Truth be told we had seen Wesley Banford, we had even seen his work. He has this thing where he pops up in his friends’ videos and steals the show with his energy! We also shared his 2020 video “Heart of the Sky’s Sunshine”, which was great as well. But this video and his reaching out has put things in a new perspective. A perspective you can read all about down below. We hope you put your best foot forward to familiarize yourself with the person and his work. It is well worth it!

Intro & Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Film & Edit by Wesley Banford.

How are you, Wesley?

I am good, responding to messages. Glad you hit me up excited to put the video out via you guys’ Youtube and add that to my portfolio. I actually do a lot of other video work outside of skating as well so.

What kind of videos?

Music videos, narrative work, etc… I just finished film school. I am more into working in film now, but I have always skated myself and made skate films. I have combined the two over the years and it has balanced my work out quite a bit. My art bleeds into the skate videos, but we all know too much art doesn’t work in the skate context either. There’s got to be balance.

Do you put more focus on the art side of things since you went to film school?

Not really, I made skate films before I went to film school as well. I just have a lot of love for filmmaking. My Last video “Heart of the Sky’s Sunshine” (2020) Was strictly skating, no (cinematic) B-roll. I had just gotten the HPX so my standard procedure is to just go out and work with the camera and learn how to use it.

Once I figured it out, got my scene file correct, I felt like it was time to step into this project.

Did you stick to one camera for this project?

No, I have a another one to work with when it comes to B-roll! It’s the Black Magic Ursa 4.6k! 

I finished film school just before I started editing this project. And that was good, people get excited, want to see their footage. When you make a video, it is not just you, it is all of your efforts combined.

It is definitely a community effort.

The more people you film, the more people want to see their clips and the longer you wait the worse of a hoarding filmer you get in people’s eyes.

Please meet Wesley Banford, he is lovely! Photo by Jacob Weiss!

(laughs) True! Do you end up sending clips out to people?

Yeah, I do, I am not a company filmer or anything so if someone asks me, I don’t feel like I own it. I will send them the file and if they post it on IG that sucks because that clip could have been in the video. But at times I will still use it just because it feels different in the context of the video.

But yeah, I think if people want their clip, you should give it to them, they worked for it you know

This video compared to Heart of the Sky’s Sunshine is very different as well. It is a bit more of a cinematic experience, how did that happen? That ending feels like a 2021 version of an Alien Workshop type of thing.

(laughs) I grew up with those type of videos (Mind field). I also took a lot of inspiration from Pontus’ films. Especially the original promo videos. It had him walking up the hills and that is just my favorite stuff.

Before this camera, I had a dslr but having a camcorder with zoom is just a way different experience. So after the 6 months of making “Heart of the Sky’s Sunshine” I took all of that experience and wanted to make a step towards something different something coherent and cinematic.

Coherence is important to me because I want to look in the end like the whole thing was planned out. So when I started HOLO I told myself: I want to make something beautiful and I am ready for it this time. And we don’t get a lot of good full-length formatted skate videos anymore with titles and parts, so I thought this would be cool to go back to the roots of skate films.

Jackson Sjogren did it with Stuck Between Moments.

True, we actually went to film school together and we would always joke around: “Hey, when is your video coming out?”. But he is a good friend, we would share a lot of knowledge with one another so that was great.

We shared classes, like, color-grading classes so our color techniques are probably very similar. It is a funny thing because a lot of people have similar interests and get drawn into similar things.

I met him on the orientation day of film school. The first day, I had just put out “WET” (2016) a couple years before. I spotted this dude, he had on some cut-off jeans and high-top Converse and I was like: “This dude has got to skate!” – So, I look up and this dude was staring at me and says, “Hey, are you, Wesley? You made WET right?” That was the start of a beautiful friendship that grew into us hanging our whole time at university and working on school projects together. 

Now we both finished school and we are still in touch and we will be working together on some non-skate stuff in the future as well. I was super stoked about his film, B-roll, music-wise it all was amazing. We both live by that Pontus rule about not having more than 30 seconds of skating.

Funny that Pontus’ work has hit you guys so hard, especially those first Polar promo’s. I feel like most of the time, Americans are pretty on their American thing. California being a world of its own inside the USA.

Yeah, I know, and Southern California, where I am from, is the most California you can get. With this film, I wanted to show a different side, a more dark side, more nature focused, I would say more Northern California nature as a lot of the broll is from San Francisco that I shot while visiting Logan Bonner to film..

I wanted to mix it up a little bit, one of the main things is to not get sucked into where you are from. For example, like an NYC video with old-school hip hop and the streets, more interaction with people. It sort of turns into a cliché and we all know there are a few in skating. It’s always great to get that classic style, but it’s always great to see filmmakers switch up the format and make something else, something nice 🙂

That is nice, you can feel that! How did the word HOLO come to you?

The thing with HOLO is that it is a double-named video. I love the sound of the word holographic and thought if I did just HOLO it would open a window for other stuff like hologram, which allowed me to do more cloning and overlaying. Holo-graphic is something dark and serious but also something that has a lot to do with the rainbow. Holo-graphic is a scientific thing that breaks all the colors as you see during those text segments.

But I am a huge Star Wars guy so that is where Holo-gram comes in. I wanted to make this dark, serious colorful film but I wanted to put something personal something fun in there as well. 

Fun fact is: I showed the video to some people, and they responded by saying this is far from dark.

Well, like yourself, your friends are people that smile a lot and have fun so I can see why they said that. No matter what people say, it is also about the attitude you go into a project with.

This video is all about what fits together, when I selected the music that was very important to me, that the song fit the person. That explains, shows, and compliments their skating.

The first part had to have a bit more epic song, the friend’s part is a bit more wholesome and the other people have songs that pop into my head when I think of them (laughs).

In a way, if you put it like that the music suggests a certain type of narrative.

Yeah, like the last guy, he is very very sweet, glidey with how he skates. Female vocals guiding him and us as viewers throughout of the video. That is important because we enter the video so hard and end so relaxing. You get both sides of the spectrum

That is very nice, am I right in thinking that you have a clip in the video as well?

Yes, I do! That Hippy-jump and Ollie through the needle. That is in my best friend Logan’s part. It was an homage to our friendship, just a little quick clip.

Do you get time to skate much yourself when you are also out filming?

Not as much anymore, when I filmed WET I was on it, I landed stuff that I don’t even know how I landed. But it has been a while, the next project is a full length and so I have been out running every day, so by the time summer comes, I will be skating a lot! I want to get good enough to get one final part out of me.

How old are you?

I am 25.

Ooohhhhwww come on, you got some gas left in the tank!

Yeah, but one solid last youthful part, you know! I got flying down stairs and handrails in me. I am trying to get there.

After that, I can go on to slappies and transition (laughs).

Like Wes Cremer says: “The justification for the vacation”.

(laughs) Yeah! Luckily everyone is moving back including Logan, so my filmer is back as well so we are both excited to go and skate. Do stuff together.

Back to HOLO for a moment, can you talk about the importance of color and good color-grading to you?

It is the most important thing, I spent 8 months learning the camera, getting my scene files correct. Going back in and trying to get the colors the way I wanted. It was trial and error. Truly a nightmare.

Now, I have it set up the way that even if I don’t do grading the file will come out good. In the editing room, I just make sure now that it all blends together well. I love colorful poppy stuff, but I didn’t want it too saturated, so I did the groundwork in a few days and had a friend who specializes in coloring help finalize it.

If the skate footage is too digitally processed then it always feels like too much going on. So I barely touched up the skating and focused on the cinematic stuff. That’s where I had a lot of fun and worked extra hard to get it right to give a filmic look. 

When it comes to B-roll do you plan a lot or does it happen spontaneously?

Both, I plan if I shoot with another camera. I use a Blackmagic Ursa which is gigantic. So, it is not easy to take it out for candid moments. Also, it has to be in a safe neighborhood, with the right surroundings, some water, or something. It’s never a good feeling sitting at a spot with that camera just sitting in the trunk. Most of the time I would just leave it at home and shoot b-roll on separate days from filming skating! Otherwise, I have another HPX scene file that is more flat and raw with 24 fps so I also use that and just color grade it similarly to my URSA footage so it all feels cinematic and cohesive.

2 more questions, 1 Are we getting another skate project after this?

Yeah, for sure man. I want to give everyone break, an offseason type of thing so they don’t all have to go hard back to back (laughs) and after that, we are going to start up that project. We will be filming for about 1,5 years and it will be a lighter project.

I usually do one light, one dark, one light. So watch out for that one. It will be more poppy, more beach more 80s. WET, some will remember that name. 

The last question is how did you find out about us? We have been growing loads but the mag isn’t in stores in SD.

It was through the premiere of Seamus Foster’s work. He has the best colors on HPX. “Everything Ships Through The Warehouse” is my favorite video of all time. The butterfly moment in HOLO is a tribute to the one he has in ESTTW. He is great at showing personality, he is great at showing what is special about a spot, the interactions with people and slowing things down to soak it in. He is very cinematic, and I like that, and I focus on a lot of those same elements. There is something classic and timeless about those videos. He gives me huge inspiration, and he commented on my colors, I was beyond stoked!

So when I saw you launched Seamus’ new film and did Jackson’s newest video as well and both are very cinematic I wanted to see if you guys would be interested in showing my video as well because I think my work is around that same realm.

It is, and we are happy you reached out! We love the video and are excited to launch this with you, and we are excited to see what comes next!

It is, and we are happy you reached out! We love the video and are excited to launch this with you, and we are excited to see what comes next!