Andy Vathis

Behind the scenes of Dialed, YouTube’s best MTB series!

We’re about to give you an insight into a web series that takes viewers behind the scenes at the biggest mountain bike races on the calendar. Fox Factory Racing have their own series called Dialed and a brand new episode is released up on YouTube every single day throughout the week of every DH World Cup and DH World Champs.

Each episode of Dialed delivers a high quality behind the scenes glimpse into what goes on each day with the top riders, out on track and in the pits. With a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary style each daily episode is usually 8 to 10 minutes in duration and leads viewers on a journey of amazing story telling. With unmatched access to riders and team bosses who provide incredible insight into the daily events as the inevitable action and drama of each race unfolds leading up to those final runs on Saturday/Sunday.

Every episode of Dialed is an absolute must watch so if you haven’t already, be sure to head over to Fox Factory Racing’s YouTube channel, click through to the Dialed section and hit subscribe so that you don’t miss out on any of the goodness. In charge of bringing each of the daily episodes to life are a pair of exceptionally talented young American filmmakers by the names of Jake and Shaffer. We recently caught up with the duo between World Cup weekends for chat about how they pull off the mammoth task of making Dialed. Enjoy… 

I guess Dialed started somewhat organically, kind of branching off from the Syndicate videos and between two puzzlers into something more Fox focused. The first year was pretty tough, learning the ropes and figuring out how to do two things at once. Luckily Jake and Shaffer showed up to take control and I couldn’t be happier, these are two people who not only do a fantastic job but I actually enjoy spending time with them (that’s rare) so who knows what the future holds but we’re looking forward to it!” 

Jordi Cortes, Fox Factory Global Race Dept Manager

[R]: Filming, editing and uploading a video every single day of the week throughout a World Cup weekend seems like it would be an impossible feat yet somehow that is exactly what you manage to do! What is the process / routine like on each of those days in order to get your vids brought to life? 

Shaffer: On the most efficient days we’re at breakfast by 8, filming from 9 till roughly 3 in the afternoon, then editing into the night. I’d guess we get the video up by midnight on average, but that varies by a few hours in both directions. 

[R]: Does Fox Factory give you a strict brief for what they want from each races coverage and what they want each episode to include, or do you guys have a pretty free rein to capture and create each video as you like? 

Jake: Fox has been so incredible to work with on this series because they provided us with an initial vision and general direction for the series, but since then have basically given us free rein to create whatever we’d like.

Shaffer: Any given day of the race week feels like you’re at a train station with no signs telling you which one to get on. There are so many stories unfolding all around and our job most days is to commit to one and do our best to make it digestible for the audience. That said, it’s really fun when someone from Fox or a YouTube commenter gives us an idea of what train we should try to catch tomorrow.  

[R]: What kind of audience reach are you guys hitting each episode? 

Shaffer: 10k – 30k generally. 

[R]: How would you both describe the style of the Dialed series? 

Jake: Fast and loose. Haha, I’m not fully sure how to describe the style of Dialed, but it’s definitely a goal of mine for it to be authentic and real.

Shaffer: We aim for every episode to include some level of positivity, gratitude, and useful information. Sometimes an episode leans towards one of those characteristics heavier than the others, but that trinity is usually the goal.  

[R]: Obviously a large portion of the story telling each episode revolves around what is happening in the Fox Factory pits and all of those guys and girls seem like they get along with each other super well, plenty of banter, etc. What is it like working alongside those guys each day and in particular what is boss man Jordi like to work with?

Jake:  It sounds cliché to say, but it truly is like being a part of a little family.  Even when we have days off and don’t have to spend time with each other, we still all hang out and go for rides together. It’s the best.

Shaffer: If the saying “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” is true, then Jake and I have a lot to look forward to. The team feels like an alternate reality sitcom family in the best way.

Jordi is the man. If you’ve ever watched an episode and thought, “I wonder if this guy is actually this cool in real life.” He’s not. He’s way cooler. 

[R]: For each of those daily videos that you make, how many hours’ worth of footage will you have shot and need to whittle down into the clips that make the final edit? 

Shaffer: This varies so much. Some days it feels like we chop down hours of footage and others we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. 

[R]: If you had to take a guess at the number of hours of combined work that you both putting in on average each day to create a video during a big race weekend? 

Jake: Shaffer and I honestly each put in about 14-16 hour’s worth of work every day there’s an episode. Now I’m not saying all of that is “hard work”. Sometimes “work” means that Shaffer and I play a game of S.K.A.T.E at the Fox pit while we wait for an athlete to stop by and get their suspension sorted.  But every episode is the result of an entire day of filming followed by an entire night of editing.

Shaffer: 24 hours each since most of my dreams (and nightmares) are Dialed themed during race week. 


[R]: Is it really just the 2 of you guys doing all the work on each video or do you have some other people behind the scenes that are involved? 

Jake: Haha yep, it is just the two of us.  But we’ve got a ton of support from Fox making sure we’ve got everything we need to make it happen. And obviously the videos would be nothing without Jordi, the Fox team, and the other teams and athletes.

Shaffer: It feels like there’s a mountain of people helping. The athletes and the team bring the content, the great folks back at Fox post the Instagram content, and the viewers give us new ideas. As far as hitting the record button, editing, and uploading though – that’s all Jake and me. 

[R]: How much gear do you guys have to travel with to each race in order to create Dialed?  

Jake: I’m able to carry all of my camera gear in a backpack which is my carry-on when flying. And then I check a bike bag and a duffel bag with the rest of my stuff.  It’s really not that much, but it sure feels like a lot when you have to lug it around between airports and rental cars.

Shaffer: A bag for clothes, a bag for a bike, and a bag for camera/laptop equipment. All three bags are way heavier than they should be. 

[R]: What type of cameras and set-up do you shoot with? 

Jake: It’s been all over the place the last couple seasons, but this year I’m on a Sony FX3 with a Sony 16-35mm f2.8 and a Sony 70-200mm f2.8 lens. For microphones it’s either a Rode VideoMic Pro + or a Deity S-Mic 2, and sometimes a DJI wireless mic.

Shaffer: Sony FX3, a myriad of lenses, and a Deity S-Mic 2s. 

[R]: Are you guys living the ‘high life’ as you travel the globe following the World Cup circus or do you have to keep it pretty frugal in order to stay on budget and ‘keep the show on the road’? 

Jake: This series allows me to attend every DH World Cup race, drink endless sparkling water, and eat hotel breakfasts with Jordi Cortes every morning. If that’s not the ‘high life,’ I don’t know what is. Haha, honestly though Fox takes really good care of us.

It’s definitely not glamorous all of the time, but it’s a damn good time.

Shaffer: Fox takes really great care of us and I’m immensely grateful for the work they put in to make our process as streamlined as possible.  

[R]: What are the sweetest perks, or the best parts of making Dialed, and also what are the shitty bits? 

Jake: The best perk is absolutely the riding.  I feel so lucky and grateful to be able to ride my bike in so many incredible places, and to ride with so many cool people.  The worst part is the lack of sleep… but it’s worth it!

Shaffer: Best parts in order: the people, the biking, and the beautiful places I’d never have gotten to visit otherwise. The hardest part: I love my family so much and there’s not a day I don’t miss them when I’m gone. 

[R]: What sort of accreditation or passes do you guys need at the races in order to get access to the track and the pits, etc? And, what’s the set-up like at a World Cup media centre these days, do they still provide you with unlimited meals and WIFI and what not? 

Jake: Well, in 2020 we thought we weren’t even going to get accreditation. That season was pretty hectic, and they basically wouldn’t let us film anywhere except inside the Fox pit.  We’ve come a long way since then and now have media vests for the entire season, which get us access to film anywhere on track or around the venue. I don’t think I’ve ever stepped foot in the World Cup media centre, but now this question makes me feel like I’m missing out on something?!

Shaffer: The accreditation process has gotten much easier since covid restrictions have eased. Our names are usually on a list, and we just pick up the passes before the action. I’m honestly not sure about the media centre. We’ve got the best team pit at the World Cup, so I think I’ve only been in the actual media area once ever.

I did get a banana and a graham cracker while I was there though so that was tight.


[R]: When you guys travel to the races do you take bikes yourselves and do you get much time to ride when you’re on the road? 

Jake: I do always fly with my bike.  Certain venues like Leogang and Fort William have quick nearby trails that we can finish in a half hour.  In those cases we’ll ride nearly every day.  Other venues it’s a bit more challenging and we’ll only get to ride on days we don’t have to make a video. But it’s also nice to bring my bike along so that the Fox team can yell at me for the condition of my bike, and then fix/upgrade it for me!

Shaffer: We usually take bikes and we ride them as often as we can. Yesterday we biked off the top of a Swiss Alp. Needless to say it’s not too shabby of a situation for us to be in.

[R]: Which male and which female DH racer has been your favourite to watch out on track so far this season?

Shaffer: This is a hard question. We’re lucky to interact with a lot of them as both athletes and friends. Jordi says this a lot, but you can’t help but want everyone to do well. Even when someone you’re cheering for wins you still wish all your other favourites could cram themselves up on the podium somehow. If I absolutely had to choose I’d go with Jordan Williams and Camille Balanche this year though. 

[R]: Do you guys ever stop and ponder that it’s pretty crazy/awesome that a brand like Fox Factory dig what you guys are doing with Dialed so much that they give you guys what must be a pretty large budget each year so that you’re able to travel the globe chasing bikes and making content? As in, do you guys reckon you have the ‘dream job’ right now?

Jake: I honestly think about that every single day I’m out here. It still feels like a dream and I’m so endlessly stoked and grateful to be along for the ride.

Shaffer: It’s rare for me to make it through a single day without thinking “how the f$%* am I here right now?” I’m humbled so much by the fact Fox trusts us with something so special and that I get to do it with a close friend who I look up to creatively. For me, the only qualifiers for a dream job are good people and creative freedom, so I reckon this gig makes the cut. There are lots of stories I want to tell outside mountain biking, but with how the world cup schedule works I get time for both. The whole thing feels too good to be true, like getting a free banana and graham cracker from the world cup media centre.

[R]: And that’s a wrap! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, and also thank you so much for taking us all along with you on the journey with each of the videos that you guys make and upload. The Dialed series is second to none in our opinion and every single episode is must watch viewing for any MTB race fan. Cheers and keep up the incredible work lads! [R]

Photos // Andy Vathis

Watch the latest episodes right here.