If you have kept up with any of my social media sites (or my blog) lately, you will know 2 things: 1) that I have been planning my own JMT hike for the past 18+ months, and 2) that I have really become a fan of Chris Smead’s videos over the last year and a half or so.
There are a lot of folks out there with YouTube channels now. I have dabbled in them myself, and I have of course enjoyed videos by lots of others out there too. But some video’s just really seem to stick out… and for me, that has been the videos I have watched by Chris Smead. The first video I recall seeing by Chris is his full length JMT (According to Chris) video, as seen below…
Being that I had been planning my own JMT hike, I was naturally drawn to this video. However, I found this video to be… different. Sure, it was like most other videos in that it documented a hiker marching down the trail to the sound of his own trekking poles, but there was more than that to this video. I loved the way that Chris shared his story, his attitude, his expressions, and the way he carried himself along the trail. I felt like I connected with him when he shared some of his own feelings about missing his own family while being gone for so long. And of course it was great getting to see gear from companies that I know and love, and use myself too.
But beyond that, the shots that he captured drew me in. And unlike my own videos, the clarity and the quality of his shots were crisp, clean and full of detail. Then there was the animations and his music constantly building and feeding in the background… I was hooked! (As well, it was in this video that my wife pointed out that he had thanked me in the credits… I know… it’s crazy I didn’t see it myself, but it’s there. I immediately felt all warm and fuzzy that my name was in a film such as this one!)
Chris and I had talked a little via FaceBook PM’s and emails, but after watching this video, I had to talk with him a bit more! Since then, we have talked about hikes, gear, family, and of course I have asked him question after question about film and audio. I feel like I have gotten to know him a little better, and I’m glad I have as he seems to be a good guy, and probably a fun guy to hike with! (I am hoping he can meet us at least briefly on our own upcoming JMT hike!… nudge, nudge… lol!)
In the meantime he also went on to release a few more films from his adventures on his YouTube channel, including Alcove (a documentary recording Chris and Ryan Jordan’s hike through remote desert canyons in Colorado) and his Rae Lakes Loop Documentary in which Chris and his wife braved the great 2017 Sierra snow storm when venturing along the Rae Lakes Loop! (Worth noting here, both of these films won awards in the 2017 Backpacking Light Adventure Film Festival Awards.)
Since this time Chris has journeyed out on yet another epic hike, this time along the High Sierra Trail in the Sierra Nevada’s… and of course he made a film about it. This time though, even when I thought his game was already at the top of the bar, he stepped it up another notch!
With the High Sierra Trail film he wanted to tell his story, along with the history of the trail. Chris spent countless hours (well, a whole lotta hours anyway) bringing old photographs to life and blending them with his own hike, while William Tweed (a 30 year national park service veteran) narrates the history of this trail throughout his new film. Besides all of this, Chris also managed to pull in a few big names to go behind the scenes of this film and work on color, audio and sound design. Last but not least, Chris re-branded his own channel from “Chris is Awesome Productions” to “Outmersive Films.”
On May 5th, 2018 Chris’s film, The High Sierra Trail, premiered at the Switchback Showcase in Campbell, CA. As of right now, they are working on including the film in other showcases and festivals across the US, and even into Canada! (For more information as to when the film is showing, and how to see it, click HERE or HERE.) His plans are to eventually have the film available to the general public via iTunes, Amazon and other similar platforms.
Now, I will admit, I was a bit bummed that I couldn’t be there for the film’s initial showing, but 2k+ miles (one way) is a long way to go! But then about a week ago Chris sent me a message and asked me if I would like to check out his film and help spread the word… naturally, I said yes!
As I mentioned above, with each film Chris makes, he seems to set the bar to a new height… and I can tell you that he absolutely did it again with this film… maybe even a little higher than normal this time! Even though I ended up watching this film in 1440p on my tiny 13″ MacBook Air, it was still a mesmerizing film! (As I hope to find out soon for myself) the Sierra’s are a beautiful place, and Chris has done another excellent job of capturing and sharing that beauty. Besides the actual footage that he himself has captured, I also really enjoyed the way that he integrated and breathed new life into old photo’s shown throughout the film, while William narrated the history of the trail in the background. I can’t describe just how much I enjoyed this film, but I can tell you this, it is good! I would definitely encourage anyone that loves the outdoors to give this 39 minute film a watch if at all possible!
My own trip to the Sierra’s is coming up very soon… so I think I am going to end this now and go and give his video’s another watch until it’s time for me to head into the Sierra’s myself… Until then, thanks for stopping by!
Disclaimer: Chris provided me with a link to his film free of charge. I agreed to share my thoughts and opinions of the film with both him, and my readers. Besides our internet friendship, I am in no way affiliated, nor am I being paid in any way by Chris, or Outmersive Films for sharing this information. Bottom line: I just think it’s a really awesome film and hope that everyone else gets to see it too!