The French apparel brand Arcena has been at the forefront of the French scene for close to fifteen years now, and with an international team featuring the likes of CJ Wellsmore or Antony Pottier, they also managed to broaden their horizon past the national borders. For their latest project, however, they chose to focus on the very heart of the brand.

Born in Montpellier back in 2005, Arcena benefitted from the support of some of the best local rippers from the very start, and that’s precisely what they decided to highlight with SOMN. Shadows Of Many Night is indeed the name (with a twist) of their new video: It underlines the concept which gathered the crew for six nights of intense shooting at the local MIP park.

So to learn more about it all, we handed the mic over to its creator Hadrien Bastouil!

But before you read on, treat yourself with the video itself, which is available on a pay-what-you-want basis right here:

Intro: Freddy White
Words: Hadrien Bastouil
Photography: AL

Our good friend over at MIP – Montpellier Indoor Park, Bob Lemarrant, has an amazing all wooden park to offer in our city, and although winter was rather mild on us; we decided it was time to get something out of it. Filming an interesting edit in a skatepark, indoor, where diversity of angles is restricted, can get really tricky. Thankfully the way this park was built, decorated and lit left some kind of obvious clues as the main wall is pasted with silhouettes, and the mini ramp has two bright white lights facing each other, casting a few interesting shadows of the structure itself and the riders using it. And the most enjoyable thing about it is that these shadows come to life, dancing everyday after the sun comes down and the lights are switched on.

It took a little more observation to get the necessary inspiration on what you are about to watch. Over the fun of a few sessions, doing some tricks over and over to get angles with shadows, lights and bladers we managed to gather a few lines and tricks we were happy about. Something made it even more interesting to capture, as the shadows never cast what you would expect and their world allows perspectives of a different reality. Shooting and blading in the dark adds a whole new feeling and there is a lot to be figured out on the spot(light).

The editing process was another challenge coming up too, dealing with different setups of camera, intensity of lights and colours and different handlers. A harmony was essential to step into this world of darkness and shadows. If there is a feeling of it being too dark, remember what Fabian Wagner once said when being criticised about his choices of cinematography when an episode of an infamous TV show he was working on aired on a Monday night: “A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly,” he says. “A lot of people also unfortunately watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.” Without falling into the same rather easy way out, please be advised that balancing your monitor’s contrasts to a more medium area and pushing up its luminosity a little will definitely add to the enjoyment of your viewing experience. We have tried a couple of different setups.

The introducing section actually was the last we filmed as a more regular session making the tricks even more difficult to capture. While the characters slowly blend into each other’s contrasts and shades, the specific styles of individuals still remain, and quoting Wagner again “We’d seen so many battle scenes over the years – to make it truly impactful and to care for the character(s), you have to find a unique way of portraying the story.

We really hope you hang on and watch this video until the end as we tried to express something where character becomes less important and where the essence of blading itself can find its way back into the spotlight. “Another look would have been wrong,” Wagner says. “Everything we wanted people to see is there.”, thank you Fabian.

Welcome in a Night Of Many Shadows.

(Editor’s note: A handful of events are planned at the MIP skatepark next week during the FISE madness, feel free to check out their page for all the info and come join the fun!)

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