Freeride is blowing up, from the advancement of ski technology, to the merging of the sport’s previously separate world tours, and the refinement of snow safety forecasting and equipment. Freeride, once a fringe sport followed mainly by its practitioners, has made the breakthrough into mainstream awareness. What type of technology equipment made that media rise possible? Let’s have a look at some high-tech gear used on the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (FWT).
At the forefront of this push is the media production team of the Freeride World Tour. Cutting-edge video and photo production tools, once reserved for the controlled climate of indoor production studios have become a mainstay on the FWT when it comes to documenting the competitions. Through years of experience the tour’s production experts have learned how to bring these technologies into the harsh, unpredictable environment of the freeride competitions venues. And export these products to the world.
David Arnaud, head of production, explains. "On the Freeride World Tour we have the very best riders in the world, bring them to the top venues around, with fresh snow and bluebird skies. So we really try to give it justice in terms of pictures and video footage".
That means documenting the event with a variety of video angles and tools, including GoPro “on board” cameras on every rider, ultra slow-motion Phantom cameras, and aerial footage from a helicopter-mounted giro-stabilized camera called the Cineflex. All of this content comes together instantly and the live edit is made onsite and sent via satellite to the World Wide Web. An elite team including the director, editors, and the graphics all work under the shelter of a Mount Everest base camp-style installation at the bottom of the competition face. Satellite dishes and solar panels are there to secure power and transmissions.
To give you a peek behind the scenes of this incredible undertaking, FWT produced three videos highlighting these technologies and the challenges behind implementing them in tough high-mountain environments where the events take place.