Tuesday, 7 July 2009

"Getting Your Bearings"

Toby Batchelor in the Public Fisheye

The unsung heroes of the skateboarding community are the people that capture the moment. The split second in mid trick or going for that all important angle to commit to film.
A line that would be just hear say if it wasn't recorded for all to see!

Yep were talking bout peps behind the lens.

Hooked: Toby, man of mystery and legendary Death Skateboards filmster how are yeh, lets go!


Hooked: Where did the interest in film come from do you think? Were you interested in editing and filming before you started skating?

I used to borrow the youth club VHS camera from Stevenage skate park to film then all my family chipped in for 2 xmas and birthdays to get an 8MM camera from Argos-I was so stoked.I skated with a bunch of hippy tree huggers kids back then and one of them stole his dads still photo fisheye lens which I gaffer taped onto the front of my new camera-it weighed a ton and pulled off the front of the camera but it looked amazing.I was always stoked to see new videos when they came out, the way they looked and the way they were filmed was amazing. I remember when the first Plan B vid came out I watched it and couldnt sleep that night because it was so mind blowing! I basically have lived and breathed skateboarding non-stop since I was 8 so anything to do with skateboarding got the thumbs up from me and filming was just part of that. Plus back in the day you would do a trick once because it took all day so you wanted to get it on film.

Hooked: Is there any footage stands out in your mind the most? i.e. is there anything epic that went down while you were filming?

With out a doubt the first Big Push session at St Albans with the Death crew was epic like no other session-just loads of us stoked to be doing something-the edit is amazing and still stokes me out now. Also Raemers at Saffron Walden doing the lein air with Nicolson drinking the beer in shot-f**king amazing footy that is. I also have a tape of Alan Petersen skating the Munster bowl padless in 1995 which was epic. Too many to rememeber if Im honest.

Hooked: Who in your estimation is one of the easiest skaters to film?

Nicky Howells, Ben Raemers, Munson, Adam Howe, Dan Cates, John Tanner...loads....too many to wittle it down to one.....the worst is Ben Cundall....only joking!

Hooked: Do you feel skateboarding is an expressive art form, or do you do anything else to fill your creative needs i.e. Illustration / graf work / photography / arthouse movies for instance?

I think skateboarding lets your character shine through but I dont know if its an art form. More of a pass-time that engrosses you. I dabble a bit in photography but you need mad money these days to do that and I love CGi movies and cult films.

Hooked: Do you have a favourite camera?

The VX1000 with MK1 death lens-this will still be the best until someone replicates it with HD chips and VX2100 night performance.They stopped making the VX1 10 years ago!

Hooked: Where is your favourite place to skate (don't worry if the spot isn't around anymore). We've seen you ripping in minis a lot these days...

I like wide mini ramps and large open smooth places with no one around and grindy ledges that arent too high...Parralel in BCN maybe or a nice concrete mini with no kids on blades or bikes in the way....

Hooked: Do you have a favourite trick?

Fs grinds, tre flips.

Hooked: Who's getting it right in filming and editing in terms of companies out there at the minute?

Mark Nicolson and the Death guys-Mark is mad and experiments with cameras all the time. His editing too is something else.The HTL guys are pushing it, their stuff is amazing, if you want to get into filming watch what these guys do and learn from the best.

Hooked: Do you prefer to see fisheye or regular lens for big stairs / gaps / drops in videos? Obviously you need the eye for lines, but these days when you see films such as Ride The Sky, most of the big stuff is filmed with a regular lens. What are your thoughts on this?

Fish eye looks amazing on some spots but you can take away how sick something looks with it, I prefer the long shots myself-it gives the shot something that makes it more real rather than twisting it through the fisheye.

Hooked: If you didn't take up filming or skating, what do you think you would be doing right now?

Probably drinking all the time and maybe a geek...I hate to think.

Hooked: You've designed some skateparks... tell us about these and how your designs were implemented successfuly...

Where I am from in Hertfordshire the council made a series of major cock ups with putting in some terrible skate parks which were either torn down or burnt. I complained loads and told them it wasnt good enough and next thing I know Im being contracted to design the parks. They were very low key, small budget concrete parks for local small towns. Nothing like the parks that are popping up round here at the mo. I basically worked with the locals and asked them what they wanted and put forward designs to meet the budget. Good experience but very frustrating at times.

Hooked: Are you worried that all these parks will drive us off the streets for good, with a zero tolerance attitude from authories as we now finally 'have places to skate'?

I dont know. I try not to think too much about it but I reckon one day they will imply laws to keep us off the streets....I miss the old days where you could skate where ever you wanted, but things have changed so much in just the last 10 years. These new parks defo introduce kids to something positive when they could possibly end up like the rest of the youth seem to these days-brain dead and extremely stupid.

Hooked: Give us some tips for getting the best from your filming / filmer.

✺Look after your gear, learn how to use manual settings, clean it!, insure it all, treat it like a baby, take time to think about shots, do your own thing, get creative.

✺Treat your filmer well, dont piss him off, take his advice.

✺To get the most out of the skater you are filming: bribe them, lie to them, tell them they rule, do anything to get it wrapped and filmed! Once its on tape then let them know they suck and took too long!

Hooked: If all minis were banned from the country, what would be your next favourite thing to skate?

Flat ground, no joke...just lots of it and no one around for miles......

Hooked: Finally, if you could do one trick all day what would it be?

Ha ha, good question... if I could only do one trick it would be to race up behind people and screech my wheels so it scares them...

Hooked: Thanks man, its been a treat.

Now watch him skate...Nice.

Watch more at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ee14epuapS0

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