Behind the Scenes // Through the Woods – Orvis

In Part 1 of our interview with Filmmaker Nate Gunn, we go behind the scenes of his recent Orvis project, Through the Woods. Be sure to check out Part 2 featuring his recent film for Suunto!
Nate Gunn is a Salt Lake based visual storyteller with a passion for non-traditional advertising. He helps companies discover new ways to display their message by creating branded content that’s more lifestyle focused, rather than product focused – genuine stories that are sponsored or presented by a brand. His recent projects for Orvis (the world leader in fly fishing) and Suunto (premium sports watches) utilize our 4K Light Hits pack, so we caught up with Nate to get the backstory on these projects.
Tell us about the Orvis project. How did it come to be?
Orvis was one I’ve been wanting to do for some time. A lot of my work is within the outdoor industry and I just had this urge to shoot fly fishing.
I have a good buddy, Nate Leavitt, who’s a seasoned angler and runs a fly fishing site ( He really helped produce and bring the thing together. I wrote up the script and concept and he brought it to Orvis and they loved it. From there a lot of thinking, planning and scouting went into this thing. I had a real look we were going for, from the evergreen trees and rivers, down to the the camera set up. We had a set out plan and shot list, we knew which character would play out which roll, but we definitely left a lot of breathing room to let Nate and Spencer have a good time and really enjoy the trip. In my mind, a good adventure can’t be completely scripted. Some of the best moments happen in between takes so we wanted to make sure we captured it all.
Ryan Thompson - Exploration - Astronaut
Ryan Thompson - Exploration - Astronaut
Ryan Thompson - Exploration - Astronaut
How did the story come together?
This trip came from a desire to create something that we could all really get behind. When chatting with Orvis about this project, we wanted to make it clear that this was somewhat of a narrative, and that we weren’t out to just stand around and film a few guys catching some fish. On the flip side, I knew the project had to feel real, so naturally having the story revolve around two great anglers, Nate Leavitt and Spencer Higa, made total sense. With all those elements, it was a trip and story that I knew anglers could get behind as well.
 The goal was for it to feel slightly documentary, but have much more of a stylized and cinematic approach. For me, Fly fishing films always seem to have this similar rhythm and feel. I actually really dig it, but I wanted to bring something different to the table. Just taking it to another level really.

“Sometimes those shoots you suffer for have the biggest pay off.”

There’s a lot of content out there and I wonder sometimes if what we’re actually saying is interesting. It’s one thing to bring some killer gear down to the river and go get some pretty shots, but I hope people see the project for the subject matter and message. It’s not just an edit with some good shots and music, it’s about saying something.


Every time someone watches one of my projects I really appreciate it. They’re giving me their time, so I hope in return I can give them something of value back. If every angler said “man thats totally fishing” I’d be a happy guy.


Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
What was production like on this project? (e.g. camera rig, crew, scenes, etc)
It was a pretty run and gun crew. Really just me and my DP Nate Sorensen, with some assistance from our photographer Blake Hansen. We shot it on RED Epic. Lenses were these awesome Kowa Anamorphics. They have a very soft grainy look that I was looking for. Plus I had never seen anything fly fishing shot anamorphic, so I was naturally excited about getting some lens flares across frames.
We had 6 main locations. Each made up a scene that we were planning for. From the rope jump to the Defender Cessna takeoff shot. We shot this all over the east central part of Utah. Not far from Salt Lake. It was mid June and we were chasing good light so we had 3 long days waking up at 3am and shooting till 10pm sundown, then offloading and talking about the next day till late. One of those shoots that really pays off when the footage starts to come together. Sometimes those shoots you suffer for have the biggest pay off.
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
We love the car pull away shot at 0:27. Was that as easy to capture as you made it look?
Yeah, I love the whole roadtrip section. From the Cessna takeoff at :20 to the pull away shot at :27. Had such a good vibe that I was really pumped on.
 It was really all about finding the right spot. I’ve had that shot in my head for years and I knew it was going to fit perfectly into this project. I knew exactly where it would go in the edit and everything. It was really suppose to get their road trip kicked off you know.
When scouting I happened upon it and it was perfect. Barely wide enough for two trucks to run side by side and then the road forks of to the right while the other continues on. We tossed Sorensen in the bed of the F150 and he got that thing handheld on the first take. Pretty awesome.
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Ryan Thompson - Cinespace - Exporation
Walk us through your post production workflow on this one?
So my workflow is pretty much the same on most all my projects. I lay out the b-roll by scenes more or less. Pull all my selects. Then build out my project sequence. I usually start with the music. Get that to the right time. Then build out the edit with selects and voice over. Once I have a pretty good picture lock it’s on to foley, sfx and finally finishing touches like visual effects, color and audio.
Tell us about how you utilized Lens Distortions. What feel were you going for?
I mainly used Lens Distortions to give my edit a consistent feel. I seriously love the Light Hits pack. It’s kinda been a lifesaver for me. They look really natural in shots, so when shooting I know I can add them if I need to.
I really like to use them subtly and not over use. In this piece you’re not even going to notice the majority of them. They help give those bland shots a bit of pop.
One shot that I used it in was the plane taking off. There is a light hit in the top left corner. The shot was already amazing, but I was wishing I had a bit of light there. So a subtle Light Hit just really makes that shot a bit more dynamic.
Be sure to check back soon for part two of our interview with Nate, where we’ll get a behind the scenes look at his latest project with Suunto! 
To see more of Nate’s work, check out and
BTS photography By Blake Hansen and Nate Leavitt


He currently uses the entire lineup of 4K Video Overlays from Lens Distortions.
I seriously love the Light Hits pack. It’s kinda been a lifesaver for me. They look really natural in shots, so when shooting I know I can add them if I need to.
Nate Gunn

Visual Storyteller