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From Storm to Summit: Behind the Scenes

The Unseen Journey of Filming in the Smoky Mountains

You may have recently watched scenes from the Smoky Mountains on RadiantTV. What you didn’t see is the team of dedicated videographers who brought these scenes to you:

The day was 95 degrees and thick with humidity. Two of us were hiking to the peak of the 6,594-foot Mount LeConte. We started at 3 p.m., a little later than we planned, but we thought we had enough energy and water to reach the summit before sunset.

behind the scenes production team
Our production team is behind every shot on RadiantTV

What we didn’t expect was a torrential downpour with intense lightning and thunder. As soon as the first drops hit our shoulders, we pulled out our plastic rain ponchos and sprinted to find an overhang in the rock. We pressed ourselves against the side of the rock — it was so tight that if there were three of us, one person would’ve gotten drenched.

After 45 minutes, the rain tapered off. We continued on the trail, pausing to film nature scenes as we hiked. But water and daylight were running low and we had to pick up our pace to reach the top by sunset.

Pausing to refresh, we reached for our last bottle of water.

But, it wasn’t in our packs.

We looked at the trail behind us — nothing. We were out of water and still had five more miles to hike. We thought about sleeping outside for the night, but with no working cell service to communicate with our team, and after considering our potential wildlife companions, we decided to press on. We had to finish climbing that mountain.

Parched, exhausted, and more than a little concerned about black bears, we approached the summit as a dark evening sky swept away the sun. We set up our camera and shot a quick video of the sunset, then started down the mountain.

Behind the scenes on location
Our goal is to bless you through God's creation

The starry sky was pitch black and we had only our dim headlamps as guides. At 2 a.m., after stumbling down the mountain with cramped legs, sore ankles, and burning throats, we rejoined our crew on the other side. They greeted us with smiles of relief and a cooler full of water.

The rainy opening scenes of our music video, “Down to the River to Pray / Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” by Steve Hall, features video we filmed during this downpour. We hope as you watch these beautiful and calming shots you can chuckle and remember the story behind the scenes. May this video bless you and remind you that God is with you, even through the darkest difficulties.


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