Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Human Dragon! DON'T DO THIS AT HOME - Fire and Ice!

Our YouTube channel was created with the idea of showing the world things they've never seen before, in ways they have never seen it. It's what got our names out there, and that has always been a major focus of what we try and create. A couple weeks ago we got to work with someone who does exactly that, we got to work with Bryan Blaze, a fire breather.

With any project we take on, we try and take it to amazing locations, so figuring out a location that would show drastic contrast was actually fairly easy, the Ice Castles in Midway Utah we knew would be the perfect location for this. My uncles brother, Brent Christensen is actually the creator of them, and we've been filming at his ice castles for a very long time, since it's such an incredible location. The first video I shot there was actually a music video for Lindsey Stirling, the video currently at this time has 165 million views :) Here's the video:

This video was shot in early 2012, when no one had really been exposed to the ice castles, as far as a mass audience goes.

The Ice Castles have always drawn me back for multiple projects for the fact that they are such a unique location. Last year after the Ice Castles had closed down for the year, we did two other projects there. We didn't have to worry about destroying the ice castles since the season was already over with, it had been almost a month. Here is what we created last year with them:

Paintball Warfare 2.0

World's Best Slackliners

From my experience last year of filming the ice castles at night with fire, I fell in love with how the ice lit up from the fire, so we thought this location would be the perfect backdrop for a fire breathing video, and that's how it all came about.

Levi, a new recent friend (since the Mario Kart videos), had met Bryan Blaze, the fire breather the week prior, at the ice castles, and had got his phone number contact, and gave it to me, suggesting he would be the perfect talent to film at the Ice Castles. When I got his contact I was going to be moving soon to Hawaii, so we had to act fast, a few days from contacting Bryan, we had already shot the video at the Ice Castles.

We filmed it on the Red Weapon and the Phantom 4 Pro for a few aerial shots to break things up. We filmed after hours. We started filming the moment it was closed, all the way until 5AMish, when we got home. It was all done with all natural light, with the Ice Castle lighting as well, LED lights built into the Ice. We did have control to light the ice different colors because of the LED, but I wanted it to be a more realistic look, so we kept it white.

Filming fire at night is a nightmare, first off. Trying to figure out the right camera settings is a constant struggle because once the fire lights up things, it over exposes the background. Yet if you want the background exposed correctly, then you won't have the fire exposed correctly.
I focused on having the fire exposed correctly.

Since we filmed this on the Red Weapon, the video image was Raw so we had a lot more flexibility in post, where I could shoot it at an ISO of 800, and lower it to ISO 200 without loosing any quality, and that's exactly what I ended up doing.

I also realized when we started filming, that fire breathing actually happens super fast, within a second usually, so I decided to film it at super slow motion, to make sure we would have a video longer then a few seconds. Fire breathing does look amazing, but in order to make the most visually appealing video we would need to break things up. So we brainstormed things we could do in slow motion besides just breathing the fire out. So Bryan breathed fire on the ice, different structures, and my favorite shot actually ended up being one where Bryan slid down the slides blowing fire up towards the camera, often dousing me in the flame. It's all about the shot though, so we had to put the camera closer then it probably should have been.

Having the drone ended up being very useful, despite not using it for more then a few minutes, it made it so we could cut to it and break up the edit, show a new perspective, and keep the pace/story moving.

To film a video like this, it was just Bryan (the athlete) and I, with Brandon shooting behind the scenes. Kept things minimal since we didn't need a full team for something like this. And then Tyson on our team took the edit and made it to what it is now, which you can see below:

Hawaii - My stomping grounds

Oahu Hawaii is one of my favorite places on earth! I lived there for a year in 2010-2011 working on a documentary on an amazing surf photographer, Jon Mozo. While working on that project I had a lot of free time to do projects that seemed fun to me, and that's when I would film with all the local college kids, and some of our biggest videos, especially for that time happened then. Here's a few of them:

World's Largest Slip And Slide

Waimea Cliff Jump

Kauai - The Lost World

Those are a few examples of what I was shooting in 2010, with a Canon 5D Mark II, and my trusty glidecam. Hawaii became my favorite place to shoot, not for the obvious reasons of beautiful scenery, but because it was the place I discovered my own voice. How to become independent, confidence in myself, and how to lead others and make things happen. Before 2010/Hawaii days, I knew little about that, but I had yet to discover my voice until then.

Fast forward 7 years later, I just released another video I filmed in Hawaii. This one was another important one for me for the fact that I had come back to Hawaii to premiere the film I had spent 7 years working on (off and on). It had gotten accepted as one of the main films for the Hawaii International Film Festival.

While I was here for the film festival, I decided I would add some extra days to the trip, since it would be 5 days premiering the film, I would focus on filming Hawaii again, the place I had discovered my voice. This time was also different for the fact that I was now married, so I got to bring my wife on the trip as well. We were on the island for 8 days total, including traveling, so we didn't have a ton of time to show off an entire island. Megan and I went right to work, never missing a sunrise or sunset, no matter how late we worked the night before.

As far as equipment goes, we were filming on the Red Weapon 6K camera and the Phantom 4. Right when we got there the Red camera was having issues and the camera couldn't hold a battery charge. So I had to focus on the Phantom 4 for most of our shots. I was forced to learn the drone/camera. Every night I would come back and watch YouTube videos on how to get the footage looking better, and learning how to fly it better. It was trial and error learning at it's best :)  We met a lot of amazing people on the shoot, and I got to have my wife with me for the whole adventure, doesn't get better than that.

As I began editing the video, I wanted to explore something I had never done before, or at least not very many times, having a voice over/narration through the video. I love watching TED talks, so I thought it would be powerful to have an inspiring voice over while showing footage that would be inspiring as well, so that is where the voice over came from. We have a lot of people contacting us, saying we can use their music, and one of those people had sent us a library of motivational speeches, and that's what you will hear in the video. But the thought process behind it was to try something new outside our typical "nature" style videos, and see if it could bring in a new audience as well.

You can see below the video we created, with the behind the scenes right below that (and just for the record, there's 3 behind the scene videos:

Main Video:

Behind The Scenes: