This is a video section starring Shaun White that I directed for the Burton Snowboards film "The B".
The winter of 2009 was an exciting one for pipe riding as it saw the biggest explosion of progression in years, possibly ever. The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was approaching and everyone was eager to get their runs and combos dialed in. Shaun had something different in mind. Something slightly bigger.
Shaun wanted to take things to the next level. So he had Red Bull build him a training facility that was in such a remote location that no one could witness what he was attempting. They built him a half pipe on the backside of Silverton in Colorado. A spot that only back-country enthusiasts would go. Not your average pipe rider.
Shaun's idea was to learn a series of double corks and to link them in to one run. Learning these tricks are extremely dangerous as we saw a few months later when fellow Burton rider Kevin Pearce took a very bad fall in a pipe run and incurred a serious life threatening, career ending injury.
In order to build the half pipe they had to repeatedly bomb the mountain to trigger avalanches so that the snow would be deep enough at the base in order to dig the pipe. Shaun also had a foam pit installed at the bottom of the pipe so he could safely train and get used to the double corks without the risk of trying them for the first time on the icy hard pipe wall.
I was making the Burton film this year. I wanted to document Shaun as he was learning these tricks. I had made a pipe section for Shaun a couple years earlier in Picture This. But the part in PT was more about the flow and beauty of pipe riding. I wanted this one to be a little more hard core to match the progression and location.
My idea was first to take advantage of the pipe being in the back-country. I wanted to start the section as if it was an Alaska segment. Second I wanted to show the seriousness of trying these tricks. I knew we would be capturing plenty of crashes. But I wanted to show what it is like close up for Shaun. To show the dedication he has. The problem is that there is almost never a camera close up in those situation in the pipe. So I had Shaun do a quick reenactment of what he feels like after a fall so I could get a camera in his face.
The result is a fun, action packed pipe section. I really liked how it turned out.
The winter of 2006/2007 I made a film called Picture This. Prior to 2006 most high end snowboard films were shot on 16mm mainly because of the great latitude of film and the lack of a good video camera in extreme conditions. In 2006 Panasonic released the HVX-200. We did many comparison tests between 16mm, the HVX-200 and other camcorders. The HVX-200 convinced us that it was time for a change.
This section was my first "production" style shoot with the HVX-200. I had just returned from Finland where I was using the camera with Jaakko Itaaho and the crew. Getting used to the camera and feeling it out.
Now here I was in Tahoe at Northstar filming with Shaun White and Kevin Pearce. I wanted to take advantage of the low light capabilities of the camera so I told Shaun and Kevin that I wanted to shoot the segment solely at night. They were fully in to it. True professionals.
We shot it over the course of 4 nights. It was mid winter and very cold. It was one of the harder shoots that I had done, as were most in Picture This, because I wanted every shot to be lit very specifically. I wanted to control each and every shot. That wasn't something that was done much back then in snowboarding. But everyone worked hard lugging the lights up, down, up and down the pipe night after night.
The result is a moody piece about two of the best snowboarders in the world riding their very own private half pipe. I hope you enjoy!
Song: Kiss the Sky
Artist: Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra
-Winner of the 2011 New Belgium Clips of Faith Film Contest/Tour
-Appeared on Wired.com, TheAtlantic.com, OutsideOnline.com and numerous other nat'l/int'l websites
-Chosen for the Wyoming Filmmaker's Showcase during the 2011 Wildlife Film Festival in Jackson, WY
-Appeared on Japanese TV - NHK show Tokudane Toko Doga
-One of JH Weekly's 2011 Newsmakers of the Year
-Featured by Vimeo during Winter X Games 2012
-Featured in Best of Vimeo Shorts: Lights! Camera! Action Sports! at SXSW 2012
-Finalist in the 2012 Wyoming Short Film Contest
-Featured at Vimeo's 2013 Sundance Film Festival Party
UPDATE 31 Oct 2011 - Video re-uploaded to include a few re-edited scenes.
Pretty Lights - Change Is Gonna Come
Pretty Lights - Pink Floyd Time Remix - prettylightsmusic.com
Under license from Pretty Lights Music, Inc.
All sequences are animated 7D or 5D mkII stills - effects applied to each frame in post-production using Alien Skin Bokeh 2 in Photoshop, image stabilization and deflicker (using GBDeflicker) in After Effects, and frame motion in Final Cut.