Behind the Scenes of The Fourth Phase – Japan Gallery

On December 30th, 2014 we all arrived in Tokyo for the first trip on the new movie. With a ton on gear, we all wait outside for the cargo trucks to show up and take us north to our home for the next 4 weeks. Here is Travis waiting curbside. Photos: Scott Serfas
Mark Landvik always shows up with new and interesting toys. This time he came with telescoping glasses. He and Travis try them out for the first time.
Before making it to our home, a group of us make a stop to one of Tokyo's department stores. Inside, you will find all kinds of new and interesting things that you wont find at home. Among electronics, and heated toilet seats they also sell a wide selection of umbrella's that peaked Mikkel's interest.
A much quicker way to the mountains was to ditch our cargo trucks and take the train. Finding the train you want is the tough part.
A long train ride means we have a lot of time to sample some of Japan's finest beverages. Travis Rice and the films Director of Photography Greg Wheeler at one of the stops along the way.
Our first night in Hakuba means a big night out with the crew and some of the locals.
Our second night in Hakuba happens to be New Years Eve. Out for dinner, some of the employees joined us for one of Travis's priceless speaches.
Day one of filming, January 1st 2014. We are at a local temple shooting some pick up shots with a massive outdoor bell.
This is a monk that we convinced to shoot in and around the temple of Hakuba. Here he opens the door to a prayer room looking outside to all the new snow.
This was shot on January 3rd at sunrise. It's our first day to one of the many local hills as we drive up the switchback roads to the base.
On our 6th days in Japan, Jon Klaczkiewicz works out our shot list for while we were in Japan. With a crew of this size staying orgainzed is the only way to be productive.
Greg Wheeler, the films DOP had to learn how to splitboard for this film. Maybe not the best form when it comes to carrying his gear.
The drone was able to capure a lot of unique shots but the amount of time it takes to set up and maintain this unit is insane. Another morning waiting to set up the drone.
It snows so much in Japan that it makes shooting very slow and difficult. Here is Sean Aaron setting up his camera under this snow bag.
The next day we are using a helicopter. With only one heli and about 15 people in the group being organized isn't the easiest.
MIkkel and Shin dealing with their gear and the pick up zone for the first day of flying.
It's funny how some things we think are weird at home are completely normal in other countries.
Like I was just saying about different policies in other countries. At home, this would be considered a massive landing area but in Japan its completley impossible to land. So our only choice was to hover and jump. Stephen "Bungee" Scherba walks the plank.
Greg Wheeler, the films DOP behind the camera on one of our heli days. Notice the professional gaff tape applicaiton for the lens filter.
On all our trips, including all the Art of Flight trips, random wigs seem to find a way to our home. Here Mark Landvik enjoys an after riding soak in the tub.
10 days into our trip, Shin, Sean and Mikkel decide it's time to let loose.
Almost everyday we woke up and went to the mountain it looked like this.
This photo of Mark Landvik was shot on one of the local hills. Its chairlift accessed and about 3 feet deep. Some of the best turns of our life were found here.
Mark Landvik and I spent a few hours one day in the trees jumping natural features and hiking back up to hit them again. This day was everyday January day in Japan.
Nighttime blizzard in the parking lot of one of Hakuba's ski hills with Mark Landvik. It wouldn't stop snowing.
The night segment of the film was one of the hardest, if not the hardest part of the film to shoot. The location was off the back of one of the ski hills. We had to go up the lift with all our gear and sneak out of bounds and spend the night there setting up and only a few minutes shooting. Tons of lights, generations, cameras....the list of gear is way to long to list. Believe me when I say these night shoots tested everyone, but wasn't the final product insane? Here Travis helps with some direction over the radio.
Mikkel Bang navigating through the deep snow at night.
Local rider Shin Biyajima lays down a toeside turn at around 9:30 pm, off the back of one of the local hils.
It felt like most of our time was spent setting up, tearing down or fixing the gear. Oh, and filming all of that happening too.
17 days into our trip we attended this fire ceremony. It's really hard to explain what's happening here, but I'll try. All the 18 year old males in town protect this wooden home along with all the 65 year old men from town (not pictured here but on top on this wooden home structure) while the rest of the men from the town try to get close enough so they can light it on fire and burn it down. To get this close, the men smash the 18 year old gurards with bamboo that's on fire in the face and body. Eventually they burn this thing to the groud. And the whole reason they do this? To initiate the 18 year old into manhood. It was nuts!
The fire ceremony was one of the craziest parties I've even witnessed. It's not what you come to expect from the Japanese.
Burn it down! The fire ceremony in full swing.
After a huge night at the fire ceremony we hit the local after hours snack spot. Here Travis helps aerial cinemaphotographer Jared Slater navigate the menu.
Sometime you just have to go. And sometime you don't have time to remove your easy rig. Sean Aaron mid break.
On our last night in Japan, we all went out for dinner in Tokyo. There were 3 washrooms. Men, Women and Gay. A rare moment when I bust Lando and Rice.
Eric Jackson met us in Tokyo so that he could fly with us to Russia for the next segment of the film. He came in fresh and was met by a group of guys that had been in the mountains for 28 days.
Getting from one airport to the next is not quite so simple. 15 or so people and about 125 checked bags. About 95 of them are production cases and the rest personal gear and snowboard equiptment. Imagine trying to keep track of all your gear while on the road for 60 day. JK and Nick Hyne hold it down for the rest of the crew.
The end of one segment means the begining of another. Travis decompresses while in transit to the eastern coast of Russia.

Scott Serfas

As many of you know, The Fourth Phase is the follow up Travis Rice film to the snowboarding blockbuster, The Art of Flight. With this film, the production level is higher on all fronts. The camera gear used to shoot the film is more powerful, more expensive and more time consuming. The locations are harder to get to, take longer to organize and cost a lot more to get there and to stay there.


Everything about this film has been amplified, including the stress levels. With all this though brings about new adventures, new experiences and new ideas.

This gallery is part 1 of 4 and is shot during the Japan segment of filming The Fourth Phase. It was the first trip of the year and first filming segment for the movie. Sit back and have a look as some of my favorite behind the scene photos that you have likely never seen before.

Check out more from The Fourth Phase here!