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July 6, 2012

PureView Freerunning Part 2: Tim 'Livewire' Shieff [Interview]

On Wednesday we launched our ‘PureView Freerunning’ series with a truly astounding video shot on the streets of London, if you missed it I highly recommend you take a look. As promised I’m going to show you the first of three interviews with the guys that appeared in the video. Here is Tim Shieff to kick off PureView Freerunning Part 2 for Nokia Connects….

……**up steps** Tim ‘Livewire’ Shieff, the 2009 World Freerun Championship winner and RedBull Art of Motion champion.

Hey Tim, welcome to Nokia Connects. What were your first thoughts when you heard you would be using the 41MP PureView technology to capture your sport in this video?

I thought damn, that’s like a step up, I remember the days of the 2MP camera phone and that wasn’t too many years ago! When I heard 41MP I was like, that’s the death of bog standard camera phones, we have reached the DSLR mobile phone camera age. We all use good DSLR cameras now but people could just switch to camera phones. Cut all the equipment out that comes with a DSLR and just get your phone out! It would make this sport a lot easier to film on the go.

PureView technology is the first of its kind, when was the first time you ever used a mobile phone camera?

My first phone was the Nokia 7600, you know the cool, weird shaped one with numbers either side of the screen, mine had a crazy gold cover and I shot some cool freerunning videos on it that are now lost in time. It ended up getting stolen on Clapham Common in the end, but that was the first phone I had with a camera and I loved it.

Would you ever use a phone camera to improve your technique?

Yea definitely. I think the best way to improve technique is to film yourself. People can tell you how to improve technique, and tell you what you are doing wrong all day long, but until you actually watch yourself and you watch other people on film its hard to change/improve or whatever. You can set a camera up to film yourself, go back and watch it, then see what you are doing wrong. It’s not the same for everyone but for me progression comes from watching my own technique and then seeing what I can change.

If I told you to make full advantage of the PureView’s 4 x zoom in full HD by taking a photo of a busy scene somewhere in the world where would you go and why?

Hmm where would I go. I just really want to go to Egypt right now, to see the Pyramids. I know it’s not very busy but I’d love to shoot the Pyramids and then zoom in to see all of the details on the brick work and symmetrical  lines. That would be really cool.

PureView Pro imaging technology gets rid of all distortion in photos, would this be helpful for any of your friends who shoot freerunning for a living? Do you get annoyed when you pull off an amazing trick and the photo is distorted?

If it gets rid of distortion then that’s great for people who shoot freerunning, your legs are always moving pretty fast so its tough to capture them in flight. I hate motion blur, especially when I’ve just pulled off a massive jump and my mate doesn’t get the shot ha! If the camera gets rid of the blur then that’s a blessing.

You can crop and frame images on the spot with PureView Pro Imaging, if I took a photo of you, Kate Middleton and the Queen and you had to crop one of them out, who would it be and why?

It would have to be Kate Middleton! She’s taken now ha. The Queen is cool enough, I can just hang with her in the photo.

When shooting a video the PureView handles a staggering 1 billion pixels per second through its processing chain. If I gave you a billion pounds now to make a film about your life who would you cast to play you and where would it be set?

I would get Matt Damon or Brad Pitt to play me and it would be set between London and LA. I’m thinking it would be a little bit like Entourage, but I wouldn’t get Vinnie Chase to be in it because he’s like the most un-cool guy ever in my eyes. Basically there would be loads of boats, big cars and beautiful women.

Have many phones have you broken performing your sport?

I broke my last phone by shattering the screen doing a ‘360 precision’ trick and I think I broke the one before that when I was on a night out with my friends and they got me to do some tricks whilst I was wearing my best clothes. The phone slipped out of my pocket when I was upside down and it smashed to pieces, it was worth it though because my tricks made people happy! I find it hard to resist pulling off freerun tricks when I’m out with friends.

Do you think this technology will start moving even more ‘dedicated camera’ users into mobile photography?

Yea 100%, when I usually work with Claudio he shoots on a DSLR, but to change to the PureView and the footage ends up looking equal to the DSLR in post-production you’ve got to put your hands up and say, drop all of that equipment and stick with this little phone ha.

What was your first big competition experience?

It was my first ‘RedBull Art of Motion’ in Vienna 2007, I was feeling fresh in the game at the time and I had such a different style to everyone, so I genuinely thought I wouldn’t be accepted by those participating and the hardcore fans watching. But then out of nowhere I made the final, and thought to myself, hey, I’ve got a pretty good future in this sport if people keep appreciating my style, because it is quite a unique style. I was stoked to come fourth and pumped up to carry on performing in big competitions.

What are your thoughts about the future of the sport?

We are in a perfect position right now because this sport is like a teenager growing  up; we can shape how this teenager becomes an adult. It’s been around for 15/20 years now and I’m like, skateboarding is at the stage now where its a billion dollar industry and its developed and set, whereas we’re about to go into that stage where companies are going to start to put money into this sport. Pip, Kie and I are kind of like the leaders of the sport and we can determine its direction by who we associate ourselves with and whether we sell out or back ourselves to keep the sport pure. The third generation of kids are coming into the sport now and they are pretty talented, but we aren’t sure yet that their minds are in the right place. We are different as the second generation of sport, we learnt about the morals of freerunning and the freedom of expression from the first generation, without a competition or big brands in sight. Whereas the third generation have grown up just seeing the recent-ish competitions and the money that comes with it. So I guess we have to watch this space.

What is a typical day in your life?

It involves a lot of music and seeing friends; I go to a lot of gigs, concerts and festivals. Music helps me train but it also helps me get in the right mood if I’m feeling down etc. I like future garage, rap and classical, three very different sounds and each of them are equally important to me, but of course my musical tastes don’t just end there. I also love to ride my motorbike.

What are your goals for the future?

I would love to be in a video game, Tony Hawks Pro Skater was such an inspiring game for me growing up. To see all of the pro skateboarders in the game  inspiring so many people, including my friends, to get out and skate was so cool. So I would love my own freerunning game, or at least to be a character in one. Also, I would love to develop my own shoe, manufacturers haven’t asked the right questions when it comes to creating a specialised freerunning shoe. So I want to be involved in that process, to  move the sport forwards, developing the most efficient and safe equipment for freerunning athletes possible.

Finally, if I sent you to an island to survive on your own for six months what three items would you take with you?

Item 1 – something to open coconuts

Item 2 – my music player with all my tunes on

Item 3 – a massive book of Sudoku puzzles


Wow, what an interview. Thanks for your time Tim and we wish you all the best for the future. Have a look at the  YouTube channel to see loads more of Tim’s work (this is my favourite video featuring Tim – Storm Freerun Volume 1) or find the ‘Livewire’ himself on Twitter.

If you have any questions about the interview above, the Street Games video (available in 3D or 2D) or freerunning in general then please leave your comment below or tweet us @Nokia_Connects.