October 26, 2014

You've Never Seen Ski Cinematography Like This

Lighting a Mountainside
Ski videos are a dime a dozen these days, and despite varying levels of production value, many of them look the same. Not this one.

Sweetgrass Productions has been on the cutting edge of ski film production for years, but their latest film, Afterglowis an entirely new take on the genre, and it might very well be the single most visually stunning piece of high-end ski filmmaking that you will ever lay eyes upon. But don't just take my word for it. Have a look for yourselves.

Here's the most stunning segment from the film.

And here's the film in its entirety.

In a behind the scenes post over at Wired, Jakob Schiller shared some awesome photos and information about how Sweetgrass managed to pull off such an ambitious production.

The team used eight 4,000-watt lights, accented with smaller lights and gels to add contrast and fill. All told, the lighting and filming gear—which included several RED EPIC cameras and an octocopter—weighed 9,000 pounds. Where possible, they ferried all that stuff up the mountain in a helicopter, but there were times when it was loaded into sleds and hauled up by hand.

Afterglow Gear
Credit: Oskar Enander
Arri Fresnel Afterglow
Credit: Sweetgrass Productions
Lighting a Mountainside
Credit: Oskar Enander

No matter your feelings about skiing or the ski film genre of filmmaking, it's hard not to admire the amount of work that went into creating Afterglow. The result is utterly astounding, and it proves that innovation is always possible, even when the genre feels completely stagnant. Great work, Sweetgrass Productions.     

Your Comment

23 Comments

Yep. That's one way to do it. Geeze.

October 26, 2014 at 12:54PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
965

Stunning :o

October 26, 2014 at 1:30PM, Edited October 26, 1:30PM

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Also, I'm not a RED fanboy or anything but all credit due to the Epic for keeping all the detail in both luminance and colour with those crazy values flying around :) So impressed by both the camera and the DOPs technical ability.

October 26, 2014 at 1:42PM

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That is just beautiful!

October 26, 2014 at 2:29PM

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Samir
75

This is just creative and beautiful!

October 26, 2014 at 3:08PM

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Lensroam Team
Editor / DP / Director
81

The cinematography is beautiful but makes me sad it couldn't be done on film. Snow and water in slow mo on film are so gorgeous for action sports. Personally hated the VO and the shell the action was put in but that's a small gripe from someone who used to make ski films

October 26, 2014 at 7:12PM

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Robin Schmidt
Director
266

It couldn't be done on film because it sucks in low light.

October 26, 2014 at 9:45PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
900

Absolutely beautiful work. Film vs. digital was the least of their production obstacles.

Saying film sucks in low light is a bit off. There are film stocks that are developed to utilize less light, so your statement sidesteps the entire concept of ISO. That said, I'd shoot this digital anyway.

Simply saying something sucks, just doesn't strike me as a constructive addition to the conversation.

This shoot seems like a logistical monster. I think the filmmakers would have made something wonderful, no matter the medium. Perhaps, the focus should remain on that.

October 27, 2014 at 12:05AM

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Nnamdi Ejim
Filmmaker
234

I do not understand why you have two dislikes on this comment, what you said is the truth; film retains highlights in a superior manner relative to digital, and digital retains shadows in a superior manner relative to film.

October 28, 2014 at 11:53PM

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Connor Day
Director of Photography
325

"Hey, pink HMI, I need you to move lamp left about 800 feet"

"...well sh*t."

Awesome film, I bet it was hell to produce, though!

Also, before anyone flips out over it, yeah, LED surfer inspired it, but it doesn't take anything away from this. Do you also get angry because Spielberg's 'stole' the dolly zoom from Hitchcock?

October 27, 2014 at 1:27AM

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Chuck McDowell
1st AC
522

My thoughts precisely XD

October 28, 2014 at 11:55PM, Edited October 28, 11:54PM

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Connor Day
Director of Photography
325

Simply wow. Gorgeous. Thanks for that, just what my monday morning needed!

October 27, 2014 at 7:55AM

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Ariel Levesque
Director
140

ohhhh :D

October 28, 2014 at 3:46AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7109

This stuff is brilliant. It would be a great help if someone has any links to articles or videos relating to post production of this film.

October 28, 2014 at 6:12AM

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Samar Ali
Director and Editor
81

what's truly amazing is that no one's noticed that the idea is over two years old. As usual 'creatives' appropriating rather than innovating for a big brand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7nHdo5Bx9g

October 28, 2014 at 12:20PM

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keith
306

This is phenomenal! I admire the creativity and innovation this piece brings to the table.

October 28, 2014 at 8:27PM, Edited October 28, 8:27PM

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Shivani Jhaveri
Producer
133

Very nice.

October 29, 2014 at 4:50PM, Edited October 29, 4:50PM

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Luna Videography
Videographer
593

great lighting on the mountains. But the lame music in the trailer killed it for me.. If they chose a better track it would of made the video way more epic.
Also it seems as if an entire different editor was used for first part of Long video.. it has an entirely different pace and editing style with less flow than than the stuff from the trailer.. One seems like the directors cut and the other the corporate video cut.

October 30, 2014 at 4:14PM

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Hunter Senftner
Director/DP/Editor
29

Absolutely breathtaking! Makes me love snow and skiing, even if I've never tried it :)

October 30, 2014 at 4:42PM

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Barbara P. Flees
Director / Producer
74

Amazing cinematography and creativity... but the trailer didn't make me want to watch the movie. I'd much prefer to watch Art of Flight where you get the amazing shots AND the realistic snowboarding shots

October 31, 2014 at 12:17PM

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nice idea with this special LED lights.

November 26, 2014 at 6:06PM, Edited November 26, 6:06PM

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Revilo von Asur
Producer/Writer/Designer/Musician/Director of Photography
110

nice idea with this special LED lights.

November 26, 2014 at 6:06PM, Edited November 26, 6:06PM

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Revilo von Asur
Producer/Writer/Designer/Musician/Director of Photography
110

That's the coolest riding video EVER! I wish I could ride in those conditions.
I just started making full POV snowboard videos and last years is up to watch at www.faithandaction.net. It's unique in a different way!

November 26, 2014 at 9:05PM

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Kanji D Christian
Independant Christian Snowboard Video Producer
81

Wow. Absolutely incredible. I think I may have to watch this every week until it's winter again.

April 25, 2015 at 6:37PM

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JJ Sereday
Director/Cinematographer/Editor
99