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How to Film Your Friends with Sky Pinnick

Be Strong
posted: 10/27/2005

GO THE DISTANCE.
Want to get a pulled-back shot of your buddy threading a tight chute? Find an opposing ridge and film looking across at the line.

IF THE SUN ISN'T OUT, THE FOOTAGE WILL LOOK FLAT.
On sunny days, the best time to shoot is an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, when the light becomes warm and soft.

NO CAMO!
Reds and yellows pop best on screen, while blacks and greens blend in with the shadows.

FOR MONEY POWDER SHOTS, DON'T SHOOT FROM ABOVE.
The only way to see snow splashing around chests and faces is from below.

WALK AROUND TO FIND THE BEST PERSPECTIVE.
Pros spend hours doing this: Will your pal be blasting off into space? Will a lift tower distract the viewer or give the shot scale? The more you scout the better. Just don't track up the landing-you'll ruin the shot.

TAKE CONTROL OF THE CAMERA.
The number-one rookie mistake when filming a two-stage shot-air followed by turns, say-is to keep the camera on automatic and let the aperture adjust on its own. Don't do this-the light will be inconsistent. Instead, put it on manual, pick a middle exposure, and leave it for the duration of the shot.

USE A TRIPOD.
Otherwise you'll end up with wobbly shots.

NEVER FILM A CHUTE FROM THE BOTTOM LOOKING UP.
The shot will come out with no depth, and viewers won't know how steep and gnarly the run really is.

BRING RADIOS.
You can't yell as far as you think you can, and you don't want your subject to drop in while you're still setting up.

WHICH CAMERA SHOULD YOU BUY?
See "A Pixel's Worth a Thousand Bucks," page 137, for reviews of three top digicams.

QUICK TIP
Cold depletes batteries quickly, so stick them in your underwear or armpit. Even better, duct tape hand warmers to them.

THE EXPERT: Sky Pinnick, 27, is the main cameraman for Oregon-based Rage Films. BooterCrunk, their fourth feature, was just released in August. Pinnick and his crew say they spend "100 million hours" filming each season, but we know that's a lie.
READ MORE ABOUT IT: Guerilla Film Makers Handbook by Chris Jones and Genevieve Jolliffe ($40; Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000) shows you how to make a movie and get it seen by others.
GET HANDS-ON DIRECTION: Based in Golden, British Columbia (home of Kicking Horse Resort), Peter Peru's Extreme Film and Expedition School offers seven-day intensive workshops that specialize in ski movies. Everything from scripting and pre-production to editing and marketing is covered, with each student producing a three- to six-minute digital film (explorex.net; 604-468-1213).

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