Salvation Mountain – Short Documentary


I shot some random footage at a rather amazing location back in December 2010, and finally decided to put something together with it. Salvation Mountain is located about 3 miles southeast of the Salton Sea near Niland, California. It sits on the hill just before arriving to “Slab City,” a notorious squatters camp in the Southern California desert found on an old army base.

Leonard Knight, the artist/builder has been building his mountain and surrounding area since 1985, with the help of 10′s of thousands of donated gallons of paint and other materials. He’s hoping the site will one day receive congressional protection, and seemed pretty adamant that people take pictures and spread the word on “the facebook.”

About the author

Written by

My name is Justin Metz and I'm a freelance motion graphics designer. I started back in 2004 as a personal blog and portfolio site. We are now a collective of motion and sound designers from around the world.

6 Responses

  1. I take it you have some kind of shoulder rig (looked too smooth for just handheld) any recommendations? By the way did reddit pay you for those graphics? Colour me impressed if so considering how frequently they complain of funding, being understaffed, site down time and the like.

    • Ha! I volunteered myself probono actually (just struck up a random conversation with one of the reddit admins, hueypriest). They did send me a care package with a bunch of free swag though, so I can’t complain.

      Anyway, nope, no shoulder rig per say. I bought a higher end model stills tripod with extendable legs and used that as a quasi shoulder rig. I added foam padding to one leg and rested it on my shoulder, then the two free legs become handles of sorts, or I’d rest them against my body for additional points of contact freeing up my hands for focus and what not (no follow focus, rails, or any other attachements either).

      By the way, were you involved with that Star Wreck parody movie? Good stuff!

      • i actually took a tripod and pulled the pin out of one leg. then modded the hinge a bit so itll swing smoother. then i just mount my camera and pull a leg out to balance it and it becomes a steadycam. and its got alott of control on it too. i myself dont really enjoy shoulder mounts

        • Yup, makeshift steadicams are a lot easier than people realize. It’s all about getting that properly balanced counterweight, and things like extended tripod legs can be enough to do it sometimes (naturally that changes for larger format/professional cameras, but for the DSLR shooters the world is their makeshift oyster!).

  2. Sweet. Would have loved an interview with the guy though.

    • Thanks. I did interview him shortly, but decided to leave it out in the end. What question and answer type stuff I did do with him was nothing new or special (he’s no secret really, google his name or “salvation mountain” and there are plenty of TV/Film/Doc interviews with him), not to mention all I had was the shitty built-in mic, so In the end I decided to take it in a different direction and go for a purely musical/visual approach (what can I say, I’m a fan of Koyaanisqatsi, Baraka, etc. type documentaries).


Comment on this post

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Recent Work

  • isg-thumb
    In Sixth Gear

    Part of a motion graphics package, this ident was made for In Sixth Gear (ISG), a sport and luxury car related blog, online store and now internet video channel.

  • macmillan-thumb

    This motion graphics ident was created for the MacMillan Publishing group (UK) for their educational video series.

  • kalliance-thumb
    K Alliance

    This motion graphics ident was part of a complete broadcast package created for K Alliance, an online e-learning company.

  • tatv-thumb
    McGraw-Hill: TakeawayTV

    Over a year in the making, this clip is a short example of the ident, supers and other elements created for a 60 episode English language learning series for the renowned publishing house, McGraw-Hill.

  • reddit-thumb

    After a conversation with admin Erik Martin (hueypriest), we offered to put together a quick little intro for reddit’s “ask me anything” video series.

  • videmic-thumb

    This ident/promo was created for a self produced web show staring Karina Stenquist (formerly of Mobuzz fame) called Videmic.