A Minty Moment in Whistler, BC

As snowboarders, Whistler holds a special place in the heart of EI founders Josh & Adam. Known by many as the home of the sport, the Canadian resort has legendary status within the community as being one of the best places in the world to ride, not to mention its beautiful setting high in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. 

So when Wild Things approached us with a project to shoot there, we jumped at the opportunity. 

The shot that became the poster for Episode 1 - Minh at Lost Lake

The shot that became the poster for Episode 1 - Minh at Lost Lake

The brief: create a 3-part mini series for luxury holiday home letting brand Stay One Degree, highlighting the architectural & design merits of some of their most prestigious offerings. The first episode was to be shot in a brand new modernist chalet in Whistler and feature renowned architectural photographer Minh T, who was to create a bespoke piece of art inspired by his time in the property.

With a tight timeline to adhere to, prep began almost straight away with a succession of PPMs at Wild Things HQ in East London. Being the first of the three films, it was quickly established that the first episode was required to not only establish the format, but the benchmark that the other episodes would be measured against.

Director Adam De Silva & DOP Josh Monie worked closely with Alex Wilson (Wild Things) to develop the creative, with a focus on really highlighting how the experience of Minh’s ‘stay’ - as well as his surroundings in nature - would influence his final output. This quickly evolved into the frame-matched shots you see in the final edit, drawing direct comparisons between the architecture and the raw materials from nature.

Ads admiring the spectacular setting.

Ads admiring the spectacular setting.

Alex looking mildly intrigued.

Alex looking mildly intrigued.

The next weeks passed all too quickly and within no time, the Explore Impossible team were at Heathrow for an eye-wateringly early flight to Vancouver. They were joined by Johan Winstedt from Soundnode, who would be on-hand for location sound for the duration of the shoot. 

Having arrived in Vancouver and picked up the rental equipment (as well as an extremely large and inefficient pick up truck - yikes!), the team headed north to Whistler for the location scout. The EI production team had put together a map for the crew and within a day, the team had their key locations locked down; the chalet, a lake & a forest. 

Minh & Alex arrived the following evening and the team spent the night laying out the schedule for the week over a few beers.

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Production began the next day in the chalet. From the very first shot, it was clear that the property would be joy to work in: floor-to-ceiling windows enabled light to flood in from all angles whilst the owner’s taste in interior design brought a painterly quality to every frame. 

Knowing that Minh hadn’t spent much time in front of the camera - preferring to shoot rather than be shot - Adam was keen to ensure that he had plenty of time to adjust. For the first portion of the day, he asked Minh simply to photograph the house as he normally would and asked Josh to hang back with the camera, shooting on a long lens as not to disturb Minh. As Minh became more comfortable with the camera, Josh moved in with wider lenses to capture a variety of angles. 

With such a strong emphasis on architecture throughout the series, DOP Josh Monie opted to move away from his usual handheld style and instead shoot from locked-off positions on a tripod & slider.

“To shoot handheld and a bit wonky felt like a bit a betrayal of this exquisitely designed modernist house with all of its sharp lines and angles.”

Minh T

Minh T

Johan

Johan

Shoot day two saw the production move outside, starting the day at the aptly named Lost Lake. Whilst the 4am call time wasn’t particularly popular with the crew, the results they yielded were surely worth it. The lake was beautiful and glassy-still throughout the morning and enabled the team to capture some wonderfully peaceful content with Minh on the jetty and by the water. Curiously, most thrilled of the entire team was sound recordist Johan, who was visibly buzzing with the ambiences and foley he was able to record.

Production wrapped on day three after a morning of pick ups shots in the property. It had been a truly magical shoot for all involved and to say the team were sad to leave would be an understatement. 

Minh captures Lost Lake whilst Adam & Johan are ready to roll.

Minh captures Lost Lake whilst Adam & Johan are ready to roll.

Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls

Post production was handled in-house by Explore Impossible, with Alex Wilson playing a key role in ensuring the film ticked all of the boxes for the client before delivery. As usual, Soundnode took care of the all-important sound mix and with the help of Johan’s library from the shoot, were able to create an incredibly immersive sonic experience. 

With that done, it was on to Chapter 2. Morocco.