The Nikon KeyMission cameras are finally here! We’ve been biting our tongues and holding our breaths as we’ve waited for this day to arrive. It was a huge honor when Nikon tapped our teams at Corey Rich Productions and Novus Select to lead the asset acquisition for the launch of the KeyMission cameras:
- The KeyMission 360: a virtual-reality generating 4K ultra-HD camera that fits into the palm of your hand, (or atop your climbing helmet or on the nose of your kayak, or wherever). And, it’s shockproof, waterproof, and freeze proof. (Game changer!)
- The KeyMission 170: with a more familiar wide-angle lens, and shoots incredibly rich 4K ultra-HD footy and stills, as well as slow motion and time-lapse. Not to mention, also shockproof, waterproof, and freeze proof.
- The KeyMission 80: a unique hand-held, still-capturing and motion-recording camera that is designed for everyday life.
I can honestly say that helping to launch the KeyMission cameras has been one of the most satisfying, engaging, and challenging projects of my career.
The project began over a year ago, when Nikon sent us a super-early prototype of the KeyMission 360. At the time, I didn’t even understand what shooting in 360 degrees meant, or what it would look like. Needless to say, I had no idea what the implications of a technology like this might mean for sports, science, personal use, or even the professional film industry.
By January 2016, we began our production to acquire the assets needed to showcase this cutting-edge technology, as well as tell the stories of four unique and compelling individuals who would be using these cameras in their own areas of expertise.
What ensued was one of the most enjoyable months of production that I think we’ve all had in years. We traveled around the world twice , working with great people in really interesting places.
Alec Voorhees, Hood River, Oregon
We kicked off the production in Hood River, Oregon, an absolute mecca for diehard, hardcore kayakers. We worked with my friend Alec Voorhees, a young professional paddler from Boise, Idaho, who is quickly making a name for himself as one of the most talented kayakers out there.
Alec is a second generation kayaker. He grew up on the river with his mom and dad, both kayaking fanatics, as well as his two younger brothers. We shot with Alec, his father, Mike Voorhees, and Hayden, one of Alec’s brothers.We put these cameras through the literal washer, on high spin cycle, as Alec dropped one big waterfall after another during our cold, wet winter production.
Ami Vitale, Northern Kenya
Ami Vitale is one of my biggest inspirations: not just for her award-winning photography and storytelling, but for her intelligence, compassion, humanitarianism, and courage. She’s a former war-zone photojournalist, a National Geographic photographer, and a fellow Nikon USA Ambassador who has traveled to more than 90 countries and photographed the worst types of violence and the most surprising manifestations of beauty.
In Northern Kenya, she’s been working to tell the story of extinction—or, rather, the incredible efforts made my local communities to thwart it from eradicating some of our planet’s greatest species.
We met Ami in Kenya, and saw firsthand her commitment to this place, to the people, and to the animals like the great northern white rhinos, of which there are only a few left on the planet.
Needless to say, our time in this exotic corner of the planet was transformative on a soulful level. You can’t help but be moved by some of the virtual-reality footage of these animals that we managed to capture during our time there.
Denzil McKinzie, Western Texas
From Africa we bounced back to the wind-swept flatlands of Texas, to meet up with Denzil McKinzie, a technician who constructs the giant wind turbines at wind farms all around North America.
Hearing Denzil tell the story about how he first fell in love with wind turbines on a vacation to Europe was deeply moving. He’d just graduated from business school, but was so inspired by working on these beautiful, spinning structures that he changed the course of his career and pursued a career that saw him working with the wind.
Standing atop one a wind turbine’s nacelle, and seeing the view of that barren western-Texas landscape, was a treat that Denzil shared with us using the KeyMission 360.
Ashima Shiraishi, Thailand
Ashima is only a teenage girl from Manhattan, but she’s already become a world-famous rock-climbing icon. Her ability to scale the most difficult boulder problems and sport routes in the world, all while embodying this quiet humility and grace, is really what sets Ashima apart.
We traveled with Ashima and her father/coach, “Poppo” Shiraishi, to the southern coast of Thailand to explore the deep-water soloing that’s found on the iconic karst towers that jut out of the Andaman Sea.
Ending a month-long work stretch in this exotic, beautiful location was the perfect cap to our production. Not only was it fantastic and inspiring to see Ashima climbing so fearlessly, 60 feet above the water without a rope, but it was a pleasure to see how grounded she is with her rocketing fame as she nonchalantly signed autographs for dozens of fans who recognized her on the beach.
And, it was super cool to see that the KeyMission cameras easily held up to more than a few 50-foot plunges into the ocean.
This was truly a massive team effort, and there are many people to thank.
First, the production crew. None of this could’ve happened without Josh Marianelli, Dane Henry, Brett Lowell, Sean Davis, Sean Haverstock, Shawn Corrigan, Jose Mario Borda, Bligh Gilles, Kristin Barry, Bryan Liscinsky, Seth Stoenner, Issac Levinson, Luis Abreu Andrew Bisharat, Rex Lint, Blaine Deutsch, Amy McCormick, Brett Wilhelm, Mike Hagadorn, Justin Brown, Dave and Ruth Rich, Michelle Cloutier, Barry Thompson, Ian Mcleod at Cleod9Music and Jonathon Retseck at RXR Sports.
Obviously, I want to thank the talent for your hard work and for sharing your inspiring stories with us. Ami Vitale. Alec Voorhees. Ashima Shiraishi. Denzil McKinzie. And special thanks to Ashima’s father, Poppo Shiraishi. And special thanks to Mike Voorhees and Hayden Voorhees.
Huge, huge thank you to the tireless work and creative energy that always comes from the team at K&L Inc in Tokyo: Itsuki Sakata, Keiichi Natsume (aka Dark Heart), and Gen Umei.
Also, thank you to Fumiko Kawabata at Nikon Corp and the team at Nikon USA: Lindsey Silverman, Mark Soares, Brian Hettrich, Steve Heiner, Mike Corrado, Judy Paul and Angie Salazar. You are all incredible people, and we couldn’t have done this without your support.
Marina Rich, my wife, you were indispensable as well, for always supporting me even when I’m so jet-lagged that I don’t know whether it’s day or night. And thank you to the team at Novus Select: Andy Mead, Connie Glynn, and Lindsey Thompson, for being all-star producers that keep this incredibly complex machine grinding forward as fluidly as possible.
Lastly a huge thank you to all of the production help we received across the globe on this shoot: Wanjiku Kinuthia from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Elodie Sampere from Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Jeremey Bastard and Katie Rowe at Sarara Camp, James Mande, Martin Mburugu, Nikki Metcalf, Fraser Harper, Thailand Film Office, Jane Numchan, Toto, Tewan Chatdamrong, and Sam Lightner Jr.
And a special thanks to our Partners and Sponsors: Adobe, AquaTech, ClifBar, Connex, Freefly Systems G-Tech, Litepanels, LitePro Gear, Lowepro, Kessler, Manfrotto, Patagonia, Sachtler, SmallHD, X-Rite, Light & Motion, and Jackson Kayaks
This is Only the Beginning…
We’ve already sent out more teams to capture KeyMission content, including Andy Mann with the help of Simon Carter and Andrew Peacock to Australia. We’ve sent another team to the Bahamas. And we’re deep into creating more content ourselves, here in Lake Tahoe, with other locations on the horizon.
Stay tuned more for more updates, more content that delves into how the KeyMission 360, 170, and 80 cameras work, and what they’re capable of. As I mentioned, this is only the beginning.