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September 2014
Issue: October 1, 2012

Sébastien Montaz-Rosset's extreme filmmaking

Sébastien Montaz-Rosset - “Seb” — is a talented, self-taught French filmmaker who specializes in filming extreme athletes in extreme conditions. One of his latest short films, I Believe I Can Fly (Flight of the Frenchies), bagged him eight prestigious international awards.

AT ONE WITH THE MOUNTAINS

Seb grew up in the French Alps, and has spent most of his life enjoying and working in the mountains. A childhood spent skiing, snowboarding and climbing led to qualification as a mountain guide and a ski instructor, allowing him to share his passion and enthusiasm for the great outdoors. Taking photos and video footage for clients sparked an interest in film, and this quickly became a full-time obsession.



Naturally enough, Seb’s subject matter reflects his interest and background in extreme altitude sports. He tracks skiers, climbers, runners and tight-rope walkers as they pit themselves against the elements and dangers of their latest challenge. Which means he not only has to keep up with his formidable subjects, but keep out of their way as he captures their feats of daring and exhilaration. 

“It’s about finding new angles and new narratives,” says Seb. “The audience should feel they are close to the athletes, skiing and jumping with them, part of the action.”

INGENUITY AND IMAGINATION

Seb is entirely self taught, using the Internet, intuition and ingenuity to create the style and effects he’s after. He believes that you don’t need bulky paraphernalia like rails and harnesses to create interesting techniques — and just as well, as he needs to travel light to get the best possible shots on inaccessible, inhospitable terrain. Seb relies on being nimble and prepared, being in the right place at the right time, and on compact-but-reliable gear, like his G-Technology G-Drive Mini.

“Making a good film is much more about the story you tell, and the connection you make between your subjects and your audience… Passion, curiosity and patience are as valuable as the equipment I make films with. I like to find ways to get a reaction from the audience, and to challenge people’s perceptions in whatever way I can.”

JORNET’S JOURNEY

Even so, Seb uses a variety of kit to give him a choice of angles and moods, which all come together in the edit. Summits of My Life documents the quest by the Catalan world champion ski mountaineer Kilian Jornet to run up the highest mountains in the world — starting with Mont Blanc in 2012, and finishing with Mount Everest in 2015. 

Shooting the first stages at nearly 11,000 feet on Grands Montets in France, Seb used a wide range of camera types. From high-end Cineflex and DSLR, to the $100 plastic lens Digital Harinezumi, with its grainy Super 8 film look, as well as a radio-controlled aerial mini drone, for spectacular overhead shots. On location, he uses a portable G-Drive Mini to save and store his footage securely. To be doubly sure, he backs up with a G-RAID, while a G-Speed Q helps make the editing process fast and efficient. 

For Seb, G-Technology offers high capacity and reliability at a low cost, helping him take his extraordinary films to new heights.