"THE HORSE WHISPERER"
A Story of Our Crew's Contributions
This is not an official HORSE WHISPERER site
Sturm's Special Effects Intl., Inc.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
A Quick Look "Behind The Scenes"
We would like to share with you our experience
of special effects snowmaking.
In Spring of 1997, our specialized SNOWMAKER CREW from Sturm's
Special Effects (SSE-based in Lake Geneva, WI)
was asked to tackle the job of creating snow and winter scenes in the mountains and hillsides of Saratoga Springs, New York for
Robert Redford's motion picture.... "HORSE WHISPERER".
Photo of our man-made, snow-covered roadway and mountain-side.
The weather in upstate New York didn't cooperate for the Production
Company, with temperatures bouncing from 25 degreesF to 45 degreesF.
Most of the snow was gone on the mountain sides, as seen in the below picture. All of the locations chosen were considered "off road",
usually on dirt roads, mountain roads, grass fields, or through muddy non-existent pathways.
Our job on this project was to strictly deal with groundcover snow in upstate New York locations....
As seen in the photos, no natural snow was present on the shooting location.
Temperatures in the daytime generally were above
freezing; our snowguns (like the ski-hills) were rarely used.
Most of the methods employed for snowmaking was considered "warm-weather" techniques with shaved ice
(for the foreground) and high expansion foam (for the backgrounds).
Kenny Coulman on the SnowMaker Truck Hose
Entire lighting systems had to be set-up each night and
essentially an entire operation of trucks, equipment,
and crew would converge on a location to snow it in. When the film crew would arrive on-set in the morning, it would look like
a 'winter-wonderland' from the hard work of Snowmaker Foreman Yvonne Sturm, and her crew of snowmakers.
A day snowmaking crew would maintain and redress snow for First Unit as they were filming and needed touch-ups or additional snow
made for wider camera angles.
New York Crew
|Snowmaker Coordinator||Dieter Sturm|
|Snowmaker Foreman /1st Unit||Yvonne Sturm|
|Snowmaker Coordinator /2nd Unit||Kenny Coulman|
|Snowmaker Foreman /2nd Unit||Aron Peterson|
Special effects coordinator (NY Unit) Richard Stutsman and his crew (who did a excellent job!) dealt with the falling snow situations as needed in New York.
FIRST UNIT MONTANA & CALIFORNIA
Once the Production and our crew left the New York locations, Neil
Trifunovich, Special Effects Coordinator of The HORSE WHISPERER,
came aboard and headed up the project for an additional 33 weeks!
In that time period, Neil and his special effects crew were
responsible for a very large amount of snow dressing and falling snow while shooting in
Alot of the snow shots filmed in upstate New York involving the accident were reshot for editorial reasons. Neil was extremely instrumental in the effects and snow
for that sequence. (Our hats off to him and his crew... awesome job!!!!)
OFF THE BEATEN PATH......
At this remote location, Sturm's Snowmakers had to wear waders and snow in
(with environmentally safe high expansion foam) the sides of a river bed.
Shaved ice was blown in around the entrance of the bridge underpass.
WHAT WE ALL WORK TOWARDS
With the many man-made snow scenes created by Sturm's snow crew and
Neil Trifunovich's special effects crew, the Director and editors select from the dozens of shots and combine them
to produce a convincing visual scene.
"As you can see, there are
hundreds of specialized and creative technicians involved in creating realistic
and exciting visuals for the movie-going audiences.
This was just a short story to tell you about our own personal involvement in one such project."
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