This is it - the "OFFICIAL" - Adelholzener "Wingsuit" TV spot I directed last fall in Switzerland. You can see more of my reports from the shoot earlier in my blawg. This is the "Cinema or Kino" version that is currently showing in movie theaters around Germany. It must look really spectacular on a BIG screen.
Over the last few weeks been lucky enough to steal some time with Freeskier Colby James West - we first visited him in Aspen at the X Games and then the last couple days we met up with him at his home resort- Breck. The objective of the shoot is to see the world through his eye's. We basically recreated "with some artistic license" the last 4 or 5 years of his life and his climb to be one of the top pro skiers competing today. We used the Canon 5D with a 14mm to mimic his view, camera's mounted on his head, shoulder and chest take the view into the action, skiing, sleeping, eating, bro-ing down, crashing, even Yoga..... etc - everything that makes his world turn. It will be all cut into about 90 seconds of the film and will be really captivating for the viewers, especially those in the theater. In the pic above - Cameraman Colin Witherill is hooking up the 5D with a 15mm fisheye for a run through the park in Breck. Thanks to Colby for all the team work, he is a great talent, in front and behind the camera.
So some of you may know Chris Anthony. He's a veteran of the Warren Miller Films - maybe 20 now, maybe 21 - movies that is, not his age - we don't actually know his age. He and I have shot all over the place over the years and he is a great friend and dedicated skiing addict (see last years WM movie Wintervention and you will see). Anyway, each winter he spends a few weeks in Italy taking various friends and clients skiing near Valbrunna (stunning place, I shot there probably 8 years ago with Chris). He calls it a "A Wine and Dine Trip with a Skiing Problem" - sounds awesome - he has the place so dialed, I hope we join him again someday to shoot another piece for the film.
Our Warren Miller season is off to a start - not a particularly fast start - but we are getting there, this is normal, soon it will be full steam ahead and I won't recall the date, day or geographic location of my person. Some nice trips planned for the next couple of months.
Here: Colby at the Powder Video Awards - notice the camera rig - Canon 5d with 14mm.
In Aspen we shot a 3 part piece with skier Colby West, we are sort of recreating the last five years of his life all shot in his POV - so like Being John Malckovich. The entire piece will be at most 90 seconds. He was a trooper - wore the camera rig all over the place at the X Games - capturing his life in it's current "Pro Skier" status - parties, training, friends, food, drink, more friends. It was very cool, next stop Breck for some of the back story pieces and his rise to fame.....
Silverton, CO - Day 1 of shooting: Sometimes when we shoot projects, I use the phase "I feel handcuffed" in this photo(thanks Logan) I look handcuffed, beside me is Director Rupert Weinwright - I feel like he should be saying "Son, did you really think you could steal this helicopter?"
In all seriousness, it was a pleasure to work with him, he is extremely experienced and detail oriented. I find it amazing how great directors can have a total understanding of a subject in just a few minutes of being exposed to it, in this case it was "Freeskiing" and "SKI BASE JUMPING". Chris Nolan was the same way, neither Rupert nor Chris come from the mountains, or a skiing background and somehow they just immediately understand it and absorb it. I would assume this is the case with everything they do. I hope to posses this sense of complete control and confidence as my career unfolds.
Note: The photo is actually a shot of the "Making of" Crew, the gal in the fur is Russian and hosting the "making of ...." So look for our crew on tv the next time you are surfing the channels in Moscow.
I just returned home from a quick and very productive week in Silverton, Colorado. I was working alongside my old posse of Warren Miller regulars, Tim Willison, Doug Millington, Tony Wilhelms, Colin Witherill and Logan Schneider. We were under the guidance of a well know director Rupert Wainwright (Stigmata). It went really well, some tough weather at times but in the end it all came together. We had Mark Hyrma with us as well Cineflexin' - which is always great. It was a TV spot for a Russian oil company. Ski BASE from Jesse Hall went well - he is a great dude to work with. Aaron and Jenn at Silverton were great and super supportive of our unusual requests. Alex, Fabio and T Bird did a great job of leading us into and out of the goods. Of course there was our heli pilots Jim Dirker with the camera ship and Andrew moving the Silverton heli around the high peaks of the San Juans.
So yes it's been awhile since I last updated. My bad.
I last reported from Munich and the Adelholzener Shoot - well, I edited for a week in Munich and lined up the Visual FX shots with the digital crew (Rico) at Arri and then we raced back to the Jungfrau region of Switzerland for a day of shooting skiing for the spot. We had tremendous good fortune and nailed our timing, during the week of editing, it just pounded snow in the mountains of Switzerland, a fresh meter of powder welcomed us on our crystal clear shoot day, keep in mind it was now the last week of October and we had a heli and a meter of new snow to shoot with. Needless to say the day went very well, super cold -20f, a real shocker when you are used to summer and flip flops. Six weeks later the visual FX guys have worked some movie magic, sadly I can't show it till March when the spot airs in German.
I came home for a week and then Jim Klug and I had a Confluence Films trip to East Africa - a remote part of Tanzania to be exact - this time TIGER FISH! Jeff Currier a world class fly fisherman and globetrotter joined us for some incredible shooting. Stunning landscapes, real wild Africa, it was a dream trip. The piece we shot is a segment in the next film we are producing via Jim and my company Confluence Films, the film will be released in November and to date we have shot in Japan, Maine and Africa.... still to do - Cuba, Alaska and Yellowstone Park.
I returned home and we(Chris @ Ranch Exit Films and I) quickly pulled together another great shoot for Saatchi & Saatchi and their long time client Toyota. A week in the snow shooting cars, it was great, Montana had a lot of early snow this winter and we managed to shoot downtown Bozeman, around Montana State University and up in the alpine around Hyalite Lake. It's a great crew and always fun to share a place we love with good friends.
Holidays of course offered loads of time to ski, skate, sled and sip Hot Coco with the family.
Now here in early 2011 I'm headed to Southern Colorado - Silverton Mountain to be exact to shoot a commercial for a Russian Oil Company, it's a 2014 Olympic partnership spot that has a ski chase and ski B.A.S.E jump in it. Should be fun, I love the area and shooting in the San Juans is always a pleasure.
I promise to update more regularly.... it's my New Year's resolution
A frame from the video assist of Andy West coming right at our camera's. This is our way to and from location - here the heli is bringing us the 1000mm lens - which was a perfect fit for this kind of action. Here on the edge of the North Face of the Eiger - a stunning view of the village of Grindelwald below. Dave Barlia suspended for our Visual FX shots - he's just resting here before we roll. I'm on the West face of the Eiger. Dave in flight for some marketing photos for print ads. They shot a print ad when we finished our work with the film camera's.
Here our crew of guides and camera's on the East Flank of the Eiger, 3500 feet above the glacier below.
After I spent a few days Munich meeting with Visual FX supervisors, the ad agency and the client Adelholzener Mineral Water our crew raced to Switzerland to take advantage of a promising weather forecast. We arrived at midnight on the 5th of October and fired up the helicopters and camera's by 6am the next day. We had 4 perfect sunny days, no wind and ideal wing suit jumping conditions. The local Swiss crew was fantastic, Line Producer Stefan Zurcker put together a team of great guides, helicopter pilots and a stream lined camera department that was so efficient and successful. We moved fast and safe through some super gnarly terrain to get the camera's positioned for Andy West and Dave Barlia to do their thing in the air. The shots are amazing, it's just totally mind blowing watching these guys fly, I've seen it many times and I still can't get over how wild it looks to see a guy fly past you at 130 mph. Day 1 - we spent the morning shooting background plates from the helicopter for the visual fx shots, then in the afternoon we had 3 jumps under the Jungfrau - it was great to finally roll the camera's and see the boys take flight. Day 2 - we spent in an Swiss Army hanger shooting Dave on rig against a green screen for more FX shots. Day 3 - was a big action day all staged on the world famous Eiger, 3 jumps with Andy yielded some stunning footage of him flying low over the snowy slopes of the west flank. Then Dave ski based jumped off a ramp (actually a 50 foot ramp) installed by the mountain guides and flew down the North Face of the Eiger - it was amazing - the shots are spectacular with the Eiger north face as the background. Day 4 was spent on the East Flank of the Eiger and Dave and Andy performed "Barrell Rolls" and low fly over shots for the camera's. A total success and not a scratch on anyone. I still have a day of shooting skiing, at the moment I'm waiting for new snow. In the meantime I'm going to head to Munich to get started on the edit and visual fx composite shots. More to come... Thanks for your interest.
Dave Barlia demos just how he is going to fly (in his winged suit) the slope, it looks so easy. Air Glaciers in Lauterbrunnen is providing the ride - great Swiss pilots - the best mountain pilots in the world without question. We spent the entire day checking out locations to shoot the B.A.S.E jumping, I arrived last night and woke up to these crystal clear, high alpine cobalt blue skies - it was a great scout day, so fun to be walking around (and flying) in the alps. It's obvious why we have chosen the Berner Oberland for this commercial. Our mountain guide Johan kept us all in check - it's early in the winter here, so lots of dicey snowbridges to navigate.
We have another day of scouting, then a bunch of prep and meetings.
We hope to start shooting October 6th...emphasis on hope.
More to come as we get organized - it's going to be a really cool project when it all comes together.
Next - Europe for the next few weeks, I recently landed a great gig Directing/Photographing a tv spot for a German mineral water company, "Adelholzener". They have a brand called ACTIVE02 - it's water with 15 times more oxygen then normal - energy water.
SO what better way to showcase this "Energized!" concept then with "skiing and winged suit b.a.s.e. jumping" - that's where I come in. After working with a friend/artist Ralph Wiegman to create a set of boards depicting my concept and then working through a lengthy pitch to the agency in Munich - WE GOT THE JOB!.... now we have to make it happen..... We're (production company is Hager Moss in Munich) shooting in Switzerland, a place I've shot this kind of jumping numerous times before. We'll be working on the Eiger north face and around the glaciers of the Jungfrau. It will be stunning and a super exciting spot to create - I'll keep the BLOG updated with progress.
So - If you are a skier you certainly know the brand SPYDER.... it's been around for ages and the images has mostly been that of racing - well - they just reinvented the brand and the image. I was lucky enough to join their newly formed "team" in Portillo, Chile to shoot for a week. It was an all star cast of really great skiers - Tommy Moe, Julia Mancuso, Steven Nymann, Chris Davenport, Colby West, Roz G, Julian Carr, Jess McMillian and D - Daron Rahlves. Yep - that's a nice group to work with....
With a roster like this to work with - it's pretty hard to screw it up. We had some tough conditions, but these guys worked hard to make it shine. That's what I love so much about working in skiing - everyone (for the most part) is so humble- there is no ego in the crew, everyone is in it together and a team player - the work ethic is amazing and that makes everything come together when it needs too. I want to make sure you know there is a balance - these guys work as hard as they play.... and everyone had plenty of both.
Portillo is one of my favorite places to be and to work, the experience at Portillo is like stepping back in time, it's the lifestyle of skiing at it's best, the way it was and the way, in my opinion it should be. If you've been there you know exactly what I mean. The skiing is spectacular, it's the heart of the Andes and high - every day we looked over at the highest peaks on the continent.
In June we started production on our (myself and partner Jim Klug = Confluence Films) 3rd feature length adventure fly fishing documentary. This one is CONNECT and we rolled film - actually we are shooting digital (yep - I said it - you heard it here - most thought I may never choose to shoot digital) - what better place to start your digital career - JAPAN! An amazing trip in just beautiful mountains & streams, gorgeous fish, tiny little buggers and a great host Masa. Then July we shot a quick 4 days in Maine - our first salt water location of movie 3. (No it's not going to be in 3D like every other "part 3" on the planet.) Not much luck with fish in Maine - but we did see plenty of lobster rolls.
I have loads of details on these shoots - but they will come soon. November it's going to be Africa for Tiger fish!!! No Really... Africa.
WOW! If you haven't seen it - go now! It is awesome - of course I love it, especially the snow scenes.....
Chris Nolan has really put together an amazing film on every level. I am so proud to have taken part in it and still can't believe what a wonderful group of people I had the pleasure to work with. Wally's cinematography is flawless and truly beautifully created, never over stepping the story, just perfectly mated with each scene - it's very inspiring.
Watching the snow sequence was a dream come true for me, virtually every action shot was our ski unit's hard work, (with the exception of the aerial photography) it cuts so well and is very intense. Our ski chase, snowmobile action, Fortress escape and tumbling avalanche victims looked great on the big screen.
I was fortunate enough to be included in a great American Cinematographer Magazine article, Wally Pfister asked the writer of the story to included some coverage of the work the Ski Unit did on the film. What a great pat on the back.
See the story at http://www.theasc.com/ac_magazine/July2010/Inception/page4.php#
Download the entire July issue at: www.drop.io/inceptionstory
This is in Italy, 8 years ago - he wished then he could clone himself to get more done.
He is a left eye and really digs the Bolex camera - Chile
There is always time for a cafe in Italy
Warren and Josh - Yellowstone Club Circa 2004
This is Josh last week in Vail.
Josh Haskins - the producer of the Warren Miller movie has been my partner in crime for many years. He started as most around the building - as an intern and showed promise early on - honestly he was the only guy with the balls to handle the original neg film from all the vintage years - you can really screw up the archive if you don't have a steady hand and the patience to be really careful with a piece of film that ran through Warren's camera 40 years prior. Anyway - "Skins" as we call him has taken on the role of Producer and done well - he had some big shoes to fill - prior to Josh I answered to Don Brolin, DB as we call him was as professional as you can get, a master at his craft and with 30+ years working at Warren side - he knew everything about everything in our world of ski films. So Skins has pulled through and is on his 10th year at WME. I wanted to mention him here because he has been one of my closest collaborators everyday making these films, he has always trusting my weird creative concepts and way out location suggestions. He shoots too - and does well with that too. I was just digging through some old photos from years past and found some moments on the road with Skins. Enjoy - you truly want this guys job - but bring you phone and a light meter.
Warren Miller Ski-lebrity Chris Anthony and I have been friends for about 18 years - in this time we have spent at least a few days each winter shooting a segment for the latest film.... usually we are off in some distant corner of the globe, last year China, in years past, Alaska, Ecuador, the USS Nimitz, Italy etc. This year I caught him at his home mountain Beaver Creek and we just got lucky and met on what the local were call the best day of the season. It's early April and we just received 24 cold inches of powder - the resort and patrol were nice enough to let us into Stone Creek early and let us have it to ourselves (sorry locals - it's the only way we can make the movies) for 3 hours. Chris was great and as usual hiked all over the place in sometimes waist deep snow. It was a great day - just deep enough to make great pictures without it being a total white-out. Chris dropped a huge cliff - probably about 75feet (pretty good for a guy in his early forties). Chris's dad Vino was along and he snapped the photos above.
Then a few days later we headed over to Vail to shoot a quick piece with a telemark skier who we dressed up as a WW2 10th Mountain Soldier on skis. He looked perfect - it was all to tie the segment together with Chris Anthony and his interview about how when you ski in Vail - you really feel the spirit of the 10th Mountain Guys that pioneered the creation of this area after they returned from the War in Europe.