chasejarvis RAW: Flying High In Telluride [BTS Video on REI Commercial]

Last week when I posted the broadcast commercial for REI that I recently directed, I promised a behind-the-scenes vid. So here ’tis — the focus here on the epic aerial shots we nailed using a remote-operated RC helicopter flying an onboard camera, curtesy of our friends at FreeFly Cinema. Hope you dig it.

Also–since a lot of y’all have been asking via social channels–I figured I’d give a second-by-second, shot-by-shot breakdown of the entire :30 sec spot… on how we got each clip so you can see all the different mechanisms and techniques that went into the production. I’ll let your imagination run about how we actually pulled off some of this stuff up at 12,000 feet at single digit temperatures, and feel free to ask the how/why we did what we did questions below.

Shot by shot breakdown:
:00-:01 Racked focus onto talent as they approach chairlift dismount
:01-:02 Skier operated steadicam shot
:02-:03 Jib/crane tracking shot
:03-:04 Handheld close up of talent operating ski binding, snow level
:04-:07 Combo of handheld & steadicam shots of talent beginning hike
:07-:08 Overhead aerial with RC chopper (**see video)
:08-:09 Handheld close ups on talent
:09-:11 Combo of longer shots, locked off on tripods
:11-:14 Combo of handheld & steadicam shots of talent socializing
:14-:15 Locked off wide shot, masked sky movement sped up in post
:15-:16 Steadicam shot w lens flare of talent preparing to descend
:16-:17 Jib/crane shot w lens flare of talent preparing to descend
:17-:18 Close up, talent operating snowboard binding
:18-:19 Close up, talent dropping skis, prep to descend (voiceover starts)
:19-:20 Combo handheld & steadicam & closeups of talent prep to descend
:20-:21 Handheld zoom in as talent pushes off to descend
:21-:24 Hero overhead aerial shot with RC chopper (**see video), speed ramp to show talent covering distance, heading into sunset
:24-:30 Motion graphics closing bumper with voiceover
:30 Out

Here’s the spot again below if you want to play it a few times and follow along with the shot-by-shot breakdown. Hit me up with questions – will try to get back at ya.

Big thanks again to everybody who worked on the shoot. Everybody was super-pro, including the talent. (One of the many reasons its awesome to have a very authentic client like REI that uses real, qualified talent…) Hope you dig the BTS chasejarvis RAW heli-video. Music for the RAW is by Pete International Airport (here on iTunes). Music for the spot is from We Are Augustines (avail here on iTunes). Big ups to both acts!

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Josh Mejia says:

Quick question,

I’ve been looking at investing in drones/RC helicopters for aerial videography, but I keep on reading about how the FAA will only allow this method for hobby/recreational use and not for any commercial intent where pay is involved. Did you guys have any issues with the FAA while doing this shoot?


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Chris says:

I’m with Lloyd… can you share the arrangement or details on how you structured paying these guys? Using a UAV for commercial purposes is currently against FAA regulations. How did you guys overcome this. I’m sure you had something planned to say when you went to pull your permits. Care to share?

Mari, I thought that this might be great for your kids

Jeff Davis says:

I was just shocked to find out that unmanned commercial Aerial photography in banned by the FAA. Chase, did you know about this?


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+1 – how did you get past the FAA thing? or did you just ignore it like most of us do?

Michael G says:

What kind of Panasonic camera was that on the Heli rig? Great stuff!

Michael G says:

Nevermind…that as a Panasonic AF100 without the handle.

heliflights says:

I have been watching your video and i like this helicopter. And thanks for the update.

earl studios says:

great stuff….and i’ll be the first to geek out and ask “what did you shoot the bts video with”??? :-)

Jack says:

I really like that helicopter from the first video and I wonder how much it cost to buy one?

Luke says:

great bts, love the helicopter shots.


Can’t wait to get up in a helicopter for some aerial photography. Always used Cessna’s

Federico says:

Wow…that’s fantastic…

but just a question: what do you use to see what you’re filming? Does it exist a transmitter who will send the image from 5D to a 7″ monitor that you have in your hands??

John Caetano says:

Love that you take the time to share these kinds of these. Great job and thanks.

Dave C says:

Fantastic! the behind the scenes is simply, fantastic!

ken says:

That was an electric helicopter?
I’m impressed. I thought only a gas one would have enough lift for a relatively big DSLR.
Could you ask them for a breakdown of the helicopter tech sometime? That’d be a pretty cool interview for the gearheads. I’m sure it costs at least $10K w/ the wifi downlink and gimbal ;-)

Guasch says:

That looked extremely fun! Really really really inspiring. Big thanks chase for letting us see the second-by-second breakdown!

Casey says:

Wow! It’s essentially a drone with a creative streak! Let’s show those @)$*!$ fools in DC that these devices can be used for GOOD stuff rather than bad!

What an awesome way to justify getting a radio controlled helicopter. Cool tool.

jules says:

Awww… such a cute wee helicopter!
I think the ad would have been better had the skiers been climbing up virgin snow as well as skiing down it.

Mark D. says:

Well done Chase. I saw the spot air before seeing this post and knew it was you behind it. Awesome job at capturing what REI is all about in 30 seconds.

DanielKphoto says:

Booyah, a new CJ Raw!! Love it Chase, and the final output is great!

Didn’t the heli have trouble with the snow and cold and all that?

Chase says:

heli’s of this order are tough, and it did great at the altitude and temperatures. Tabb & Hugh were really careful with battery life. And we lucked out with a zero-wind evening for our final shot.

DanielKphoto says:

Sounds like a serious thing and I believe Tabb & Hugh have all skills required to fly that badboy. Lucky you! I think that was a quite a blessing :)

I have a question; Chase, how is it that you and your team can consistently blow my mind with all this incredible knowledge sharing! Love it! hahaha.

Also…how close to the original shot list is the final breakdown listed above? Did you set out a shot priority first to determine how long to spend getting each shot – or were you at the full mercy of the conditions and just decide in post/edit?


Chase says:

These were shot over the course of a number of days…primarily on two days, with a number of weather days playing havoc on us in between. If you search “diary of a shoot” on the blog, you’ll get the play by play.

regarding the order of shooting, it went pretty much according to shot list, although, since we had specific sorts of light that we needed, we were a bit constrained by time of day, for shot order. So, in short, YES we had a specific priority order of shoots… and some storyboarding going in (with a little flexibility to add some shots as we saw fit…) and with the closing shot and immediately adjacent shots getting the most epic of attention. We also shot on a few diff locations throughout and needed to be very careful of where tracks could/could’t go based on where following shots would happen, etc. It’s all VERY VERY carefully managed.

Alvin Toro says:

Mom, I just found what I want for Christmas!

That’s super legit! I wonder how much one of those things cost!

Philipp says:

Cool toy :P Produces some really nice pictures :D

Awesome stuff, always a good day when a new Chase Jarvis video comes out! Have a great Christmas and New Year :)

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