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 Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight" 
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Post Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
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"The Art of Flight"

In early 2011, there were two films I was extraordinarily excited to see. Both were years in the making. It was elementary to anticipate that both films would surely have a serious, positive impact on the arts of cinematography and filmmaking. The first was Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life." The second was Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson's "Samsara", the followup to their 1992 masterpiece "Baraka." I had been anticipating and following the production of these films for years. Without doubt, 2011 was going to be a year long remembered in cinema! But little did I know, there was a third film on the horizon. In early 2011, I came across a trailer for a movie called "Art of Flight," ostensibly a snowboarding film. From the first few seconds of the trailer, I could tell this was something different, some different kind of filmmaking. The use of technology and the music and editing instantly announced I was looking at something different and new here. I must have replayed the "Art" trailer five times that first night I came across it. I was like, "Wait, who the fuck are these guys?? 'Brainfarm'?"

In looking back, I had already seen a little behind-the-scenes featurette with Brainfarm director Curt Morgan, but I didn't really know who they were at the time or what they were working on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIWQWCxOyw4 At some point in 2009/2010 I had become obsessed with camera stabilization systems like the Cineflex V14HD (half a million dollars) and the 1,000-frame-per-second Phantom high-speed camera (quarter of a million bucks). And here were these dudes in Wyoming actually using these systems right now in a similar way to how I had dreamed of using them. The "endless dolly" idea fascinated me, especially as I had been experimenting with new ideas for shooting "traveling timelapse", including "astro-boatlapse" shots from moving boats, etc. These were tools I would have killed for.

Fast forward a year or so, and the "Art of Flight" trailer drops. Suddenly I put two and two together: "Ah, so THAT'S what those guys in Wyoming with the Cineflex and Phantom have been up to!" Since then, "Art of Flight" took its place alongside "Tree of Life" and "Samsara" as the films I was most looking forward to.

A couple nights ago, I finally had an opportunity to see "Art of Flight" for the first time, on the big screen, in Newport Beach.

In the world of filmmaking and cinematography, there are legions of people who talk the talk, and a tiny handful of people who walk the walk. Curt Morgan, the director of "Art of Flight", walks the walk. He's the real deal. I was actually super stoked to even come across him and know that he existed, because frankly, without Curt, no one else would even be doing this right now.

The film starts out with an entrancing snowboarding sequence set to the dubstep track "Ghosts N Stuff" by Nero and Deadmau5. To be perfectly honest, I could have watched this combination of music and helicopter-born Cineflex shots for like 20 minutes straight. It was mesmerizing. I wanted this sequence to go on and on. Maybe Curt Morgan should think about putting out a 20-minute "Dubstep Remix" of "Art of Flight", just for the fans to enjoy. I can say, without doubt, it would be playing on the plasma here at my house during every party I throw. What can I say about the shots in "Art" that hasn't already been said? You can see just from these screencaps how fucking epic it is. One thing I can say is that it takes ridiculous amounts of talent to get shots like these, but the secret ingredient to this type of filmmaking is dedication. When people ask me about timelapse, they often mention that I must have a lot of patience. True, I do. But that's not what gets you up at 3am to move a motion-control dolly in the freezing cold and darkness. It's not patience, it's dedication. "Art of Flight" has dedication written all over it, whether we are talking about the filmmakers, or the subjects of the film.

I don't want to ramble on too long about this film. You should buy it on Blu-Ray or iTunes and see it yourself. http://artofflightmovie.com

Though it's probably a longshot, I sincerely hope that Curt Morgan and Brainfarm will get an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature for "Art of Flight." Maybe Best Cinematography and Best Editing as well! Did I even mention the Tarantino-esque use of music in the film? But whether the establishment in Hollywood recognizes "Art" or not, the people who made this film can be proud in knowing that they significantly advanced the art of filmmaking.

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LMAO, visionary director Curt Morgan from Brainfarm. :lol:


Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:01 pm
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
Excellent write-up, Tom. I wish I had been able to experience this on a big screen. Even on my TV, this film blew me away. The cinematography is beyond excellent, the angles were insane, and the camera moves had me scratching my head the whole time. I loved it, and it was hugely inspirational. I don't think I can ever look at a "snowboard film" in the same way ever again.

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Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:22 pm
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
This movie gave me chills throughout the entire film. Literally. From the amazing soundtracks, to the endless mountain ranges, The Art of Flight is insanely epic! Well said write-up Tom.


Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:12 pm
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
There is snow-boarding ......... and then there is SNOW-BOARDING!

(The chopper pilots are pretty insane as well.)


Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:44 pm
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
They have raised the bar at which extreme sport films should be made, which actually sucks cause that bar is way way overhead for many. You guys have to check out there first film "that's it that's all" as well. Amazing.

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Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:58 pm
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
When Tom posted the trailer on Twitter I watched the trailer and all I can say is Wow. It makes me underwhelmed with any Warren Miller stuff I've seen in the past (which is great in it's own right), but this is different.

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Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:09 pm
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
I thought it was a beautiful movie, but here is another VERY interesting take on it:

http://biglines.com/articles/art-flight ... vie-review

It kind of tarnishes the mysticism of the movie, but I think they make some valid points.


Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:06 am
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
I haven't seen it yet but there's all ways going to be haters. That guy complaining that they spent too much money, it's nothing compared to what they spend in Hollywood. If you can do it, why not. Respect to curt Morgan and the crew.

Owen.

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Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:24 pm
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
marcrleonard wrote:
I thought it was a beautiful movie, but here is another VERY interesting take on it:

http://biglines.com/articles/art-flight ... vie-review

It kind of tarnishes the mysticism of the movie, but I think they make some valid points.


As someone who just spent 18 months on the road filming, I can tell you that conditions play a HUGE role in this type of filmmaking. They are part of the story. To complain that conditions weren't perfect for all of the filmmaking doesn't make sense to me. There were many times that me and my crew on "TimeScapes" had to sit on the sidelines due to weather conditions. This is cutting-edge stuff they are trying to do in "Art". Extremely reliant on -- and tied to -- weather.


Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:21 pm
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
Watched it last night.. it was absolutely amazing. There was so many points when I'd literally say out loud 'what the fuck'. Some of the lines they rode were just mental, but I equally enjoyed the story aspect of the film (such as seeing the helicopter get stuck on the mountain).
The only regret I have is not watching it on a decent full HD tv.

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Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:33 am
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
"The Art of Flight" is an amazing film, that cineflex produces some crazy images, however I still believe the bar for action sports was set by "Life Cycles" last year, if there was a way to use a cineflex in the forest I'm sure they would have done so. I know I might be biased being a mountain biker and prefer Life Cycles but the storyline, the ebb and the flow of the film is fantastic, so check it out as well if you haven't seen it.

http://vimeo.com/14600175

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Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:21 am
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
samoakes wrote:
"The Art of Flight" is an amazing film, that cineflex produces some crazy images, however I still believe the bar for action sports was set by "Life Cycles" last year, if there was a way to use a cineflex in the forest I'm sure they would have done so. I know I might be biased being a mountain biker and prefer Life Cycles but the storyline, the ebb and the flow of the film is fantastic, so check it out as well if you haven't seen it.

http://vimeo.com/14600175


Trailer looks pretty cool, how good is the last shot where it changes seasons as he rides through, how to do that anyone?I don't think it compares to art of flight though (budget and use of technology wise), maybe story but I haven't seen it. Is this film made by the same guys that made seasons ? I saw that a few years ago and I thought that was a game changer.

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Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:53 am
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
Owen wrote:
samoakes wrote:
"The Art of Flight" is an amazing film, that cineflex produces some crazy images, however I still believe the bar for action sports was set by "Life Cycles" last year, if there was a way to use a cineflex in the forest I'm sure they would have done so. I know I might be biased being a mountain biker and prefer Life Cycles but the storyline, the ebb and the flow of the film is fantastic, so check it out as well if you haven't seen it.

http://vimeo.com/14600175


Trailer looks pretty cool, how good is the last shot where it changes seasons as he rides through, how to do that anyone?I don't think it compares to art of flight though (budget and use of technology wise), maybe story but I haven't seen it. Is this film made by the same guys that made seasons ? I saw that a few years ago and I thought that was a game changer.



just shoot a 6 month timelapse from the tree, then use some masking in post to draw the season change in behind the rider

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Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:18 am
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
Owen wrote:
samoakes wrote:
"The Art of Flight" is an amazing film, that cineflex produces some crazy images, however I still believe the bar for action sports was set by "Life Cycles" last year, if there was a way to use a cineflex in the forest I'm sure they would have done so. I know I might be biased being a mountain biker and prefer Life Cycles but the storyline, the ebb and the flow of the film is fantastic, so check it out as well if you haven't seen it.

http://vimeo.com/14600175


Trailer looks pretty cool, how good is the last shot where it changes seasons as he rides through, how to do that anyone?I don't think it compares to art of flight though (budget and use of technology wise), maybe story but I haven't seen it. Is this film made by the same guys that made seasons ? I saw that a few years ago and I thought that was a game changer.

A large majority of the first section of the film has the season changing shots, it even changes to snowy winter at points. For sure the budget isn't on the same level as The Art of Flight, but use of the RED ONE throughout and some shots with the Fastec for slow motion as far as I am aware, makes for some beautiful eye candy.
Tom Guilmette did a reviewon it a while back which is significantly more insightful than my ramblings, so check that out and you'll get the idea.

As far as I could tell I believe the changing seasons shots were fixed camera mounts left in the woods and returned to each season, then brought together in post.

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Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:48 am
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
This film's just superb, stunning images..

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Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:19 am
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
samoakes wrote:

As far as I could tell I believe the changing seasons shots were fixed camera mounts left in the woods and returned to each season, then brought together in post.



That's exactly what they did. One of the benefits of watching it in bluray on a big screen is that you can recognize the AE style masking :D


Sweet movie for sure. But just the nature of each sport and what is involved logistically, what brainfarm is accomplishing still blows away anything else in my opinion. Not that lifecycles isn't great, just shot composition alone is so good in that movie...... If you could mix brainfarm's dynamics with lifecycle's attention to framing and color the world as we know it would end ;) But that's the nature of each beast: it's so much easier to do retakes with bikes until you get it right....which is why the brainfarm crew is so amazing, cameras and athletes alike.

Fortunately they're two different sports so I'm stoked to watch what comes out of both the next few years without too much of 'so and so was a better snowboarding movie/bike movie'

Anyone else following these sports flicks should check out 'All I Can' from sherpa cinemas this year if you haven't already. Some really beautiful, dynamic shots in there as well. Plus some more seasonal camera trickery. I wanted to slap the eyeballs out of the editor's face the first time I saw it though. Way too spastic in my opinion. Considering it's their first 'big' release I image they'll get more and more fine tuned in the future.


Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:44 am
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Post Re: Brainfarm Cinema's "Art of Flight"
Ive been watching snowboard films since VHS seeing MackDawg dominate the scene with Technical Difficulites and Simple Pleasures-pretty basic run and gun shots with rockn music. The big step up was True Life where the riders had a lot of input in there "section" and the music and filming started to flow better. For years the quality stayed basically the same as far as how the films were put together until Brainfarm came into the scene with Thats It Thats all. Travis Rice (snowboarder and recent win in the RedBull Supernatural also using Brainfarm for filming) has been very influential in this filming and getting some amazing rider footage with Brainfarm. Those guys are amazing filmakers and with the Art of Flight there is no comparison out there. Brainfarm is full of great ideas and Im glad to see there work in more popular (extreme sports). Thanks Tom for sharing your insight on there filmaking and equipment.

So check out Thats It Thats All (the first Blur Ray I ever bought).


Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:38 pm
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