Top to Bottom with Karma Grip

In March, Oakley invited me up to Mammoth Mountain for their annual Oakley Week. Every Spring they invite all of their snow athletes and work with Mammoth to build huge custom features in the park. On the mountain they do product demos, have athlete signings, and fun contests. One thing they wanted this year was to capture a single take and a single line through Main Park with all of their ski athletes. Last year Spencer Whiting (snowboard gimbal extraordinaire) filmed a version with the snowboard athletes that GoPro posted on their YouTube channel. Spencer was there again this year creating the snowboard version, and I was there to help make the ski version.

We had the park closed down and to ourselves; however, this particular day turned out to be an epic pow day, so we were cruising all over the mountain pretty much all morning before we even touched the park. Once we were in the park, no one had hit any of the features so we spent a good hour warming up, getting the speed of the jumps, and started filming by the afternoon. It took us around 5 full run takes before we had our timing and runs dialed, which ended up being a lot less than I thought it would take. Luckily when you’re working with pro-athletes, they pretty much always get their tricks, it’s just up to me to make sure I film it correctly! Since we had been skiing pow all morning, by the time we rolled directly into the bottom line of jumps my legs would be burning! It’s not often you ski all the way through the park without stopping – especially every run! There were a few times where my legs would feel like noodles going off the first of the 3 jumps.

Equipment Used

I filmed this using the Karma Grip on the end of GoPro’s new extension pole (El Grande) . To get the cinematic motion blur, I used Polar Pro’s Cinema ND Filter series. This particular video was filmed with the ND-16 filter. This was actually the first time I’ve used Karma Grip for park skiing, and I was honestly amazed at how easy it was to get the shot. This whole run I never once focused on the camera – just pointed it in the right direction whether it was in front of me, behind me, up down, etc.  The camera was always incredibly stable and got the shot. Before we had gimbals, and especially the Karma Grip, if the filmer wasn’t super smooth in the air, the shot would be garbage. In some of these shots, I’m over shooting the jump and doing some serious rolling down the windows.  Once I reviewed the shots, you can’t even tell.

Technical Details

I had Karma Grip in “Follow Mode” which means the camera will tilt up and down with the angle of the grip.  You just set your horizontal normal (where you’d want to hold it and have it be looking flat at the horizon), then double tap the tilt angle button on the grip which will enable follow mode.  If you want to disable follow mode, just tap the angle button once, and it’ll go back to locked horizon. The video was shot in 2.7K-60, and then I used my “Polishing Techniques” to add optics compensation and reframe the video a bit in post. I didn’t add any warp-stabilizer in post, the shots were already smooth enough.

If you have anymore questions, don’t hesitate to ask below. Thanks!



Video Settings in the HERO5 Black

GoPro Tutorial – Fisheye Removal & Polishing Techniques

GoPro Karma Grip Comparison