Shooting Snowsurf

Award-winning Australian photographer and writer Shane Peel, moved to all the way Hokkaido, Japan for the production of his debut documentary feature film, Snowsurf.  Shane is currently one year into the production of his documentary, which dives into the history of a special snowboard subculture that exists in Japan’s northern-most island, Hokkaido. Primarily a surf photographer, Shane is generally used to shooting projects in warmer, more leisurely atmospheres.

However, he says that working in the back-country of one of the world’s snowiest, and sometimes incredibly treacherous, places makes the weight and functionality of his equipment of utmost concern.

“The reality of filmmaking is that it’s a whole lot more complex than capturing stills; camera movements are the key to this type of storytelling.”  Peel took with him Miller’s Compass 12 Solo 75 2-Stage Carbon Fibre system as his primary support system, saying, “Shooting in Hokkaido, where long hikes in waist-deep snow and negative 30 degree wind chills are the norm and a simple mistake can take your life, means that the equipment decisions have to make sense from the get-go.”

Shane Peel during the shooting of 'Snowsurf'

Shane Peel during the shooting of ‘Snowsurf’


“Communications during this project have been difficult. As my crew doesn’t speak a word of Japanese, we are often faced with sudden changes while shooting, because language barriers often hinder the communication between the rider and the crew. For instance, a slow, steady panning shot can turn into a rapid double axis ‘L’ movement in a matter of seconds,” Peel says. “To be able to smoothly adjust the Compass 12 Fluid Head’s movement speed to any of the three pressure options in a moment’s notice has been a real advantage…the illuminated bubble level has been incredibly handy, especially when working during the darkening blizzards I often experience!”


Peel also says that the light weight of the system has proved essential when he shoots in really remote locations during this project, as the system is very portable.


(image: Shane Peel/Facebook)

“I have experienced some amazing days, shooting in unique places that boggle my mind—awesome silver-birch glades, natural hot springs and majestic snow-capped volcanoes are just some of nature’s amazing gifts that I’ve seen,” he says. “And, the defining element, through it all, has been the clean movement of Miller’s system.”

Snowsurf is slated to release in the fall of 2015. To read more about the documentary film and receive exclusive insights into the latest project developments, visit its Facebook page at:


Some of Shanes equipment (image: Shane Peel/Facebook)

Some of Shanes equipment (image: Shane Peel/Facebook)


Excerpts from Press Release

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