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Born from a vision that took two World Cup seasons (2009 and 2010) to complete, 3 Minute Gaps stays true to Clay Porter's MTB film formula which documents select World Cup downhillers throughout the race season and at home during the off-season. While the top finishers obviously get air time, riders with flare and style are also showcased as 3 Minute Gaps communicates the triumphs and defeats of the UCI World Cup downhill circuit in a concise and poignant package.
Click to view the behind the scenes feature while filming for Aaron Gwin's section.Previous releases by Clay have often-been criticized for their long running time. 3 Minute Gaps embraces that feedback and responds with a production that does not labor on. Interviews are meaty, no unnecessary sound bites remain. Establishing shots and timelapses give the viewer time to step back and digest the roost, champagne corks and emotion from the racing sequences. Action footage is tight and specific, focusing only on shots that further develop the story.
     The 2010 World Champs section is a perfect example of this editing maturity. The actual World Champs section is merely a few clips of Sam Hill winning the race, segueing into a well-made section of the champ roosting dusty, tight trails at home in Australia. Worlds sections in past films would have been 5 minutes long, but 3 Minute Gaps is about the World Cup, not World Champs, and Clay stuck to his vision. It can be assumed that Clay's cutting room floor was considerably more cluttered with 3 Minute Gaps leftovers than with his previous endeavors, showing experience in his film-making.
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While it may be easy to dismiss a documentary about a race season that was seen live online and through various web videos, the source of 3 Minute Gaps is what makes the movie an icon of the sport. Clay Porter, John Lawlor and John Reynolds are arguably the most experienced filmers immersed on the World Cup downhill circuit. Their relationships with riders has developed over years, their knowledge of venues and life on the road matches that of the racers, allowing these three filmers to get footage no one else can.

     The riders know they're in for a committed discussion when they mic up for a 3MG interview. They're not going for sound bites thrown into quick web edit, and it shows in the candid responses. The scenes at home with selected racers reflect the trust between rider and film maker, something that is a result of time spent together in years past and respect for the final product. Riders do not play it safe filming their riding sections at home. Getting the World Cup elite to blast 50 foot gap jumps and take risks that could ruin a race season is not something any filmer could make happen. The section that demonstrates this comradery between rider and filmer most effectively has the least to do with World Cup racing is Brendan Fairclough's compound section. It's my personal favorite, too. Explosions, incredible trails, dirt jump trains with modern tricks and even good, old fashion filming-with-a-fisheye-on-the-landing-of-a-jump are an homage to having fun as they make a bike movie...reminiscent of Clay Porter circa 2003, the ultimate grom. The informality of the compound section was actually quite surprising and refreshing amidst the battle for milliseconds.


3 Minute Gaps is Clay Porter's strongest film to date and is a must for any downhiller, whether you're a racer or not. It's the most in-depth look into the lives of the fastest and most talented downhill riders on the planet and it should be a part of your library.
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Back in 2009, the filming for 3 Minute Gaps began. Behind the scenes during some Fairclough blasting with Vanderham in tow.
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