Jan 6, 2019

Timber's Silence: Behind the Scenes of Documenting Hill City's Heartbeat


here are stories that need to be told, not because they are grand or filled with glory, but because they are real, raw, and resonate with the trials and tribulations of human life. One such story was the imminent closure of the Hill City Saw Mill - a narrative of community, livelihood, and an uncertain future. This past year, Checked In Media had the solemn honor of capturing these final, poignant moments before the mill ceased operations, a project commissioned by Only Co and undertaken in collaboration with We The Forest.

Embarking on a journey from our base in Casper, Wyoming, our team navigated the landscapes until we reached Hulett, and from there, the heart of our story - Hill City. With the whispers of the looming closure caused by stringent forest policies, we were not just capturing images and sounds; we were documenting history, lives, and the palpable emotions of a community on the brink of significant change.

For this delicate task, our equipment of choice was the robust Canon 5D Mark IV. Known for its versatility and reliability, it was pivotal in capturing both the grandeur of the industrial setting and the subtlety of human emotions. Our preference for lenses, the 70-200mm f2.8, was instrumental in 'sniping' interviews, allowing us to record candid, raw, and heartfelt accounts from a respectful distance. Alternatively, the flexibility of the 24mm-70mm f2.8 proved invaluable when adapting to the dynamic environments of the mill.

As purveyors of visual truth, we understand the sanctity of authentic sound. Every sigh, every pause, every inflection was faithfully recorded using an external Zoom H1, complemented by a Sennheiser EW 112p G4 Portable Wireless Lavalier Microphone system. This setup ensured that the voices we captured were as real and resonant as the moments they expressed.

The gravity of the narrative we were entrusted with was not lost on us. Every frame we filmed was imbued with the weight of the reality that the mill's closure wasn't just the end of an establishment but the upheaval of lives, families, and the rhythm of an entire city. The shadows cast by the industrial behemoths were metaphors for the overarching uncertainty faced by the community.

Our role in this endeavor, though significant in the field, was part of a larger orchestration managed adeptly by the team at Only Co. From pre-production logistics to the nuances of post-production, their expertise was the guiding force behind this project, ensuring that the story of Hill City Saw Mill was not just told, but felt.

At Checked In Media, we are more than a production company; we are storytellers, facilitators of truth, and ardent observers of life in all its forms. Whether it's a small passion project or a large-scale production, our commitment remains unwavering - to do justice to the stories that unfold before our lenses.

As we reflect on the Hill City Saw Mill project, we extend our support and solidarity to the initiatives of We The Forest and encourage our readers to follow and support their cause. The story of Hill City may be a testament to change and uncertainty, but it is also a rallying cry for awareness, unity, and the indomitable human spirit.

Join us in this journey, not just as spectators, but as partakers in the collective narrative that shapes our world. Follow the story further with We The Forest on their Facebook page and join the conversation. Because every story, including Hill City's, deserves to be heard.

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