For those of you who do not know I have been friends with Sven & Alex from Calisthenic Movement for several years now. They started YouTube in 2012 and myself in 2010.
To my delight, Sven sent me a message in December 2016 saying the two of them were planning to visit Australia in January 2017. I agreed to collaborate without hesitation.
The two live in Germany and had to embark on a 35-hour trip to Sydney where they intended to spend a week producing content and sightseeing where possible.
I live in Melbourne and needed to arrange a flight mid-week (on one of my days off from working as a physiotherapist) to meet up with the boys.
Day of the meetup
The day quickly arrived and an early morning flight from Melbourne-Sydney was on the cards. A full day of filming and photography was scheduled.
We agreed to meet at Belmore Park in front of Central Station in the heart of Sydney at 9:30am. Calisthenic Movement warned me they did not have access to mobile data/wifi outside of their apartment. I sent them a message when I arrived at Sydney airport and crossed my fingers hoping they would have no issues locating me.
Fortunately, we managed to meet up with no issues despite the circumstances.
The two had hired a car for their brief stay. Alex was driving and seemed quite comfortable despite being on the opposite side of the road. It was also amusing to be driven around a familiar city when guided by a GPS voiced by a stern German woman.
During the drive we chatted about our YouTube history, Australian and German culture and got to know each other on a personal level.
The plan was to travel to Wentworth Park and film two videos, one for each of our YouTube channels. After arriving, we started warming up. Sven was speaking in German to Alex and the tone of conversation sounded distressed. Sven was concerned the location would not be suitable for filming due to tree coverage, restricted filming angles and poor lighting opportunities.
This specific attribute is what separates Calisthenic Movement from the rest of the fitness content creators online. By enforcing a rigorous standard of quality for their videos, they are able to go the extra mile to create the best possible material for their audience. It would have been easy to film at the current location, but with better options available, the compromise was avoided.
This exemplifies why I have such a high level of respect for them.
I agreed with the concern, proceeded to pack up the camera equipment and we then made our way back to the car.
We decided to film at Alan Davidson Oval, which has a calisthenics park. When we arrived the process of warming up and camera set up had to be repeated.
Unfortunately, at the time of filming all three of us were carrying different injuries. Sven was dealing with medial epicondylalgia from too much climbing. Alex had been experiencing bilateral brachioradiallis discomfort. As for myself, I was in the sub-acute stage of dealing with a grade two subscapularis strain on my left shoulder. As a result we had to settle for filming lower intensity exercises and could not release a flashy “show reel style” video demonstrating our abilities.
The video shoot commenced with a partner workout routine series for Calisthenic Movement’s channel. This consisted of a dip and pullup routine, and team based handstand challenge.
The process of filming a total of five minutes of content took about two hours to complete.
For those unfamiliar with film-making, manual composure and planning is a must for a clean final product.
Fortunately it was not overly warm by Australian summer standards, about 28 degrees Celsius with intermittent clouds. We did not stop for lunch as we still had another video to film and photos to take.
When working with driven people the thought of taking a break does not enter the mind.
For the FitnessFAQs collaboration video I intended to show a series of partner resisted exercises, as the public has a limited understanding of the potential for increasing intensity of bodyweight exercises.
Training in this way is fun and fosters a friendly competitive environment. Once again the filming process took a few hours.
Before we had a chance to realise how tired we were becoming photos had to be taken to immortalise the collaboration. Taking photos is enjoyable, especially when the hard part of the day is finished.
While taking photos, a local started to train sets and reps at the park. He looked over and said “hey aren’t you those handstand guys on YouTube, yeah you are I’ve seen you”. Alex & Sven sheepishly thanked the admirer.
Afterwards we had a quick pit stop back at the AirBnB the guys had rented. The precious footage and photos were backed up on our respective devices to be edited later, with all the material totaling to 60gb. We then chilled out for a bit watching old YouTube videos from the early days.
Work done, time to relax
After backing up the files, I suggested filming a comedic skit to serve as a teaser leading up to the release of our official collaboration video(s). The guys were keen on filming a light-hearted video. Once again we drove off to a separate park, planned our shots, set up the equipment and filmed the video. The skit was filmed in one take with onlookers confused by the ordeal.
After filming the skit energy levels were running low. As we were walking back to the car, I suggested going to China town in Sydney’s CBD for dinner. It was finally time to unwind, enjoy some quality food and have a laugh. I gave Sven a tutorial on the art of using chopsticks, as he had never ate the cuisine in an authentic way. It was humorous to see the “self-reported fastest eater” handicapped by the unfamiliar utensils.
Calisthenic Movement were nice enough to drive me directly to the airport after our feast, concluding a long yet productive day. My flight back to Melbourne departed at 8:30pm and I had to get home and rest before work the following day.
Collaborating with Calisthenic Movement was an enjoyable experience. Sven and Alex are authentic, personable and professional when it comes to their craft. I look forward to working with them again in the future.