Catholic Filmmaking Breakdown: Ice Chapel

It might seem difficult to construct an entire chapel completely out of ice and snow, but it’s almost as tricky to shoot a video of that process. In this Catholic Filmmaking Breakdown episode, Spirit Juice Studios’ creative director Branden Stanley takes you behind the scenes of the production to detail the experience of filming this uniquely Catholic story.

The Knights of Columbus (one of Spirit Juice’s longtime clients) tasked us to capture a group of Knights at Michigan Tech University constructing their annual ice chapel, as part of the school’s Winter Carnival.

This unconventional outdoor chapel — complete with an altar made entirely of ice, procured from a nearby bay — served as the setting for several “Ice Masses” during the carnival.

The conditions provided an uncommon undertaking for our crew, but we had the necessary equipment up to the task. While gathering footage of the chapel construction, we needed a camera that could process the intense amount of daylight reflecting off the snow. With construction complete and the chapel functional for nighttime usage, another camera specific to capturing the shadows and candlelight without extra lights was needed, maintaining the natural and peaceful ambiance of the moment.

In the end, the Knights were proud with the way the chapel turned out, and its novel ability to serve as an evangelization tool for Mass attendance at the carnival. We are equally pleased with our finished product, sharing stories such as this with larger audiences through our Catholic video production efforts.

And don’t worry – no camera operators were frozen in the making of this video. Chicago has hardened us to the coldest weather.

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