When I got to Olympia for the Olympic Air Show, one of the first things I saw on the ramp was a very serious looking Black Hawk. It was equipped with everything you could think off. The ESSS system was mounted, there was a FLIR turret and a variety of weapons. I was rather curious what unit owned it. It turns out it is a civilian owned machine. Northwest Helicopters is the operator and it is used for filming work. That explains it looking so tooled up. A civil registration is discretely on the tail and it says the machine is actually an EH-60. I’ll have to watch out for it in any movies that are coming up.
This one will not necessarily be what you were expecting. Despite the title, this is not about flying – at least in the normal context of this blog. This is about snowboarding. Some time last year, I came across a trailer for a movie called Art of Flight. It is a movie in which some of the world’s best snowboarders go to some of the most remote parts of the planet to ride slopes that have not been ridden before.
Red Bull, ever one to support extreme sports activities, obviously provided a lot of support to this process with a number of Red Bull helicopters showing up throughout the film. Helicopters are the best way to get to some of these locations but even then the trip can be a bit hairy. Some of the helicopter flying is pretty extreme as well!
The featured snowboarder is Travis Rice. This guy certainly knows what he is about and is willing to try some amazing stuff. He is joined by a variety of guys in the different locations but they all like to try some cool descents across terrain with little in the way of forgiveness and weather that doesn’t always want to cooperate. They also go to some more normal locations but try some amazing tricks even then.
All of this sport would be impressive on its own but that is not what makes this film special. The magic comes from the way it is filmed by Curt Morgan. He makes use of innovative filming technology and improvisation and a lot of cameras to film the boarding from multiple angles to provide a phenomenal perspective. The quality of the camerawork and the editing turn this from good to great.
I got the BluRay/DVD box so I can watch it now on DVD and on BluRay in HiDef when I get around to having a BluRay player! You can get it at Amazon and I certainly recommend it. In the mean time, check out the trailer below to get a sense of what is included.
One of the things that happens a lot in Chicago is the filming of movies. These can be small scale movies that will be unlikely to make a big impact to blockbusters. The recent Batman films were shot in Chicago for example. One film that really took over the city for a while was Transformers 3. I haven’t been to see the film – Netflix for that one I think – but they really destroyed the sections of the city around where I live if the trailers are anything to go by.
The city granted them an amazing amount of access including closing Michigan Avenue for quite some time. A lot was filmed across the river from us on Wacker Drive. Two aspects of the filming were fun for me. First they had made some pretty impressive effects for the cityscape with ripped up concrete and destroyed vehicles scattered around which you could get very close to. The second thing was the use of aerial filming. A lot of filming was done from an Astar and it seemed to spend a lot of time hovering near enough that I could take photos – admittedly through the windows which doesn’t always help.
They also had some skydivers both jumping from helicopters into the city and also base jumping from the buildings. I saw bits of that but was not close to it all. I did see a few sequences being set up. It is interesting just how long it takes for a sequence to be put together, rehearsed and finally shot. I saw a bunch of guys on wires getting hauled into the air numerous times before they finally shot it with the explosions going live.
They also filmed a sequence with explosions along the rooftops of a number of buildings along the ricer. We should have been suspicious as we sat in our living room in the evening when we heard the helicopter again but it was only as the buildings started erupting that we realized what was happening.