Lone Mountain Ranch, a guest ranch near Yellowstone National Park in Montana, hired Open Boat Films to develop a series of videos about the experiences people could have at the ranch in the winter and summer. The Sleighride video was the first in the winter series, and is narrated by cowboy poet Bruce Affinson. The pieces are short, engaging, and promote a local, sustainable business.

What were you hired for? Primary objectives?

Lone Mountain Ranch hired Open Boat Films to film, edit, and produce a series of short pieces about a few of the great activities and experiences on their ranch. In the case of the Sleighride video, I worked with photographer Lynn Donaldson, a Montana native who spends most of her time traveling the country photographing for food and travel articles. The ranch was interested in creating a piece that would promote their Sleighride Dinners to local residents and tourists visiting the region. These dinners are wonderfully romantic affairs, where guests ride on a sleigh pulled by a team of drafthorses through a snowy landscape.  Guests are brought to an old mountainside homestead cabin, where they are then treated to an amazing western-inspired dinner.

Challenges to overcome?

While very beautiful and romantic, the dimly lit cabin presented some shooting challenges I had to address. Without using additional lights, I was able to capture much of what I needed by stationing myself near the chef’s table, which had a collection of candles- just enough to film by; and those are some of my favorite shots. Filming the large, powerful draft horses from a jostling sleigh- that was a challenge as well; mostly that involved staying calm, focused, and letting the driver get a good grip on me as I leaned out over the moving horses.

A real bonus on this film shoot was the collaboration I had with Lynn; the use of still photography really helped complete the story. Not only does the Sleighride video blend moving images with still shots, we were extremely fortunate to have the music and gravelly narration of cowboy poet Bruce Affinson accompany the story.