Winter has Hit Us… finally

Its been a slow start for New Zealand this time around. Australia and Chile have been getting hit by back to back storms, but we remained dry for a while. Although we received a massive quantity of snow early on, the warm weather soon took care of this and sent us back to Autumn.

However it always comes, wether it be only for a few weeks or a heavy late season, the white stuff covers the peaks and we are reminded why this season is so special.

Here are a few pieces I’ve created so far this winter, and there’s plenty more cold days to be had.

Stay tuned.

 

 

More from Early 2016

A few more little bits and pieces from this past summer.

Through Diaries Downunder I was asked to edit up a piece for nzski.com and Destination Queenstown

I was given media from their contributors, along with that mixed in some of DDU’s stock to put together the edit below.

 

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There Goes Summer

After a good but brief holiday it’s all go again here in Queenstown. I feel like we need a few extra month of summer but am excited to get some winter projects on the go.

 

As of the end of last year I began to work with Redbull Nz more and more. Its been great to work with a like minded group of people. We’re all pretty familiar with action sports, everyone knows what they need to do and puts in a lot of effort to produce the final products while still having a bit of fun and plenty of laughs along the way.

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Thats a wrap on 2015

After the best winter I can remember in Queenstown the work has just kept coming. From one job to the next I’ve been privileged to work on some special creative projects alongside many talented individuals. Here are just some of my recent jobs I’ve worked as a DOP on.   Starting with Diaries Downunder.  Another winter down and three episodes to show for it. It was a spectacular winter, even with all of our other commercial work we still put together three memorable episodes that showed off what our mountains have to offer.

 

As well as shooting Diaries Downunder’s episodes, I’ve also been working on various projects for both local and international production companies. Here are some of the released edits, some are still to be released.

 

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2015 Winter Transitional work

We started this winter off with a bang. This first project for Air New Zealand started shooting closer to the end of summer, but was aimed at building some hype for Queenstown’s 2015 winter and finished shooting in June.

While showing the seasonal changes in the Wakatipu Basin, but more importantly the arrival of snow, I think we achieved in making an impressive time-lapse themed clip for Air New Zealand, and something a little different to Diaries Downunder’s project in the past.

It was a joint effort with the guys from syrp, who storyboarded and edited the clip. Photo Sentinel provided the long range time-lapse kits and the knowledge in setting them up. Their units are very strong, simple and surprisingly user friendly. I’m looking forward to seeing what else those guys put out in the next few years.

 

 

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To add to the project Air New Zealand and Syrp suggested a behind the scenes edit, in which you can view a few extra VFX shots and long range time-lapses, not to mention myself, with what I think is possibly my ‘Can’t you see I’m busy’ expression.

 

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As well as my recent Diaries work I was also fortunate enough to come on board as a camera operator in a Two Bearded Men project , also for Air New Zealand. This time we were shooting for another ‘Meanwhile In Nz’ edit, which came from the mind of Host’s Bob Macintosh. This was an awesome experience for myself, as I’ve been friends with the Two Bearded Men Director, Tim Pierce since my early snowboarding days. It was a cool way to catch up and see how himself and TBM Producer Toby Crawford handled the project which involved many extras and an on the fly storyline. It turned out to be a fun day behind the camera and a good day on the snow with good people.

 

 

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Part 1 of shooting ‘You’re Not Alone’

Two weeks ago, after almost 6 months of preparation. The first part of  my summer project started shooting in the small Central Otago town of  St Bathins.

Vaughan Brookfield and myself travelled there earlier in the week and locked in locations. The Blue Lake area with it’s heavily sluiced, crumbling, desert look was to be one of the main locations as well as the road up toward Falls Dam.

On Saturday the 21st the crew was up early in St Bathins and ready to shoot .

The crew included Panther Claw band members, Reuben Pearce and Luke Leaf, Vaughan Brookfield who was acting as Assistant producer and Photographer, Nana Holtzmann and Charlie Makareta who were the talent, Joshua Dunn who was there to shoot the Aerials and Emma Alexandrina Golden who ran around like crazy, making the filming of the project easier for myself and everyone involved.

We started out shooting the opening scenes near Falls Dam…  20150323_4810

20150323_4770Then made our way to the Blue Lake area for a scene where Nana pretends to skins a possum, plenty of fake blood was spilt.

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Shot some bits and pieces around the Blue lake area20150323_495520150323_4626Then In the great town of St Bathins for the sales pitch.

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We got hold of a baby possum, very cute, massive claws. This little girl possum is one of the locals pets.

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The weather was perfect, nice and gloomy with not too much rain, I feel we got pretty lucky considering there was a cyclone looming just off the coast.

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Big thanks to Sam and Pete at Queenstown camera cars for the dolly and track, and also to Alex and Phil Turner for the amazing skeletal remains and various props.

next stop… Wakatipu basin for the final evening shoot.

 

pics : Vaughan Brookfield

 

The Summer Project: Paper Mache and Possum Coat

Three years ago I had a dream that was very vivid.

I remember the storyline, the feeling and every little detail. I thought that it was pretty funny at the time and didn’t want to forget the fictional story that came from……I don’t know maybe I ate drank or smoked something that set my brain off.

It doesn’t really matter where it came from, what matters is, I’ve decided to recreate this dream, well sort of.

I started by storyboarding.  Also I asked my friends at Panther Claw if they were interested in having a music video made for one of their new tracks which i’d heard earlier. They were keen so I got stuck in.  After listening to the particular song 260-something times and going over each part of the song in detail I was ready for the next step.

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Creating the characters

If you didn’t already know, possums in New Zealand are seen as pests. The Australian brush tailed possum was introduced into New Zealand to establish a fur trade in 1837. With no predators, and more food, their numbers exploded, and today they eat a large amount of our native bush, which also deprives our native birds of food and nesting.

check it out for yourself

With this in mind, New Zealand people are not fond of possums. A lot of New Zealand citizens will swerve to run them over and cheer at the splatted corpse left behind.                                                                    Strangely enough a lot of these same people wouldn’t necessarily see it as animal cruelty, due to the whole ”pest” bracket the creature falls into.                                                                                                                            The reason I bring this up, is that possums play a large part in the idea of this music video. Perhaps I should explain myself a little further.

One of the details of my dream was that I was wearing a coat made out of cats.  Every fur still had it’s tail attached and they swung around as I walked. The coat had two cat heads mounted on it, one on each shoulder and the toggles which held the coat together were cat paws. This was going to be the basis of my first character, the merchant.

To recreate the Merchant’s coat I didn’t want to kill and skin any cats, I have a cat and I really like him, I couldn’t hurt a cat and would be disturbed if I saw my cat on a coat. So I went with possums.

I sourced my possum fur from Basically Bush and got my two possum heads freeze dried by Richard Lee at Freezedry Taxidermy

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The second character wasn’t in my dream, his name is Bud. He’s a humanised possum from a children’s story I wrote a few years ago.

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To make Bud and the Merchant possible, I’ve designed and built the costumes with the help and guidance of Trudy Monroe from Nemo in Queenstown. Trudy’s experience and ideas have helped out a lot in this process. She looked at my ideas and added to them. Once she created a solid structure for the coat I simply had to finish it up which was great, as I wouldn’t have known where to start.

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Next was Bud’s face/head

Trudy suggested I make it out of paper mache. I hadn’t played around with paper mache since I was 5 or 6 which I could barely remember, but with some help from a few blogs I got my facial structure and worked from there.

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More to come soon……..

Steep White And The End Of The 2014 Winter

To finish up this winter season for Diaries Down Under, we (Nick Hyne, Nick Brown, Mack James, Vaughan Brookfield and myself) flew twelve minutes from Queenstown with Heli Tours to a private Hut on the Northern side of Mount Larkins.

 

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Vaughan Brookfield and I enjoying the luxury of floating while Paul from Heli Tours does all the work

 

Steepwhite was the location we were flying to, we weren’t sure what to expect. There had been a few dustings of snow up high, but the storms were also followed by warm periods which we thought would have crusted everything up, making the journey to come a tough one as far as getting epic footage.

We were pleasantly surprised however, as when we arrived not only did we get a good look at some of the heaviest looking chutes we’d seen in a while but the snow was relatively powdery making them a possibility. The location has everything you’ll ever need.  From rolling terrain with wind lips, to mellow open slopes, to steep chutes that will challenge even the professional riders.

_Z2A8212  Mack James, ready to drop

 

Dan Kelly and his wife Christine Grant own and operate the hutt. Their local knowledge and laid back and friendly personalities provide an amazing opportunity for anyone looking to escape the crowds and get up into some real back country terrain. Their season runs from June till November and with the way the ridges run from the hut, it makes for an easy hike to some next level free riding._Z2A7310

The cheeky Kea. This guy got angry at me when I told him off for chewing on my tripod

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Lake Wakatipu gets a light drizzle, time to get back to the hut.

 

If you have a few days next winter and would like to do something different, go and spend 3 days with Dan and Christine, you won’t regret it. I can’t wait to go back.

 

 

This season wasn’t the greatest for snow levels. It was very warm for a month with little to no precipitation. Still though, Diaries Downunder has produced another season of episodes, showcasing Queenstown and proving that even in a bad winter, you can still get those memorable days that you wouldn’t trade for anything.

 

 

 

 

Hunting For Snow

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Yote and the sun. A good time for 7/11 snacks/dinner

We made it!  Well, Nick Brown and myself made it without serious injuries. Browna got lucky a few times and I have frostbite about a cm of my big toe but will get that sorted once back in New Zealand.

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Browna, the last of the 4, heading nowhere to look at nothing. This is how it starts most nights when the snow conditions turn bad.

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Browna broke the jump

Black Diamond Tours showed us a few locations around Niseko. I wish the snow had been better in the last week so we could have checked out their newer locations, they’ve really got it dialled in and around Niseko. One of the zones we were taken to had a few good jump spots, so we spent a couple of nights up there. Things got a little sketchy toward the end. After it snowed over a metre in 2 nights, everything began to release. Not the sort of thing you want to be worrying about at 2am with limited visibility.

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Been on trail of some Foxes, they’re not co-operating.

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All Dead

The Kill Off

We’ve been amongst the night for a while now.

Energy is depleting and motivation is dying, but we’re almost there. It feels like we never rest.

There is something very different about filming and living at night, the most obvious factor is the lack of sun and daylight. We see natural light for about 2 hours everyday and most of that time we’re hustling to get up to the next location before dark. It’s a constant struggle and the work has taken it’s toll on the riders.

Billy Hayman Blew his shoulder out on his first run before filming at Hirafu ski resort.

Jake has most likely broken his knee and rolled his ankle

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Connor is the most recent victim to ‘Night Fury’.  He was in search of a fresh landing off one of our jumps two nights ago, and found it, just before ploughing into a tree. He came off lucky with a seriously swollen thigh. He’s very lucky he didn’t brake his Femur or worse.

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Connor speeding toward the tree

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The view from the top of Connor’s tree jump

 

So it’s just Nick Brown and myself left now. We’ve had Nick Hyne and Mahi Mains come along on some of the recent shoots so that Browna has someone to ride with. Mahi and Nick are bringing a bit more energy to the shoots, and it’s been fun to film with them.

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Mahi Mains is getting amongst the darkness

 

Browna’s still ticking along. The sole focus is to get the riding shots we need now. The story has been filmed, and is looking pretty good. Killing the riders off has been the most fun we’ve had so far. We’ve been using the cable cam a little and some other ideas to produce a real feel to the horror that is’ Night Fury’.

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Browna don’t scare easily

 

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Browna’s face says it all,  5 Mush at midnight, time for Red Bull

Busy Nights

 

So we’ve been filming the past few nights for Night Fury.

Luggin 80 kg’s of lighting, a generator, 290m of extension cables, light stands etc into the Niseko Backcountry can be hard, but once again the crew worked well together. It took roughly 2 hours to setup on the first night, but the outcome was worth it and we soon had an idea of what we could and couldn’t shoot in terms of light._Z2A0509Browna rigging the lighting system in our Homac parking lot workshop

 

NIGHT FURY BEHIND THE SCENES EPISODE 2

 

I hoped that the lighting would be able to light up a large area, what I got on the first night, while only plugging in 9 of the 10 lights, was far better than I’d imagined. After all I had never seen the the lights we were using till we got to Niseko.

 

_Z2A0620Our first pillow session

 

The light’s were using are 200w LED flood lights. I was sceptical at first. What it came down to was that we could run ten 200w LED’s on one 2500w generator. The other option was we’d have to buy a generator for every two 1000w metal Halide lights, not an option I was keen on.

_Z2A0567Connor and Browna, after the long haul in

 

Roadside Riding is pretty good in Niseko. The mountain passes in and around the Niseko area have a lot of  features for us to hit, the area has good natural lines and jump spots, the vertical isn’t much as they’re not mountains, but there is an assortment of various types of back country features.

_Z2A0632Jake eyeing up our next landing, another Niseko roadside feature

 

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Jake, aka Danny Brown, prior to takeoff.

 

PART 2 EDIT

 

 

 

Tokyo Times

We arrived into Tokyo on the 1st of March and it was all go.  There’s no way to escape the masses once you’re here, we were re-awakened by the craziness, starting off with the train ride to Ikebukuro.

 

_Z2A8337Jake after the long haul

 

We opted for the easy way out this time and got on the bullet train, I had 3 large bags, a camera bag and computer bag and was carrying over 70kg’s of luggage. The others were also carrying their fair share of weight and bags, making the JR line too much work with it’s clogged carriages of sleeping face mask wearing Tokyo commuters.

_Z2A8344Luggage for days

 

We got straight into it. Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku were the locations we had in mind, and we were testing out the new body mount that Chris from SYRP and myself had put together. I had an idea of what I wanted, and It came together pretty well. It’s been good working with mates, they are keen to help and have really got involved.

 

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Nick strapped up with the doodle cam

Ben and myself have been busy time lapsing and shooting the night in Tokyo as that will play a part in the intro also. Late nights and long days take it out of you but I feel we got everything we needed and more.

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Shinjuku from up high

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Humanoid Robots, these things are the old versions apparently, fully mobile, with advanced recognition functions

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Jake checking out some robot anatomy

_Z2A0459View of the base of the Tokyo Sky tree, tallest building in the world.

_Z2A0472Connor and Jake hard at work, while the SYRP  Genie powers on in the back ground.

 

 

Diaries Down Under | Episode 4 | 2014 | Exploring The Southern Alps

 

 

A few weeks ago Nick Hyne, Ben comber, Mack James, Vaughan Brookfield and myself were driving to Christchurch to begin shooting Episode 4 for this year’s Diaries Downunder season. We had some amazing weather that resembled more of a summer look which helped when shooting Christchurch. The Sumner beach area was awesome, and the hills above provided us an epic view which clearly illustrated how close Christchurch is to the beach and the mountains. forweb

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Christchurch at Sunset.

 

When it came to the mountains, Mt Hutt was holding up, even after 19 days of blue bird skies. The park crew at Mount Hutt put in some over time to build us a cool feature, their attention to detail made it all worth while.picforweb

Mack James sending it into a huge landing.

 

Ohau was the next resort on the trip. A week after shooting Mt Hutt and Christchurch we were still enjoying the Tee shirt weather which was great for my pasty white arms but not so much when it came to finding features or making the edit look wintery as it should in Early September.Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.06.14 pm Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.07.53 pm_Z2A4209 _Z2A4226

The view from Ohau.

 

This is often the problem when trying to make a place look as good as it should be, but not having the desired conditions. We are limited by having to constantly think about what is visible in the background as you would on most film sets.

You have to remember the job of ‘Diaries Downunder’ is to make people want to come to Queenstown/South Island for it’s snowy winter conditions, therefore filming a feature with a huge hill of dirt behind is usually avoided.

In the end the Ohau session was fun. It was good to hit the road again and we got what we needed to include them in the episode.

To finish up we shot a few powder turns at the Remarkables which is a bit higher and holds its snow better on it’s southerly faces. It’s always good to come back to Queenstown wether it be winter or summer.

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Nick Hyne after enjoying a fresh line at the Remarkables.

 

Enjoy episode 4, the road trip.