Skateboarding

This Animated Short Is Like Living in a Skate Zine

Filmmaker and animator Phil Evans puts his love for skateboarding on 8mm.

by Catherine Chapman
Feb 19 2017, 1:10pm

Skateboarding London's iconic cityscape has been put to paper in the animated film Paper Cut London, bringing both color and a laid-back soundtrack to the slew of tricks that are presented on 8mm. The three-and-a-half-minute short is a project that filmmaker and animator Phil Evans had been wanting to do for a long time. A skater himself, Evans says he "lives vicariously through people who are better" than him.

We're glad he does, because the result of his experimentation with various frame rates and paper stocks is a smooth transition somewhere between illustration and live action. 

Using too low of a frame rate would mean losing the details of the skateboarder's tricks. Image: Phil Evans

Evans released the film on Vimeo last month, but getting the project to that point, he says, wasn't easy. "I used to try to draw on Super 8 films," he tells Creators. "But it's super tiny. It's 8mm so you can barely see the frame with a magnifying glass. I would just do weird blotchy colors and couldn't really manipulate to the level that I wanted to."

Eventually Evans figured it out, beginning by storyboarding and working initially with the material as if it was a straight video edit so that he could see where animation would be needed. "Then I export each clip at a different frame rate," he says. " Because it's skating you can't lose too much detail. So I color correct and print it out, planning how I'll manipulate it, whether that's cutting it or holding it.

Cutting the page. Image: Josh Ng

After, Evans draws on his printouts, scanning them once completed, which allows the folds of the paper to be seen in the film.

Some scenes involving a line of tricks would take Evans over a week to animate. Image: Josh Ng

He now hopes to develop Paper Cut London further.

"It's been really nice that Vimeo has supported Paper Cut London so well," he says. "I hope that I can get a budget to do a sequel. We've already been storyboarding and have tons of ideas. I can kind of see how the whole film is going to look."

See more of Phil Evans' work here.

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