What was the mission of the project?
The Aspen section of The Art of Flight was all about filming the athletes take on the incredible jumps and half pipe that was being constructed. We spent a week in the field setting up several motion timelapse setups each day. Each shot took between 2-3 hours to setup and 6-8 hours to film. We mostly worked the graveyard shift as a lot of the work was done from when the sun went down to when it came up.
I am a passionate Timelapse Photographer, Filmmaker and Producer. I have always enjoyed the creative and technical challenges of filming in remote locations around the world and Art of Flight was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. I spent the past four years on active duty as a Captain assigned to 55th Combat Camera, the only active duty Combat Camera Company in the United States Army. I served as a Platoon Leader in Operation Iraqi Freedom for nine months in charge of a team of 22 filmmakers and photographers who documented the war in support of combatant commanders’ tactical, operational, and strategic objectives.
What equipment was used? And why is this gear the gear of choice?
We used the Kessler Crane ShuttlePod and PocketJib to pull off the shots in the Aspen section of Art of Flight. We would construct 20 feet of track on the ShuttlePod to do the shoot, then move, then shoot dolly shots. We also setup the PocketJib to slowly dolly up or down over a 6-8 hour period. For a few of the shots, we attached the PocketJib to the ShuttlePod so we could extend the reach of the camera over a half pipe ledge. I have used Kessler systems for all my timelapse work and they work flawlessly in a variety of harsh weather conditions including the extreme heat and cold. It was also important for the gear to be portable enough for us to transport the rigs up and down the mountain each day.
The biggest challenge was the inconsistant weather conditions on the mountain. We would spend hours setting up a timelapse shot and the clouds and weather would be perfect. Then, after only a few hours into a 6 hour timelapse move, it would start dumping snow and the entire shot would be ruined. Moreover, wind played a huge factor in getting stable timelapse moves. We had to use shoot, move, shoot on the Kessler Motion Control system so each frame would have time to settle from the wind before an exposure was taken.
What were the shots that you got? Were you happy with the results?
Tyler: I setup a 20 foot astro timelapse dolly shot in the half pipe with the milky way in the background. Unfortunately, this shot was ruined on my first attempt due to my fill light malfunctioning from the extreme cold. Curt understood the situation and told me that I needed to try it one more time. So, I stayed out again until 2am the next night making sure every last variable of the shot was perfected and working properly. As a result, I pulled off the shot successfully the second time thanks to Curt and his leadership as a Director to keep pushing me.
Tags: Aspen, brain farm, Curt Morgan, Greg Wheeler, Kessler, milky way, Snowboarding, Snowmass, The Art of Flight, time lapse, timelapse, Tyler Ginter