The Keystone Ski Resort in Summit County, Colorado is a gem of a mountain that offers skiers more than 3000 acres of skiable terrain, and other really fun winter activities like snow tubing, and ice skating. We at Image Brew have spent our fair share of time exploring the mountain, so we were ecstatic when the Denver agency, Sukle, reached out about working on a project for Keystone. Sukle had partnered with Keystone to develop and produce a video and photography campaign entitled, Today We Play. The concept was simple and poignant—everyone deserves a break to play, kids and adults alike. Keystone wanted to capture authentic moments of real families and friends enjoying the many winter amenities on the mountain. Sukle was searching for a seasoned production company who could successfully manage the logistical chaos of shooting on the mountain….on skis. Lucky for them both, because not only do we all love to ski here at Image Brew, but we also represent arguably one of the world’s preeminent ski filmmakers, Josh Berman. Josh founded ski film powerhouse Level 1 and he has directed some of the most innovative and beloved ski films of the past 20 years. Keystone and Sukle loved Josh’s artistic vision and his commitment to capturing authentic skiing. We love to work with Josh because he is relentless in his pursuit of capturing beautiful images in any condition, and he also usually has a few funny anecdotes about globetrotting with professional skiers shooting his annual ski film.
Variable weather conditions and ski season scheduling concerns from Keystone challenged us to move very quickly on this project in order to pull it off. To begin, we assembled an agile team of talented production technicians who are also expert skiers. This is actually not too difficult given our location here in Denver—we have a deep roster of crew with experience in ski film production and adventure filmmaking. For casting, we were charged with casting a real family of skiers and a real group of adult friends. Again, I can think of far worse cities to cast skiers in. However, finding multiple skiers who can perform on camera and then aligning all of their schedules is a tall order. We leveraged our relationships with local casting directors and we also trawled skier forums on social media in order to find the perfect cast.
With our shoot days locked and our cast booked, we dove into a rigorous breakdown of our shot list and created a methodical schedule for the three day affair. Our two storylines feature both a family and the group of friends enjoying activities that are spread out over the massive, 3000 acre resort. Movement of gear and personnel between our setups was to be done all on skies or by chairlift, adding time to our day and fatigue with our crew. We amplified the complexity of an already difficult schedule with our desire to shoot in optimal sun positions. We wanted to maximize our available time in the golden hours of the day so we could capture the Rocky Mountain vistas and sunshine that Keystone is so well know for. This required some very early start times and long days as we chased the waning sun throughout the day. Fortunately, we had a talented crew who could be nimble and efficient in our setups as we captured beautiful imagery throughout each day.
We shot this project with a duo of Blackmagic cinema cameras— the Ursa Mini Pro 4K and the brand new Ursa Pocket 4K. We lensed both cameras with a combination of Canon glass, including Canon CNE Primes and also L-Series zooms. We flew the Ursa Pocket 4K on a new Movi Pro with a Ready Rig for support. The Ursa Mini was used on both sticks and handheld. We thought that the two Blackmagic censored cameras really matched well and they both performed flawlessly in the cold and snowy conditions.
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