Air Time


International mountain biking event Crankworx ran in Rotorua in mid-March, broadcasting live to a huge worldwide audience. Assistant Director Isaac Spedding takes a look at some of the challenges of capturing the energy and excitement.

The massive achievements of the athletes at Crankworx in Rotorua are amazing to witness in person. Nothing beats seeing Freestyle Mountain Bike athlete Brandon Semenuk, known for his parts in Red Bull videos, throw a double backflip over the final jump at the Slopestyle event or witnessing Olympic medallist and three-time World title winner Jill Kintner throw down the fastest Pro Women’s run on the downhill. Dust and dirt haze the air like light drizzle.

Spectators cheer and rattle bicycle frames. Occasionally a silence falls over the crowd as someone’s trick begins to go wrong. You can hear the athlete scream, and hear the impact on the mud. Thanks to the sponsors, several million other people also get a look at the action of a tour that also travels to France and Canada.

This year there was more to it than just breaking records and setting new standards. NZ mountain bike legend Kelly McGarry, who died in Queenstown earlier this year, was remembered through the slopestyle course he helped build and many stories were told.

There are two worlds at Crankworx. One is the real experience: the dust, the heat, the chaos, trekking up and down the trails. The other could be anywhere, is air conditioned and controlled. Both worlds convey the passion of mountain biking and the exhilaration of being there and both are slowly starting to converge.

The OSB HD4 broadcast truck sits quietly behind the big screen at the bottom of the Rotorua Skyline downhill finish line. Inside is the team producing and directing the live broadcast for Crankworx. Their aim is to bring all the stories, the mud and dust, the tears and laughter to the people all over the world who wish they could be a part of the event. Telling this story takes a lot of careful planning and the ability to be extremely creative under pressure.

(l – r) TJ Walker, Jeff Talosi, Vincent MillsPhoto: Isaac Spedding

(l – r) TJ Walker, Jeff Talosi, Vincent Mills
Photo: Isaac Spedding

That’s where Boombox Group come in. TJ, Jeff and Marilou are the powerhouse behind the Crankworx story (they also work on the X-Games, other major Red Bull events around the world, the Call of Duty Championships and campaigns for Under Armour). They know the riders inside out and carefully execute a cinematic experience through sheer passion for the sport. This core team travels to the two other Crankworx events in France and Canada and make sure the brand is cohesive in its output.


  1. Nice write-up, even for the non-technical.

    Bruce 5 years ago Reply