Welcome to our ‘Street Games’ – only on Nokia Connects. Forget any other ‘games’ taking place in London this year, because we have teamed up with some of the world’s best freerunning athletes to bring the pavements to life with Nokia PureView technology (in 3D!!).
In part 1 (of 4) of our exciting articles on freerunning, we have a Nokia Connects exclusive interview with talented film maker, Claudiu Voicu, to accompany his stunning video debut. Stay tuned for more exclusive photos and interviews with the freerunners themselves in the coming weeks.
We wanted to highlight a ‘day in the life’ of three freerunners to you on Nokia Connects with the Street Games. So our first port of call was to speak to Claudiu Voicu (one of the best freerunning shooters around) who came to us a while ago looking to make some cool videos. He kindly agreed to get involved, as you will see below, but we also asked him to illustrate to you guys how a mobile phone can be a great tool for film making, when used correctly with the right gear/editing software and lighting (but you might need to talk to mother nature about the latter part!).
By shooting entirely with PureView technology Claudiu has managed to show how the camera fares from sunrise to sundown all over London, showcasing how the camera manages in good and low-light conditions.
I think you will definitely agree that he captured a great action and lifestyle montage – using not only a mobile phone, but the expertise of three of the top freerunners in the world – Pip Andersen, Kie Willis and Tim Shieff
The video certainly has a cinematic ring about it and I bet some of you are thinking “how the hell did he shoot it in 3D?” Well I thought it would be good to throw a few questions at the creator, because often the guys behind the camera get overlooked….
Welcome to Nokia Connects Claudiu, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you come from and what you do for a living?
I’m originally from Bucharest, Romania, but moved to London when I was 4 years old. I often got the chance to play around with various bits of technology as my Dad worked in the IT sector and was always bringing some cool stuff home. This interest in computers and technology first led to developing websites (and designing then in Photoshop) and then eventually video editing/shooting and photography – which is what the majority of my work consists of right now. I still make websites on the odd occasion but try to concentrate on and prioritise photo & video work more.
I had very high expectations of the PureView technology before I received the phones and I’m happy to say they were all met – and in some cases even exceeded. Although it has its restrictions – like a lot of other cameras – it’s impressed all of us with its flexibility and image quality, even when compared to my costly DSLRs.
Both the battery life and sound quality were also really, really impressive. In fact, it was probably just as good, if not better than that of my Canon 5DII in some occasions! I very easily obtained a full day’s usage out of the phones.
At times I found the phone to be a lot more fun to use than a DSLR as well – and it’s certainly a lot easier to carry around than a 10kg backpack full of lenses and equipment.
We noticed that you attached the cameras side by side on a bracket with Sellotape, why was this?
We thought it would be a good idea to shoot a 3D video. The keyword there being ‘thought’.
Although it’s very simple to set up and produce 3D photos, doing the same for video work involves a lot more effort in post-production. The phones did their job perfectly well but unfortunately a really simple 3D video workflow doesn’t exist, and editing in 3D for a few hours does eventually give you a headache. The effort is worth it in the end though as watching stuff with stereoscopic 3D glasses does look very cool.
The Sellotape and bits of tissue were used as ghetto shock-absorbers so we could get smoother shots while moving the cameras around at fast speeds.
Although our mount was a bit on the quick’n’dirty side of DIY work, it held up pretty well!
How do you think this camera technology will start moving even more dedicated camera users into mobile photography?
I already know a few pro photographers who use cheaper point & shoot cameras as secondary devices on their shoots and there’s no reason why PureView technology in mobile phones can’t replace those cameras. For a first public release of the technology it’s already very impressive, and I’ve no doubt that with the addition of new software features or shooting options it could become a very useful tool to have.
Street-photographers and journalists are two large groups of users I can see the technology having a major benefit for. Portability is one of the most important aspects in choosing equipment and for photography and video work it really doesn’t get much smaller than a phone.
For me personally there’s always a time when I was I had my DSLR on me, and I’d refuse to take a shot as a mobile camera wouldn’t be good enough – that’s totally changed now.
How did you get involved in extreme sports film/video making? What words of wisdom do you have for members of our community who want to do the same thing?
I’ve had an interest in sports for as long as I can remember and a lot of my friends used to either play football or roller hockey when we were really young. That eventually progressed to aggressive inline skating until the local council paved over our favourite skating spot! One day we saw a feature on freerunning and instantly decided it was something we wanted to try – and overnight our recently unskateable area become a playground and training ground for freerunning movement.
At the time it was almost impossible to easily share video footage but with the dawn of file-sharing apps and sites we could record the moves we were doing and share them on early freerunning sites and forums. YouTube was the website that changed everything though. It connected Freerunners from across the world and allowed everyone to very easily share the videos they were creating – sharing knowledge and new moves and inspiring others to create content with ever-increasing production values. Making these YouTube videos involving freerunning pushed me to learn about the various aspects of film production and later on photography as well.
The best advice I can give to others who want to produce similar content would be to learn as much as possible about the full video production process and more importantly to just go out and film as much and as often as possible. The best experience you can get will always be through hands-on, practical work. You don’t need an expensive camera to produce great content, so never let equipment hold you back!
We hear that you used to be involved in extreme sports yourself [if not mentioned above]? What did you used to do and do you practise anything now?
Although I don’t do much freerunning now, I still remain quite active and do some sort of exercise at least 5x a week. Cycling and Bouldering are my current favourite activities but during the Winter I do try to Snowboard abroad as much as possible. On the odd occasion I do go to a nearby gymnastics gym to throw a few somersaults and sprain an ankle or two…
Did anyone hurt themselves on the shoot? Where exactly where you filming the guys?
I’ve got a 100% safety record on my shoots (and I’m hoping it stays that way!). It’s important to note that although we do very-dangerous looking stunts, jumps, tricks or drops, we always check the location out for any potential risk factors – and we will never do something unless we’re totally confident that it will go just as planned. I think doing freerunning / parkour makes you far more aware of your environment than most other people as well, so you’re even more likely to spot any potential dangers while training or filming.
We shot around the usual training hotspots on or near London’s South Bank as the video was essentially ‘a day in the life of a bunch of Freerunners’. The stuff you see in the video is generally what happens when we meet up – which almost always involve starting the day at IMAX and moving around until sunset… and then going to Nandos…
What motivates you to get up and do what you do everyday?
I guess it’s the huge element of fun in what we do. I don’t really see it as work as I’m essentially going out with a few friends to capture funny, creative, risky and inspiring moments. Everyone is constantly improving and pushing the limits of what the human body can achieve so there’s always something new to capture on camera.
How long does it take you to edit something like this video? Do you get friends to help you out with any of the work?
Usually editing a video of this duration can take anywhere from one to several days – this edit in particular took several days as I had to spend a while syncing up footage from the 2 cameras and then aligning the 3D planes for each clip – a lot of hassle but worth it in the end!
For personal projects I usually do all of the post-production work myself. I enjoy editing, colour grading and motion graphics and if there’s something I can’t do straight away, I’ll look it up or read a few tutorials before passing on the work.
During filming however I normally have a few friends down to help film additional shots or to hold reflectors and lights, etc. It’s especially important when filming some of the more ambitious or dangerous freerunning moves as we need to cover as many camera angles as possible in one attempt. One friend in particular – Yassin Yassin – who’s now also getting into Photography himself, has helped me on nearly every freerunning shoot I’ve done and often throws in some really good ideas for shots I may have missed.
What is next for you and where can people find out more about the competition you are running?
Aside from freelancing on a few shoots, I’ll be directing a short corporate film featuring Tim, Kie and 2 other Freerunners. It’s going to be an action chase (as they always are!) but will involve some fairly ambitious movement and jumps – we’re currently planning to do perhaps one of the biggest jumps since the roof gap in the BBC Rush Hour advert.
Head here to WIN up to 3 Lumia 900’s
Storm Freerun -Volume 1
That’s it for part 1, check back in on Friday to see my interview with Tim ‘LiveWire’ Shieff. Don’t forget to enter the competition above to get your hands on a Lumia 900 and let us know what you think of the Pure technology below or using #NokiaPureView on Twitter.