No matter what you do, it is key to find your passion. For Simon Weyhe, he has been able to turn his passion into his job. We had a chance to talk to Simon about one of his recent projects.
Kessler University (KU): Tell me a little about yourself.
Simon Weyhe (SW): I started filming about 15 years ago. It was kind of out of necessity that I borrowed my first video camera. We were a crew skateboarders that wanted to capture the tricks we were doing. I spent the next 10 years filming skateboarding and travelling. At that point I couldn´t really see myself filming anything else. About 4-5 years ago I started to feel fed up with chasing skaters and their tricks. Making a skateboard video is a very long process. You can spend all day to get one trick (four seconds of footage). The last skateboard video took me two years to make. It was after this video I felt that it was time to also try and make some money with my video camera. I got a part time job in the skatepark of Copenhagen. I did a bunch of free work, small jobs, low budget music videos over the next three years. It was around that time that I saw the Vincent Laforet’s “Reverie”. The 5D mark ll was the camera system I had been looking for. It fitted my style of shooting perfectly. Since I bought my 5D mark ll three years ago, I have not looked back.
I founded my company, Goodwind Studio two years ago and have been focusing on music and documentary projects for private companies. I have been lucky to be able to film skate related projects for big cooperate companies and film tons of concerts, from the unknown bands to Norah Jones. I normally work as a one man band, filming, editing. However, when need be, I hire the right people I need to get the job done. 2012 has been a good year. The jobs has gotten bigger and now most of the jobs I do with my partners in crime, Mathias Nyholm Schmidt and Jakob Solbakken.
KU: Tell me a little about the film. Where did the concept come from?
SW: Levi’s approached us with a new sub-brand they were about to launch, and they wanted some videos to promote the brand. For the campaign, they wanted to document why some people can’t stop doing what they love. It´s a life where you choose if you want to follow the agenda or set your own and make it happen. They wanted the stories to be associated with skateboarding. We were given pretty much free hands on how to approach the stories. We picked 4 guys that we knew had interesting stories, bought some plane tickets and went on the road to shoot the films. We had about 3-4 days to shoot each movie. It was a blast to shoot and edit these movies. When I think back, we had the wind behind us the entire time.
KU: I love the story elements that were integrated. What motivated you to approach the film in the way you did?
SW: We wanted the stories to be alive and full of energy, so I combined a lot of hand held footage, on a skateboard, from the back of a bike and just running and gunning with some timelapse, 8mm and dolly shots. I think I was trying to make most situations happening in the films, as moments caught by the eye in the right second. I felt this would give the story of the project a sense of being spontaneous and a feel of diversity.
KU: Also love the look you created with this piece. How did you decide to approach this? Seems there is a consistent vibe throughout all the Levi’s ads you shot.
SW: They have this slogan “We built the streets”, because the road workers that built the roads in San Francisco back in the day were all wearing Levi’s jeans. With this is mind they wanted to have asphalt and the look of it as a key element in the movies, e.g. all the intros starts out with me filming the asphalt and panning up to reveal where we were. They wanted a raw look, washed out colors or black and white with a lot of grain. In order to accomplish this, we used a lot of 8mm to give it that feel. The rest was shot on a Canon 5D mark ll. When it came to the grade, I tried to create the same feel as you would get with 8mm film.
KU: I noticed you used Kessler gear in the piece. I love how you used it to craft your story and not as a crutch. What was it like using the gear?
SW: I own the Phillip Bloom edition of the Kessler Pocket Dolly with a motor and oracle controller. I never leave on a shooting mission without Mr. Bloom. It´s been all over the globe, hanging out of windows, attached to a palm tree, inside a moving car, on a jib, on a crane, in the mountains, on the beach and the list goes on. There is no doubt, that the Kessler products I own are made to play ball. You can trust these products every time and anywhere.
KU: What can we expect next from you?
SW: We are putting the final touches on a video we did for Faurschou Foundation here in Copenhagen. Is was a solo exibition by Cai Guo-Qiang. He is famous for his gunpowder paintings. We followed him and the process for two weeks prior to the opening of the exhibition. We are also working on another project for Levi’s. It’s going to be a short brand video with two skateboarders doing their moves. We want to combine great skateboarding with some advanced camera movement. The ambitions for this project are very high and we are going all in on this one. It’s going to be launched sometime in January 2013. Besides this, I want to travel more, keep doing the best I can, make everyday an adventure, surf more and be a great father.