Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

'Wild and free': Tourism video is a hit


July 13, 2017

The new promotional video for the Haines Borough’s Tourism Department is drawing raves – and more importantly, views.

Released Thursday, July 6, the five-minute video was getting 1,000 views an hour during its first 24 hours online.

“I got a message from Italy today,” said Rich Cooper, whose Anchorage-based Frostline Productions created the piece for about $26,000. Cooper is an Academy Award-winning videographer who grew up in Haines.

The video replaces one Cooper created 10 years ago and largely does away with narration. Instead it’s a fast-paced succession of dramatic clips – including several aerials shot from a drone – against the backdrop of an upbeat song with the refrain, “We’re wild and free.”

A breaching whale, a mountaintop heli-skier, and a paddle-boarder in Portage Cove are among the scenes portrayed in high definition.

Former tourism director Leslie Ross, who commissioned the video, said it exceeded her expectations. “I love it. I just watched it for about the 100th time. I get goose bumps every time I see it.”

Videographer Cooper said the video, which includes audio of eagles crying and visitors watching whales, is intended not so much to describe Haines as to create the impression of being here.

“It’s the style of day. You don’t have to yammer on about the town. Instead, you’re showing them what they want if they come here. It’s to put them in that place,” Cooper said. “It’s really about creating an impression and generating an emotional response where a person says, ‘I need to go there.’”

Cooper, who is also a musician, said the soundtrack came from a selection of tunes he buys through a subscription service. “I listened to hundreds of pieces of music until I got the one I liked. If my wife can listen to it for a week and not get sick of it, it’s the right tune.”

The video includes short quotes and video of artist John Svenson, author Heather Lende and tour guide Joe Ordonez, speaking about the town’s authenticity and things to do here. Too much spoken narrative can actually deter from such a video’s message, Cooper said.

Former tourism director Ross said the video was intended for use on the borough’s website and Facebook page, at travel trade shows, and aboard approaching cruise ships to entice visitors to come to Haines, rather than say, take the train in Skagway.

New videos also are showcased at the annual Alaska Tourism Industry Association conference each fall, she said.

The video includes scenes from River Adventures, SEABA heliskiing, Takshanuk Mountain Trail and Alaska Fjordlines tours. That footage, shot by Cooper, was part of videos made for the companies which the companies, in turn, donated to the tourism department video.

Use of the donated footage reduced the cost of the video from $35,000, Ross said.

To see the video, enter “Haines: Adventure Capital of Alaska” into a search engine.


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