Filming Over the Edge with Dateline
As longtime Colorado residents, we’ve had the pleasure of visiting Rocky Mountain National Park dozens of times. We’ve hiked there, fished there, camped there, and my wife and I even got married there - at the historic Stanley Hotel, overlooking those iconic snow-capped peaks.
So when Trevor, Conner and I were asked to venture several hours into a remote part of the park with our camera and sound gear, head way off trail, traverse a treacherous scree field, and shoot stand-ups while hanging off a cliff where a man (allegedly) pushed his wife 130 feet to her death, well… how could we resist?
I mean really, who could say no to that?
And so it was, that on a beautiful fall day last October we followed the path of Harold and Toni Henthorn from the trailhead to the infamous cliff. We stopped at the places they stopped, captured their photos in the scenes they actually shot them in, and filmed beautiful scenics and stand-ups along the way with Dateline reporter Andrea Canning.
The whole thing was pretty creepy. I mean what kind of a man does this? And why did she follow him? We felt the pulse of this horrific story in every step we took and every scene we shot, especially when we finally made it to the cliff that she dropped from.
Just looking over the edge knowing what went on there was scary. And the high winds didn't help!
The challenge was to imbue our footage with this uneasiness. For example, how do you capture a drop from such heights? Let's just say we had fun with climbing ropes and GoPros, and left our vertigo at home!
In addition to the footage in the park, we also filmed several interviews and some fun stuff at the Stanley Hotel itself – where they stayed the night before the hike.
As with many Dateline episodes, this one involved the hard work of many talented crews over months/years, but it was great to have a big part in helping to tell this story.
This two-hour Dateline special called Over the Edge airs this Friday February 26th, at 9PM EST on NBC.
In the meantime, here is a preview: http://www.nbcnews.com/dateline/video/preview-over-the-edge-629177923509
In addition to the fantastic team from Dateline and our guide from Estes Park, the Big Pictures crew included me, Trevor Nordeen on Audio, and Conner Boyle as our strong PA/Grip/Sherpa. Ben Rader joined us as second camera for the multi-cam interviews. This was shot with our Sony PMW-F55 and F5 packages.
So if you get a chance, watch Dateline this Friday. And please let us know what you think!
Written by Tom Miller, Copyright © 2016 Big Pictures Media, Inc.
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