DJI's Ronin 4D hits the slopes: cinematic filmmaking on skis

DJI Ronin 4D
(Image credit: DJI)

This past winter, a video surfaced  showing a camera operator sending it down a mountain on a pair of skis while holding a DJI Ronin 2. This moment became a viral hit, showcasing the daredevil ingenuity of an  artist going above and beyond to set up the perfect shot.

This freestyle talented camera operator is Antoine Frioux, located in the ski resort of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, right next to Mont Blanc in the French Alps. Antoine job is to effortlessly glide down mountain runs with a camera in hand. His talents have taken him to film athletes who have participated in the Winter Olympics, X-Games, and make documentaries to capture some of the best skiers in the world. Today, Antoine makes films for the world’s leading ski and outdoor gear brands - and you can see why. 

 Professional filmmaking on skis 

Throughout his career, Antoine has trusted DJI’s technology to keep his dynamic shots ever-so-smooth. He started with the original DJI Ronin and then upgraded to Ronin 2 to carry and stabilize large professional cameras, such as Red Dragon 6K camera, and with the recent launch of the revolutionary DJI Ronin 4D, the professional stabilizer series now includes the world’s first cinema camera system with a built-in 4-axis gimbal, with up to 8K resolution and LiDAR focusing system.

Although Ronin 4D brought exciting new features, the question remained: Could this new camera system take the kind of action that someone like Antoine would put it through? After all, he knows camera stabilization like he knows his skis, and he was more than happy using his Ronin 2. Could this integrated system change his mind? There was only one way to find out.

DJI decided to let Antoine push the limits of the new camera system in a setting it wasn’t necessarily built for. The goal was to take it through a rugged test on ski pistes at full speed, following a team of freestyle skiers based in Haute-Savoie in an acrobatic filming session with DJI Ronin 4D.

Antoine and his teammates – Arthur Tillier, Maxime Aubry, Aurele Mayol, and Remy Bouleux – put all their energy into showcasing their maneuvers to see if the Ronin 4D could keep up. The result is a stunning collection of spectacular footage shot under Antoine’s direction and skillful eye, combined with the smooth agility of Ronin 4D.

(Image credit: DJI)

Antonie’s initial thoughts were that he might not need Ronin 4D for his type of work, this test completely changed his mind. Antoine immediately realized the benefits he gained when filming with this unique and revolutionary camera. Antoine immediately noticed the advantage of its unique LiDAR rangefinder in achieving sharper, faster, and more reliable image focus. “This is amazing,” he said. “You no longer need a dedicated operator to pull focus. That is a great benefit.”

Antoine also found the new active Z-axis useful when taking b-roll shots while walking on the mountain’s rugged terrain. “The active fourth axis adds an extra layer of stability that I have never experienced before.”

Antoine is now convinced that the Ronin 4D is the perfect all-in-one camera solution that saves time, effort, and headcount. “Ronin 4D is a cinematic camera that allows full autonomy with all the tools you need for work,” said Antoine. “It replaces the effort of a four or five-member film crew because I alone can shoot, frame, stabilize, and focus the shot. And the fact that the client can get video feedback straight away is a huge gain!” Antoine also found the camera very easy to use; the fact that it is compact and lightweight to carry around proves to be a serious advantage and timesaver in a mountainous and cold environment.

After his assessment, it’s easy to understand why Antoine is now ready to enhance his extreme method of visual storytelling with DJI Ronin 4D. “I have so many more ideas I want to try out as I feel I have only started to understand the potential of what this tool can bring to my creativity”

Who are we to say any different, the visual captured with the Ronin 4D are truly amazing, and having the ability to capture extreme movement and sports as a one-man-crew is a total game changer when it comes to action commercials

Read more:

Best cine lenses
Best cinema cameras
Best 8K cameras
Best audio recorders for filmmakers

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Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specializing in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound, and many more for various advertising campaigns, books, and pre/post-event highlights.

He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science, and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is a member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected into BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 

He is familiar with and shows great interest in street, medium, and large format photography with products by Leica, Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa, and Sinar. Sebastian has also used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI, and everything in between. He now spends his spare time using his trusted Leica M-E shooting Street photography or general life as he sees it, usually in Black and White.