Author Archives: Chris Mortenson

Chasing Light with Vince Perraud

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Interview and editorial photos by Chris Mortenson. All other photos credited to Vince Perraud.

I’ve been a fan of Vince’s work for quite sometime now. His photographs are more than just pictures of people doing tricks. He is capturing the culture that surrounds BMX in one of the purest ways I’ve seen in. Be it using natural light or throwing a small strobe in the mix, his photographs capture what it feels like to be out riding with your friends and enjoying all the adventures that riding bikes can bring. When I found out that he was coming through Los Angeles for the Couch Riding trip I set up a time to link up on a roof in Hollywood and watch him make some pictures with flatlander Matthias Dandois. After hanging out with Vince I can say he is one of the most humblest of people I’ve met and I can’t wait to see what he creates in the future.

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For the people who might not know you, can you please just give a little introduction?

Yo What’s up! I’m Vince Perraud I come from France and I take picture for something like 9 years now, a bunch of BMX… and I never meet up Jean De Crepe aha.
 
You have a pretty big collection of cameras in your bag, could you talk a little bit about this and how you came to have such diversity?

Ah yes I have a bunch of cameras because all of them have a specificity and it’s fun to use!! OK I have to admit all of them are half fucked so I need all of this to shoot! It depends on what subject I’m shooting. It’s just cool to vary from fucking digital.

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What is your favorite camera to shoot with and why?

Depends on the mood but I would say the good old Bronica SQ! It’s medium format so the 120 film gives a good result, nice depth of field and you can synch at 1/500…and it’s cheap too!!

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When out shooting do you have any special process you go through while making images, or do you let things happen organically?

I would say improvisation but now I try to work on it, like check the location, best time to shoot with the good light etc…
 
Do you find inspiration in photography outside of BMX, and if so, do you find it easy to adapt that inspiration into BMX photography?

Yeah I try to check all sort of photography, like music, architecture, fashion… and mix it because to make nice pics for any subject you have to work on the composition, light etc… But bmx is really free and there are so many aspects to the culture, I don’t necessarily think about it, but bmx (same as skate) photography is really creative!!
 
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I’ve noticed in your newer work, you are shooting with a lot of natural light vs. strobes. Can you just talk a little bit about the shift and how it has affected your shooting style.

Ah yeah I shoot more natural cause my flashes are fucked!! You have to make choices also when you travel by plane, it’s really annoying to be limited on stuff you can bring with you overseas, so recently I was less into flashes and I tried to work more with ambient… and it takes less time to set up so you don’t piss of the riders. You ready already! It’s better for lifestyle too!

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Who are some of your favorite photographers outside of BMX?

I have a bunch of various inspiration but the ones that are always sick are: Foster Huntington, Scott Pommier, Chris Burkard, Kenneth Cappello, Brian Gabermann, Eric Antoine, Michel Sedan, Jérôme Tanon, Kristina Fender, Fred Mortagne, Mike Piscitelli… in no particular order.. My favorite at the moment is Purienne.
 
Do you have any personal projects you are working on?

Good question! I would say going to vacation with my girl…
 
Do you think it is necessary to study photography to understand how to create good images?

Hum not sure, most of the dudes I know never study photo… but it’s a good advantage to know the sport well when you snap bikes for example…
 
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How do you think the ease of image sharing has effected photography within BMX?

I don’t know, everything is going faster and faster. It can bring more ideas or creativity but I feel like it’s too much nowadays…too much shit and the good stuff are flooded in middle of crap… it’s also harder to stand out…
 
When was it that you felt like you really hit your stride and found your vision as a photographer?

I’m still searching ahah.

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Do you have any advice for the up and coming shooters of the world?

Go out with you friends and snap instead of chilling in front of the laptop! 😉

Photography below by Vince Perraud.

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Vince Perraud West Coast Photo Gallery

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I had the pleasure of hanging out with Vince Perraud last week while working on a little something for Push It A Stop (stay tuned). But he just dropped a pretty dope gallery from his 20 day trip through the west. You can check it out here.

Sandy Carson “A View From the Pit”

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Let’s face it BMX and photography go hand in hand. So many riders pick up cameras and are able to produce quality photographs. So I was extremely excited to find some of Sandy Carson‘s personal work up on one of my favorite photo blogs this morning. The series documents concert goers on the front lines of concerts and was shot over the course of 8 years. Check out the rest of the gallery and interview here.

“Not Just For Calling” | The Hadrien Picard Interview

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Photos by Hadrien Picard interview by Chris Mortenson

Hadrien Picard seems to be able to do it all. Transitioning between the role of photographer and videographer is no easy task, however he seems to do it effortlessly and beautifully. Recently he has been pushing the limits of filming by shooting all his films on Nokia Lumia phone. Filming things on a phone is not a new concept, but with camer/phone technology getting better and better they are starting to turn into a necessity for any filmer/photographers bag. I caught up with Hadrien to find out more about his filming process and what he thinks about this new territory camera phones.

Can you give us a small introduction about yourself?

I am Hadrien Picard. I’m 31 and live around Paris. I’ve been riding for 20 years but I’m still terrible on a bike. I’ve been shooting photos for 16 years & thank god I’m a little less terrible at that. I’ve started to film around 7-8 years ago. I never thought I’d say this but I have the chance to be a pro photographer and filmer.

How did you make the transition from photographer to videographer?

For me, video has always seemed like a close cousin of photography. It has always interested me.
I’m not sayin I did everything in photo, very far from that, every day I realize that, but it was less a challenge for me at that time. I had a DV camera for a couple of years but something changed when video mode start to be included in DSLR. I was totally amazed by the quality and; the feel of the images from the 1st DSLRs that could film like the D90 & 5DMKII. So I bought a 7d and started to play with it. I did a couple of vids here and there, then I won the Nike StandBy Barcelona which helped me to look like a « legit » filmer haha.

I still and; will always shoot photos. It’s honestly cool to do both, it’s hard but it’s really rewarding for yourself to think you have done both. Video is a lot more work than photo, so I’m really happy when I can shoot photos ONLY.

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What’s your current filming set up like?

I still have my lovely JVC HM100 but the majority of clips I film are with a Nikon D800 and; a Sony FS700 that maybe, besides my flat, is the most expensive thing I have ever bought. I’m pretty happy with it!

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How did you start filming with the Nokia camera/phone?

They contacted me because they were looking for someone who was good in photo and; video in our sports.

Nokia used to be involved in BMX years ago so they knew BMX, skate and; snowboard are really photogenic/videogenic. They wanted people to shoot with their Lumias to show their cameras capabilities. I think they also like the spirit of BMX, skate and; snowboard. We met in the end of 2012 and; we talked about what we can do and Nokia Pureviews, and a creative community based around shooting with their Lumia lines, was born.

What are some of the challenges with filming on a phone? and did you have any hesitation putting down a video camera for a camera phone?

Those things are really light, which is good for your back, but I also thought that it can be a problem for stability. You have to pay attention to even small shakings but it’s actually less than I thought. There is an optical stabilisator inside that does great job.

Obviously a smartphone is and; will never be a DSLR : the sensor is small (even if the 1020 has a pretty big one) and; you can’t change lens. Some actually can but what’s the use having a smartphone that is big like DSLR at the end?

For sure it’s not a FS700 but overall I think the images look pretty damn good. Some riders were a little stressed to send it in front of a smartphone but when they saw the images they were confident about the result.

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Your films are all very well done. How much does editing and post come into play? and could you give a little insight into your editing process?

Thanks!

I think editing is at least as important as filming. Photography is very exigent at the moment : a photo is good or bad. Period. But you can actually make a good video from not so good clips. The real difficulty of filming compared to shooting photos is that, even if it’s at the minimal scale, it’s not a movie, you have to think a little to what kind of shots you need if you want to make an intro, show something particular etc…

A photo could be great by its own but a video is an addition of a lot of clips so you have to think a little before & after about how organising it!

Music is also a third of the clip. It’s super important. It’s funny how I’m not a specialist in music but I really like to follow the most I can so the clip at the end is a perfect mix between sound and image.

I didn’t do any film/photo class so my editing process may not be the best! I don’t rename anything, I drag and drop all the clips I have in the time line and; from there cut and; select them and then bit by bit make the edit.

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With camera and phone technology getting better every year, how do you think this is going to change the way we make films?

It has already changed a lot of things! Thanks to DSLR we can achieve a look that was impossible before. Things will become more and more close to perfection and; cheaper and; cheaper. But at the end, even with a Red Epic, if you suck you suck. It will never change that.

Smartphone speaking, they have 3 huge strenghs that may cause some big trouble to camera manufacturers: The image they make is getting better and; better and; can be usable for a lot of projects. Another strengh of the smartphone is that you carry it EVERYWHERE. It does so many thing it’s obvisouly already in your pocket, so you can shoot very fast whatever happen in front of you. « The best camera is the on you have » Remember. And finally phones are connected. Really important for geeks like us haha. But it’s true that more and more cameras can be connected. I bought a small panasonic that’s so smart it can send the photos to a phone via a wifi networks it creates. Crazy!

Do you have any other big projects coming out this year?

I have some really, really good stuff coming this year with Nokia…

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Do you have any advice for future filmers out there?

Go out and shoot! Don’t wait, don’t be shy. If you want to learn, it’s 1000 times easier now that before thanks to digital and internet. Look around you to understand how things works but always remember not to copy/paste what is fashion today. Create your own style.

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Daniel Benson | The Diggest

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Photographer Daniel Benson has a photo gallery and interview up on The Diggest. I grew up looking at Benson’s BMX work in all the UK magazines so it was refreshing to see some of his work outside of BMX as well. Check it out here.

QSS6 Premiere @onsomeshitla Photo Gallery

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Photos by Chris Mortenson

Last Saturday was the LA premiere of Animal Bikes QSS6 video. A good amount of riders came out to the On Some Shit store to enjoy the video and meet Nigel Sylvester and Ralphy Ramos. The kids were hyped, the video was awesome, and good times were had by everyone.

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Kids outside the store waiting to see the video.

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Stevie Churchill deciding whether or not he can three whip this motorcycle.

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Nate Richter.

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Alfredo Manusco looking extremely surprised to have his photo taken.

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Ralphy Ramos and Nigel Sylvester throwing out some Animal goods to the kids.

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Every person for themselves during the product toss.

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Nigel Sylvester poses.

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This helmet probably went on Ebay right after Nigel gave it his signature.

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An extremely excited Adam22 poses with some fans.

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Jeff Cadger enjoying the couch.

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Lil D and Alex Platt.

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LA legends.

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Jeff Cadger, 180.

Miles Rogoish x Filming

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Photos and interview by Chris Mortenson

Miles Rogoish is not a stranger to the BMX world. Most people know that he is as talented in front of the camera as he is behind it. His videos capture the raw energy of BMX and allow the viewer to see into a session through an unedited window. After watching the Stranger Mixtape a few times I decided to hit up Miles and find out what goes into his filming and editing process.

You’ve been in the filming game for a long time, how long was it before you really felt like you hit your stride with your film work?
I’ve been filming for almost as long as I have been riding, I really caught the first stride during the beginning of the TWM (Tuesdays With Miles) series. Once I was laying footage to music and color correcting once a week besides the other projects I was working on it started to be a steady routine. Now I have the same stride but it just gets better everyday, except for my OCD making me nuts since I have a checklist of about 10 things I have to make sure are just right after actually editing the piece. Shits hectic these days between my Mac screen and the inside of my brain.

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What’s your current filming gear set up?
I have 2 current set ups
1- Sony VX 2100, Century Optics Mark II Death Lens
2- Panasonic HMC150, Century Optics .03 Extreme Fish
And I am currently looking at grabbing a Cannon 7D DSLR set up for filming mediums outside of BMX.

What’s your editing process like?
FAWK, Get it done I guess? I have more projects unfinished on my computer now than I have ever had. Guess it really depends on the project. If it’s a long term project it’s not ready till it is. If its a quick content piece then I import, lay down the preferred timeline by trick difficulty, watch it with the sound off to random music, pick a track, chop it up, ramp slo, color correct, audio adjustment, titles, and export! I love the feeling of a piece being complete and dialed from start to finish, even the fades come in and end on beats, nothing just gets set down and is “fine” it has to be perfectly on point for me to be able to move to the next.

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What’s your best advice for filming lines?
Get on a skateboard with big soft quiet wheels and if you hit a crack grab that mother fucker like its your own child. A lens blemish can put filming on old for as long as it takes century to replace the front element. Also get UP IN THERE! Don’t be scared to get up and close with the crunchiness, the closer you are without chopping heads and wheels is the prime distance to be from the rider the whole time you are filming a “line”.

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What filmers in the game do you look up to?
BMX Filmers – Tony Ennis, Tony Malouf, Will Stroud, Ryan Navazio, and Ty Morrow actually kills the film game, plus a small handful of the homies know what it is to get crunchy.

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Filming for the Stranger Mix, was it nice to get back on that VX kick?
I never jumped off baby! What you think this is Chris! I had been using the VX for The Trip and the Deadline video, which is currently playing on my flat screen right past this laptop #CRUNCHberries. If anything the VX has been chillin harder then ever but is still filming some upcoming Trip vids you guys should start to see soon. #VXForLife #NeverForget

The editing for the new Stranger Mix was done really well. Could you just share a little about what went into it and how you approached the project?
Always loved the raw and real life style edits with teams and squads around the world, that style editing is my preferred go to style, but you have to have the right project and people to make it happen. No offense I don’t think you could make a ramp rider mix with the same vibe… That being said, this project literally fell out of my mind and hands as easy and dope as it could. Rich Hirsch handled most of the tracks and once the soundtrack was picked the formula is pretty straight forward considering Rich and I know whats worth seeing and how fast you should see it. A little B-roll between rider sections and there ya have it…

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Any advice for the up and coming filmers out there?
Just go shoot and be inspired by everything you see. Instead of bitching about VX vs. HD or tripod vs. skateboard or anything you think you can complain about just focus that energy on creating something new for someone else to rant about. You’ll stay happy and your video work will keep improving. Never compete against anyone but yourself.

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Huge thanks to Stranger for the opportunity to have so much creative input into the video aspect of the brand, Its amazing working with people who are on the same page with ideas and actions and to top it off Rich Hirsch and Aaron Brenner (teammate / team manager) are two of my most solid friends. Osiris shoes for supporting me while I ride and not being bummed I wear out my right shoe extremely faster then the left due to filming the homies on a skateboard. The Trip for giving me my time here on earth surrounded by beautiful and amazing souls that share the same passion. Anyone I have ever pointed a camera at me or was scared to hold my camera back at me, I love you all. Cheers ++

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