SNOW // Microadventures in the Cairngorms // Adventure Filmmaking, Scotland


Adventure filmmaking

We are pleased to share a small personal project in adventure filmmaking with you. Filmed almost by accident, it serves as a nice wee escape for us into the beauty of the Cairngorms in winter.

Client:

Simmerdim (Personal Project)

The Context:

n December 2017, myself and my friend from school were going out for a long winter hike to train for an ultramarathon. As boys we used to get out into the hills all the time, usually camping out. As men in our 30s, that opportunity doesn’t present itself very often.

In early December, Scotland saw a large fall of snow on the hills, following by an immediate high pressure window, which meant that conditions were frozen in a pristine state. We travelled north to the Linn of Dee in the Cairngorms and set out for a munro called the Devils Peak. Alas, limited daylight and tricky road conditions meant that we didn’t have time left in the day to reach the mountain, but a 15 mile hike in thigh deep snow in one of the UK’s most wild areas was still a quality mountain day in anyone’s book. It ought to be noted that the temperature was -14C.

As I was building the Simmerdim website ( simmerdim.co ) at the time, I took along my old Canon 60d and a Laing Steadicam in order to get a few stock shots for the site. However, such were the conditions that, as ever, I filmed more than was required so I decided to chop a quick video together for fun. Also, because adventure filmmaking is such an interest of ours, we thought is made sense to take the opportunity to share that passion.

Looking for a narrative, I remembered that there is only one man to look for if the Cairngorms, and snow in particular, are the subject; Dr Adam Watson. He is the definitive source on the subject. I found a video on YouTube, made by Dave Macleod for the Fort William Film Festival and, having sought permission from all three parties, used Adam’s audio from this with a bit of creative licence. See the links below for credits;

The walker was my friend Callum Duffy. He is a true mountain man, with incredible endurance, which meant that he spent a lot of time waiting for me to catch up. It’s no accident that many of the shots are following shots. As an engineering geologist who enjoys spending time out in the field, he is very much a kindred spirit to Dr Watson and I felt that he almost represented the narrator in his youth. The two worked well together in that respect. A happy accident.

In technical terms, it was filmed on a Canon 60d, in 720 at 50fps upscaled to 1080. I then did a bit of tweaking to the colours with Film Convert. The camera didn’t like the cold much but held up remarkably well. Good old workhorse that it is. Now I shoot on Sony, in order to get high functionality at a reasonable price, but I do love Canon. The driving timelapse was done on a GoPro Hero3+

Whilst this was just a fun personal project, if you would like to commission an adventure filmmaking project do get in touch today. We are experienced in operating in remote outdoor environments and can provide advice on operations generally in conditions ranging from the mountains of Scotland to the African bush.

Credits

Fort William Film Festival – mountainfestival.co.uk/
Dave Macleod – davemacleod.blogspot.com/
Feature on Adam Watson – mountainfestival.co.uk/dr-adam-watson.html

Callum Duffy – logosgeoservices.co.uk

Thanks also to officemates from Bloc Collective for feedback.

Sound Effects
freesound.org/people/Benmaessound/sounds/201059/
freesound.org/people/magnus589/sounds/184579/
freesound.org/people/HerbertBoland/sounds/28171/
freesound.org/people/FedeFrede/sounds/324138/
freesound.org/people/MrAuralization/sounds/269702/
freesound.org/people/MrAuralization/sounds/269703/

Technical Specs:

Canon 60d
Canon 18-55 f2.8 EFS lens
GoPro Hero3+
Laing Steadicam
Footage graded with FilmConvert

Music:

Ships Along The Harbour by Slow Meadow (licensed from MusicBed and remixed, slightly)

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