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It's been four decades since 10 scientists and mountaineers completed the historic first climb of Antarctica's highest peak, Vinson Massif. On the 40th anniversary of that epic journey, four of the original 10 climbers and two of their children returned to the stark, snowy terrain to relive their adventure.
Cinematographer and avid mountain climber, Juan Antonio Puyol of Proudline Productions, went along on the trip to document the journey in high definition, using Fujinon's HTs18X4.2 ENG/EFP lens and JVC's GY-HD250 camera. The working title for the documentary is "Epic Return." Now in post-production, it tells the story of the scientific contributions of the first exploration and how the world's coldest desert has changed in the last 40 years. "Epic Returns: Revisiting the Top of the Bottom of the World" also is a personal story, describing the connection those brave explorers have to that landscape and each other several generations after their historic trek.
An avid climber for the past 10 years, Puyol describes himself as being at home at mountainous heights. His crew spent three weeks on the ice of Antarctica where even in summer, temperatures dipped to 30 degrees below zero. The harsh environment and remote location demanded high-quality equipment.
Capturing the stunning images without interfering with the climb itself was paramount to the success of the shoot. Explained Puyol, "This wasn't the type of mountaineering coverage where we had the luxury of re-takes. We knew we couldn't stop the climbers, some now in their 60s and 70s, because doing so could impact the climb's outcome."
Given the time constraints and amount of equipment needed to survive such harsh weather, Puyol knew his video gear had to be light and mobile. He chose JVC's new GY-HD250U, a full- resolution HD camcorder. Its compact shoulder form appealed to Puyol as did the bayonet mount for interchangeable lenses. "The marriage between Fujinon's lens and JVC's camera is cause for rejoicing. Both pieces of the equipment get an A+ for performance in the field. We were always on the move, so I kept the camera running almost non-stop. The combination of the JVC camera and the Fujinon lens let me get tight and wide angle shots in crisp and beautiful HD."