On March 7, Black Rifle Coffee Company and seven-time off-road racing champion BJ Baldwin brought back the “Recoil” video series. They kept the premise of using a trophy truck to pull off wild stunts, but they moved deeper into cinematic territory with the multi-day shoot.
“Recoil Reloaded: Sand & Sky” is only six-and-a-half minutes from start to finish — 9:46 with the credits — but it delivers both audibly and visually. BRCC partnered with the award-winning Sweatpants Media, the company that delivered the Christopher Bell/SiriusXM Camry commercial, and they took the project to a whole other level.
“We’ve been wanting to bring it back for a few years,” Baldwin told Heavy after the “Recoil Reloaded” release. “BRCC did a great job. They brought kind of a different vibe and a different angle to the video with having a more cinematic approach. Everybody that has seen it loves the video, it’s their favorite video.
“The audio, in particular, is super good. I like watching it at my house on a TV screen where you have a real audio setup instead of just on your phone, and the audio comes through really nice.”
“That all came from the minds of BJ and [executive producer] Andy Bell,” said BRCC co-owner Jarred Taylor. “It was us initially talking to BJ saying we wanted to bring Andy back. Andy is the one who did the Havana ‘Recoil.’ And then that led to BJ and Andy getting in a room together in Los Angeles and then us getting a kind of a play-by-play and a PDF from Sweatpants that was like, ‘Here’s what we’re thinking.’
“And we all started laughing hysterically. Like, ‘Okay, not only their stunts are cool, but this plays to a story.’ It has a script and there is that flavor of comedy too where you’re watching a 10-minute, which could be a possible movie, rather than just a bunch of cool driving. So I was a huge fan of adding that flavor into it because I think this will live on for years and years and years and still be rad.”
1 Stunt Took Extensive Planning
There were numerous stunts that Baldwin had to perform while filming the video, both in his trophy truck and in his 2019 Porsche 991.2 Turbo S. This included tearing through the desert at a high rate of speed and hitting multiple jumps while explosions take place in the background.
The train jump, in particular, was one that Baldwin said was pretty scary. Keep in mind, he has done a lot of wild stunts with his trophy truck, but this was one of the biggest of his career.
Safely pulling off this jump took extensive planning, but there were still some unknowns. As Baldwin explained, it was not an exact science due to the suspension travel on his trophy truck, the length of the ramp, and how the truck may handle the surface before taking flight.
The stunt coordinators don’t have any concrete data about his trophy truck. They can make estimates with formulas, but they can’t say for certain that the truck will land 100 feet from its departure point.
“You never really know you know what’s gonna happen,” Baldwin said. “The ideal thing to make this thing go really, really far — we might do it in the next ‘Recoil’ — is to have a test ramp that has a landing that you can come up short or overshoot and you could be fine and collect that data on that particular ramp.
“And use that ramp in the next video to do an even bigger gap much safer because you’d have rock solid data on that ramp, on that truck, that velocity. Have the height and distance now where it’s pre-calculated. We put just something in between that I would jump, whether it be a truck or a building or whatever it is.”
There are numerous vehicles that make jumps on a regular basis. The cars that compete in Nitro Rallycross are only one example. However, these vehicles are closer to production cars in that they only have a limited amount of suspension travel. It’s certainly not three feet like in Baldwin’s truck.
“The best way that I can explain it is we have a million-dollar piece of equipment in just about any top-tier race car, excluding Formula One. Their cars are $50 million,” Baldwin said.
“But all race cars in the world, they have a bunch of very passionate, loving engineers designing them to accelerate well, decelerate well, and change direction very well. My truck doesn’t do any of that, but it does go over really big bumps really, really fast, like shockingly fast.”
Adding Humor Was a Pivotal Part
Safely nailing the train jump was only one challenge for Baldwin, albeit the biggest. He also had to do something that was newer to him — acting alongside someone that has made hundreds of videos.
Tearing around unique locations and hitting jumps is nothing new for Baldwin. He has done so multiple times in the past while filming other “Recoil” videos in Cuba, Mexico, and other countries. This is a place where he is very comfortable.
What is new is the partnership with Black Rifle Coffee Company. This video is one that features BRCC co-owner Mat Best in the passenger seat as he cracks jokes and Taylor in a side-by-side as he gets pelted with sand and gravel.
Co-owner/founder Evan Hafer also makes a late appearance as he takes on the role of a sarcastic “dad” that puts everyone in their place. This is something that he has done multiple times, most notably during the BRCC/Corridor Digital “Last Cup of Coffee” video where many staff members try to chase down Best and take his coffee.
“Well, we had to kind of wrap it all up with a final Evan kind of zinger,” Taylor said. “Because that’s kind of always his role in a lot of our things. It’s… he provides this kind of like serious dad character to us — as we have just broken the whole city — of like, ‘You guys are still nerds.'”
Future Projects Will Enter Uncharted Territory
BRCC, which began in 2014, has always had a constant stream of video content. Best, Hafer, and Tayor have largely been at the forefront of these efforts. This was especially true in the early days when they were giving Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha the “ability to fly” or when they were filming Aeropress instructional videos.
As BRCC has grown, so have its video projects. The company has gotten better equipment while partnering with some big names in the space. The result is that the shoots have taken longer while the level of quality has risen to the level of cinema. Some have also featured precision driving.
As Taylor explained, the company is about to enter uncharted territory as he fulfills a dream. There are now endless opportunities available given the quality of equipment, the creative minds in the building, the top-tier athletes on the BRCC Motorsports roster, and the partnerships with standout production companies.
“This is anybody that ever held a camera that was passionate about its dream,” Taylor said. “Now, all the work that I put in in the early years has paid off, being able to help produce and just help solve problems on sets. Granted, I’m not the DP. I’m not the director, but I was there. I was there to facilitate.
“I’ve been part of so many different productions that a lot of major issues are a big problem. I’m not intimidated by it. It’s just like, ‘Oh, we ran into this obstacle. Alright, let’s try this.’ So it’s just fun. The progression has been great. And it’s awesome to see this stuff come to fruition and then now at this point for us to see where we go from here. I think everybody should be excited because now we’re in uncharted territories.”