USC Ski & Snowboard: The Weekend

Subject: USC Ski & Snowboard Team
Filmers: Abe Kislevitz, Matt Cook, Levi Rodriguez
Location: Mammoth Mountain, CA
Music: Icona Pop - "Ready for the Weekend (Club Mix)"

It’s November which means another ski season has rolled around. Opening weekend in Mammoth gave us a great start to the season and a peek of what is to come! This video is entirely shot on the new GoPro HERO3 Black Edition. I was excited to try out this platform in my full normal style. I never truly put the camera or workflow through its paces until I make a Ski Team edit. Much to my amusement, I was very happy with the result in terms of camera functionality and cleanliness of the footage.

This whole video was shot with ProTune on and WB set to Auto. I was using all new cameras from the production line and didn’t have any freezing problems whatsoever – was pretty excited about that.

About 80% of the shots are 1080-60, a few POV shots at 1440-48, and a few static and car mounted shots at 2.7K 30.
For editing I transcoded it all to ProRes422. Editing was done in FCP 7. Did coloring in DaVinci Resolve (which is free!)

In Resolve on the first baseline color correction node I switched it to use Cinestyle LUTs which made the correcting much easier. Found this set of LUTs on another site –
Probably not the best/correct workflow but it worked for this project.

On every shot I started with a baseline of the cinestyle LUT correction, a selective desaturating of the yellows in the snow, and a small vignette. From there I added nodes to shots where necessary and evened out all the levels.

After the color correction I brought the whole edit into AE to add the effects of color & burns.  The shapes were all created in AE from a set of film burns.  I used the CC Kaleidoscope effect in AE on some pre-comped layers of shapes I created by masking the burns.  I did some keyframing with the Kaleidoscope effect, wiggled the opacity, and changed the transfer modes to fit the shot.  For the rainbow colors in the snow I painted matte layers frame by frame and used some film burns over those.  Most of the transfer layers for those were set to color or soft light.

All the audio was straight from the camera, no external mics. Felt like the camera did a really great job of delivering consistent & very smooth video. Overall really pleased with the way the camera handled in the different lighting conditions. Definitely took some color correction but ProTunes ability to stretch the image and regain good control of what you want was really cool. Didn’t use any noise reduction or sharpening on the footage. I liked the natural look out of the cam.


USC Ski & Snowboard – Road Trip

USC Ski & Snowboard – The Flashback

Fiesta Movement: Summer Adventures

  • Now I get why the clip of you leaving the ski lift does not show your pole, 1440-48..

    I just finished a clip – the footage was taken when I had the GoPro just a week, so I think the largest improvement for further edits will actually be the quality of the footage, for which you have been one of my main sources of inspiration (AbeK vignette, ‘Next Levels’ from the Fat Rat, and your color correction tutorial):

    I understand the next step is to work with After Effects. Would you advice me to shoot with Protune on or off? I will have a 64GB micro SD card, and will be shooting in 1080p-60fps, so capacity could be an issue I guess..

    Really hope my Black will be in before the beginning of January. Delivery got delayed the day before yesterday by ‘a few weeks’..

    • I always recommend ProTune mostly because I hate hate hate in-camera sharpening. ProTune has that turned off, but it’s personal preference really 🙂

      • How much capacity does a 64GB card have, when shooting with Protune on and 1080p/60fps?
        Are you going to do some more AMAs? Really was an amazing opportunity!

        • Not sure, would have to do some math calculations. I’d be down for AMAs if people want them

          • I just ordered the 64GB micro SD. Should be sufficient for a day on the mountain I guess..

  • Steve

    CC Kaleidoscope.. brilliant.

    What were the shapes you used as pre-comps? I tried using a star and a square, not quite looking right..

    • I used hollow rectangles usually – a masked box within a box so I just had an outline of a rectangle about 100px thick on all sides – try that!

      • Daniel

        alright! but where did you set your center point & which mode did you use for mirroring?

        or am I using a wrong effect? built in CC Kaleida?

  • Do you film with the protective covering on all of the time? I feel like you would be able to get some clearer shots without it.

    • I have been using the Frame mount a lot lately. Easier to deal with, no fogging

      • Noah Miller

        Aren’t you worried you may break the camera if you fell and does fogging happen often?

        • nah, not too worried. Fogging happens every once in a while since the HERO3 runs so much warmer

        • Steve

          he gets his cameras for free so I don’t think it’s as much of a risk if he breaks it 🙂

  • I’ve been following your work for a long time Abe, it’s exciting to finally get to read about the methods behind your work!

    Regarding the LUT, did adding this act as a “base” grade/correct of the protune footage, because the footage is flat? Really what I’m wondering is if this is a recommended/required step or if I’ll be able to pull clips from my GP3 and grade them in Speedgrade?

    • The way protune works is it has a special contrast/gamma curve to it to pick up the most amount of detail it can (more in shadows, highlights). If you apply straight color corrections (contrast, brightness, exposure) without applying a reverting curve, it won’t look right. You need the appropriate LUT so when contrast is applied, it applies it at the right curve to match the way the video was filmed. Imagine it as a whole different toolset catered specifically to correct the way the footage was filmed. It’s not just flatter – that would be just reduced contrast/color – it’s actually a crazy curve to bump shadows. Kind of a weird concept to wrap around and a lot of mathematics.

      • Thanks for the response Abe, I’ll play around with the LUT you linked to above. I really appreciate your response!

  • Rich

    This is a stupid question, but I see people asking you what type of “font” you use in your videos and pictures, and got me curious.

    • It changes but one I have liked is Alternate Gothic No. 2

  • hey abe, do you ever add any sharpening in post?

    • I did on the HERO3 video, but I really like the look of softer video, I feel like it scales much better. In the case of YouTube viewing it’s always being scaled.

  • At 1:21 where there is a closeup shot of somebody’s face – out of curiosity is that from the camera or did you rotoscope the face and blur the background?

    • abekislevitz

      That was done with a modified HERO3. The camera was taken apart and the lens unscrewed to get it focusing at a distance of 1-2″

  • Hey abe, how did you do the cool scribble writing in the begging of the weekend edit

    • abekislevitz

      That was done in Flash. I hand traced all of the logos with my Wacom tablet and drew it 3 different times to get the changing look.

  • JAKE

    Hey Abe, what did you use to edit the stills?

  • Gunner


  • Gopro

    Hey Abe check out my Ready for the Weekend edit!

    Watch the whole thing Please

  • abe, do you film on wide, med, or narrow view? i am using med atm, but idk if i should switch it up or what

    • abekislevitz

      The majority of my filming is done in wide. I only use medium if I have a specific need to get a closer shot

  • Willsy

    Abe, i noticed you filmed it at several frame rates, do you still conform it all to 24fps for editing? If you know that your going to have a scene with Audio do you film at 24fps so that you dont have to change it all before editing?

  • Vlad

    You say no freezing problems with gopros… I have not heard of this before, but I used my black this weekend for the first time and sometimes when i turned it on it would show the camera icon and not go anywhere from there. The only way to fix it was to pull the battery. Is this the freezing you were talking about?

  • Tony

    what’s with the powder being colored in some of the shots?

    • why not?

      • Tony

        I didn’t know if it was intentional or not

        • Lars


  • Mason

    Hey Abe! Im really curious as to what your follow cam setup is, reading though your AMA I see you said you used a Ski Pole, could you go further in to detail? Length, Counterweighting, Mounting? I also noticed that the GoPro team has been using an Extension pole lately too, is that designed just for the team? It would be super helpful Cheers.

  • Mazi

    Hello Abe, i’d like to know which program you use for editing photos? Because colours are just epic!!! Thanks for the answer, peace 🙂

    • What’s up Mazi! I usually use a combination of Camera Raw from Adobe’s Bridge and Photoshop!

  • Ryan Harris

    Hey Abe, how did it work when you made the USC videos with music licensing? Because it was kind of GoPro promotion, did it not matter that you used songs with out paying royalties or whatever? Just so your clear i’m not saying its bad just curios


    • On my own YouTube channel I can do whatever I want with music since YouTube has its own licensing rules. I can’t make money off of any video I post that has music someone else owns the rights to.

  • Yani

    Hello Abe. I was woundering how your workflow has change since your workflow tutorial:
    Are you still converting your clips to ProRes422 with “mpeg stream clip” or are you using gopro cineform studio? And are you still using cinema tools to convert all your clips to 23.98 fps?

    Would love an detailed answer.

    • Still very much the same workflow. I will use cineform studio on occasion with Premiere. I convert about 70% of my stuff to 29.97, the rest to 23.98

  • Marvin

    Hey Abe, i would ask you which ski pant ( red one) do you wear and also the sweatshirt pullover (black one) in the video? company / manufacturer??

  • Hello Abe, quick question. I am using Final Cut Pro 7 for my editing, i just am having a problem bringing it over to AE. What do you do to bring everything thing from FCP7 to AE? Thanks!

    • I just do it on a clip to clip basis by exporting to prores out of FCp and bringing that into AE

      • Zach Rawson

        So by exporting it as a pro res 422 file it doesn’t loose any quality? I feel like everytime I export I loose quality.

  • Mattis

    Abe: Your shots looks alot sharper than most of protune footage ive seen.You didnt use any effects which includes sharpening? When converting my clips in 5dtoRGB i tried choosing Cinestyle technicolor but wasnt happy with the result since it got dark and high contrast. Is that preset the same as using the cinestyle u provided with resolve?

    • I didn’t do any sharpening on this video – I did do sharpening on the HERO3 launch video though! The cinestyle preset you’re talking about is probably the same color curve reversal; however in resolve I have the power to adjust the way it’s presented back. Simply doing a cinestyle reversal on the transcode is really doing you no good – you’re essentially saying “I didn’t actually want to shoot in cinestyle/protune”. It’s just reversing the color back to what it would be whereas in Resolve I’ve got the necessary tools to correct it to something I want but utilizing the cinestyle curves to get it back to a good place.

      • Mattis

        So you are using the cinestyle lut as a base and then add more correction from there, or are you modifying the cinetyle base curves ? Should be the same using the lut with lutbuddy in premiere cs6 i guess? Sometimes i think that the protune footage looks better by just pulling down the blacks a bit, so it doesn´t looks that washed out

  • donkeydawg

    Hello Abe, what’s your glasses? Smith I/O Ignitor mirror + blue sensor mirror? Thanks

  • Another quick question about your color correction tutorial, with the new gopro hero 3 footage with protune on and WB set to auto. When ever I am trying to make the clip in the safe zones using the waveform video scope, I seem to get more noise in the sky and sometimes on the person. Do you possibly have an explanation from that since your well trained in FP7?

  • Mark

    What render settings do you use when exporting a video in after effects

  • George

    Hi! Great video)
    I’ve just bought Hero 3 BE and start using Sony Vegas for editing, etc… Mostly use 1080-30 or 60, then render it in .avi with 1920×1080. Please advise the sequence, so I can get good quality picture) – close to your one)
    What should I do first – edit and render in Vegas, then do coloring in DaVinci or visa verso. I just want to be sure that the best quality will be in my final video.

  • Marcus Sharpe

    I can’t get my Gopro H3B to be as crisp and clear as yours. I can’t figure it out. PLEASE Abe help me out. Tell me the trick to your Gopro wizardry.
    Also, is it possible to render in prores 442 in windows?

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  • Matjaz

    Hi, Abe!

    Which codec would you recommend as an alternative for ProRes422 on Windows PC?


  • Preston Harmon

    For the intro when you introduced USC Ski and Snowboard Team, how did you do that effect with the text? I noticed you did alot of it in your new edit Road Trip too.


    • Danny

      This came from here:

      Also, how did you create the text effect at the beginning of “The Weekend”? The handwritten text that shakes. I tried to find a tutorial, but I don’t even know what to search for. Thanks!


      work projects are pretty scripted from the start, but as with any gopro documentation and athletes, you just kinda strap em up and see what happens.

      Text in the weekend was done in Flash. I traced out logos in flash using my wacom tablet and drew it 3 times over to get some variation in the text. Just repeated that a bunch of times.

  • Sawyer Wallace

    How did you get the DaVinci Resolve for free? I cant find it.

  • Victor Bo Larsen

    Do you use compressor before you upload to YouTube? I feel that i can have super quality on my video after Resolve, but when i send it to compressor the quality loss is too great. I want that footage that looks great in 360p on YouTube.