Imagine standing on a grassy hill overlooking the prairie in western Nebraska. It’s early summer and you are surrounded by yellow fields of Goldenrod, and whipped by a warm wind from the east. A storm approaches from the west. It’s getting bigger and darker. Soon, the sky above you is filled with swirling black clouds and you are lifted upward, light as a feather, tossed by the storm.
I’m fortunate to have grown up on the Great Plains of America where I can touch the sky often. A storm there can transform you. It’s a conduit to God, an interaction with Wakinyan, the Lakota thunder spirit. While you are part of the storm, the bonds of earth are lifted, and you are free.
Finding new ways to convey this experience to others is important to me. In early 2018, I embarked on a mission to capture storms on the highest resolution motion picture format I could reasonably acquire, which for me was 16K (15,985 x 5792 pixels). It didn’t actually exist, so I had to create it. After much testing, I decided on using two 50MP cameras fixed to a custom-made calibrated mount. It was a daunting task, but I was able to make it work.
When you watch this short film, you will see just one, large, beautiful picture. But, you are actually watching two carefully stitched images. If you swear it’s just one image, then I have succeeded.
Please like, share and comment if you enjoy the film.
The score was composed for me by the talented Benjamin Botkin. Check out Ben’s music at benbotkin.com
The lovely Tricia Brioux performs the voice of Mother Nature. You can find Tricia at triciasvoice.com
The words are by the naturalist John Muir, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Muir
A portion of the film’s 16K footage can be licensed exclusively through StormStock, stormstock.com
If you love amazing storms and want to see them up close, book a storm chasing expedition with my company Tempest Tours, tempesttours.com
Format: 16K (15,985 x 5792) 2.76 “Panavision 70” utilizing two Canon 5DS EOS 50MP cameras. On-line: 8K UHD 2.39 (7680 x 3213) Rec. 2020.
Director’s notes: Shooting “Prairie Wind” required 4 months shooting 16K, and 3 months processing the clips. I drove 8,000 miles across six Great Plains states from March through July, 2018. Most were 16 hour work days. The project was time consuming with a cumbersome workflow. It required lots of hands-on, and many hours of computer processing. There are approximately 6100 stitched 16K images in the finished film. We used two external fans to keep our 8-core Mac Desktop Pro workstation from melting. Only prime lenses were utilized, so the zooms you see are all digital. Each shot required two days to stitch, color, and render, if there were no alignment issues. Making this short film taught me Jedi-like patience. Despite all the challenges and time, the final results are quite amazing. Hope you enjoy it!
Download and sample some of the 16K images used in “Prairie Wind” we.tl/t-lSKE8dVRP6
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