delicate dance of two helicopters in conjunction with theatrical concert spotlights, (normally used to illuminate rock concerts) and military grade smoke bombs to set the scene.
With a setup that rivaled the planning and preparation of a complex Hollywood stunt set, blackout bought together four different federal agencies from the FAA to the local Department of Natural Resources to break about every rule in the book. Riding at night, two birds in the air within mere feet of each other, blinding spot lights cutting through the thick mist from the smoke bombs, blackout was truly a unique shoot. An extra emergency dispatcher was assigned that night just to handle the onslaught of extra 911 calls that came in over the two night production. What seemed like a missing person search, or escaped convict manhunt was actually one of the most intense wakeboard film shoots in recent memory. The shoot went down September 24-28,2007 at Iowa's Lake Okoboji. Athletes were both local amateurs and top athletes all showcasing their own diverse style of riding. Professional wakeboarders included J.D. Webb, Collin Harrington and Adam Errington. Wakeskate athletes included Brian Grubb and Reed Hanson.
The Sidewayz production crew, consisting of accomplished film-maker Ronn Seidenglanz and his crew, assisted the students as they attempted to create progressive visuals by filming wakeboarding on everything from barges to rails in the dark through use of specialized lighting and helicopters. The crew consisted of; Brooks Farrell, cinematographer from Los Angeles; Dan Hughes, cinematographer out of Vancouver, Canada and Josh Letchworth and Joey Meddock, professional photographers from The Standerd Wake Quarterly. Student film teams represented both Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The students were given complete creative freedom to shoot and produce their own video.
The goal of this project in bringing all of these diverse athletes, students, filmers and professionals together in a small corner of Iowa was twofold. Create a dynamic event that the athletes and film crew would be stoked on and give local students the opportunity of a lifetime to further their skills in something they are already passionate about whether it be filming or wakeboarding. We call this event Red Bull Blackout. Look for the final release to drop in early 2008.