Mount St.Elias


To realize a project like climbing and skiing down one of the world’s meanest and steepest mountains many issues have to be considered beforehand and preparation might become a decisive factor. In the special case of the Mount St. Elias project, not only the athletes had to do their part but also the accompanying film crew needed the appropriate equipment to capture the atmosphere on the mountain as well as in the team.

Therefore, Gerald Salmina equipped his crew with HDcam (High Definition 25p) in addition to 35mm and 16mm standard – to retain authenticity during critical scenes and original statements. These cameras enabled the three ski mountaineers to communicate naturally in front of the camera without having to pay attention to given scripts.

Moreover, Axel Naglich, Peter Ressmann and Jon Johnston wore helmet cameras; solely this device made it possible to create pictures and to record sounds of impressions that would otherwise have been reserved to the athletes only. These devices allowed it to follow the athletes everywhere and to see them from their point of view in critical situations. The result is that the viewer feels an authentic “live” sensation including the original sound and to closely witness the thrill and the athlete’s tautness even during the most dangerous situations on the mountain.

Another main part of the production was the Cineflex camera suspension for the helicopter that helped to document any movement on the mountain on a wide scale, giving an overview of the vastness and remoteness of the mountain range, operated by some of the world’s best camera men, Peter Thompson (NZL) and Michael Kelem (USA), who for example filmed the Planet Earth series.
Special undercrankings – kept in movement by pan shots – which documented the weather, the uniqueness of the isolated area and especially the duration of the expedition were produced by Franz Josef Recktenwald (GER) in 35mm timelapse.