When I wasn’t in class, I spent most of my college days in the mountains. Usually it was rock climbing or skiing. And, almost always, it was with Brody Leven. Since then, Brody has gone on to take his skiing to a professional level while I’ve followed my passion for filmmaking.
Recently, Brody went up to Alaska to climb and ski the biggest mountain in North America, Mt. Denali. His trip was a huge success and he was able to share the experience with some of the best in the game, including legendary mountaineer Conrad Anker, snowboarding superhero Jeremy Jones, and writer Jon Krakauer. A couple of days after he got back to SLC, we were catching up on his porch when the focus shifted to trail running. I’m not sure whose idea it was, but in a couple of minutes we had a plan to shoot a video about Brody’s offseason activity of choice: mountain running.
The concept was to shoot a video that told the story of why he trail runs. To him, it’s a way to experience the same mountains he skis in a whole new light. The idea of “same mountains, different landscape” was really interesting to me. The scenery high in the mountains is so vastly different from season to season. It sounded like a good story.
Before we really knew how the video was going to look or what the script would be, we started shooting. We went up Catherine’s Pass at Alta for the first evening, only to get rained out. We were still able to shoot, but none of the shots from that night were useable. Luckily, it ended up being a good location scout for me and when we came back I knew what angles to shoot in good light. This brings up an important point: the necessity of location scouting. It is crucial to take the time to scout your location before a shoot. Bring a still camera and take pictures of potential video angles. Your odds of hitting the best shots with perfect lighting are a hundred times better when you know what shots you want.
For night two, I called up Jon Cracroft to see if he wanted to come along and get some shots with the Glidecam. If you haven’t seen Jon’s work from our I-Street video, you should. He is an expert with the Glidecam.
We went back to the same area—this time, it was gorgeous. We had about three hours until we lost light, so we got to work right away. The shoot went flawlessly. Brody never got tired, we nailed all of our shots, and by the time the sun went down, I was confident we got what we needed.
On the third day of filming, we were on the trail by 5:15AM. I was eager to get a sunrise from the summit of Mt. Tuscarora using my new piece of gear: the Lite Pro Gear Feather Crane (full review coming soon). We hustled up the trail and made it to the ridgeline in time to see the beginnings of what was soon to be an amazing sunrise. Waking up at four in the morning is never easy but when the sun starts coming over the mountains, it’s always worth it. For the next several hours, we worked our way from Rocky Point at Alta, up to Mt. Tuscarora, over to Mt. Wolverine, across Wolverine Cirque, up, over and down Patsy Marley, and out Grizzly Gulch. Working as a team, we were able to cover an incredible amount of varied terrain in a short amount of time without skimping on any production equipment.
Being not only good friends but also partners in the mountains, it’s really easy to work with Brody. First, we trust one another. Second, we value each other’s opinions. He knows what goes into making a successful video and I know what goes into what he’s doing in front of the camera. Third, he helps. Having an extra hand on these shoots makes things a lot easier, and it’s not always feasible to bring an assistant. Having Brody help me carry gear between shots allows us to move quickly and efficiently. Lastly, we had fun. Even though we were sweating and panting while lugging camera gear around, we had a great time. I look forward to seeing what Brody has in store this coming winter and I hope that we can reconnect for a another video project soon.
Unfortunately, we didn’t really have the manpower or time to shoot a dedicated behind-the-scenes video for this project. Hopefully this post gives you an insight of a little bit of what went into this project.
Thanks for reading and please stay tuned for new videos coming soon!