For most people, watching the short, outdoor adventure films produced by The Bivy is the closest they will ever come to flying through the air on a rope swing dangling from a paraglide like a floating trapeze. And, given the incredible detail and perspective of the Bend-based crew's videos, that may be close enough.
Co-founders Ari DeLashmutt and Wes Coughlin—winter sports enthusiasts who first met on Mt. Bachelor a couple years ago—combine their love for filmmaking and extreme outdoor sports to create dynamic short films highlighting the thrill of pushing the limits in both arenas.
DeLaschmutt says that being filmmakers allows them to capture their wild stunts, but their athleticism also gives them greater access for filmmaking.
"Not only does it allow you to see with a different set of eyes," DeLashmutt says, "but it allows us to get our cameras into the backcountry."
But that doesn't mean it's easy. To get their unique angles, the Bivy crew often has to carry more than 60 lbs of equipment into the backcountry on skis, or out onto a nylon highline while maintaining balance and a steady grip on expensive cameras.
"We always try to use creative filmmaking, whether it's stories, angles, or getting on someone's shoulders to get that extra bit of height," DeLashmutt says.
The group has also made creative use of drones to capture shots that are otherwise not humanly possible. Co-founder Coughlin has actually taken his experience with drones and turned it into a company called XProHeli, that builds lightweight quadcopters designed for aerial photography.
It's escapism at its finest. And the Bivy team knows its audience—thrill seekers with short attention spans.
"The goal of The Bivy is to create amazing films. I would love to make something feature length, but the problem is no one is going to watch it," DeLashmutt explains. "I feel like the world trains our attention span to be a certain way. The format we used at The Bivy is created by how people ingest media."
As such, The Bivy exists primarily as a YouTube channel featuring short films between two and five-minutes long. So far, they've documented winter downhill mountain biking with Carson Storch; tandem ski jumps at Mt. Hood; rope jumping at Smith Rock; highlining over Sahalie Falls; and an original hybrid feat they're calling paragliding-rope swing-base jumping.
The channel has only been live since July, but DeLashmutt says The Bivy has plenty more ideas in the pipeline.
"We haven't filmed wing suits yet. That's coming into play soon," DeLashmutt says.
He adds that The Bivy is also planning to make another segment of its controversial short "Mountain Babes." The first installments features bikini-clad women frolicking on Sparks Lake in slo-mo. It's also The Bivy's most popular video, with more than 60,000 views.
"The next Mountain Babes is going to be a lot different," DeLashmutt says, offering a hint: "In the future you're going to see a lot of amazing women doing amazing things."
He points out that The Bivy isn't aiming to please everyone, and that their films aren't always based on reality.
"Every video is a little different, but they all have some kind of underlying theme," DeLashmutt says. "Some are more inspirational, like 'Killin' Willies.' Some are just plain exciting, like 'The Paraglide Rope Swing.' Entertainment is the number one thing we're trying to do."