GPNZ Ruapehu Trip #savethearctic

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of heading up to Ruapehu to shoot images and video for Greenpeace New Zealand’s #savethearctic launch action. The goal was to kick off an international social media campaign – Rooftops to Mountains. We travelled to the mountain with the objective of climbing to the summit with a modified snowboard and a banner. It was to be a symbolic act, to take the message to a mountain top and gain attention for the plight of the Arctic region in the face of climate change. We spent several days waiting for a weather window and shooting material to tell the story of the action.
Kurt on location carrying the sticker'd snowboard on the lower slopes of Ruapehu.
We flew a couple of drone shots for the video, and planned our strategy for the big climb. The weather was pretty challenging, but we did get a chance at the summit. Heading up the slopes toward the crater rim, snow conditions were great but visibility dropped to nearly nothing. We pushed on, approximating our line based on what we saw before the white-out. Arriving at a flat shoulder on the ridge, we stopped for lunch and to wait in the hope of a break in the cloud. As we were about to head back down, that break arrived and we had a clear view around us. Now that we could see, we realised we were sitting on the crater rim just below the summit we’d been aiming for. To one side the crater lake steamed and clouds swirled, and to the other the slopes dropped away to the ski-field below. We shot a lot of stills and some video.
The only thing we still wanted was an action shot, but the sticker you see on Kurt’s board was stripped off as soon as he started riding. So that night we cut the lettering out of the board, and filled it with clear P-tex, revealing the board’s wooden core. It took hours and we were up into the wee hours tediously cutting, chiseling and filling. A local ski shop gave it a base-grind and wax in the morning and it was good to go.
We headed back up the hill to find a suitable feature for Kurt to throw down on. He spotted this cliff from the chairlift and I got in position. Kurt hucked it twice, to a pretty flat landing, and we got this shot.
You can see the (fairly dramatic) video clip put together by GPNZ here:
And the GP International campaign video here:

Dobson Wave

I live in a wee town called Dobson, just up the Grey River from Greymouth. It’s a lovely little place, and it’s got a neat, hidden gem. The Dobson Wave. It’s a standing wave which forms off a large rock when the Grey fills up after a decent dump of rain. It’s a whole lot of fun to play on, and kayakers (and sometimes surfers) in the know are glued to the flow telemetry on the regional council website whenever the river starts to rise. My buddy Damo is almost certainly it’s most avid user, living locally as well, and he’s pretty persuasive at getting everyone else out to enjoy it as well. Recently the wave came in on a weekend, and a whole crew got in on the action.

Dobbo Wave from Jason Blair on Vimeo.

Next time I’ll have to get the CineStar out and get some aerial footage. It’s a bit of a tricky one though, as the weather is almost always going to be rubbish when the wave is in. It’s heavy rain that sets it up in the first place, after all!

Westland Milk H&S Induction

It was neat to help with a big project earlier this year – making a Health and Safety Induction video for Westland Milk Products in Hokitika. Katabatic provided Second Camera and UAV aerials. It might not be the most exciting thing to watch if you aren’t being inducted, but it was really interesting to make. Seeing the facilities at the plant, and dealing with personnel from all parts of the operation was fascinating, and provided plenty of creative challenges. Sometimes the driest subject matter is the most stimulating to present.

WMP Induction from WestCoastFilm on Vimeo.

West Coast Treetop Walk

An exciting new development opened on the Coast in December, and we produced a wee video and TVC promoting it. It was a great opportunity to test out our latest tool – the UAV. The low-level aerials around the structure were shot with the DJI F550 hexa-rotor which we purchased to test out the idea of UAV-based aerial imagery. Since then we’ve upgraded to a larger machine, the Freefly Cinestar 8, that can carry a bigger payload for longer flights. It produces even better footage! Look out for footage from it in the near future.

West Coast Treetop Walk, New Zealand from WestCoastFilm on Vimeo.