February, 2010


Spring Breakup

Headed up the North Fork today.   Even though there are still 3 weeks of official winter left, it’s 50 degrees here and the spring breakup is in full force and that means the road is in bad shape.  I’ve tried to find places to stop and shoot, but as soon as I slowed down, the car sank into the mud and slush.  Underneath the slush, though, is a thick layer of solid ice and once the you hit that, the car isn’t going anywhere.  Plus, I didn’t even have a shovel, so if I did get stuck I wouldn’t have been able to dig myself out.

But the show must go on.  I drove for several miles before I found a safe place to pullover.  I had an awesome view of the Livingston mountain range.  I used the RED to do an 30 second, in-camera timelapse of the morning sunrise illuminating the mountain range.  Before the sun came up the sky was overcast and kind of gloomy, but as the sun rose, the clouds thinned out.  The resulting video is beautiful.

On the way back out, I spotted maybe 60 head of elk.  They were grazing on private property on the edge of the park and I couldn’t get close enough to get a decent shot.  I plan to come back in the next few days and hopefully they will be on park land next time.

Sunrise Timelapse of Glacier Park from Tempest HD on Vimeo.


Tempest RED #672

I had mentioned earlier that the RED One camera is pretty much the coolest camera on the face of the planet.  For those of you who are not familiar with Red, I just had to take a few minutes to elaborate on what makes the camera so special.

Unlike most of the higher-end HD camcorders which utilize 2.1M pixel sensors, the RED camera uses the Mysterium Super 35mm cine sized sensor.  This allows the Red One to capture 4K (up to 30 fps), 3K (up to 60 fps) and 2K (up to 120 fps).  Our old Sony HDCAM 700a camera was an amazing piece of equipment but the 12,065,000 pixels available in the Red One result in more than 4 times the resolution of the old “high def” gear.

Why do insist on mentioning the serial number of your camera (our RED  is #672 in case I haven’t already told you that)?

When Jim Jannard (the founder of both Oakley, Inc. and RED Digital Cinema) shared his vision of the camera and the company that he planned to build, there were a lot of us that got pretty excited.  So when he gave us the opportunity to put down some money to “reserve” a RED camera we jumped at the chance (although not quite as fast as 671 other people).  As a result, RED owners have pretty strong feelings about their camera’s identity (yes, many have gone beyond the numbers and named their cameras).

If you’re not familiar with Jim, Jarred and the rest of the gang at Red Digital Cinema, you really owe it to yourself to learn more about the company.  And if you think the Red One specs are amazing you should see what they have in mind for their Epic line-up.

Ps – If you have the chance to talk to Jarred make sure you ask him about those 5 pound Hershey bars we sent his way a couple years ago.


Wallpaper – Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald on February 23, 2010. Shot in 4k with the RED.

Download all resolutions on the Glacier Wallpaper page.


Snow at Lake McDonald

I had planned on filming the sunrise this morning but Mother Nature forced me to change my plan. Some time during the night, a winter storm system had moved into the area and
with it came the snow. With no sunrise to shoot I decided to turn my focus to wildlife. I drove
to the Goat Lick area but there were no mountain goats to be found. I spent the next few hours hiking around the river looking for any mountain goat signs but no such luck.

I decided to call it a morning and headed back to West Glacier and on
the way I happened to notice a beautiful stand of young fir and spruce. It was snowing heavily by
then, almost blizzard conditions, and the combination of the trees and the
hard snowfall was beautiful.

I thought today would be a bust in terms of getting out and shooting because of the low overcast and
drizzle but the clouds cleared a bit towards late afternoon and I was able to get some nice shots of
Lake McDonald at dusk. I’ll post a wallpaper right after this post.


Sunrise timelapse

What a morning.

I got up early to catch the sunrise. I shot my second in-camera timelapse of a mountain peak I had noticed a couple days back. I was trying to catch the sunrise so I had to set up while it was still dark. I ended up driving 5 miles past the turnoff before I realized where I was. Thankfully, I still had time to set up the shot before the first rays of light hit the peak. Even though I made it back in time, I still missed the first few minutes of the sunrise. The polarizer needed to be swapped out for a neutral density filter, only it was 3  degrees outside and my fingers were frozen. After ten minutes of fiddling, I got the filter screwed on and hit record. The sun had just risen above the horizon and flooded the mountain in sunlight. I haven’t had a chance to look at the final timelapse video, but I’m excited to see how it turned out.

After the sunrise, I spent some time looking for wildlife. I spotted mountain goats, a bald eagle, and a pair of moose.  The mountain goats were too far away and there was a lot of impassable terrain between us. The bald eagle was perched high in a snag overlooking the river and flew away as soon as I hiked close enough. The only footage I ended up with was of the moose. They were standing in the river when I saw them. I ended up with a few minutes of video before they walked into the forest.

I’m heading out again later this afternoon. Planning to drive up the North Fork in search of elk.


More Glacier Centennial Information

If you’re looking for more information about the 2010 Glacier Centennial make sure you check out the Centennial page on the Park’s website.

Kass Hardy, the Centennial Coordinator for Glacier National Park maintains a Centennial Blog which should be a great resource as the fun begins.

Finally, you can also Visit Glacier National Park’s Official Centennial Website at http://www.glaciercentennial.org/.

At the moment all of these pages seem to have similar content but I’m sure they will be updated as the summer season approaches.


Desktop Wallpapers

Since we are shooting video with the RED One in 4k, we can take grab amazing still images right from the video.  Throughout the project we will be posting images from our dailies.  I will be turning some of these into desktop wallpapers in the most common display resolutions.

These first two wallpapers were from video shot last summer.  Download all resolutions on the Glacier Wallpaper page.


Glacier Highland Hotel

When we first started talking about the Glacier Bluray project, I wanted to do it as “on location” as possible. That meant camping in park with just a tent, the camera, and a laptop. But we realized that it’s winter time right now and trying to do any meaningful work on a laptop when it’s 10 degrees in the tent is near impossible. Instead, I opted for a hotel on the edge of the park. It’s a win-win scenario; I can hike into the park during the day and edit footage in the evening in the warmth of a hotel room.

Normally all of the hotels are closed in winter because the park is officially closed. I called all of the hotels on both the east side and the west side of park looking for some place to stay for the next month. Joe and Mary came to our rescue. They run the Glacier Highland Motel in West Glacier.  Joe graciously offered to open the motel just for us.  I can’t thank him enough.

And here is the modest editing station.  I’ve got my Mac, a pair of 24″ monitors and the 10 terabyte hard drive array.


The Beginning of the Project

Our goal is simple. Over the next four months we hope to film, produce and distribute a Glacier Blu-ray DVD which will inspire and touch your hearts the way Glacier does for us.

Our vision is to use high definition footage to highlight the beauty and wonder of Glacier National Park.

If you’re looking for a traditional National Park video packed full of historic facts and figures – this probably isn’t for you. On the other hand if you love Glacier and you’ve been looking for the right subject matter to show your friends what that new flat panel tv and Blu-ray player can really do… we think you’ll like what we have in mind.

While producing an amazing Blu-ray is our end-goal, we know from experience that what happens between now and then will probably be the most interesting (and challenging) part of this adventure so we want to make sure that we share all of that with you.

As I’m writing this, Mike Dreesman (our fabulous videographer) is packing up to head to Glacier.

Over the next couple of months he’ll be keeping all of us updated via this website with frequent blog posts, video updates and hopefully a nice selection of frame grabs that should make great wallpapers for your computer.

Please check back often and let us know if you have ideas or suggestions for the Blu-ray or the website.

Read the whole story.