M3: We have been producing hunting and other outdoor short films for the past five years; we carry a camera in the field, all the time. We started with a bull trout video, just "for fun", but really liked the idea of trying to produce fly-fishing films, in a way we hadn't seen before, showcasing our home waters. It really started with shooting a couple clips here and there, and expecting to use it in a one-year compilation, but once we started assembling footage and catching fish we realized there was an opportunity to start making 5-10 minutes fly-fishing shorts.
Fd: What about those spots you visit to make your films?
M3: So far, we have kept all our films inside our home state of Oregon. There are some absolutely beautiful places, and beautiful fish. We tend to find ourselves surprised each time we are on the water, but if we had to choose one place that surprised us the most, it would have to be a small stream we were filming on for steelhead just 10mi from the surf. We had just had the first good rain of the season, and the water was on the drop. We walked up onto the bank after a couple mile hike in, to see 50 chrome bright steelhead sitting on a sand bar right below us. Not living on coast, we have never seen that many steelhead in one place, in a stream this size. It was one of those experiences where you simply put your rod down and watch. We had an amazing trip, and are excited to share the full piece “Ride the Tide” with everyone.
Fd: What kind of camera system do you use?
M3: In 2013, we filmed all our shorts with two Canon DSLR's and GoPro's. DSLR's are a really enticing camera to carry for us, because we can shoot 1080i HD footage, and then take 20+MP images, with the same camera. In fact, it's a camera we'd suggest to anyone looking to take high quality images of their trip, and be able to catch awesome, crisp video footage too. More than gear, it comes down to angles, and placement of the camera… Trying to create images that most people wouldn't expect, from a given situation.
Fd: How is the pre-production process? Do you think ideas, stories and particular sceneries or do you let stories emerge in each fishing trip?
M3: A little bit of both. We like to come up with a good number of ideas for the year, and basic stories surrounding each. Some of our films can be greatly dependent on the fish we catch in the videos, while others are based more around the experience, and emerge to us along the way. We usually approach a new piece firstly by getting out and seeing what kind of raw footage we can capture in that location, or by splitting up the team and fishing different locations to see where and when it is “going on”. For example, our piece “Rookies off the beaten path” was shot completely in one day, in about 4 hours on the water. We were down filming the river for “Obsession”, and had caught a few nice browns that morning; at about 11 we decided, “Hey, let’s go see if this brook trout thing is going on”. And it was. I guess what we are trying to say is that we never put our eggs in one basket for a particular short.
Fd: Regarding filmmaking, do you have any influences or particular styles that you like?
M3: I think I like most people in the industry, when we first saw “Once in a Blue Moon” we were really blown away. We love the emphasis on casting and presentation, as we feel these truly are the number one factors that can instantly increase our viewers’ success on the water. Overall, we're trying to stick our own style of production, and keep it unique.
Fd: Nowadays, most fishermen can film and edit a fishing video; what aspects do you think should be taken into account to make a good one?
M3: Quality of the "footage" is really what it comes down to. Preparation and planning comes in huge… And not just before you head out; it takes some understanding to realize what shots look good, and how to put yourself in the right spot to get the shot. That is said, assuming you are filming someone fishing… If you're filming yourself fishing, it's best to have a point-of-view camera (such as a GoPro), as well as a HD compact, or DSLR. The main thing guys forget is a tripod… You can get 10 times the footage if you don't have to worry about balancing your camera on a rock or your pack. Using a tripod will also help get the steady footage that separates your film from the other footage that makes you feel like you're on a roller coaster.
Fd: What’s next? Any upcoming material?
M3: YES! We have a great line-up here for 2014. We always want to be producing new content that will keep our viewers interested in what we are doing. The best way for us to do that is to get feedback from our viewers on our videos. We will be chasing some summer steelhead, trophy rainbows, big brook trout, and likely some more trophy browns. Aside from that we are excited to also incorporate some shorts on different hatches and remote locations that don’t see pressure from other anglers. After the feedback we have received on “Obsession” we will likely be producing an instructional piece sharing some of the unique techniques that we feel give us an edge on the water.
Fd: Finally, what does fly fishing mean to you, and what do you enjoy the most from the whole process of making outdoor productions?
M3: To us, fly fishing really is all about the camaraderie and simply getting outside. With that said, we really like to chase big fish. What we enjoy the most about making outdoor productions is sharing with others how special this sport is, and how special waters that are often overlooked can be with the right amount of time and research spent. We love to see our viewers take a second look at their own home water after watching our videos, and really start to think about the factors that can give them the same success with bigger fish. We also love to collaborate with some of our viewers who are already having incredible success on the water. To us, there is no such thing as “figuring out” a body of water. There is always more to it, always a “next level” fish, or experience to strive for.
For more great stuff by M3, please visit: mountainmademedia.wordpress.com