I’ve been lucky lately to hook up with a bunch of very kind and talkative individuals involved somehow in a creative manner with skateboarding. Steve LaClair runs the Skateperception.com website which is an impressive community for video creators, editors and fans alike to express, exchange and consume anything dealing with putting skateboarding on (video) film. Even though he didn’t get a picture sent over, he does give us a good insight into what Skateperception.com is about and what he does.
Tell us a bit about the individuals involved running the site and your skateboard background.
It’s myself and a guy named Mike Holm from New Orleans. In addition we picked up a developer a long the way from Hamburg, Germany named John that definitely helps complete things that we’re not smart enough to do. (editor’s note: ) Eventually In the future we’d like the whole site to be developed by professionals so it’s not as sloppy as it is right now.
My background skating is pretty much like everybody. I started around 12 years ago and it engulfed my life like it does for most. In my early years I used to have a 8mm Sony handicam in my backpack that everybody would just use, then I broke my arm and realized I had to be around skateboarding 247 so I really started getting crazy about filming. In addition I grew up in Upstate New York where a decent part of the year aren’t very nice to skate so that’s where I sat down and learned things like video editing & web design.
Nobody cares probably but I lived in North Carolina a long time ago where everything started for SF.com – describe the skateboard scene in your part of the world (skaters,spots,parks,bowls whatever you like!)
The North Carolina scene is your standard story, tons of amazing talent that has went the full way and those that are still killing it daily. If there wasn’t internet you’d think it was the most cutting edge skate scene ever, but the way skateboarding is moving now there’s amazing talent in all corners of the globe. Even in the states alone you have virtually no-name guys just raising the bar daily in places like Texas, Michigan, Boston, Miami, Kansas City, Phoenix, etc. It actually takes a site like skateperception to keep me reminded that yes people all over are killing it now, it’s not just concentrated to Southern California
What’s a typical day in the life of a Skateperceptionist look like?
Actually there’s nothing exciting about a day in my life. The normal stuff, I work in the IT field to pay the bills so I get up at 5:45 everyday, put on some hideous polo and my game face. Come home and normally my brain is too shot to even function. When I was more energetic I’d get off work and rush to go skate, now it mostly involves getting fat, watching flight of the conchords and passing out.
The concept behind SF is interesting as you really concentrate on a specific area dealing with skateboarding. What are your plans for the future with the site?
The main part that I find crazy is how it’s turned into it’s own sub-sect within skateboarding, I don’t think any of us saw that coming. And as far as the skateperception community I think it’s one of the largest out of the skateboarding sites; however, it’s nothing that we did. The community itself made it successful, there’s so many rad people on there from all walks and interests. Some are amazing photographers or graphic designers, some are just comedic characters, hell there’s even girls on there! (I was shocked too)
What are some of your favorite videos and why?
If it’s cliche or not I’ve always been a huge Ty Evans fan, it’s either love him or hate him but the video that got me hooked on his work was the Rhythm video “Genesis”, he really went crazy with special effects and moved to a fast style of editing that I hadn’t seen to that day. Then after that he kept constantly doing great work with the TWS videos he was involved with, especially Modus then pumped out gems with the girl family. Fully Flared was amazing front to back, granted it would be hard to get a line up amazing as that anywhere else but none the less he took an hour and fifteen minute video and made it interesting, you can’t screw with that.
Beyond Ty I was really into Dan Wolfe’s work of course, especially growing up on the east coast it was almost a pre-requisite to starting a day of skating to make sure you watched EE3 first.
One hears the stories of filmers having to run from security/cops in the States just because they are filming. This sounds almost ridiculous in Europe and especially in Germany. Any stories for us?
I know it’s happened for a lot of people but most security I’ve dealt with gives you a little slack when they seen the work that you’ve put into it. It’s hard to setup and meter 3 flashes in under 5 minutes, so your bust threshold is real low at that point. Or they’ll see a generator and lights and know that you actually care about what you’re doing so it’s nice. I’ve never ran into any ridiculous dickheads I know it’s happened, I’ve just been lucky.
If you could pick the top of the line equipment pack, what would your film gear consist of?
Through the years I’ve had probably all of the “best” typical equipment that you can ask for… Normally financial obligations force me to sell. But I’ve had the HVX200 and the 30mm CFi Hasselblad lens and everything in between. It’s really hard to say, there’s so many factors that go into it. As far as photography 6×6 stuff will always be my favorite and it’ll be hard to really change my mind. With the video stuff I’m so on the fence, on one side you have an amazing camera like a HVX200 that’s the future of videography and on the other you have the classic vx1000 that you just pick it up, slap the lens on and film. Everything seems to come out amazing on both, it’s really a choice of preference. I think when it was said and done as far as filming skateboarding the vx1000 really did it for me, perhaps because it was so effortless, I’m not sure but it’ll be a classic forever.
Is skateboarding and the industry running the big brands headed in a good or bad direction? Give us your opinion…
That’s a rather good question. I think industry-wise skateboarding is turning extremely disgusting and commercial, which is fine it’s about time some of these guys got paid. A lot of companies have turned lame and so have a lot of their riders. But who am I to judge, at the end of the day there will always be those solid companies that will never turn to shit, like the DLX and Girl families… Oh and watch for this new company out of boston called RAW, they’re doing it right.
What’s the funniest/strangest scene you’ve ever caught on film?
Well one time we’re shooting my friend try to kickflip over this rail and out of nowhere he slipped out and we heard his leg break. On video it’s hard to tell from the audio but it was quite clear while we were there that something bad just happened. He was laying on the ground after the camera was shut off screaming in pain, his leg was kinked, there was no doubt about it, nobody bothered moving up his jeans because we didn’t even want to look at it. Since we were already skating at Duke University the best of medical attention right at our fingertips…
Either way his brother got him to the hospital and the rest of us drove home knowing he was going to be out for the better part of a year and definitely not walking…. Something crazy happened and he walked home fine that night, to this day nobody really knows. It was definitely bizarre without question, somebody uploaded it on youtube and it has tons of comments of people fighting over what happened. Check it out:
Any final words for us?
Thanks for being stoked on SP and I hope I’m not too boring for you guys to publish, thanks!
No problem Steve and thank you for setting up this great community for us all. may our paths someday cross…or let’s just link to each other first, you live damn far away 🙂