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Greeley: So Much More

The City of Greeley approached Clear Summit Productions and asked for a proposal and bid to make a video showcasing the city. If you know anything about Colorado’s front range, you know Greeley has had a real image problem. Deserved or not, Greeley has had a bad rap for being a “cow town.” And while the city does have its roots in the cattle industry, it’s far from a cow town. With a city-written script, we set out to put compelling images to (quite literally) help change the city’s image. We oversaw and recorded the VO, coordinated all shoot locations, shot the footage, added graphics, and edited the version you see here. We are proud of the finished product, and can honestly say, every single person, entity, and collaborator we worked with on the project was fantastic. It helped change MY perspective of Greeley, and we hope it helps change yours.


Fish Head : A Colorado Story

Teach a man to fish, and … he wants to go again, and again, and again. This is the story of Parker Smith, self-described “fish head.”
Yes, it’s about fly fishing. But it’s about finding one’s self. About following and living a dream.

It’s also about Clear Summit Productions, the team that made this video. With this video, we are launching a series of “Colorado Stories” about the people, the place, and the passion that we find here. We plan to share these stories to entertain, inspire and showcase what we can do as a production company. If you need (or know of) a story that needs telling, contact us.

Technical bits:
Crew size: two (principals Jeremy Jacob and Erik Stenbakken)
Filmed primarily in one very long and very early half day. Ok, starting at 4:00 a.m. and ending at 1:00 p.m. is a full day.
A small stretch of private water on the Colorado River near Grandby, Colo.
A pair of Canon C100 cinema cameras, Canon, Sigma, and Zeiss glass. Sliders by Kessler and Edelkrone. Support by Vinten and Sachtler.
1996 VW Westfalia that’s been a LOT of places.
Edited in Premiere Pro CC.

Hospital / Medical Demo Reel

Clear Summit takes pride in our connection to the medical community. We have been shooting in and around hospitals for over two decades combined. Over the years, we’ve made images in dozens of hospitals and clinics. We find the stories fascinating, the visuals compelling, and we work hard to convey the message of each institution with which we work.

This is a sampler showing some visuals of the most recent work we’ve created. Clear Summit Productions would like to help you tell your story too.

Gaylord Opryland

Erik and I have been on a quest to improve our shooting skills. One of the big things we have been talking about is creativity, and minimalism. This has pushed us both to shoot more, and with less “toys”. Last week Erik posted his shoot of our trip to summit Mt. Huron, a fourteen thousand foot tall mountain here in Colorado, all done with a small camera and NO toys. It pushed him to tell story with his edit, and his shot selections, and it turned out great!

To that end, when my Wife and I headed to Nashville for a convention she was attending a few weeks after our climb, I decided I would take some time to make my own little video. I was limited to equipment I could take in one bag on the plane. This is what I took.

Canon 5Dmkiii
Ninja 2 Recorder
Canon 16-35 f2.8 II
Canon 24-105 f4 IS
Zeiss 50 f2
Vanguard 225CT Tripod
Manfrotto 701 head

I had a few hours each day where I didn’t have anything else going on, and spent that time shooting the beautiful hotel/convention center we were staying in. It was a ton of fun working with little equipment. I couldn’t do all the fancy moves I was used to, and this forced me to focus on framing, and putting interesting stuff into frame, and letting things happen. It also allowed me to get more shots, and to move quickly. This pushed my creativity, and stretched my skill set.

I learned that while I don’t want to do this kind of shooting all the time, that it IS something I want to keep pursuing. Limiting the amount of equipment you use can really push creativity, and force you to learn the capabilities of what you have on hand. It is a great exercise, and something I plan to keep working on.

Gaylord Opryland Hotel 2013 from Clear Summit Productions on Vimeo.

Mt Huron


Climbing Mount Huron, Colorado 14,003 ft. from Clear Summit Productions on Vimeo.


The Mt. Huron Hike: How Less is More

Clear Summit Productions (CSP) was founded on a mountain. Quite literally. I don’t remember which one(s) it was on, but it was while hiking Colorado’s 14ers with Jeremy Jacob that CSP was born. We both had relevant experience, we both wanted to move deeper into video production, and as we walked and talked, we decided to launch it. The rest is history as we make it.
If you’ve never climbed a 14er, the air gets a lot thinner than at sea level. Thinner than even Denver — by a long shot. Above 10,000 ft elevation, generally folks don’t like to carry anything more than they have to. That is, if it’s not for my personal survival — or nobody is paying me to do it — chances are, I’m going to leave it home. So it was with this hike. Yes. I own a nice cinema camera, tripods, a dolly & track, sliders (want one? I have four) and all other manner of gear. But I’m NOT hauling that up to 14,003 feet unless I have to. But I wanted to make a video documenting what a 14er climb is like for my friends and family who’ve never done it.
I want to make a video, I have the gear to make a professional one, but no desire to carry the weight (or take the time or crew) to do it all-out.
Travel light. Really light. The answer came in the form of my Canon S100 pocket camera. It’s not the very latest model, nor is it the biggest or fanciest. It is shorter than an iPhone and only about twice as thick. It weighs only 6 oz. fully loaded. And most importantly, it can shoot HD video with a great built-in zoom lens. So the idea was born and executed.
Technically it was pretty easy. The only choices I have are to set the ISO and zoom. That’s it. Oh, and white balance. But not much more is even available as an option. That slims down the clutter of technical decisions. High ISO for the really dark parts; lower for daylight. And auto white balance takes care of another choice. So I’m left with how far to zoom the lens and where to point the camera. That’s it. Freedom. Creative freedom. Just me and what I see. The result? A LOT of clips. I mean a LOT of clips. In the period of a five hour hike (plus some driving) I shot nearly an hour of video. That’s a pretty high shooting to hiking ratio. Just what I wanted: the focus to be on SHOOTING rather than technical bits.
Yes. Technical bits are cool. And they’re really important, especially when making something for a client. My problem is not an absence of technical, sometimes it’s the opposite: I get absorbed in them. In the right place at the right time, that’s as it should be. Yet there should be room for creativity. For story. For play. For experimenting (honestly, I don’t think I would have strapped a cinema camera to a hiking pole and held it 2″ from the ground and/or my feet while hiking). THAT’S when less is more. On a big set, that means having crew that deals specifically with the technical issues at hand leaving the director to keep in mind the overall vision, story, and creativity necessary to make a meaningful story. In this case, stripping away all those technical choices leaves more breathing room for the creative. Especially when the crew is comprised of one. One that has to haul his own arse up a mountain and safely back down again.
Mount Huron is a fairly simple hike, as 14ers go (but before you traipse up one, may I recommend some homework and conditioning). It was the perfect place to safely play and concentrate on what is seen — without all the nuts and bolts getting in the way. Hope you enjoy.  ~ Erik


This is a project I started for fun/practice. I think I have an idea to make it a larger extended project with the goal of making a long for documentary.

The idea CURRENTLY is to start with a series of shorts (similar to this one) with a variety of Men who are either about to be a Father, a new Father, or have been a Father for an extended period of time. The project will look at the Men’s hobby/passion in life/work and how it relates to being a Father.

My first idea was to call the series ‘and DAD’, and each piece would be individually titles with the proper title before the ‘and’ (ex. ARTIST and DAD, or MUSICIAN and DAD.) The problem I have run into is the is taken.

My question to you is, with changing the project to ‘and FATHER’ be a bad idea?

Let me know what you think!

Artist and Father from Clear Summit Productions on Vimeo.