When you watch as many BMX videos as we do in a day, eventually you start to recognize a lot of filmers and their work. There are days when a video comes out and we’re more stoked on who made the video than the actual rider, or we’re just more familiar with the filmers work than the rider. Over the course of time, we’ve been becoming bigger and bigger fans of Cal Earnshaw’s work and we knew it was time to get to know just who this guy behind (and in front of) the lens is! Let’s take a look at what he had to say along with check out some dialed photos of him riding and a handful of videos that Cal has produced!
Name: Cal Earnshaw
Location: Torquay, Devon
Sponsors / Hook Ups: None
Years riding: 13ish
Years filming and editing: I started messing around with with cameras when I was about 14. I didn’t start editing or actually making videos until I was about 17.
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
I got into BMX from riding a launch ramp in my friends garden on some shitty MTB. My friend had BMX and it was so much better to jump than my bike, so I asked for a BMX that Christmas. I got an all Chrome Dyno Compe which I rode around on for a couple years doing back hops on the back pegs and rolling barspins, then eventually I started riding dirt jumps and things progressed from there.
What about filming and editing? Was it because of BMX or something outside of BMX that got you into it?
Yeah, pretty much. I think I originally bought a video camera so I could film my mates skateboarding and riding. I never had any editing software so I just used to chuck everything on to VHS tapes or make in-cam edits and stop-motion videos with legos.
What was your first camera setup?
I had some Samsung Hi8 thing, then a couple years later I bought a Sony Mini-DV cam which I used to tape a fisheye lens to.
How about these days? What is your gear looking like?
At the moment I’m shooting on a Sony FS700, a couple Canon 5Dmk2’s, Canon XF100 and I have a GoPro Hero4 that comes in handy. I have a bunch of lenses and all the usual tripods, rigs, sliders, jibs etc. I’m kind of in the process of upgrading everything at the moment so by the time this is out I’ll probably have a different setup.
Do you have a dream setup at all or are you pretty content with what you are working with?
Nah, I don’t have a dream setup. Obviously theres loads of gear I’d love to buy. I try not to get too bogged down with all tech, granted it’s still really important, but I still believe you don’t need the best gear to make the best videos. I guess the same can apply to photography as well.
Jordan Godwin tooth hanger in South London.
Who are a few of your favorite riders to film with? Any up and comers we should keep an eye out for?
Filming with Harry Mills-Wakley is always a pleasure, its always good filming with someone you know is gonna pull whatever they try. I’d keep an eye for Jordan as well, that kid is ridiculous, now that he’s on WTP I imagine you’ll be seeing a lot more from him soon.
Are there any pros you have wanted to film with, but haven’t had the chance yet?
It’s always fun to film people go big, everyones nibbling low ledges and rails these days so it would be sick to film with someone like Hoder, he’s probably one of my favourite riders.
Let’s say you got a big fat budget to take any five riders anywhere in the world for one week to film. Who do you bring, where do you go and why?
Ah, this is such a difficult question. I could pick a bunch of my fav riders but then again I’d probably just rather take a bunch of mates and just go on a big trip to as many new places as possible. It would be great to see South America and more of Asia.
You have worked on some bigger projects, like the Jordan Godwin welcome to Wethepeople video that turned out amazing. Who are a few of the brands you have had the opportunity to work with on projects?
The brands I’ve worked with within BMX are WTP, Eclat, Proper, Radio, GT Bikes, United, Red Bull and a few more that I can’t remember.
Based of your Vimeo, it looks like you get into some filming outside of BMX. What are you usually filming when you aren’t working on BMX projects?
Yeah, I film loads of non BMX stuff. Usually it’s just event coverage, promotional video or corporate. I’ve filmed a few MTB and FMX bits as well, that stuff is really fun and everything I’ve learned filming BMX transfers over to that.
What’s the weirdest thing you have been asked to film?
Pig racing, haha.
We’ve seen you pop up in videos and everything with Fooman, who is one hell of a photographer. Has he had much influence or guidance in your film work?
Me and Foo grew up riding together, eventually we both got into photography and filming. We have the same friendship group that extends into BMX so quite often we’re either around Torbay and Devon shooting together with our mates or on a trip together somewhere shooting. We try to keep each other involved which is cool. If I’m gonna go shoot with someone and nobodies taking pics then I’ll give Foo a heads up and vice versa. We’re often poaching each others angles too, more so Foo than me, haha.
When you watch a video from a well known filmer, it’s usually pretty easy to pick out who did the video even if it’s not listed. What would you say your “style” would be when it comes to filming?
Ah, I have no idea. I try to make every video different from the last. I try and watch a lot of skate videos and other non BMX stuff so I probably take influence from them as well. I guess style is probably something that other people pick up on, I definitely see it in other filmers work like you said but I struggle to see it in my own.
Did you ever go to school for filming or was it something that was all self taught?
I studied film and video at college, then went on to university to study TV and Video Production. To be honest though I didn’t really push myself at that either. I kind of just went into higher education as I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had always had an interest in filming so naturally I chose those subjects to study. I missed a lot of university and my course wasn’t great, I really didn’t learn much, so yeah I’d say I’m about 70% self taught.
Who are some of the guys that really inspired you when you first started getting into filming and everything?
I grew up watching videos made by Bob Scerbo, Stew Johnson, Ryan Navazio, Joe Cox, etc. so I guess those guys. When I started to get into filming more Let’s Get Mystical had recently come out so I’d say Joe Simon as well.
What about these days? Who are some of the filmers that you’re into?
I really like anything Rich Forne and Dave Sowerby put out. Will Evans is also on another level. I don’t actually watch too many BMX edits. I obviously watch the main ones with the crazy riding but if it’s not filmed or edited well and its not a rider I enjoy watching then I generally don’t bother, maybe I’m getting old ha.
Do you have another job outside of doing film work at all or is this your full-time gig?
No filming is my full-time job. I’ve been pretty lucky considering I didnt put a lot of effort in at university. I’ve landed on my feet with it all. The first couple of years were slow, I didn’t really know what I was doing or if it was even what I wanted to be doing but these past two years or so it’s all come together nicely. I have a small creative company that I run with a friend, so basically any non BMX work that I get is done under that name and any BMX work I do is under my name. I try to keep the two separate but occasionally some BMX projects will crop up on my business website and social pages.
Photo: Andrew Murtagh
What are some of your current projects you’re working on? Any hints at when your next video will be popping up online?
At the moment I’m working on an edit with Sam Jones for Eclat, we filmed a bunch of clips in Paris while I was filming with Jordan for WeThePeople, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into that. I’ve been speaking to Will at DIG as well so hopefully I will be working on more projects with those guys. Also, I have a lot planned with WTP and Eclat so I’m sure something will be online soon enough.
Do you have any big trips you’re looking to make before the winter wraps up?
I’m heading out to Barcelona in October with Sam Jones, Fooman, Jay Alcock and possibly Ben Lewis. There’s not much plan at all though which is good, gonna just carry on filming for Sam’s Eclat edit. I’ve ruptured my ACL so I can’t ride at the moment so would be cool to film a little trip video with no pressure from a brand. Might also be doing a UK trip with WTP in September too.
Where are some of your favorite places that you have had the chance to travel to thanks to BMX and filming?
A couple years ago I got the chance to go out to Pennsylvania in the states, I filmed with the DC guys at Catty and Posh. Those trails are awesome. I would love to go back there and actually ride them. I’ve been all over Europe filming as well which is awesome, would be great to eventually go a bit further afield. Japan and China look awesome.
You’re pretty frequently popping up in edits with riding footage as well. Do you get to ride as much as you want or is it hard when you are expected to film?
Yeah, I love riding, it’s hard to film personal projects because if I’m not there to film then I just want to ride. Don’t get me wrong, I love filming but I will always find riding way more fun. The hardest is on trips when you’re away and being paid to film, my bikes always with me so it’s hard not to get carried away especially when you’re in a big city you’ve never ridden before. End of the day you’re there to do a job, so if you get hurt then it kind of messes it up for everyone on the trip, so I generally don’t ride much at all on trips.
Where do you hope to take things in the next few years? Any big goals you want to accomplish?
It would be nice to work on more BMX projects. I feel like I should enjoy it while it lasts and also because I love doing it. I guess long term goals would be seeing my business grow more, I believe that the more growth my business has then the more opportunities it opens for me to travel the world and do all the things id like to do. I’d also like to make a DVD, seems like its kind of a milestone for filmers so would be great if that happened.
What kind of advice do you have for the young guns just getting into filming and editing?
I guess just keep doing what you’re doing, it’s kind of like riding, if you’re doing something good then someone will eventually notice then it will go from there. Networking helps as well, speaking to the right people and staying in contact with them, people always like people who are busy.
How can people keep up with you these days?
@callumearnshaw on Instagram.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
My mum and dad, they’ve been real supportive and never pushed me down the route of making someone else rich. Lee Musselwhite has helped me out loads over the years and I can’t thank him enough. I would also thank Abi, Jordan, Foo, Kye Forte, Rocco, Jason Phelan, Mark Noble, Colin and Caroline, Margo and all the UFD lot.
Anything else you want to say? Stay Pickled.