PHOTOS: Victor Pakpour
Hopefully it’s come across that one of our goals at What Youth is championing creativity throughout a variety of mediums in surf culture — be it print, filmmaking, photography, painting, zines, art direction, music, online short films — anything really. We love it all. We like to create. And we want to inspire others to create.
This ideology of ours has led us to The Auteurs, a new series that begins by documenting the process happening behind the lens and follows it through to the final creation. We’ll detail the equipment used, the stitch-ups that occur, the moments of inspiration between filmmaker and subject, the circumstances, hardships, breakthroughs and breakdowns. Everything behind the curtain. After a bit of insight into the creation, we’ll be premiering the final product for you as well. Hopefully educating and motivating your own endeavors at the same time.
Our first installment features What Youth’s very own resident filmmaker Victor Pakpour with an interesting take on a few surfs in a remote part of California with Nate Tyler.
After the jump Nate and Victor take you through the thoughts behind the short, which will be premiering here on Friday, called: The End of the River.
SURFER: Nate Tyler
LOCATION: Central California
CAMERA: Sony FS700
LENSES: Canon L series 24- 105mm f/4, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, Metabones Canon EF lens to Sony NEX Smart Adapter
EDITING SOFTWARE: Final Cut Pro 7
COLOR CORRECTION: Color
FRAME RATES: 60fps, 240fps
HARD DRIVE: LaCie Rugged 1TB External Hard Drive
CONCEPT: “This was an experimental piece for me. The song we chose and the angles we shot from inspired me to really play out the slow motion. They allow people to closely watch the technical airs and grabs that Nate is doing in the edit. A lot of filmmakers use ramping (altering a clips speed from slow to fast) when they shoot at these slow speeds, but I wanted every clip in the piece to play at one speed. I’m hoping the edit puts you into a trance.” —Victor Pakpour
We sent Victor up the coast with a simple assignment: Get surf action with Nate Tyler. Focus on action and surfing, leave the lifestyle behind. Strictly shredding. And that’s an order! It went something like that.
Victor came back with something terribly and amazingly different — but not something terrible. In fact, what he came back with was something that inspired an entire new series at What Youth, and a very original short film set to really good music.
Here at what Youth we consider the "web clip,"as it’s commonly referred to, as a demon. It’s a quick fix and they need to reset. And it’s why we created: The Auteurs.
Below is a chat with Nate Tyler and Victor Pakpour on their film, a post-edit, behind-the-scenes of sorts. Read their concept below and come back tomorrow to watch their short in it’s entirety and see if they executed.
WHAT YOUTH: Let’s start at the beginning.
VICTOR PAKPOUR: I drove down that afternoon.
NATE TYLER: And you took the wrong path. Google maps gave him three options. He took the quickest one without asking me, so it took to the deepest zone, taking him straight up the 5 and over the little winding road and basically into the most awkward entrance to my place.
VICTOR: I drove through the state prison and a bunch of nothing. I got there in the evening. Nate and I went to go shoot, but there wasn’t much light left on the first day. We shot for the last hour of the day and Nate pulled a pretty big stalefish reverse, which we used in the film. I shot it in slow-motion, but Nate didn’t know I shot it like that. When we watched it that night at Nate’s house, he was pretty psyched. It sort of set the tempo for the vibe and we decided to stick to that the entire shoot, which was only going to be like 2 days.
WHAT YOUTH: Is it weird to shoot constantly in slow motion settings?
VICTOR: We realized it was the style we wanted to go for. We found some pretty average waves, but the angles we found made it possible for us to shoot the concept we had. If you saw the waves though, you wouldn’t even paddle out.
NATE: And it helped that the whole time we shot we didn’t surf with one other person.
VICTOR: Yeah, that was kind of rad. Just Nate and I. We were giving each other hand signals. I’d throw a thumbs up after clips I was stoked on — full team building.
NATE: That spot takes like horrible weeks of wind and rain to be worth looking at. Eventually, it just gets fun. It needs lots of rain usually, but we didn’t get much rain and it’s still been fun. So I’m questioning my own knowledge now. I always thought it took a lot of rain, but I think it’s more about sand than rain. It’s a weird little spot, but it has fun ramps.
WHAT YOUTH: You made the decision the first night to shoot that way. Do you find it funny that it was the opposite of what you were directed to do?
VICTOR: Nate had the Chromatic CD in his little Toyota — what model is that? In his unregistered Tercel, and the Chromatics CD was on and we’d listen to this slow and dramatic, piano driven song al day. And now, I realize it just fit so well. Every session we knew what we were aiming for. We had a song.
NATE: That’s my favorite track of that album. I listen to that song, like, all the time. When Victor showed me the first clip he shot, like I said, I was bummed on the surf, but I had no idea he was shooting a high frame rate. So I wasn’t even thinking about that element. Like if you watch certain airs at full speed, but slowed down, like an ode to Joe G, it makes it pretty, you know? I had no clue he was shooting like that so I came in from the first session so pissed about surfing bad. And when I got in, Victor was like, “I think you got one, it’s sick!”
That night he played it for me, and I was like, ‘Whoah! You were shooting slow frames! Wow, that does look cool!’ And from that moment on I got so amped and came up with a concept that worked for shooting 240 frames a second the entire time.
WHAT YOUTH: How different is that than shooting regular frames? Real time?
VICTOR: Well, I wouldn’t shoot that slow if I planned to speed it up, because you have to shoot a higher shutter when you speed it up. When you speed it up it’s too high of a shutter and it’s too digital looking. Like you can speed it up, but it’s not ideal. Shoot it slow to run it slow.
WHAT YOUTH: What made you shoot it like that the first night then?
VICTOR: The waves weren’t that good so I shot tight and slow. The lighting was real nice, so I thought we could get a cool shot as opposed to “clips.” The waves looked so bad straight on and planned to check it before dark. They walked around and looked at it from the side and it looked sick. We were like holy shit, let’s try to shoot it. And that’s the day we got everything.
WHAT YOUTH: Is it weird for you to surf all alone? Alone, at a weird wave shooting slow motion footage?
NATE: I used to always think I’d surf better when I was alone. Nobody around but a filmmaker who I have a close relationship with. But now, I dunno, I’ve been on a couple trips where I’ll get stuff. My girl used to always film me, and for what’ve reason I’d be able to get get good stuff. Maybe it felt like no pressure.
WHAT YOUTH: If someone asked you what the concept for this was, what would you say?
VICTOR: I think it was rad to stray away from a super basic, amp you up edit. Which is exactly what I was assigned and which was the opposite of what I shot.
NATE: That’s exactly what you said you wanted! Laughing. You said I just want a super amped surf edit.
WHAT YOUTH: Which was what we needed! We sent Victor to compile action footage for various projects.
VICTOR: Kai kept calling me and was nervous about it all and kept saying, “I don’t know what you’re doing… but make sure you do some interviews or something…” And usually, there is no way you would ever use that much slow motion, but with the angle we had, the waves we had, the music we had and the lighting we had, it was cool to push it as far as we could and the whole thing turned experimental — mostly thanks to The Chromatics album. The song was literally on repeat.
WHAT YOUTH: So the song set the vibe for the film?
VICTOR: I came back and tried to edit to different songs and it just didn’t work. The Chromatics song works so well. I knew I just had to set the edit to that.
NATE: Joe G (Secret Machine, Year Zero) came up and I was showing him the footage and I played that track (The Chromatics) when I showed him. He had that track but his was a different version or recording of it — same song, different recoding. It was the exact same track. You could tell he was bummed, it was in his vaults for something special. And that is a compliment. Joe’s music archive runs deep.
[Come back tomorrow to watch: The End of the River in its entirety]