The North American Ski Training Center is one of the best ski training programs in the world. With the snow just starting to fall in the mountains they wanted to have a video to get people motivated for their preseason training programs that they offer worldwide. Our goal was to show the type of training and group dynamic of their courses and how these classes help to progress clients to the next level.
“Working with James on this multi-company project was a total pleasure. He keeps it simple, is super smart about getting to the bottom of each company’s goals, and is very professional during the creative process. James has a gift and has found his calling for sure! Its was easy and a complete success.” NASTC
Special thanks to Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl and the athletes that helped put this thing together. Pray for snow!
This summer we spent time in Europe shooting a series of videos and photos for ACRE / Mission Workshop. ACRE is a new mountain bike brand that our long time friends and clients over at Mission Workshop have launched this year and they really wanted to show the brand and doing RND work riding some of the most pristine and rugged terrain on earth, the European Alps.
Wander represents the photography work of Dan Barham and the new brand ACRE. While we rode in Switzerland and on the Trans Provence in the south of France I captured riding video and interviews with the crew about the product samples, photography and riding.
You can see the excellent work that everyone has done from start to finish on this project here on the ACRE website.
I am often approached about commercial concepts for products or people and I need to come up with a vision for the story, the script and the visuals that are going to convey the concept with the richest media we can create with our timeline and budget.
I use several tools to help flush out the vision from the client and from my mind on how best to capture the attention of our target audience. Recently, AR teamed up with Jhonathan Florez to create a promotional video and to tell his story as a skydiving wing-suit-flying maniac.
The first step was to figure out “who” we would be speaking to. Jhonathan is attempting to set three Guinness world records in the coming months and he is seeking sponsorship and promotion of the jumps he will be making from 32,000 ft. To capture that audience we need to express his passion for what he does, his drive and give him some credibility as he goes out and attempts something that has never been done before.
Find videos that work. Jhonathan sent me several videos that he thought captured the environment that we would be shooting in. Airplanes, parachutes and wingsuits, all these would be new to me as far as shooting and we needed to get a baseline for what we would be trying to accomplish.
Secondly, I always need to visualize how the story might play out when we deliver it. For this I use the classic storyboard method. This is nothing new but it works wonders for getting the ideas for shots down on paper and to show the client what you are thinking visually. Here is a basic time lapse of the storyboard that I did for JF.
As the production went on I created another storyboard to help organize the production into sections with bookends to help categorize our scenes and too create transitions. With this specific project we needed to shoot plenty of b-roll footage because the interviews of JF where not scripted so ultimately it would be told documentary style with the voice over leading the editing. Considering that we had three production days to complete the shooting we needed to be shooting any chance we had to get the quality of shots we were going for. Those shots included time lapses of the airstrip, the clouds and people, while at the same time capturing shots from the air on Go Pro cameras and with DSLR’s from the plane and on the ground.
We were fortunate to have Brain Drake, JF’s wingman, to shoot the footage of JF from the air. We used the new GoPro HD2 for this shooting and the shots turned out to have great color and resolution especially compared to the older Go Pro Hero HD camera.
While having access to the airstrip was great we had scripted a base jump into our storyboard and we needed to shoot that in very low light as to not attract attention. This we unique for the AR crew and we decided to bring Isaac in with an RC quad copter to fly up next to JF while he was on the tower. This provided an angle of view that helped tell the story of commitment and establish JF as a professional flyer.
While on the ground we used a 5ft Kessler CineSlider to give movement to the shots and help emphasize the environment while on the ground. We ended up using the slider inside of an old airplane in the “bone yard” with a great effect. Having a monitor for these shot was essential. We used a 7” Marshal that helped me frame shots and check focus which was important for the racking shots.
Overall, we had a great time and the last few days have been working on the editing process and creating a rhythm that will keep the audience engaged and connected to JF would is a worthy entertainer and athelete with great promise.
Stay tuned for the release of our short on Adventure Refugee TV.
I really am impressed with this tire. I came off of a huge summer riding in Europe on the Maxxis High Roller 2 so I got used to the tire profile and traction of those. I set the tires up tubeless on my Santa Cruz Bronson with ease. On my first ride on the Bontrager XR4 it was raining and there were deep puddles and mud on the trials in the Bay Area. Not having ridden the tires in any other conditions I was questioning the traction during cornering and deeper wet sections. Nevertheless, I went out over the following 10 days on the tires and absolutely crushed my times on several local trails. These tires, in the 27.5, have excellent rolling speed on packed and slightly loose trails. The bike corners like hell and floats in and out of turns because of the knob placement and rubber compound. I am very impressed with how far you can lay the bike over in loose conditions and still have them hook-up. Where tires like the High Roller and Nobby Nick have a “square” profile that stands you up when they hook up in a high speed turns the XR4 allows for a “sustained arch” in high speed cornering. It really lends it’s self to the riding on the coast here where the trials often have loose soil on off camber or berm-less turn radiuses. I look forward to getting up in the mountains and the desert over the next few months and seeing how they hold up.
The tires are holding up very well with about 400 miles on them. It’s gotten quite dusty up here in the Tahoe region and the XR4′s are holding lines but are taken to their limits in deeper dust in corners.
I’ve been on a journey through the mountains of Europe for many a moon. I’ve past glaciers and forests, castles and cows, sheep and many a people along the way. So many hours on the bike and days with strangers that speak other languages as I look through my lens at the earth, it makes things so very simple. I hope that I can bring that simplicity back to the life, friends and family that I miss so much back home.
I’m here in a little town called Verbier in Switzerland near the French border. I’m recovering from the last ride I went on with a group of Swiss guys that saw us through the southern alps of Switzerland in an area called Tichino. The first day out we climbed over 6200 ft of vertical elevation. I can say that I have never climbed a hill that big in all my days. From a small village to the highest peaks, above swooping glaciers ending in emerald lakes. That feeling, subtracts all the thoughts from your mind and replaces them with just the breath and the feeling of rain on your face. We continued like that for 5 days. We climbing nearly 25,000 ft over that time, moving from mountain hut to hut with small backpacks and our bikes. In all we did very little riding over those days looking for the perfect trail and it never appeared.
I rode the train back to Verbier with my tired bike, brakes squeaking and tires worn and cracked. My legs on the verge of cramping at every step but still happy to be heading back somewhere closer to what I know even if I won’t be all the way home for a few weeks now. Shannon’s on her way in a few days and I’ll be so happy to see her face when she gets here.
As I’m sitting here thinking about all the changes to come I can’t help but think of all the changes that have happened in life over the past years and I’m grateful that they have.
Here’s to getting out there and seeing it happen no matter what the cost or commitment.
I’ve been working with Mission Workshop and Bike Magazine to create a series of events based on the founders in the bike industry. This month it was great to have Keith Bontrager come out to the Mission Workshop HQ to answer some questions and show off some relics from times past.
This is a teaser video of the event and subsequent day of shooting with Keith and the Trek Bicycle guys down in Santa Cruz at Keith’s house. That video will come shortly.
With the release of The Ends book with John Watson and the photo show Mission Workshop with Prolly is Not Probably and all the crew put together; here is the video to accompany the release of MW’s Indian Summer clothing line. Check out the footage that we shot. So much footage from that trip. Good work guys.
I recently bought a Sony FS700 from B & H photo where I buy most of my photo and video production equipment. One thing that I could not find in their store was the Metabones Adapter to attach my Canon EF mount Lenses to my new camera, which has the Sony E-mount or NEX system. Since I was moving over from my Canon 5D Mkll back to the Sony system I needed the adapter to avoid buying all new glass.
After researching the adapters and deciding to buy the Metabones because of a few key features, I proceed to their site. I was hesitant to buy because they are based in Hong Kong and I often veer away from buying and giving my CC info away but the lens adapter arrived faster than expected and I had no problems.
The adapter is well made and the lenses attach tightly and do not move when attached to the camera. It is made of solid aluminum and has the lens markings to align the lens for proper fitting. The adapter communicates well with Canon lenses. There was no issue with the Canon 24-70 L I or the 16-35 L II. The auto focus does not work but for me that was a non-issue. Basically, the lens adapter was the right tool for the job and I deployed it immediately on professional jobs.
One issue that I had was figuring out what the crop factor might be on my lens with the adapter and the super 35 sensor on the Sony FS700. I searched the internet and found very little. I have found that the crop factor is between 1.5 and 1.6. I don’t have an exact way of telling but this is my impression. The adapter acts as a extender.
I have been using the adapter for about 2 months and a few things have jumped out at me. When using the Sigma 70-200 2.8 lens and adjusting aperture the lens seemed to freak out and bobble a little bit while adjusting. This was not a good thing to do while recording. This was an isolated experience but not a good thing so be wary of that inconsistency.
Secondly, I also own a Sony NEX-5 and I have found myself using the adapter on that camera for walking around and traveling with. This combo creates a high quality “mini-dslr” (I know there’s no mirror) that is easy to throw in a bag and allows you to use your nice Canon glass rather than the chincy Sony kit lens. I won’t buy another one of those, it a waste of money.
If you plan on buying a Sony E-Mount camera and have Canon EF lenses, the Metabones adapter is a must have. There is nothing more annoying than having to take the lens off and put it on another body and change the f-stop. Sony has some nice lenses though and if you are starting from scratch take a look at their lenses before buying this set up. The adapter isn’t cheap at $399. That’s almost the price of a nice lens on Craigslist.