“AHEAD’s Skateboarding Scotland in 4K”
Usually when you think of a skateboarding video, you probably say OK, well this is going to be just like all of the other ones. It usually captures skaters landing tricks and that is about it. But not in this one! In the first installment of “ AHEAD’s series ” directed by, Daniel Mildner and Dennis Gotz, the filmmakers provide a relaxed view of Scotland’s landscape and its wildlife mixed with skateboarding. It is utterly spectacular! The feeling this video gives you is as if you are flying from side to side on the open road. The team’s abstract shots are diverse with the wide angle view of Scotland’s outstanding countryside. The editing is seamless and the composition is picture-perfect.
The skateboarder is German native Markus Blessing, and he isn’t scared of riding in the rain and getting road rash! When Markus is speeding through Scotland’s terrain, you can’t help but feel like you are a part of the action in this video. In certain shots, there is an impression that he is surfboarding as the roads are flooded and the visual effects have been added to increase this feeling. In some shots, you may feel as if you are surfboarding! The filmmakers combine the use of special effects video mixed with this new-age sport and it’s just incredible.
Soon they promise to release an upcoming web series about skateboarding and traveling while presenting skaters in nature all around the globe. I for one never felt so connected to a rider and enjoyed an extreme sports video as much as this one. If this doesn’t make you want to jump on a board or pick up a video camera, I don’t know what will! See below to find out what drives the AHEAD team.
Q. How did you guys come up with the concept and what was the inspiration?
As we both have been into Skateboarding for a long time, we became friends and just thought we should create something as we both have the same passion for film. So the basic idea just started to grow in our minds. But traveling, kind of formed this idea pretty much!
Q: What did you have in mind while approaching the project?
Our main concern was not to forget any equipment. We had a bunch of ideas of what we wanted to ﬁlm, but most of the stuff happened spontaneously.
Q: What is the main idea you guys are trying to deliver?
We first wanted to create something, which skateboarding stands for. In this case, it is the spirit of freedom, which lets you exceed to new limits. Skateboarding stands for discovering. So the main idea was, that we wanted to put a Skateboarder into an untypical surroundings, the places you normally wouldn’t expect. We think the weather plays a huge role in this series. So it might look pretty epic if he is going to melt with the elements.
Q: What was the artistic purpose?
To shoot angles and scenery that you don´t get in a normal skateboarding video. Besides, we wanted to create something that shows that you also can travel a country not just by car, etc., but also on a skateboard. I think this way you get even closer to your surrounding. We tried to get exactly these emotions in the final result. While following his passion, the skateboarder melts fully into it.
Q: Who is the skateboarder in the video, and how did you choose him?
The Skateboarder is Markus Blessing, a young but strong Skateboarder from our area in Germany. We thought he would fit perfectly into this role as he is a really natural guy. He’s got a great style, and is an overall nice guy. As you might expect, we met through skateboarding.
Q: How did you get the shots to look so steady while filming?
Some of the shots were filmed straight out of the trunk of a driving car or through the open windows. That way we achieved a fast, but smooth motion right on location. Other shots have been filmed handheld while riding on another skateboard or simply stabilized by a tripod. Another great thing, is the high resolution of the RED camera, 5K resolution, gave us so much space to stabilize the footage in post. We tried to scan over the image to record some extra space so we could use to stabilize. You can get really impressive results in post production this way!
Q: There was one shot that really stuck out in my mind, the one where Markus is surfing over the water! Can you tell us, which visual effect did you use?
Yeah, there are two similar effects in the video. The idea behind these effect shots was to create something surreal. Right after the Intro, the skateboarder drops into the new scenery. We had a strong cut to begin the actual video. This part was created out of two shots, the first one was of the Skateboarder doing his trick in 120fps. Then the second shot is of waves splashing against the rocks, also ﬁlmed in high frame rate. These waves have a really strong impact such as the skateboarder when he lands his trick. With the moment of the impact, there isn’t a cut and Markus has arrived on new lands. These shots were just combined by masking one out.
The other visual effect shot has the same intention, where the music breaks. After landing his frontside 360-shove-it, the skateboarder has reached the point where he becomes one with his surroundings just by letting it ﬂow. This is the metaphor you can ﬁnd at these seconds. So we created a combination of waves and footage displacement which dissolves right into the next shot, the small wave, which just goes away. In skateboarding, you do all that just for the particular moment. By the way, all post production and visual effects were created in Adobe After Effects.
Q: Why did you guys select Scotland as a filming location, aren’t you from Germany?
Yes, we are from Germany, but in this series it is about, those countries, where you wouldn’t expect a skateboarder. We already knew Scotland from earlier travels and finally came to that point, where we decided to film our very first episode there. It is a beautiful country that also can be really rough, the streets, the hills, the weather… But that gave us the opportunity to create something new. At least we could experiment whether a skateboarder can live his passion there. Because of every country, on this fantastic planet, has its own originalities, there are limitless new challenges we can go for. That is what makes the AHEAD series so special. Having the chance to introduce different countries through skateboarding!
Q: Would you have done anything differently?
No, the first episode is the result of some kind of process, not planned too exact, but created out of decisions in the right moment. We let the whole Idea grow through the process, starting from pushing the power button of the camera, until clicking on the last render-button in one late hour. In this way, we think we gave it the true spirit of skateboarding, some kind of spontaneous. We are now at that point where we know, what AHEAD is, and what it stands for.
Check back later this year to find out how AHEAD’s skateboarding videos turned out!
You can follow the AHEAD team in their video making adventures!
Posted on August 24, 2015 By Adam Dunhoff