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Going viral following the shoot of a lifetime

Whistler's Zac Moxley films a slacklining world record video that has been viewed by millions



It's just as well that young Whistler filmmaker Zac Moxley owns a drone for taking difficult shots and that he knows how to use it.

Otherwise, he wouldn't have been able to capture all the terrifying angles as Spencer Seabrooke broke the world record for the longest free solo slackline from atop of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish in perfect weather and wind conditions.

Slacklining resembles tightrope walking but using a more "springy" line; it becomes a "free solo" when the walker is not tied at all to the rope stretched between two points. This is what Seabrooke did, 64 metres across and above a 300-metre ravine. He broke the previous record across by seven metres.

Unsurprisingly, the 19-year-old's video has gone viral since the feat was carried out on Aug. 2. He estimates that in total, four or five million viewers have now watched it.

"I was bugging Spencer to shoot with him for a couple of weeks and we went and shot something at Brandywine, he went across Brandywine Falls. That was beautiful, a really cool shoot," Moxley says.

"A couple of weeks later, I asked him if he was up to anything and he said he was going up the Chief. I woke up on Aug. 2, drove down to Squamish and started the hike up. It was a pretty heavy bag. It was pretty tough, but I got to the top and it was a beautiful spot."

Moxley said Seabrooke was concentrating on the walk and practicing on another, less dangerous line.

"He was in the zone and he started. We had to go-go-go, we got up there as he was about to start. I hiked up with my photographer friend Michael Overbeck," Moxley says.

It didn't go 100-per-cent smoothly.

"(Spencer) fell a couple of times and my heart was stopping at that point. It was pretty scary to watch. He stood back up after those couple of falls and did it!" Moxley says.

"He actually did it quicker than he had done the line in the past. It usually took him six minutes, but he did it in four-and-a-half. He crunched down and went pretty quick. It was surreal."

Cinematographers of extreme sports need to keep their nerves in their own way, not losing their concentration as the athlete attempts life-threatening feats. Moxley is no different.

He had no problem with the filming having used a drone "tons," though flying it 300 metres up is frightening.

Moxley recalls: "I was flying the drone and it was pretty scary. I had to be in a super-focused state as well as Spencer. In the video there are a ton of drone angles and I've had a few people ask if we had two drones, but no. I moved around as much as I could while also maintaining a smooth shot. I could have done one drone shot, one follow, but it wouldn't have been interesting."

When the video was released, it took off.

"I wasn't expecting it," says Moxley.

"When I woke up the next morning it had 20,000 hits. I thought maybe it would get 100,000 views. The next day I woke to 100 phone calls and emails from media and licensing companies; it had blown up. After two days it was 200,000 views."

The video was shown on Good Morning America, the Canadian news networks, Fox, CBS, The Daily Mail and many more.

Dealing with the insatiable international media was a first for Moxley.

"It got pretty hectic at one point," he laughs.

"I had companies wanting to license it from me so they could sell it. I kind of stepped back. If I gave it to those companies, then everything has to go through them... lots of people didn't want to pay for it and I wasn't really worried. I was happy with the exposure... though I did have one media outlet rip it off of YouTube and add it to Facebook."

Most of the time, though not always, he was named as the cinematographer. The experience has given him plenty of thoughts about managing the deluge surrounding the exposure. The learning curve was steep but he was able to climb it.

"I'll need a manager for the next time!" he says.

"I have a few ideas for the future. Next time we are going to make it super cool, and I think I will be pretty strict with it. But overall it was awesome."

Apart from capturing this moment, Moxley has been working on his own projects under his own name, carrying out different small-scale contracts.

"I'm mainly shooting a lot of action sports," he says.

Watch highlights from the video here.


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