I spent some time (for the first time) with the mighty Redwoods of northern California and it changed me forever. I plan to making an annual visit to these ancient giants and take the time to place my hand on them, relax, staring upwards.
I asked Jesse to give me a back story on his film and he emailed the following information.
Every summer, my wife, friends and I make an annual pilgrimage to the North Coast of California. It’s a good way to escape the summer heat and a good excuse to eat marshmallows and sleep in tents. After one such trip, my writer-friend Kallie was muse-struck and penned a few words about a grove of Redwoods we’d hiked through. I read what she wrote and was gobsmacked. The words sent an arrow through my heart. They so perfectly expressed the reverence I feel for those slumbering giants that I knew I had to create something. My only fear when making this short was that the visuals wouldn’t match the beauty of the words.
With Kallie’s poem in hand, I made a trip back to the Redwoods last March with a Red One and Canon 5DMKII. The first day I lugged the Red, lenses, tripod, hi-hat and a full skater dolly through the forest. Since it was just me and 100lbs of gear, it was really slow going. Speaking of slow, my widest lens for the Red was a 10mm f/3.5 – super wide and rather slow. It’s surprisingly dark in the forest as the trees block out most of the sky and sun. Had to push the ISO on the Red which made a few shots a bit grainy.
The second day, I left the Red behind and went for light and fast with the 5D and a small homemade slider. Loved how fast I could move with the 5D but back in the editing suite found myself reaching for the Red footage first. Even though it was noisier it was just so much sharper than the Canon. The high details of trees are especially challenging for for the aliasing and codec of the Canon.
I added the light leaks in post. I felt like they enhanced the organic “timelessness” of the forest.
To create the leaks, I took the lens off my Canon and filmed while shining an LED light onto the sensor at different angles. That footage was then overlaid using the screen blending mode and seasoned to taste.
Thanks for watching. This film is my best attempt to capture the reverence I feel for the Redwoods – although there is truly no substitute for seeing these ancient trees in person.
Shot and edited by: Jesse Rosten
Written by: Kallie Markle
Music: Window – Album Leaf