Videographer films Chasing Ice documentary across northern hemisphere glaciers
Videographer Jeff Orlowski travelled to Alaska, Greenland and Iceland shooting documentary Chasing Ice. The film follows photographer James Balog as he records physical evidence of global warming with cutting-edge time-lapse footage of receding ice.
Balog’s project involved extensive discussions with scientists to identify glaciers around the world that were being most affected by global warming. He then led a team out to each glacier and mounted time-lapse cameras in fixed positions in each of the three countries to capture footage of receding ice over a period of several years.
“I had absolutely no cold-weather experience when I joined the project,” Orlowski says, “and actually we didn’t need much in the initial trips as it mainly involved regular hiking. James got more ambitious as we got to know the terrain better and that’s where we needed more specialist knowledge. Capturing the best stills photos was actually more dangerous as James was aiming for less accessible parts of the glaciers.”
When you’re out on location you’re in the middle of nowhere in a team of maybe three or four. If something goes wrong, you have to be able to depend on each other.
As a Colorado native, Orlowski undertook several weeks of training in Boulder, learning avalanche precautions and general ice and crevasse safety. Balog had lost a lot of friends over the years to accidents on glaciers and in light aircraft, and so was particularly safety-conscious throughout the shoot.
“When you’re out on location,” Orlowski adds, “you’re in the middle of nowhere in a team of maybe three or four. If something goes wrong, you have to be able to depend on each other.”
He filmed most of the documentary footage on an EX1 camera – occasionally stabilised with a gyro – and had a few issues with grading later as sand and moisture in the lenses caused colour problems. Otherwise it was a smooth operation filmed over several years and Orlowski never had to use any of the emergency procedures learned in his training.
Chasing Ice is now in cinemas in the UK and the US.
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