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What is competitive freeriding

After the successful “What is Freeriding” clip, we’ve taken it a step further to explain in a short, entertaining and informative format the format of competitive freeriding. All under 2 minutes!

What is competitive Freeriding?

« After years of having fun …People began to wonder who was best ». But what does it imply to bring #freeriding to the next level ? Well, here is our guide to competitive freeriding ⬇#audi #quattroroadtrip #DROPIN #ThisIsFreeride Audi Deutschland

Posted by Freeride World Tour on Dienstag, 28. Februar 2017

  • Client: Freeride World Tour / Audi
  • Conception-directing : David Arnaud
  • Scripting-Storyboarding: David Arnaud / Ed Leigh
  • Editing: Aurelie Monod / David Arnaud
  • Voice-over: Ed Leigh
  • Motion graphics: Niels Saint-Viteux

360 video in the OR – the future of healthcare training

Ever since my first contact with 360 video I always felt that the primary use for this technology would be to take the viewer to places that are usually inaccessible. With my adventure/outdoor background I obviously thought about remote parts of the world, deep canyons or high summits that only the most accomplished experts can reach.

And indeed, my first serious project with 360 video would take me to one of these inaccessible places, but not exactly the kind that I initially had in mind: the operation room !

I first met with Dr Jean-Daniel Rostan a few years ago, after he performed an echography on my knee following a not-so-smooth landing with my hangglider. Little did I know back then that he is one of the most respected and experienced surgeons when it comes to phlebology and venous disease!

He was immediately interested in 360 video and its potential use in healthcare and training. Soon enough the conversation started with the italian-based IALPH (International Academy on Laser in Phlebology) which was seeking new and innovative ways of training surgeons for endovenous laser techniques.

Ultimately it led to the shooting and editing of 12 clips of 2-3 min each, detailing the different steps of endovenous laser treatment for varicose veins, a very common disease that affects up to 40% of the european population. These clips will be part of the training material delivered to surgeons following the IALPH courses.



The benefits of 360 video in healthcare training are considerable. Here are the benefits that Dr Rostan and I identified in 360 video training:

  • Unlike conventional video, 360 video allows the user to grasp the entirety of the scene and the dynamic of the procedure between the surgeon and the other staff in the OR
  • It makes it possible for users to have a very good understanding of the procedure and its dynamic BEFORE actually stepping in the OR for real. Having experienced the introductory or peripheral steps of the procedure with the 360 videos, once in the OR users can focus their training on the most specialized aspects that require hands-on operations.
  • Users can see the same procedure executed on a variety of patients
  • Users can watch the same scene several times if needed
  • Each user can focus its attention to the part most relevant to them, either it is the echograph, the laser, the anesthesia…
  • Training and observation time in the OR is by nature limited and complex to organize due to the small capacity of these rooms. 360 video lifts these limitations.
  • It is possible to virtually enlarge monitors and scopes (ex: the echograph screen) to better highlight the laser fiber, the needles, and the information provided to the surgeon during each step

This has been a very interesting project for me. The OR is a very different field compared to what I’m used to, but in the end the challenges were pretty much the same as when I’m shooting action sports: I had to adapt to a setting that I couldn’t choose, and I had to “follow the flow”. What I mean by this is that the shooting took place during actual surgery sessions, with a rythm that wouldn’t accomodate a lot of flexbility for the needs of the shooting.

The post-production was done with After Effects, Premiere and the mettle plugins to enlarge and display the echograph screen next to the patient.

360 video for Swatch

Late in 2015 a conversation with Swatch management eventually got them convinced to invest into a 360° Video experience on the Freeride World Tour 2016 – for whom I’ve managed TV and Video production since 2009.

The clip reached 400K views and ranked in Youtube’s France Top 3 for brand use of 360 video experiences (1/ Infiniti Europe 2/ Canal+ 3/ Swatch FWT 360 Insights 4/ Maserati 5/ Samsung Mobile – source: Youtube 360° Ads Leaderboard 2016). Pretty cool to be ranked amongst these big guys.

How did it all start? During my years as a pro-kayaker I spent most of my time visiting some incredible and remote rivers around the world. Despite my best effort I often thought my videos couldn’t really convey the feeling of “being there”.

Fast forward to the present day, and all of a sudden there’s this new cool technology called Virtual Reality and 360° video which takes us closer than ever to this dream of teleportation – in short, being able to see and hear what it’s like to be there (in VR litterature it’s called “presence“).

VR toys

My interest for Virtual Reality and 360 video goes back to the release of the Oculus Rift DK2 in 2014. After receiving the headset and getting over the initial Wow effect, I immersed myself in this new media, its new storytelling codes and seemingly endless possibilities. I read a lot about it (with articles ranging from video games developer to hollywood thinkers), subscribed to blogs, listened to the excellent “Voices of VR” podcast and tried many, many apps and videos to get my head around what worked – and what didn’t – in this wild wild territory.

Interestingly my first professional project in 360 video didn’t involve remote locations and exotic adventures, but a place few of us will ever experience first-hand nonetheless, if not laying down unconscious on a table : the operation room.

But back to the Swatch 360° Insights. Shooting for the clip took place during the first Freeride World Tour stop of 2016 in Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra. Besides the obvious adversity of the backcountry terrain, this project was a big challenge for 4 reasons:

  1. We couldn’t know in advance the competition venue and therefore couldn’t scout any location
  2. The storytelling had to be partially adapted to how the event would unfold
  3. The delivery timeline was very tight, with just a few days to have a clip ready before being displayed at the next FWT stop in Chamonix on the Swatch promo truck
  4. The impossibility to mount a 360 rig on a competitor during a run – which anyways I didn’t really want in the clip because of the motion sickness it would induce

The late Estelle Balet is the central character of this clip. Retrospectively I’m very happy we had this opportunity to convey her special relationship to the mountain and to competing before her tragic passing last april. Her softspoken words really bring another dimension to the clip.

For this shoot I decided to use 2 rigs:

  1. The classic 6-gopro rig from freedom 360
  2. A 2-gopro rig with special lenses from Izugar

The audio was recorded on an audiotecnica stereo microphone, plugged into a zoom recorder.

Battery and card management can quickly become an issue in the mountain with subzero temperatures, which clearly favoured the use of the izugar rig. With just 2 cameras it’s much quicker to swap batteries and cards if needed. Also, given the fact that we would have plenty of shots to operate to leave our storytelling options open, and little time in post, we ended up shooting for the most part using the Izugar system. It drastically reduced the media management workload and also potential stitching issues in shots that we could not control 100%.

All-terrain filmer Mathieu Coldebella went out to gather the shots, and after the competition I organised the stitching, graphics and voice-over with Estelle Balet that I wanted in the edit. In post we used Autopano Video pro for the stitching, After effects for the graphics and the Mettle plugins to insert them on the footage. The edit was done on Premiere Pro.

Since it wasn’t possible to capture action upclose due to the nature of the mountain, I instead opted for a sequence using 2D footage spread around the viewer, to give a dizzying and overwhelming effect to the viewer and still bring some action into the clip.

The online version shown above differs slightly from the initial version displayed in Chamonix. The Chamonix version had longer shots and a bit slower pace to really leave time to immerse into each scene through Gear VR headsets. The Youtube version being mostly seen on phones or computers it was shortened and the pace is a bit faster.

Another clip is due to come out in the falls, featuring the four other tour stops after Vallnord (Chamonix, Fieberbrunn, Alaska and Verbier) and some really spectacular shots from these locations.

Productions & clients

Video production 101

Video production is a vast subject. So how does that work? What is it that I do?

Let’s keep things simple. Give me your ideas, your objectives, and your budget. I’ll take it from there on, till the delivery of the final product. Whether you’re aiming at a 3-min clip, a live webcast, a TV newscut, a documentary or even all at once, I can make it happen. I’ll recruit the team and organize the workflow that you need to reach your goals, making sure that every penny spent on your production returns the best possible value. 

Budget, planning and deadlines are essential aspects of a successful production. But hey, now let’s throw some magic in the mix as well! Bringing out the right storylines, original camera angles and fancy editing are equally important. I could go on and on about creativity and such. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’d rather let you have a look at my work on the videos page.

From cameramen to script writers to helicopter pilots, I have built an extensive network of collaborators to face all kind of challenges, and deliver the goods no matter what the conditions are.

Just like I do for the guys below. Check them out.

Name: Freeride World Tour
Location: Austria, France, Canada, USA, Russia, Switzerland, Norway, Italy…

“The best riders on the best mountains in the ultimate freeride competition”. Well that says it all, doesn’t it? The typical season consists in 5-6 stops in some of the most prestigious resorts around the planet: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Squaw Valley, Kirkwood, Alaska, Sochi… and the list goes on. I’ve been in charge of TV/video production since 2009 on the FWT. But there’s no such thing as routine on the Tour. Each contest brings its own challenges in terms of logistics, remoteness, high altitude, subzero temperatures, and tight timing for the TV news and web content delivery. My typical crew on the FWT consists in about 35 people.

IBC Amsterdam 2015, 30 min talk about Freeride World Tour for Adobe

Name: Xtreme Verbier
Location: Verbier, Switzerland



The number one freeriding event in the world, the Xtreme Verbier fascinates of the core freeride scene as well as the mainstream media. It is also the grande finale of the Freeride World Tour series. Live TV production at 3300m altitude is served yearly around end of March. I’ve been handling TV production at the Verbier Xtreme since 2009.






One that doesn’t need an introduction! From event productions with the Red Bull Elements, athletes portraits and projects with Alexis Pinturault and Pierre Vaultier, the Soul Flyer’s Skycombo, the “Wings for Life World Run“, Red Bull is never short of cool projects.


Name: Wings For Life World Run
Location: The World !
Role: Live production – Executive Producer for France


Name: Team Mennen – Red Bull Elements 2015
Location: Talloires, France
Role: Conception – Executive Production – Director

Name: 13 faces du Valais
Location: Wallis/Valais, Switzerland
Role: Executive producer – co-director

Name: Skycombo project
Location: Mont Blanc / Chamonix, France
Role: Executive producer – Director


Some of my favourite edits / productions / or projects that I contributed to.

Swatch Skiers Cup, Big Mountain Competition Highlights clip. Nearly 500K views on Youtube alone!

Freeride World Tour 2013, Courmayeur-Mont-Blanc Highlights clip

Red Bull Elements 2012, Talloires, France – Action clip


Freeride World Tour 2013 teaser


Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix-Mont-Blanc 2012


Promo clip Serre-Poncon lake – Institutional


Swatch Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal 2012


Night kayaking – slow motion


Freedom Fries – Outdoor Games 2007 entry – good memories!


Freeride World Tour 2011 teaser



  •  Nationality: French
  • Spoken languages: French, English, Italian

As the URL of this website suggests, my name’s David Arnaud. I’m a freelance producer and filmmaker.

I work on events such as the Freeride World Tour, Red Bull Elements, Wings For Life World Run, Nissan Outdoor Games, Swatch Skiers Cup as well as on athletes profiles, documentaries and films.  

Lots of extreme and outdoor sports represented in that list of events, you may think. And you’d be right. In fact my résumé includes 20+ years of whitewater paddling, and I’ve recently added hanggliding in my list of hobbies. So yes, I’m one of these outdoor freaks, which may explain the nature of the events listed above. I’ve done a bit of competing in my early days, till being ranked 5th at the 2001 World Championships; this was followed by several years of fulltime travels and expeditions around the world, some extreme kayaking, and lots of filming along the way. I’ve been lucky enough to visit numerous destinations like Norway, Canada, USA, Reunion island, South Africa, Libya, Thailand, Indonesia, Morocco, Siberia, Chile, Costa Rica, Turkey…
I discovered afterwards that documenting my paddling trips on class V rivers had been the best way to learn to film in hostile environnements. Indeed, rivers must be the closest thing to a filmmaker’s nightmare.

I have worked with different kayaking-related sponsors over the years, and also larger brands such as Salomon, Eider, and today the Outdoor division of Adidas. In the meantime I also graduated from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business. “A pro-kayaker with an education: what is this world coming to?”, was a friend’s reaction back then.

The TV production chapter began with my involvement on the Nissan Outdoor Games as a cameraman, then as a director. Soon after that, I got to manage the whole TV production on the freshly-born Freeride World Tour. The rest you can check on the Productions and Clients page.

For more details about what I can do for your event or your filming project, grab your phone and call me.