More than 29,00 people from 125 countries submitted their favorite HERO9 Black clips for the chance to be featured in the third annual Million Dollar Challenge highlight reel. Only 56 creators made the cut, earning almost $18,000 a piece. 

This series celebrates these creators and their creative processes. We hope these behind-the-scenes looks inspire you as much as they did us.

 

What happens when you have two Frenchmen—one a professional mountain biker and the other an FPV pilot and filmmaker—join forces? The answer is: Magic. 

The following is an interview with Kilian Bron and Pierre Dupont, the masterminds behind the moment where mountain biking meets hot air balloons in the HERO9 Black Million Dollar Challenge (MDC).

GoPro: What a dream team! How did you meet?

Kilian: I'm always looking for new ideas to purpose original content. And two years ago, we started to watch some FPV edits in our outdoor scene. It was pretty new to combine FPV and MTB, but I knew there was something really interesting to do! I met Pierre some days after, riding a beautiful ridge and being chased by a FPV.

Pierre: We met through a mutual friend, Clément Gallay. Clément saw that I started filming with my drones and knew that Kilian was looking for the next thing that to push MTB content creation further. Within two weeks of meeting, we made the first drone capable of carrying a GoPro Fusion and made the video “Drone Revolution.”

How did you get the Million Dollar shot with HERO9 Black?

Pierre: It actually happened while we were on a shoot capturing travel adventure in Turkey for Commencal Bicycles, which will be live in a few months.

Kilian: But when we're traveling, we have always some extra ideas in mind! To be honest, I wanted to purpose content for the GoPro MDC, but we had to be creative. Riding a beautiful line in MTB is great. But if you have the golden hour with the illuminate balloons in the air plus the dynamism of a great FPV shot ... it’s just so much better, and it's exactly what we were looking for.

How did you find this location?

Pierre: Kilian is an adventurer; he will go where no one will ever have the idea to ride a bicycle. Finding an insane zone is his second nature—he is made for that! Need a sick ridge line? Check. You want an adventure? Why not taking kayaks to cross lakes to ride a beautiful track in the middle of a grass field?

Kilian: I spent most of my time outside in the mountains. And when I rest at home, I'm always watching documentaries, reading articles or scrolling through social media to find new areas and ideas. That's pretty basic, but I'm just a real passionate guy and I try to do my best to concretize all my dreams.

Did you have to do a lot of takes to get the shot?

Pierre: We only did three takes! And, the one we submitted was the last one. Kilian was so close to the drone with his tire; he kept his trick as long as he could, and he landed with a smile because we made it ! I didn’t know that was the one at the time because I couldn’t see, but I remember how pumped Kilian was—and oh boy, I wasn’t even ready for it when we reviewed the clip after!

Kilian: I woke up each morning at 4:30 a.m. to enjoy each sunrise—for 10 days. It's the only moment where you can admire all these balloons in the air. I used to ride and explore all the canyons around me to find the right line and tried to anticipate the balloons’ trajectories. And you can take my word for it, it's pretty difficult! But each morning was a show, it was incredible.

Pierre, What are your go-to settings for filming FPV?

Pierre: My go to settings are 4K at 25fps, with a fixed shutter speed at 1/100, and I use a ND8 filter. This is how I get the effect of speed we all love! I also use ReelSteady which gives us the ability to stabilize in post—the perfect tool for FPV pilots !

When did start getting into FPV?

Pierre: I started FPV when it was still an idea back in 2012, eight years ago at Airgonay where it all started in France (remember FPV Racing - Crash Session!!! ?) Then, I never stopped, and by the end of my engineering school, I started my own company, Cinematic Flow, filming the best athletes with my speedy toys.

Have you lost any drones or cameras?

Pierre: I have lost only one drone in eight years, and it was lost for good in an alpine lake this summer. But I have broken so many ones! I had so many that I started taking them apart and rebuilding them or straight up modifying them so I can put them on super light drones (less than 180 grams). They are now new tools I can use to create new content!

Kilian, you continue to blow us away with your insane biking shots and the locations you’ve captured over the years. Any exciting plans for 2021?

Kilian: Absolutely! I can't wait to start our new projects. First, we plan to release a full edit of our last trip to Turkey. And from March, you will find us somewhere in South America. I would like to realize something similar (but different) to our last "Tour De France" (below). We have also projects in Spain or Switzerland! And some race goals too for 2021!

Where is your dream location to bike?

Kilian: That's a difficult question. I'm fascinated by a lot of remote areas with stories hidden behind the paths. One example, referring to my last video in the Dolomites, the Dolomites actually have quite a harsh history, going back to World War I. All the paths taken in this episode haven't always been places of sharing, but both Italians and Austrians have excavated these lines with their hands, before getting on dreadful battles.

But I'm also in love with my region, and not only because of the beautiful mountains and lakes. I like to spend time with my friends, riding and sharing amazing moments on our bikes or skis.

Watch the HERO9 Black Million Dollar Challenge highlight reel here.