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Ski Movies - a criticism

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ski movies do seem to have stagnated though I guess creative possibilities are few .I personally would like to see more complete lines i.e. all the way from top to bottom , isn't the rhythm of a complete run the whole point of skiing , not just big airs and two or three turns before and after . Just when I am starting to enjoy a run by Nobis or Cummings the film cuts to a completely different scene . I suppose I am in the minority seeing that Warren Miller does so well ( isn't it about time someone else took over the commentary ). Immersion wasn't a bad try .
J.C.
post #2 of 26
Good point, Claski. It is frustrating to be ripped out of one line and thrown into another repeatedly, from the beginning to the end of a film. In some cases these clips can work, as, for example, at the beginning of Focus in which each of the film's ski studs and studesses were introduced along with one of their colossal crashes. I too liked Immersion a lot, but the reviews were mediocre. I guess that means we're in the minority.
post #3 of 26
Heh! I'm not much into ski/snowboard flicks, but my pet peeve with almost all sports programming is overuse of slow motion. Sure it can be cool, but we need to see those replays at full speed, too.

The athlete is the freaking artist, not the filmmaker!
post #4 of 26
I agree, I usually whatch ski movies for instruction and it is really hard to learn how to pick lines, and lay up for cliffs, and in general how they ski in the steeps, ect.. when they only show them flying off cliffs, or switch angles and go into slo-mo 10 times on the same run. maybe I'm asking for a instructional only ski video, but I think it would enteraining too.

BoB
post #5 of 26
As a sometimes ski vidi maker, I agree. Except for the MTV generation, it is the snow, the line, and the location that is the star, not the "athlete" or the filmaker.

Another complaint I agree with is that most lines have no -- or too little -- context. I would like to not only see the whole line skied, but know a bit about the line -- where it is, exactly, for example.

That said, it is difficult to capture a whole line with a single camera. If the line is of any length, you might need three of four camera's to get it. (Or a helicopter!). I have worked with three cameras a few times, and it is a whole lot of fun and produced good results, but with all that positioning, radio communications, primping the "athletes" and all that is involved, it is not a ski day for the movie maker. And when it cuts that deeply into my skiing, I quit.

(Maybe that's why I am only a sometimes ski vidi maker?!
post #6 of 26
While I generally love the new school ski movies out there, I do miss the narrative feel of the old Warren Miller movies. Somehow just hearing that voice over gets me amped to hit the hill. The new formula for today's flims seems to be to showpiece each rider alone, instead of a group of riders in one area (exceptions do exist like BC scenes in some MSP flicks). Personally I wouldn't mind seeing a combination of the two styles.
post #7 of 26
There does need to be more creativity in ski films. It seems to me that very few filmmakers are offering anything different from what we've seen over the last 7-8 years.

I think the "ski porn" format popularized by TGR and Matchstick may be running its course. The partial lines and non-stop, in your face action worked well while the sport exploded into the jib scene, huge AK lines and cliff jumps. But this format is starting to feel stale. Seth Morrison and a few others are starting to bring some more difficult park moves to the big mountain arena, but what else is there to see? Other than new inverts off cliffs what will make a new film any different than Sick Sense or The Realm?

It's time that filmmakers started to bring more soul into to ski films. Personally I'll never identify with landing 50-75 ft hucks. I don't have the balls or the skills to jump off anything higher than the roof of my house. Immersion was a good start. The narration from the skiers let you identify with their thoughts and emotions toward skiing and made the film more interesting.

While it's great to have some "Holy @#*! can you believe that?!" scenes in a film, I just think there are other images, other ways to fire the stoke we all get from skiing. Based on the number of films being released every year, you would think there is a large enough market to support more artistic variation. Exploration of wide skis, snow boarding and the park scene sparked a revolution in skiing. Hopefully some artistic exploration will spark a change in the ski film industry too.

[ December 06, 2003, 02:48 PM: Message edited by: MikeF ]
post #8 of 26
I always laugh when I hear the term "ski filmmaker". They aren't films anymore, just movies! A bunch of footage of guys skiing and hucking off of cliffs, not much in the way of creativity. Pretty much just a highlight reel, like "Sportscenter" for skiing (without the bad commentary, of course). I personally hope this changes, because most ski movies these days are pretty boring-they don't have much relevance unless you are trying to pull that move yourself. As said by a previous poster-todays movies do not capture the spirit of skiing well. That is a pretty tall order, because skiing isn't really a spectator sport anyways-you really have to experience it to appreciate it! The same reason nobody but climbers watch climbing videos.
post #9 of 26
I'll never throw a double backflip off an 80 foot cliff, and I'll never have a threesome with two nubile and limber 19 year old Czech girls with no discernable gag reflex, but I'm always happy to watch someone else step up and do either.

[ December 08, 2003, 07:06 PM: Message edited by: Ugli Pupferknick ]
post #10 of 26
One of the things I would like to see is more "ski patrol" views, i.e. not helmet-cam, but down the hill shots with some notion of the boards' motion.

Real time is best.
post #11 of 26
For those of you wanting something different try catching Cinema Verticale. It's a 'History of N. American ski films' with some footage from all eras right back to the start of ski film making. THe best bits though are the interviews. From Plake, Stump, Miller but most interesting right some first hand accounts from the guys eg. Otto Lang who were there right at the start.

Was really refreshing viewing.

A few years ago I never thought I'd say it, but I too am bored with were ski films are at at the moment and unexcited about where they are heading. Skiing is moving on, but films have stagnated and in many cases gone backward. Although the guys at TGR gave the industry a a shot in the arm ( I love the 'Dead or Alive' sequence in Mind the Addiction and the 'Snowbird Ski Patrol' sequence in Prophecy it seems that they too are in danger of stagnating or becoming victims of thier own formula.

Lets take Prophecy. A great concept, starred incredible athletes, made good viewing, but missed on a fantastic opportunity to really get across the bigger picture of skiing and portray the soul of the sport.

More about the trips, the adventures, the places, the personalities. The thrills and the disppointments of not being able to make a line cause it's too steep...going to slide...it's abad hair day..whatever...

I am asking too much? Are ski films really about is making porn to show in apres bars.

Is life just too easy and skiing merely a disposable comodity for the guys involved? Take a load of sponsorship, a private jet, get chauffered from plane to hotel then fly to the top of your chosen line, ski and then move on to the next magic carpet ride to the next powder stash.

It's all too clinical, too easy, too disposable.

I want soul, perspective, the highs and lows of adventure travel. Interesting trips that set the imagination on fire. More love affairs, less porn (rather than none!). THE BIGGER MOVING PICTURE.
post #12 of 26

I just did a blog post today about "ski porn" and the state of the ski-movie genre. http://snowskiingonline.blogspot.com/2010/11/opinion-ski-porn-should-not-define-ski.html

 

I was curious what Bears thought on the topic, so I came on here this evening and found this thread from 2003. Not much has changed, many of the comments are the same ones I wrote about earlier today. Kind of funny.

post #13 of 26

You are absolutely right, not much has changed in the genre -- I didn't even notice the age of this thread until you pointed it out.

 

The technology exists now to shoot, edit, and potentially publish these shows on the same day, without ever leaving the resort. Face shots at 9, sneak preview in the bar at 4. The new efficiency has benefits for the responsible filmmaker, but it is also enabling to the newer wave of young 'pornographers' who need their satisfaction ASAP, style and content be damned. Viewing dailies and assembling a rough cut in the bar after a few days of shooting is a huge workflow improvement -- but haphazardly stringing together a bunch of 20-second shots from that morning and posting them up on Facebook that afternoon typically produces invigorating yet mediocre material. Great for music videos and highlights, but watching 90 minutes of that can be exhausting. But I'm old.

 

Having said that -- the "5-minute ski porn" clip that was posted last week, which in itself forced me to sign up on this forum, was not only inspirational, but I had to clean up after watching it.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugli Pupferknick View Post

I'll never throw a double backflip off an 80 foot cliff, and I'll never have a threesome with two nubile and limber 19 year old Czech girls with no discernable gag reflex, but I'm always happy to watch someone else step up and do either.

[ December 08, 2003, 07:06 PM: Message edited by: Ugli Pupferknick ]


beercheer.gif

post #15 of 26

I was on a lift yesterday which serves one of the parks. These two guys - I'm trying to stay away from saying "kids" lately, but y'know, those damn kids today - were talking about some sick ollie backflip jump goofy thing or another they were gong to shoot. One said he'd "edit it up real quick" and post it.

 

One commented to me that he was supposed to go to a movie with his girl, but decided to go boarding instead. Good man.

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ullricious View Post

 

 

One commented to me that he was supposed to go to a movie with his girl, but decided to go boarding instead. Good man.



beercheer.gif

post #17 of 26

Have many (or any) people here seen Signatures?  It might be the cure for the same-o same-o ski porn blues - mucho aesthetic:

 

 

post #18 of 26

^^^ Sorry, the TRAILER puts me to sleep, can't imagine an ENTIRE MOVIE of this!  I got three minutes in and just got too impatient.  To each his own.

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Have many (or any) people here seen Signatures?  It might be the cure for the same-o same-o ski porn blues - mucho aesthetic:

 

 


C'est Excellente!!!

post #20 of 26

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

^^^ Sorry, the TRAILER puts me to sleep, can't imagine an ENTIRE MOVIE of this!  I got three minutes in and just got too impatient.  To each his own.


I understand.  After all, there's a reason Warren Miller's films are so popular.

post #21 of 26

The cinematography in Signatures is definitely well-done and was pleasing to watch. It's a different, slower pace than the typical rock music ski porn. However, it still lacks a narrative. It touches on a potential storyline and central character briefly when the Gentemstick snowsurf founder talks about his philosophy of expressing himself with the terrain. I wanted more about his story. Who is this guy? How did his idea for the snowboard designs he invented evolve? There might even be more to the angle of an Eastern (as in Japan not Vermont smile.gif) approach to his time on the mountain. Also, the snowboards look like they're hand-crafted. Maybe he'd have something interesting to say about his designs being basically an "art form." It would be interesting to hear his thoughts as to how his traditional Japanese culture has influenced (or maybe even diverges from) the mindset that he and other modern Japanese snowsports enthusiasts have in looking at nature and the mountains.

 

In other words, my guess is that you could tell this guy's story and in the process come away with some interesting insights about his culture, art and who knows what else beyond just sliding on snow.

 

By the way

Here's an article I found about his snowboard company http://espn.go.com/action/snowboarding/blog/_/post/4977131

post #22 of 26

I rather agree with much of what everyone say here.

 

I no longer watch ski movies with the same excitement I used to. In fact I rarely watch them, period. I cannot relate to them because they are all about hucking and doing lines which I simply cannot do. Sure it is nice to see a little of that, but after a while it gets old. Same for mountain bike movies. The odd, freaky free ride is nice to watch, but the skills and abilities of the riders are so far out of my reach (and I am a decent XC rider). These movies should excite and motivate us to some extent, but how can I be motivated by watching something I cannot relate to?

 

Yes, part of the problem is that I am getting old and the generation gap is making it hard to relate to some of this stuff. That's life, I guess.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jclayton View Post

Ski movies do seem to have stagnated though I guess creative possibilities are few .I personally would like to see more complete lines i.e. all the way from top to bottom , isn't the rhythm of a complete run the whole point of skiing , not just big airs and two or three turns before and after .
 

Top to bottom? Continuous lines are hard to shoot.
 

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jclayton View Post

Ski movies do seem to have stagnated though I guess creative possibilities are few .I personally would like to see more complete lines i.e. all the way from top to bottom , isn't the rhythm of a complete run the whole point of skiing , not just big airs and two or three turns before and after . Just when I am starting to enjoy a run by Nobis or Cummings the film cuts to a completely different scene . I suppose I am in the minority seeing that Warren Miller does so well ( isn't it about time someone else took over the commentary ). Immersion wasn't a bad try .
J.C.


 

Hi Jclayton,  I am with you, I like to see lines from top to bottom too in movies. So far I haven't had the chance to have somebody up in the helicopter to film our non-stop runs in Big Sky, but I tried a helmet cam and if you can handle the wobble, check out the link to a YouTube video.

 

Ursula

 


 

post #25 of 26

How about giving our new film "Out of the Shadows" a try? For a "pay what you want" rate you can't go wrong. We show lots of lines top to bottom. We also strive to tell stories behind the skiing, but without boring athlete interviews. We strived big time to make a different kind of ski film. dendritestudios.com

Winner of Best Big Mountain Film of 2010 at If3 and oh ya did I mention you can buy this for the change sitting in your pocket?

post #26 of 26

Would love a skifilm with Absolute ZERO air....well maybe make some exceptions for natural drops..........

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