Absinthe’s newest snowboard film delivery, “Resonance,” represents yet another season’s worth of efforts by rider and filmer alike. Though pieced together in the warmth of the editing room, the film was built by the many hundreds of hours that both top-tier pro and filmer spent together getting the shots. Hoping to gain some insight into this process of rider and filmer working together, I recently talked with filmer-editor, Justin Hostynek and two riders from the film, Brandon Cocard and Blair Habenicht.
FILMER/EDITOR, JUSTIN HOSTYNEK
Do you push the riders or do they push themselves?
JH: There is an immense amount of pressure on all of these riders to push themselves. They have a realistic view on what they need to do, or they aren’t in our crew. I will bring people to a place where I feel they will see something that suits them, point at things and occasionally come up with a ‘what if...’, but for the most part these guys are riding the terrain the way they see it and we are there to capture it.
How much pressure is on you as the filmer if the rider is about to throw down on a huge trick?
JH: When there is no angle that will justify the heaviness or lightness of a given situation. When you’re scrambling around trying to find a better angle, or in some cases an angle that just doesn’t exist. That is when I feel pressure.
How do you feel when the lens vignettes or when the film comes back and it’s flashed?
JH: We do push in past most vignettes, but the ones you see aren’t enough of an issue to register on my radar of priorities. When film comes back and there are light leaks or ‘flashes’ along the edges, I embrace those instead of seeing them as something to be avoided. They are little reminders that this is film and that flash wasn’t re-created digitally.
What’s the one thing in your gear bag that you can’t live without?
My camera, lenses, film, and batteries are all of primary and equal importance. I also carry a light meter, but just more to reassure myself of how I should be shooting in a given sitch. I’m a bit superstitious though. When I pack my film rolls, I guess as closely as possible on how many rolls of film I’ll need that day. Obviously you don’t want to bring too little and run out. But the other side of that, more than the obvious weight of the carrying the extra film, is that it feels like a claim on some level, that we are going to slay it today, and claiming on any level has proven itself not to be the way. Bringing the right amount of film is a fine line, but one worth staying in touch with.
What would a snowboard film like RESONANCE be if it was only shots of riders at the top of their game?
JH: It would be BAM BAM BAM, over and over. All you’d remember are the first, the last, and a handful of the most impactful shots. You wouldn’t know one rider from the rest. You would be dulled by seeing too much insanity too quickly. You need to build up to shots, show personality, show riding that the audience can even connect with. ‘Wow, he just did a method. I can do those! Maybe it doesn’t look as good as that one, but it sure feels as good.’
RIDER BRANDON COCARD
Are you a professional snowboarder?
BC: In my head, yes, I am.
In RESONANCE, you nail a 68 stair 50-50. What goes through your mind before dropping on a trick like that?
BC: I am trying to focus on the task at hand, which is usually “don’t die.” For that particular trick my motivation was to ride down the entire rail as quickly as possible, so I didn’t have to keep hiking up those stairs.
Being a professional snowboarder, does your insurance policy cover an unlimited bag of tricks? If you learn a new trick do you have to extend your coverage?
BC: I do have the “unlimited trick bag” policy. So there is no need to extend my coverage
Have you ever checked to see if your insurance covers “the stoke and getting stoked”?
BC: I have looked into that. It’s in the Mountain Dew clause. Mountain Dew stoke is the number three cause of injury to kids under 15. Number one is the monkey bars. Number two?.. bears.
RIDER BLAIR HABENICHT
In Alaska, was there ever a time when you weren’t ready to commit to a line, for whatever reason, but you made yourself do it anyway?
BH: No. If I’m on top of something and don’t feel right about it, I find an alternative solution to get down.
When it comes to big mountain steeps, in which do you place more trust: your board or the advice of the heli guide?
BH: When filming, guides know we have an objective, and they do everything in their power to minimize any unnecessary risk while helping us achieve our goals. If I am looking to do a line and the guide suggests we wait for a more opportune time, then I take another picture and we move on.
When working to land enough tricks for a part, what is your relationship like with the filmer?
BH: How a filmer captures a shot can make all the difference. It’s never a bad idea to grab their tripod or offer to carry their 50-pound camera bag for a run.
Is there a difference between the average rider on YouTube making snowboard video edits with their buddies and working with the Absinthe crew?
BH: Absinthe is the last major snowboard production company shooting 16mm film, and it gives their movies that timeless aesthetic year after year.
Absinthe Films’ Sphere of Influence Tour will be making a stop in Juneau tonight, Nov. 15, to premiere “Resonance,” which will begin at 8 p.m. at Centennial Hall. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at select snowboard retail shops Aurora Project, Sequence Skate, Hearthside Books and will also be available at the door.