Sportvicious: How did you become interested in the mountains?
Seb Montaz: I grew up in les Arcs in the French Alps, so I was in the mountains from an early age.
Sportvicious: You come from a family of climbers?
Seb Montaz: not climbers really, but my father was a ski racer when he was younger.
Sportvicious: Did your parents advise you against this profession because of the risks it brought?
No, not at all. They always encourage me and my sister to be outdoors and do the things we love doing.
Sportvicious: What qualifications do you have?
Seb Montaz: I have a degree from Chambery university, and have the mountain guide and ski instructor qualifications.
Sportvicious: What studies did you do to become a mountain guide?
The training to be a mountain guide is several years, and is run by ENSA in Chamonix. This is the standard way in France to become a mountain guide.
Sportvicious: Have you studied photography and/or video or are you self-taught over time?
Seb Montaz: I am completely self taught, but I guess you could say I have studied but over the internet and from other people’s work.
Sportvicious: Does your family suffer when you’re on an expedition?
Well, you would have to ask them. So far the expeditions haven’t been too long, so it’s not so bad.
Sportvicious: Which has been the most dangerous situation you have been in?
Seb Montaz: It depends what your definition of dangerous is – for a lot of people the places we film would be dangerous, but we’re experienced in the mountains and we don’t take unnecessary risks.
Sportvicious: Why are there so many deaths in the ascent of Mont Blanc?
It’s not so much in the ascent of Mont Blanc, but more generally in the mountains in the Chamonix area. And this is just because it’s one of the most popular and easily accessible places for mountaineering in the world.
Sportvicious: How did you meet Kilian Jornet?
I was asked to do some filming for Salomon with Kilian, and we got on really well. Of course I was really struck by his talent and also his character… and we discovered we got on well and liked working together.
Sportvicious: How did the idea of participating in Jornet’s project Summits of My Life come up?
Seb Montaz: Kilian asked me if I wanted to be involved, as he thought I could film the project in a way that would allow him to continue doing what he does – without changing or disrupting what he wants to do.
Sportvicious: Do you have to be fit to record Kilian?
Yes, of course. Unless you want to follow him everywhere with a helicopter, which is impossible – of course you have to be fit.
Sportvicious: Name a virtue and a flaw of Kilian.
Seb Montaz: he can be fearless!
Sportvicious: Has it been beneficial for your curriculum to work with him?
Seb Montaz: It’s not something I think about – I love working with him and his story and adventures inspire me. I never really take on projects for that reason anyway.
Sportvicious: Kilian has planned to climb Everest. Do you think he will be able to?
Seb Montaz: well, we have to wait and see.
Sportvicious: How do you reach such spectacular locations?
Seb Montaz: by having good fitness and having mountaineering experience.
Sportvicious: What machines do you use to record? And to photograph?
I use DSLR cameras, and small POV cameras. On Denali we used only GoPros and iphones to film. Otherwise when I can take bigger cameras I work with Canon 1DC and 5D.
Sportvicious: Photo Retouching, yay or nay?
Seb Montaz: there’s so much flexibility nowadays, why would you not use whats available?
Seb Montaz: Adobe premier pro, after effects & resolve.
Sportvicious: Have you changed your style of editing videos?
Seb Montaz: of course – I’m changing things all the time.
Sportvicious: What other type of videos do you like making?
Seb Montaz: I like working on commercial projects too – working to a brief can be really challenging
Sportvicious: What is your best memory of your time in this profession?
Seb Montaz: there isn’t one really – there’s something special in every project, every day of shooting. You just have to look out for the little things.
Seb Montaz: http://www.sebmontaz.com/