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July 11, 2012

PureView Freerunning Part 4: Kie Willis [Interview]

Part 4 has officially arrived! Sadly the final instalment in our ‘PureView Freerunning’ series. So far we’ve brought you exclusive interviews with Tim Shieff, Pip Andersen and an amazing 2D/3D freerunning video by Claudiu Voicu. Today I’m going to deliver you the third and final freerunner from our 3D PureView debut, straight to your door. I’m pleased to introduce Kie Willis to you guys..let’s begin. 

Before we start the interview here is a little bit of background on Kie himself. Kie has performed freerunning and stunts in many successful TV and film productions and is well known on YouTube for the video ‘Professor Longhair, Big Chief’ which has nearly generated 3 million views. Kie came second place in the prestigious RedBull Art Of Motion competition in Kuwait, and first place in the Puma FreeRunning Race competition in Buenos Aires.

Hey Kie, 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 was pretty excited because I’m really into filming and taking photos, I knew nothing about the camera before the shoot until I looked it up. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty sceptical about it and generally didn’t believe you could get so many megapixels into one camera phone but after using it I was blown away by the quality. The image quality is literally insane.

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

Yeah it is like the most handy thing to do, if you are out training and you want to find out how to improve your move you are not going to get out some massive video camera, it’s obviously easier to whip out your phone and get snapping. I always look back at my tricks when someone like Claudio is filming me.

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?

I would without doubt head to Tokyo and take a photo of the Shibuya crossing, an awesome place to capture from one of the skyscrapers. It literally has thousands upon thousands of people crossing it every day.

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?

I work with so many camera crews, but I generally set up my own cameras and get friends to hold them. When a shot is distorted it drives me crazy, but it’s more annoying when you pull off a trick badly and you can’t see where you went wrong.

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?

Kate Middleton would definitely have to go, she has only just married into the family after all. The Queen is the real hero in this photo, she’s the big dawg ha!

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?

It would have to be set in London and the UK. I wouldn’t get anyone famous to play me, I would play me! It would take me too long to pick someone so to save time I would put myself forward for the lead role, after all it’s my film and I can choose whoever I want.

How many phones have you broken performing your sport?

I’ve never broken a phone because I’m not stupid enough to leave it in my pocket. I know Pip and Tim have been through a few phones though, I managed to learn my lesson from a young age.

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

I hope so because it’s handy to have a really decent camera attached to your phone as well as a separate camera like a DSLR that does a bit more. I assume that as camera technology like this gets better and better the DSLR will eventually become extinct.

What does freerunning mean to you?

It’s my job, my life and what I do most days. Before I started freerunning I was in school and college, looking to study graphic design at university but I decided to pack it all in to focus on the sport.

How did you manage to get fully immersed in the sport?

I made some videos and got some sponsorship from a team that was running at that time called Urban Freeflow. They were offering sponsorship to up and coming athletes back then but they no longer sponsor me, they were definitely a great foot hold for me to push up the ladder.

Do you do any supplementary training in the gym to support your freerunning?

No not at all really, every now and then I will go to a gymnastics gym to touch up on my skills and to try some new stuff, but I don’t do any weight lifting or anything like that.

Have you got any good injury stories for us?

Yes, I actually had a bit of a freak accident about four years ago, I jumped off a wall and smashed what must have been a hairline fracture in my ankle. A huge chunk of bone snapped off my ankle and popped out of my skin! Horrific stuff, will never forget it.

How do you overcome fear?

If I think I’m going to die then I won’t do it!

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 – A big tank of water

Item 2 – Nuts

Item 3 – Processed meat that isn’t going to go off for a while


Kie was certainly very relaxed throughout the interview and very easy to talk to! You can find out more about Kie by heading here to his homepage or here 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.