Filmmaker Claudiu Voicu has a reputation for his editing skills but in his latest video, he deliberately chose to include as many tough transitions as possible into one three-minute snowboarding movie. Clearly he likes a challenge and the results are stunning, hilarious and surreal.
Voicu is keen to point out that he made this film just for fun — and fun seems to mean spending hours in front of the computer. When it comes to Adobe After Effects, Voicu is king, shooting his film on the GoPro Hero 6 but with the real magic coming from the GoPro Fusion and its 5.2k spherical video. For some of the transitions, it was necessary to shoot some scenes twice, then blend the footage and covering up with a little warping and blurring.
One of the earliest transitions takes the viewer through the passenger window of an airplane and straight onto the French slopes. The windows were masked out with footage from Voicu's drone and it required several flights to try and match the position of the sun and quality of the light. As Voicu notes, completing the process required "shadow replacement, head replacement, snowboard replacement and a lot of manual tracking."
It may have been a personal project, but that doesn't mean it wasn't incredibly hard work — a total of six weeks to complete the edit. As Voicu notes, "Even though every single shot was storyboarded, and even though I had a good idea of how I'd intend to do the transitions in After Effects, it almost never went as expected." Some transitions took up to six days of editing (check out the move from the sauna to the cable car — probably one of the hardest), including tonnes of trial and error.
Filming began back in Feburary 2017, starting with the transitions in the hotel room and going over the balcony, with further shooting hampered by bad weather. Returning to the project in January this year, Voicu returned to Val Thorens with a plan to finish filming but conditions again went against them with the weather so bad that the lifts were closed for two days of their six-day trip. Their final attempt took place in April, with the final drone shot (2:55) being captured on the last day of filming after a long hike up the side of the mountain.
As a filmmaker, his breakthrough came eight years ago with Storm Freerun - Volume 1, a short film that had a dramatic impact not only the quality of parkour/freerunning videos but also their tone and style. Voicu is promising to deliver a BTS video in the next week or two, so be sure to track him down on Instagram for the latest updates.
(For extra points, how many Easter eggs can you spot?)