A few years back I made a conscious move to position myself as a director/videographer as much as a photographer. Turns out it was the right choice as I’ve been gradually seeing my photography contracts overrun with requests for video work.
I love the video medium as a creative space so much now. It’s much more involved and stressful than creating still photography, but the end product is just so rich and storied - even when it’s just a short commercial.
This last year I’ve been particularly slow on posting photo jobs because I’ve been completely buried in shooting and editing video. Not the worst thing for a freelancer :) However, I’ve been slow to share the video content and so this is my bid to start outing myself as the video producer I seem to be :)
Below is a piece of video that I recently finished for Osprey Packs. The behind the scenes of this shoot are also worth exploring below…
Alright, here’s some nerd talk about the gear we used on this job - then I’ll tell a little story about the experience.
-Canon 5Div (great 4K camera - however it broke mid shoot and we lost a ton of footage to shabby focus issues)
-Sony a6300 + Metabones Speedbooster + Canon lenses (fantastic 4K s-log footage - but this setup is a focusing nightmare and I’m no longer using it)
-Manfrotto video monopod (the thing with the ball joint at the bottom - love it! It’s also a poor man’s gimbal…in fact all “gimbal” shots in this piece are actually the monopod held upside down for weighted stability)
-Rhino Timelapse slider (beastly heavy, but beautiful for cinematic movement)
-Røde VideoPro Shotgun mics
-Lite Pro Gear Feather Crane (just the greatest invention for backcountry production work ever)
On to the shoot…
Travel from San Francisco, CA to Denver, CO was breezy and I arrived in the mile high city to beautiful warm sunny skies. The crew had already been there for a day (and night) and met me at the train in true America hungover spirit…I saved my complaints about having had such an early morning flight…
This shoot was probably one of the easiest backcountry accesses I’ve ever experienced. After driving the producer’s new TRD Tacoma up some of the gnarliest terrain I’ve ever seen a vehicle on, we only had to trudge our gear a couple miles in/up the mountains. However, conditions turned on us halfway through (as they are wont to do in high altitudes) and we found ourselves the next morning under a wind-crushed tent.
The winds continued to pick up throughout the rest of our shoot, making camera stabilization increasingly challenging (even our low-to-the-ground sliders were affected!) so we did our best to find ways to make the conditions work for us. Ultimately it played out well for the story, making the mountain as surly and tough as the copy we eventually recorded for the VO.
One of my favorite moments in the shoot was getting up at 4am with Alonzo to shoot the scene where he’s waking up to dawn in his 1-person bivy. The light and wind played so well together that morning that it felt like I was photographing a dream. I know that sounds overly poetic, but seriously, it was magical. The moose that walked through our camp at sunset one day was also not too shabby.
I’m so grateful that my career has steered me towards this kind of work. The opportunity to spend time in places like this, with people like these, making work like this is definitely not something I take for granted.