Named the best international short ski film of 2021 at High Five Ski Film Festival, FLOW captures world-class freeride skier Sam Favret’s recent adventures (on empty slopes, no less!) amid COVID-19 lockdowns. The mind-blowing film is made 100% from aerial footage – using FPV drones, DJI Inspire 2 with Zenmuse X7, and DJI Mavic 2 Pro. It showcases the majestic beauty and high-intensity action of skiing Europe’s famed Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in such a grand manner that you simply must take out a few minutes to watch it now.
The film came to our attention via the DJI Viewpoints blog, where FLOW’s three-person team discusses the challenges and motivations behind this once-in-a-lifetime filmmaking experience.
With all ski lifts restricted from operation during the winter of 2020/21, the slopes of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc were empty of humans for the first time in generations. Favret, along with film director Maxime Moulin, and drone pilot Hensli Sage knew they couldn’t pass up on this historic moment. Moulin recalls:
The scenery was pure, almost untouched. There was a feeling of freedom in what we could do. It was calmer than usual, more relaxed.
But that feeling of relaxation would be short-lived.
With no lifts to board, the team walked from the valley to the peak, climbing up to five hours through deep snow, again and again. Thankfully, they were using drones to shoot the film and not traditional camera equipment, which would have been even more difficult to carry up the slopes.
One of the biggest challenges before the FPV pilot was establishing communication with Favret as he hurled himself down the mountain at breakneck speed. As Moulin describes it:
Filming with a ground camera, we can communicate directly and visually. When filming with a drone, the distance requires having a detailed discussion before the shooting and to liaise with a radio or phone during the action to adjust the shots.
So, Sage first did a reconnaissance flight, and then the team planned the shot. Once up and ready to ski, Favret called Moulin and Sage on the radio or phone. They checked again and agreed on the best ways to ski and fly together.
Their reward is the film you’re about to see. And as you’d agree shortly, it’s well worth the effort:
Images: DJI Viewpoints blog