‘Morning Snow’ by Christine Donaldson

Subject: Christine Donaldson
Filmers: Abe Kislevitz
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Music: Christine Donaldson - "Morning Snow"

Christine wrote and recorded this song ‘Morning Snow’ earlier this year.  This is the 3rd music video I’ve shot and created for her.  This video ended up coming out a little differently than we expected just because we didn’t actually anticipate even making a video once all was said and done.  We filmed all of the content in this video one afternoon after skiing in Mammoth in about an hour.  We set out to get a few shots in the bag before we got a good morning with falling snow (to really hammer home the morning snow thing).  Well, if you are a snow person in California you’ll know we had the absolute worst snow season.  Christine and I were never together when it snowed after that initial filming session.  We kind of hung the idea of making a video on the wall for the time being and filmed her last video ‘Love Me Crazy’ out in SF.  Eventually the snow season wound down and Christine wanted to release the song anyway.

The night before she was going to release the song on her website I decided to dig into that initial folder of footage and tried to piece something together.  It actually felt very natural and I was digging how it played.  We sat together for an evening and hammered out the empty spots and had ourselves a new video! I was pretty stoked because on that initial film day Christine didn’t really want to sing the song, just wanted some slow-mo intro shots for the video.  I talked her into doing one run of the song on camera and it ended up being a beautiful shot and flawless all the way through. That one shot carries the piece and the rest was easy.  I grabbed a few old snow shots I filmed during the making of ‘Renegade’ and tossed them in.

This was all shot on the Canon 5D Mark III using the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 II lens along with the Canon 16-35mm F2.8.  Most of the b-roll shots were filmed at 720-60, while the one singing shot was filmed at 1080-24.  The video was edited in Premiere Pro CS6 natively, and was colored in Davinci Resolve with final tweaks and curves in After Effects.

Below are a few before (left) and after (right) color grading.  The camera gives awesome results straight off, so I didn’t do much.  I haven’t bothered shooting with CineStyle, just a flatter profile with minimal crunchiness or sharpening:

morningsnowgrades_5 morningsnowgrades_4 morningsnowgrades_3 morningsnowgrades_2 morningsnowgrades_1

And finally a few photos from the shoot:


USC Ski & Snowboard – The Flashback

‘Renegade’ by Christine Donaldson

‘Love Me Crazy’ by Christine Donaldson

  • Loved it.
    I actually thought I recognized a couple of the forrest-shots from the Renegade-video when I first saw it 🙂 Nicely put together!

    The camera sure does capture amazing videos. I’m debating whether to get the 5d Mark III or Nikon d800. Oh the choices..
    Also: Thought you were a FCP-guy. Do you switch between the two or have you converted to premiere?

    • Thanks Kristian! I switch between the two depending on project. For pretty basic projects I’m using premiere mostly

  • Derek Postma

    Loved it Abe! just wondering with the 1080p shot what do you do to it when you put it in the 720p sequence do you just scale it down?

    • Yeah, sometimes I’ll keep it native and reframe a bit but for the most part just scale to match everything

  • David Tirca

    Hey Abe do you have the lite version of Davinci resolve?

    • I’ve got a license but I use the lite version on my laptop. It’s identical other than missing noise reduction and project sizes larger than 1080

      • David Tirca

        Thanks for the reply, have a great day.

  • So, you mentioned that you use Davinci Resolve lite. Is this what you normally grade with? Also, I know you get asked a lot – your photo editing is inspiring. I really love the looks. How do you achieve such edits?

    • Yeah I usually grade with resolve. All my photo looks are just done in photoshop with a combination of curves, selective color and gradient maps.

      • SKATE4FREE

        So you grade all the clips before or after the final edit import and go selecting in resolve?

  • Marcus Sharpe

    Hi abe, do you think it is worth learning final cut pro 7 or the latest final cut?

    • Either one will do the trick! better to go with the latest if you’re just starting out.

  • Bruce Macalpine

    Hey Abe, Im doing a season of skiing instructing next season out in Canada and hope to do a lot of filming while im there, i was wondering what backpack you use to store all of your camera equipment on a days shooting?

  • Sebastian

    Hey abe! Question: do you feel like you can get the most out of your GoPro (quality wise) when just using the free gopro software? Or would you say it is a must to get final cut or premier? I’m not looking at having as many video editing options as final cut offers, but am really trying to focus on getting the best quality out of the footage.


  • Alex

    Thank you for this and for others her video! I hope to see more new video with her beautiful songs. You two are amazing!