Capturing HD Video Footage

2014-03-07 17:50:03.000 – Scot Henley,  Executive Director


While the primary storyline of our new mountaintop museum is the mountain’sextraordinarily awful weather, one exhibit in particular requires videofootage captured on a good visibility day. The 6th of March was one of thoserare bluebird Mount Washington days. Bright sunshine, moderate temperaturesand little wind made for an ideal day to do some shooting for Extreme MountWashington.

Documentarian Tom Guilmette of Franklin, Mass., whose work you will findsprinkled throughout the newly-renovated museum, paid us another visit withone mission to accomplish: capture video footage of a descent down themountain from the snow-cat operator’s perspective. That footage isabsolutely critical, since it will be used to bring one of Extreme MountWashington’s most innovative exhibits to life.

You might think that this would be an easy thing to do, especially since wemake several runs up and down the mountain in winter. The truth is that thisparticular shoot has been very difficult to accomplish. Fog, flat light,snow, white outs, schedule conflicts, too much snow, not enough snow, toomuch wind… It was beginning to feel like Mount Washington and MotherNature were conspiring against us.

Using a high-tech mounting system and an even higher-tech camera, Tom satalongside operator Slim Bryant in the cockpit of the Observatory’sBombardier BR275 snow machine and captured video for a good portion of theday. Utilizing very specific instructions from museum designers at JeffKennedy Associates and on-site guidance from Director of Education MichelleCruz, Tom staged a superb shoot.

The footage will be used in Extreme Mount Washington’s snow-cat exhibit,where visitors will be able to sit in a simulated cockpit and pilot themachine down the mountain. What you will see through the simulated snow-catwindshield in the museum is exactly what Slim and Tom saw through thewindshield on Thursday.

Executive Director Scot Henley was on hand to provide a speaking role duringthe shoot, but you’ll never be able to tell. In order to give museumvisitors the feeling of bitter winter cold during the simulated snow-catdescent, Michelle outfitted Scot in Arctic-grade gear, complete withgoggles, a balaclava, a hat and a massive jacket with a fur-lined hood. Nota speck of skin was showing, which is our standard practice to avoidfrostbite on bitterly cold days. On this beautiful March afternoon, however,we almost melted Scot!

Now the focus turns to the editing room, where the footage will be stitchedtogether to provide summer visitors with a compelling, authentic wintersnow-cat experience. If you’ve ever wanted to drive one, you’ll be able toget a taste of what Slim and our operators experience when they’re makingthat same descent down the mountain.

Extreme Mount Washington opens this spring in Mt. Washington State Park’sSherman Adams Visitors Center.

For more information about the project, including photos, illustrations andplans, visit here.


Scot Henley,  Executive Director

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