Man and the Mountain – A Dolomites Timelapse Tale

“Man and the Mountain” is a story of the overwhelmingly positive influence that man has made in the Italian Dolomites but it also contains a warning that overtourism has a strong foothold in this fragile area. The movie is broken…

Man and the Mountain - A Dolomites Timelapse Tale

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“Man and the Mountain” is a story of the overwhelmingly positive influence that man has made in the Italian Dolomites but it also contains a warning that overtourism has a strong foothold in this fragile area.

The movie is broken up into 4 major segments. The first of which shows these peaks in their natural beauty without man’s presence. For those looking to find solitude, the Dolomites offer a multitude of different levels of serenity. I found myself alone a lot of the time, even walking 100m away from the main arterial pathways made a substantial difference to the amount of people you’ll bump into. As obvious it may seem to some, being at destinations early in the morning also made a significant decrease to the crowds, I found even some of the most popular places such as Tre Cime Nature Park, were empty at sunrise.

The second part of Man and the Mountain begins to show the introduction of human involvement in these peaks. We, as humans, have been migratory in these peaks from as early as 6,000 B.C. “Ötzi the Iceman”, who is on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology, shows a well preserved example of our early involvement in the mountains. He was excellently preserved in glacial ice after being murdered over 5,000 years ago. A lot has changed since then though, be it for better or for worse, we have altered this landscape irrevocably. We have paved great roads along mountain passes, staged wars, inserted large pieces of metal into the hillside and sold the view to the highest bidder.

The third part shows how we are beginning to push the area to its limits. Overtourism is the name of the demon and whilst on the surface it has manifested as 10€ an hour car parks, traffic jams and litter, deeper down it is extortionate house/rent prices, a vicious circle of tax evasion and human faeces scattered along busy walkways.

I’ve found that the best practice to avoid worsening the problem is to advocate responsible tourism. Avoid going to the most crowded places, give them a chance to recover and pass on the environmentalist narrative. Send a message to the local councils and businesses of the Italian Dolomites that they need to do a better job in conservationally.

The fourth and final part of the movie focuses on the positive hut system in these peaks. They offer a great opportunity for both experienced alpinists and callow tourists to gain a deeper understanding of the peaks that surround them. With the rich hut culture, that includes copious amounts of apple strudel and red wine, they were the largest positive I found here. In a close second were the well maintained Via Ferratas that allow people to have a steady introduction to the world of climbing.

I hope that this short movie will inspire you to protect what we have and appreciate that although it’s a land made of hard dense Dolomitic rock, it’s surprisingly fragile and your decision, on where to visit, what time of year, and how you act, will ultimately either exacerbate or alleviate the strain tourism has placed in certain areas of this beautiful district.

The Music

The soundtrack is an original score composed by Susanne Aubert. A Norwegian graduate from Berkeley College of Music who is now living in London. It was a pleasure working with her. I couldn’t be happier with the track and I’m amazed at how she excellently translated my coffee induced vague ramblings about what I needed. I would recommend working with her in a heartbeat.

The Numbers

In before somebody asks me in the comments. It took 101,723 imported frames taken over a 3 month period from August to November and took 3 months to edit. The RAW files totalled 2.4 Terabytes, once rendered the sequences totalled 940Gb. The final video is 2.4Gb which is 0.1% of the size of the original RAWs. The final video is comprised of 11239 frames which is 11% of all imported frames.

The Hardware

The gear isn’t important to me but if it’s to you then it was taken mostly on a full frame Canon DSLR with a variety of L series lenses. My second camera was a crop sensor canon. Two Carbon Fibre Sirui Tripods and a Formatt Hitech Filter System were also extensively used.

The Software

I used Adobe Lightroom to catalogue and organise my photos, LRTimelapse to add keyframes, level and ramp, Adobe Lightroom to edit and export, then LRTimelapse to render. Then in Adobe After Effects to stabilise, remove sensor spots, colour grade and deflare. Then finally in Adobe Premiere Pro to combine the individual sequences into what it is today.

The Footage

All the footage is available to license. All clips have been rendered using a ProRes 4444 codec and are contained in .mov files. It’s original resolution is mostly 6k. For license enquiries please head to my website’s contact page.

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