After the release of the episode 5 of Greener Pastures we caught up with the Director of the gnarlly Stokumentary, he tells us about the scene in the Czech republic, more about the Kozakov Challenge. We also get an insight into the 3 weeks of filming that gave us this amazing series. We also talk about random stuff like downhill unicycling (yeah WTF?) and the ISPO in Munich this weekend.
Hey Vit, where are you from?
Hi, I’m originally from the Czech Republic, but in recent years I have changed my location a few times, including Turkey and now Austria.
Where did you start skating?
Actually I was never too interested in skating but then I suddenly discovered longboarding through a friend of mine and it became my passion immediately. I went to one of the first downhill sessions in Czech without any board.
When/Where was that?
Surprisingly it was not famous Kozakov but a hill called Seninka where the Czech longboard community roots sprang from about 5 years ago.
Do you only freeride/downhill?
Both are cool enough for me.
Last week we had the pleasure to speak to Miloslav from ‘’custom boards’’. He also said he started longboarding in Seninka. What is so special about this spot? How did the community start there?
I guess its just thanks to the location, because generally its hard to find good spots in Czech (surface, traffic, steepnes). This road is in the middle of nowhere, near the Czech-Polish border so there is very little traffic and it has an almost new surface.
You can get the feeling how sessions are from this video by Crocan.
Nice. What is the Czech longboard community like?
I would say it’s like most other communities. Open to everybody who wants to share the passion for this uprising sport. But in the Czech community you have to be ready to drink heavily before, during and after sessions.
Big thanks go to Thomas Kahle who is the so called godfather of Czech longboarding and Jan Profous who is the main organizer of Kozakov Challenge.
Great to see so many people working to stoke the scene. What is your role in the community there?
I found my position very quickly because besides riding, I love to share stories through photography and of course filming. Its a great opportunity to get know more about people and maybe find the true spirit and soul of longboarding. At least for me.
Do you prefer longboarding or taking photos and videos of people longboarding?
Haha, you can’t compare this. Both gives me a unique feeling. Just when you are filming it takes some time before you can enjoy the outcome.
You’re the official photographer/film-maker for Czech events?
It’s never just a one man job, so I decided to involve a few of my friends and started 3heads production which produced first two Kozakov Challenge videos and also official video from Skate Slalom World Championship 2010 held in Hradec Králové, Czech.
Here I have to mention also Marek Vanourek known as “Crocan” who produced many excellent longboard videos from Czech community and this year Kozakov Challenge 2011 official video is entire his work.
What is 3heads?
It all started during high school where we produced couple short movies as part of our studies. Later it become open production group and more and more people are getting involved. We also started to produce weird home made equipment like crane car or octocopter cam which we use in our videos. More at www.3heads.info
Most of us still study so it’s not real company and its more about passion for filming but its slowly getting in the point where we are able to earn some money doing this so maybe one time…
My thanks goes to Tomáš Kraus and Ondřej Homolka who started whole thing together with me.
Who is on the 3heads team right now and what are their roles?
Tomáš Kraus – engineer / camera / editor
Ondřej Homolka – script
Tomáš Pořízek – production
Daniel Pék – octocopter / helicam pilot
George Pinkava – visual effects
Martin Kaňůrek – crane / octocoptercam operator
Vít Hašek – camera / editor / director
What is an octocopter? Sounds like robocop’s pet squid!
Actually it is a stalkers best “pet”. It’s a 8 propeller helicopter carrying camera which is controlled by 2 operators. Pilot and a camera guy who see live video stream into goggles and can control pan and rotate of camera independently on position of octocopter.
Octocopter itself can be controlled manully or by GPS waypoints and its able to fly up to 200m above ground. Its possible to fly it also in the night thanks to positioning lights.
Usually it doesn’t crash but shit happened right during filming Greener Pastures. It was scary moment to see it going down behind 50m high road cliff on a mountain pass road in Swiss and falling into river stream but our pilot Dan did an incredible job, repaired it in 5 days so we could use it during Kozakov race too.
Recently many film-makers buy cheap 4 propeller versions of it carrying GoPros but our one is all modified and able to carry heavy DSLR cameras or even Red Scarlet camera.
You built it yourself?
Our pilot Dan Pék is incredible guy with lot experience flying acrobatic helicopters professionally. To build and control the octocopter is piece of cake for him.
Haha so he is the stalker? What’s a Red Scarlet?
I would say he just likes to build and control these toys but who knows? Camera guys know about Red company for sure. The Scarlet is high-end camera filming in RAW 4-K format. You can’t compare this with filming on DSLR.
Great stuff. Are you involved with film-making outside longboarding?
Sure. Extreme sports film-making in general is my field of interest. I produced also downhill unicycle or freeski videos in the last years.
DOWNHILL UNICYCLE? Wow. Going down with 4 wheels is interesting. What is it like with 1 wheel?
Haha, it looks painful so I rather stayed away form this. Riders I spoked to says its not. You can see more in this video http://vimeo.com/12739043.
Man! That is crazy. How do you use a unicycle wearing leathers? How do you slide with 1 wheel?
Thats a great challenge for pioneers of future sport called maybe uniboarding.
Haha. Good luck to them. How was this season for you?
It all started with the Kurescek cup race in Slovenia in April 2011, and after this I jumped immediately on preparation for Greener Pastures project which was finished just two weeks ago. So very busy and productive.
Busy times! How did you get involved with Greener Pastures?
I would say it all started at Kozakov 2010 where I met Patrick Switzer, Ramon, Yvon and others. They were willing to do runs behind our Crane car and it turned out to be amazing footage.
Then Patrick contacted me in January 2011 with his idea to make skate trip which later become known as Greener Pastures and wanted 3heads capture it.
What happened since January 2011 till today?
First of all we had to come up with a frame which can suit a skate trip like GP. And it turned out a web series turned out as the best solution.
Fortunately we (3heads) had full trust in Patrick in terms of storyline and topics for each episode which was crucial because we wanted to show more than just a bunch of people skating down the road as you can see in the most longboard videos. Our goal was to show also what happens behind all this, what real personalities of riders can be and connect all episodes with kind of storyline through infamous white wheels which appears in all episodes and despite many expectations didn’t become new superb wheel produced by one of the companies who sponsored GP.
Then we had to prepare for filming for 3 weeks in row. Usually we filmed 3-4 days in a row so this was a completely new experience. Especially when you as film-maker have to face the fact you are gonna sleep in a tent or car and maybe tens of kilometres away from any electricity plug.
And finally edit of all the footage which in total took about 5 months.
How did you charge your equipment?
We had two powerful AC/DC convertors pluged on car battery which can give you 220V.
Apart from sleeping outside for 3 weeks, what was the biggest challenge on this project?
To not start using speed! We changed about 10 locations in 3 weeks (where Kozakov was 6 days of it) so you can imagine we really didn’t have much time to sleep and I haven’t even considered time to eat at all. As a film-maker you have to be on location (which you never saw before in this case) before the riders arrive and of course you will be the last one to leave after you pack all the equipment.
Second biggest challenge I would say was the size of the group. It was very hard to keep filming flow fluent with no long breaks when you have to direct a group of 9 riders so nobody gets bored too soon and motivation stays high for the entire 3 weeks. Fortunately Partick and Ramon helped with this and also Yvon by setting up all timelapse and cablecam shots.
It must have been a great help having 3 of the riders being film-makers
What was role of 3heads in Greener Pastures?
Well everything you can imagine connected with film-making. Script planning, shooting, editing and on top of that coming with crazy ideas such as night filming with flares.
Episode 4! That was an awesome scene, did anyone get hurt?
I guess there was a couple small burns but nothing serious as many would expect after playing with 100 flares.
How many days did you spend in Switzerland?
Swiss part took 14 days and then we moved to Kozakov.
What was the highlight of the trip for you?
Definitely night filming because we had no clue if its gonna work out well or not and it did more than well. And Kozakov for sure thanks to incredible parties and knowing we accomplished that crazy filming marathon with none of the riders getting hurt.
It must have been awesome being back on home turf. How was Kozakov for you this year?
It was funny because we actually didn’t tell anybody from Czech that we have been filming GP before arriving to Kozakov and then we suddenly showed up with the teaser right in the middle of the craziest mustache party ever! People got really surprised and stoked. That was moment to remember for me.
Great. So was this the first time anyone heard about GP?
Exactly. We also stopped Yvon to post any picture during we were still on the trip.
Now that GP is over, what are your plans for next season?
Well its January again and I’m gonna meet with Patrick and Ramon this weekend at the ISPO sports trade fair in Munich, Germany. Who knows how this will end up.
We will be there! It seems like everyone will. Why are you going to Munich?
The company I do my internship at is going to participate too. Its called Zooom agency and works mainly for RedBull. And of course to meet that two crazy dudes.
Look out for one of us, Luigi – he has an epic moustache and should be rocking an AllAroundSkate tshirt.
If his moustache will be on that tshirt Im gonna buy one.
His moustache will be on the floor – it is that long!
Do you go for any other races apart from Kozakov?
Not really. I don’t consider myself to be on that level to race equally. So I will rather stay riding for my own joy and wait if somebody will invite me and 3heads to film some races. Australia would be OK for me.
What do you ride?
Fullbag Speedstyler on Randal R-II trucks.
What do you do when you’re not making films/skating?
Beside other sports as basketball or free skiing I study at Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech at field of photography.
Nice. It’s been great talking to you man. Great job on a great series. If you’re not doing much the weekend of June 2-4, come to England for the first stop of the IGSA tour. If you decide to bring your stalker pet, we won’t complain!
Pleasure. Thanks for this interview opportunity and hopefully see you in June!
Hopefully! Last question. Choose 3 numbers between 1-20
11, 7, 20
11 – What’s your favourite sandwich filling ?
7 – What is your favourite cheese ?
Parmigiano reggiano. Thanks Francesco to supply me with it!
20- If every job paid the same amount, what would you do?
Be a pro surfer. Well its not a job really but I would like to be.
Awesome stuff. Thanks again.
Thanks to everybody involved in Greener Pastures and thank you guys at AllAroundSkate for sharing your thrill for it as well as for the Czech longboarding scene!