TEXT: STUART GOMEZ
Phil Evans flips the script on the traditional skate video with this inventive 100% paper edit. “Paper Cut London” features Jak Pietryga (and guest Chris Jones) doodling through the city on his board; Phil painstakingly scanned the images and then shot them at high speed. The resulting video is marvelous: an infinitely rewatchable piece of detailed art, complete with clever audio tricks.
Over 3,500 individual animation cels were used in this process and the footage was shot over two trips to London.
Phil did this a few thousand times during the process.
Phil’s been skating for 21 years (“And I’m still rubbish,” he says). We talked to him recently about how he got into filming, coloring outside the lines, and the exact point during this “Paper Cut” process when he lost his mind.
How did you get interested in filming?
Through watching skate videos and wanting to make the same stuff. I got a cheap digi 8 camera and took it from there.
*__Where did you get the idea to take this paper approach? Did you make it up as you went along or did it require a lot of planning?
There was a lot of testing before I shot—just figuring out which frame rates I could realistically get away with for the skate footage so the tricks didn’t lose any integrity. Then I messed around with both photographing and scanning the images. Scans turned out to be most suitable, unfortunately; it took ages, sometimes days, just to complete single scenes.
After that I shot with a loose storyboard and at a high shutter speed so the images didn’t have “motion blur” and would print clean as single images. Am I boring you yet? [laughs] From then on Jak’s style really defined the edit. I really like how he skates, super fast and flowy with long lines so that he dictated the pace of the whole piece… then when Gibbo’s music went over it it seemed to suit his skating perfectly.
*__What kind of problems did you encounter when you were creating this piece?
The skating was the straightforward part as Jak is super easy to shoot with and was super down from the off.
There was a lot of trial and error with the printing stage though. I tried to run ink dyes through different scenes, like starting with a small coloured ink stain and letting it bleed through the whole stack of paper. Initially the paper was not absorbent enough so I tried really thin, porous newspaper stock and that would just soak it up on the first couple of pages. So then I soaked all the pages in the shower and they ended up sticking together. Then I cut holes through them so the ink would run through, but then the paper would rip… so then… I lost my mind!
Let it bleed.
*__What’s next for you?
I’d really like to do another one of these in another city, but this time with a budget so I can hire animators to work with and get it done faster while possibly preserving my sanity. I’d also love to screen one of these and cover the walls in the scenes from the film, think it would look cool.
Music in “Paper Cut London” is courtesy of Gibbo. Hear more from Gibbo here!
*The pile of scenes. *