Talking of gear – one of the repeated comments I’ve heard and read online about the video is that, despite it being filmed in super high quality HD, and utilizing everything from drone shots to steady cam rigs, that the filming/editing is in no way intrusive/jarring, if that makes sense.
Did you strive to create a super high quality project whilst allowing the skating to talk for itself, rather than foregrounding the filming process as well?
I’m glad that was noticed. It’s important to me to find that balance of stepping up the production level to progress as a filmmaker but then to curb it from distracting the viewer from the skating. Having done this for a long time and being a bit of a camera nerd it’s easy to get carried away with my gadgets and toys trying to improve my film making skills, so I am constantly reminding myself to reel it back and let the subject be the focus. Maybe the lack of gimmicks is boring to some but I just didn’t want it to feel dated.
Photo: Mike Manzoori
There are definitely shots where drones are perfect – Joslin’s frontside flip for example – but I guess the temptation to over-use that kind of technology can be hard to resist at times, right?
Exactly, you can kill a session by getting too bogged down with setting up crazy camera gear too. Folks just want to rip when they are sparked so part of it is keeping the vibe high and momentum going on the session. Certain skaters can appreciate the extra effort and have patience for it, but some just want to rip and get frustrated if I’m tinkering too much. Typically when filming I’m rushing to set up extra camera angles and shoot some B roll extras just in case and then only end up using a fraction of it. So I tend to over shoot a little, but I like having those choices in editing than to not have options.
Photo: Mike Manzoori
I’d be remiss here if I didn’t ask you a few questions specifically about Joslin – did you personally get to film a lot with him?
Yeah I was lucky to have filmed most of his part.
I genuinely thought that he might’ve brought the Pat Duffy curse on himself after the Plan B part, in so far as coming out so hard that he’d never be able to match that section, but I was wrong. Is he actually super human?
His skating really is next level. When he got on etnies right before the Plan B video dropped, he filmed a welcome to the team part in three weeks that was better than a lot of people’s video parts that take them years.
Since then, and during the filming of Album, he has put out so many gnarly video parts; Real Street parts, gnarly promos – that etnies/Grizzly collab promo last year he filmed in just two days! The only reason he didn’t do it in one day was because I’d have him do most tricks two or three times so I could try filming different ways. Its not his gnarliest part by any means and that wasn’t the vibe of the piece, but there’s some amazing skating in there. The line down Beverly stairs he did three times so I could get the stupid drone shot right!
During the few years we have been filming for Album there was only three or four times where I went skating with Chris and I came home without footage because he tried something that got the better of him. That’s a crazy ratio of success vs. failure missions. He always tries to make the most of his time (and mine) and to make sure to get some footage for something. Aside from being gifted at skating he is also a really nice human with a good heart, so it’s always a great experience filming with him and I look forward to it every time.
Chris Joslin – Frontside bigspin. Photo: Kyle Seidler
What’s his process when trying some of the stairs/gaps etc that he does? From Insta and the few interviews he has, it seems as if the guy basically either has no fear, or has complete faith in his abilities – is that the case?
He is very aware of what he is capable of and good at applying it to whatever situation you are in. The main problem he has is remembering all the tricks he can do. He can do so many that even he forgets what he’s got in his trick bag. Most skaters have a few go to tricks they can huck down stuff, but he has so much control over so many tricks that you can throw out all kinds of crazy ideas and if he’s feeling it, he will just do it. The giant double set in Vancouver was one I remember. He was throwing out trick ideas as he warmed up ollieing it and Sherman suggested he nollie flip it, which I have to say took us all by surprise as its not an obvious trick for such a beast double set, but a few tries later Chris is rolling away again perfectly.
Does he warm up for big stuff? That said, I’m not even sure how you’d warm up for a trick like the frontside flip or his ender…
He warms up a little, but typically gets right down to it once he is warmed up. He’s not going to waste energy ollieing a ton of times or kicking his board away; when he tries a trick he’s really trying to stick it every time, which means sometimes it’s a little wild but that’s part of why I like it. Between tries he often breaks down his analysis of what just went wrong, and what needs to change for it to work: his perception sometimes sounds like he’s in The Matrix and is able to see it in slow motion.
Have there ever been any occasions when you were out filming for this project where you’ve maybe questioned his judgment to try something? Does he ever get hurt?
I never question his judgment, it’s more the other way around. People suggest some crazy stuff for him to try but usually if he’s going for something I’m pretty sure he’s got a real good chance of getting it, and getting it quick.
He gets hurt just like everyone, I mean, you can’t jump such big gaps and not get some gnarly heel bruises or roll an ankle here and there but thankfully his consistency means he’s usually sticking it at least, which is less painful than just bug-splatting your body into the ground aimlessly.
Photo: Mike Manzoori