Ascensions is a new short film series that focuses on some of the established, as well as up-and-coming names in modern streetwear culture. Each short is shot amid a vast natural landscape, with the intention of representing a brand’s rise toward the summit in their field.
Ascensions was shot with Sony Alpha 7SII and ZEISS Loxia 2/35 and Loxia 2/50.
Read the interview with the Director/DOP Jonathan Edwards from naive Studios:
ZEISS: Could you please give us some information about the crew?
Jonathan: The crew for the Ascensions series within the first year has been very small. The series is quarterly and new to Highsnobiety so everything was kept to a minimum when shooting. We never had more than four crew members for each shoot and that also includes the model helping with equipment on the ascents. Crew members had to be very physically fit due to the landscapes and conditions we shot under and in all honesty, everyone has been close friends due to environments, stresses and weather conditions throughout.
ZEISS: How was the DOP, 1AC, Director?
Jonathan: The basic crew as such has been Benjamin Moore as a behind the scenes photographer, production assistant and location scout. Myself as DOP, Director, Aerial operator and location scout. We have also had various production assistants throughout depending upon each location and also a film student from Leeds University who contacted us directly after seeing the first release. I would just like to thank everyone for their help and support throughout the year. Jason Turner, Stefan Thomas, Daniel Tomley, Sam Jones, David Edwards, Tudor Gillham, James Rogers Becky Lashbrook and Tom Ellis, it would not of been possible without these people.
ZEISS: How many days of shooting did you have?
Jonathan: For the latest winter release, we knew weather conditions would change or move in fast within the Snowdonia range. So we decided to shoot three days solid with the model and revisit the site to complete further aerial, slow-motion and natural details.
We only worked within natural light, with what I discovered to be a similar thought process to that of the fantastic Emmanuel Lubezki with the new Revenant film. The quarry location was vast, with over 700 acres to scout and cover whilst shooting with very steep inclines. So we mapped out routes for each day, guided by available light for each location and also made backup plans for harsh conditions and heavy rain fall. The quarry encapsulated pits, tunnels and workhouse ruins so shelter was accessible with planning in place. For both the Friday and Saturday of the weekend we shot the film, weather warnings were in place for the national park and heavy rain fall was solid throughout the day. We packed the garments and footwear for the film into a waterproof backpack and both days headed straight for the sheltered locations to film, that’s not to say this was easy. We still had to walk for two hours to even reach the first location, setup and shoot in what were basically wind tunnels and then pack up gear and garments before heading back into the conditions for another two hours hiking. I say this but personally I know we made the right decisions with the chosen crew for such a harsh shoot and everyone involved enjoyed every second of braving the conditions. By the close of the three day shoot alone and minus the extra aerial work, location scouts and natural details, we had climbed over 7500ft and walked further than a marathon. We wanted the first year finale to be rather epic, moody and create dark undertones and felt we did just that by shooting through those conditions.
ZEISS: Which lenses have been used?
Jonathan: The film was shot with the ZEISS Loxia lenses, both the 32mm and 50mm. The lenses were chosen to work with the new Sony α7SII camera and there were plenty of reasons to make these the obvious choice. The new DeClick feature for smooth aperture adjustment whilst filming is a huge advantage, weather sealed full-metal casing was a must with the heavy rain, manual focus with a large rotation angle and ridiculously smooth mechanism and of course the usual quality of Zeiss optics. At full-frame these two lenses were perfect to confidently shoot 4K sLog3 with the new Sony camera and cut seamlessly from wide introductory shots to extreme closeups. If you are in the market for E-mount lenses I would highly recommend the Loxia range.
ZEISS: Thank you very much for the interesting insights!
More about the Ascensions shorts: