Rising talent Spencer MacDonald directs a visually stunning short film about the city of Los Angeles for cycling sportswear and lifestyle brand Rapha. The film, which was produced by San Francisco-based production company Avocados and Coconuts, is the final installment to launch in the “Rapha Rides” series of six short films MacDonald helmed for the brand. Each film spotlights one of six cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Boulder, and Seattle – highlighting the qualities that make each location’s cycling culture unique.
MacDonald worked closely with Avocados and Coconuts Creative Director Amani King to flesh out the vision of the direct-to-brand films. The goal for the Los Angles segment was to showcase the metropolis as “a city of many facades.” The video accomplishes this beautifully, seamlessly melding landscapes from the mountains to the beach to the dry LA riverbed, guided by the narration of artist Geoff McFetridge. Images of art, landmarks, nature and the city’s many, many streets are overlaid with a blend of sound design that creates the sonic atmosphere of this incredibly diverse cityscape.
“We wanted to show LA as he sees it and also in a way that hasn’t been done before,” explains MacDonald. “So we drove around the city for two and a half days trying to capture as many different sides of the city as possible. We had a pretty bare-bones crew so we could move quickly. The challenge was feeling limited on time in our attempt to capture the real diversity of LA landscapes, which are often separated by miles of the notorious traffic.”
On working with Rapha, Macdonald says, “They have been a great client, trusting us to be free in creating as we desire. This probably will go down as the least amount of cycling ever shown in a Rapha film… I really wanted to hold back the conclusion, and the actual cycling aspect, until the end, knowing the piece would be stronger if we could pull this off.”
The Los Angles video is the last in the series to be released, following San Francisco, Seattle and Boulder. The Boulder and Seattle films, both captured by MacDonald, were selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick.
Avocados and Coconuts handled creative development, production, and post production for the entire series, with MacDonald editing several of the films himself. The project is a perfect example of the company’s overall mission to create beautiful, compelling stories for viewers who have a slew of options. To stand out, they meld creative vision with pragmatic process to produce work that people want to share, comment on, and watch repeatedly and have successfully applied this balance to other brands such as Google, Whole Foods, Apple, and Levi’s.