Thursday, September 19, 2013

Five reasons: A Love Reigns Supreme

Authors note: while writing this post, I was under the impression that Mr. Tumey was at the helm of Love Reigns Supreme, however, I awoke to the following on Facebook... Adam Howard told me, check your sources. Although Tumey isn't the man behind the video, I'm still stoked. The Love guys know how to skate, and I'm 90% sure that the skateboarding public won't be let down.

Anyone who knows of the blog knows exactly how the people behind the blog feel about the original LOVE video, 2011's Labor of Love. It's one of a few perfect specimens of what a skate video truly is: short, sweet, no filler, and it leaves you wanting more. It's also an added bonus that a little more than half of Labor of Love was filmed in Detroit, so it has the sort of flavor that seeing spots you skate on a semi-normal basis (or in some cases spots we wish we could skate) get skated. Assuming that Mr. Jim Tumey is at the helm again, one can assume that the video will be just as good as the former. Unfortunately though, look at most sequels and infamous cases of what is known as the 'Sophomore Jinx' (case in point: Donnie Darko 2, Nas' 'It Was Written', the list could go on for days.) I'm confident that Tumey knows exactly what he was doing, as everything about Labor of Love was absolutely perfect, down to the song choices, minimal HD, and a lack of a over polished motif. Here are the five reasons why Detroit NEEDS 'Love Reigns Supreme' to come out.
5 - There are finally eyes on Detroit
With recent excursions to the city by Emerica, DVS, RVCA, Thrasher's Skate Rock tour, 5Boro, Jake Johnson, wonder-kid Mark Suciu and kind words by Quartersnacks, it can be stated that a lot of people are finally seeing that Detroit's scene and not-blown-out-by-out-of-towners spots could mean that making a trip to the (supposedly) mid-west's (but Chicago is seen as east coast, in skateboarding terms, and that's to the west of us so why is Michigan mid-west) best kept secret may be worth fitting in to an annual budget. If anyone is going to be doing good shit on fucked spots, let it be locals who actually know what they're doing (The Love Dudes).
4 - Jim's 'Filmer's Eye'
If Tumey is the man behind this new flick, like expected, he will continue to be the best filmed in Detroit. His editing to the beat, choosing songs that help the video flow together, (a main problem with some videos is that they seem to be a collection of YouTube one off parts, which makes these videos flow like a Mixtape one would make for themselves on a long car ride, where as Labor of Love flows like an album, with a conscious effort on there being a sense of uniformity, that being jazzy songs.) his manner of filming things, and even choosing what actually ends up in the video helped push Labor of Love to be in heavy rotation in the authors DVD player. His style is simple, not too unpolished or over polished, and minimalistic, but it works wonders. His editing also is beautiful. In the first shared montage, one of the Watamaniuks has two lines back to back (a nollie over a hydrant followed by a nollie heel on flat and one push ; a nollie flip on flat followed by on Ollie onto a slanted mail box looking thing). The lines flow together beautifully, as Tumey cut the two clips, so that the first half of the push at the end of the first line cuts quickly to the last half of of the push at the beginning of the second line, just before the nollie flip on flat. The simple edit creates that flowing aspect of a video that reads as having flowing lines that do not look planned out, and is very much a subliminal flexing of editing muscles.
3 - Skaters Eye (and filmer's eye, continued)
No matter how 'good' someone is at filming and editing, (I put good into quotes because obviously good is subjective. Some folks are down with the Ty Evans school of editing and filming, and some are more into the Dan Wolfe, Bill Strobeck school.) a solid majority of how a video is viewed and interpreted rests on the shoulders of those who are actually on screen skateboarding. What I mean to say is that the majority of what makes a good skate video a good skate video is the actual skateboarding, and more importantly, how the featured skateboarders interact with their environment, and the where, why, and how the tricks are done. The Brothers Watamaniuk, Justin Bohl, Ben Schwandt, Ryan Kerher, and Rob Mentov are all masts of this, as much as Jim Tumey is a master at his craft. A case can be made about how well Tumey and those that he films work together. In order for there to be a good filmer-skater relationship, there has to be a sense of trust, a sense of trust on both sides, as no filmer wants to be sticking their death lens anywhere near someone that isn't trusted trust to not (suck it English majors) kick seven plies of wood directly into that fragile, expensive piece of glass that already is a magnet for this force of destruction. On the other side of the fence, there is not one skateboarder that would feel comfortable trying something that may take hours, multiple trips, possibly multiple boards and above all bodily harm if during the post land footy check he (suck it, feminists) realizes that after all of the strife he went through, the filmer filmed the trick / line sub-par (I'd like to take this moment to apologize to anyone I've ever said this sentence to: "Dude, that was sick, but, can you do it again? I fucked up."). It can be, and has been, argued that 'anyone can film with a death lens'. Not true, or at least, not well all the time. My argument against this will be a few select clips that stick in my mind that shows Tumey's fantastic working relationship with his focal points.
One - near the beginning of Ben Schwandts Labor of Love part, he does a backside nosegrind backside 180 out on the entirety of a long, marble bench somewhere in Canada (I believe). The way Tumey pans from ahead level view (Schwandt himself must have been ducking, or carving to get to the bench) to the perfect height during the trick, keeping up with him with an even speed is possibly the perfect way of filming that trick, in particular.
Two - Justin Bohl's double angle footage of the frontside 50-50 on the rail next to the up-ledge near hart (there needs to be an official name for that spot. Get to it.) Rolling long lens always sets up an epic feeling for the trick being filmed (fun fact: Ty Evans and Fred Mortagne (filmer behind eS' Menikmati, Flip's Sorry both began utilizing the rolling long lens technique at around the same time, completely independent of each other). The technique is perfect for filming something as ridiculous as rolling up a hill and frontside 50-50ing a round rail that is at waist level is. The quick cut to a fisheye shot that immediately follows is a 'one, two punch', as the rolling long lens shot has a longer view of the roll up to the rai, and immediately following, a quicker shot beginning a millisecond before Justin pops the Ollie onto the rail. Having more of the roll away following the land lends credence to my argument about how the video flows very well, and isn't choppy in any way.
2 - Skate Spot Porn
Labor of Love was a very insightful look for a lot of people that Detroit had some spots that aren't necessarily Hart Plaza or Fort Street Rail. It also offered a glance to the great white north. Canada has never been a skate-Mecca, like Barcelona in the early to later-middle (is that a term?) 2000's or LOVE Park in the post Photosynthesis era. However, Canada has given Michigan Jamie Jeffrey (as well as given Allen Ryan Gosling), so they have to be doing something right. There is a great deal of symbiosis in regards tothe Canadians and the Michiganders in Labor of Love, with Canadians getting footage in Detroit and vice versa, without either of the two looking out of place.
1 - Low Impact, Cruising Skating
Since 2011's Labor of Love, there has been a lack of Michigan skate videos that showcase the same feeling that that video promulgated. Ruff Ryders 3 will have Adam Howard and Reid Madsen parts, which the average skateboarder will be able to connect with more, as it doesn't inherently involve heel bruises and stair counts. However, the Love video feeling is more of an 'Everyman' or 'blue collar' video, meaning that the videos aesthetic is so inclusive, that everyone can relate to it. Everyone can go out and emulate that style of skating that the featured skateboarders partake in. It reads as more of a 'step out the door and cruise around the city' feel, which is actually very hard to do without having it become too pretentious. Labor of Love avoided reading as an Eastern Exposure Three copy, although it was obviously inspired by it. I can only hope that in setting out to make a sequel to what I believe to be the best Detroit video thus far, those involved do not over think the project, and attempt to out-do themselves. But it's (assumed to be) Tumey and company, and the trailer itself is promising. I can't wait.

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