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On Set With Ty Evans

Ty Evans is no stranger to the skateboarding world. In fact, he cemented himself as a pioneer when he began to combine his passion for skateboarding with his interest in filmmaking. His trailblazing efforts have even had a great effect on one of Wooden Camera’s founders, Ryan Schorman.

Ryan Schorman: I knew of Ty since I started skateboarding in 2000. He makes the most unique and innovative skate videos incorporating cutting edge equipment, style, and technique. I emulated a lot of what he did in my own skate videos including slow motion effects, dolly and crane shots, mixing 24p with 60p, and more.

Ryan first met Ty through a skate video contest that Ryan won and Ty judged. A mutual friend connected them again years later, and now the two catch up regularly at NAB and Cine Gear, and always find time to skate. Recently, Ryan had a chance to work with Ty directly, filming him skateboarding for an upcoming project.

Without a doubt, Wooden Camera’s relationship with Ty has grown over these years. While he continues to pave new avenues in the realm of action filmmaking, we wanted to step back and learn more about Ty’s introduction to this genre, as well as his current shooting style.


Wooden Camera: For those who don’t know, can you tell us a little about yourself? How would you describe your main profession?

Ty Evans: I am a Los Angeles-based filmmaker. I actually started in the early 90s with skateboarding films, and just grew with new technology. Back then I was using rudimentary consumer cameras, and shooting with 8mm and 16mm film. I think that understanding how film works provides a good base for understanding digital now. For me, my start with film has definitely shaped my style today. As the demand for work became greater, I eventually started my production company Ghost Digital Cinema and have since ben shooting commercials and action content. 


Wooden Camera: What kind of content do you typically shoot and how would you categorize your shooting style?

Ty Evans: I mostly shoot commercials, music videos, documentaries, and skateboarding videos, and just released my self-funded passion project called “The Flat Earth” in December 2017, with a 45-minute behind the scenes video showing the gear side of the film. Most recently, I shot a campaign for Nike Skateboarding with Nyjah Huston called “‘Til Death”.

My shooting style is traditional, yet fast and efficient because of all the new technologies out there. I prefer to build my transportation vehicles around my gear, so over time I’ve rigged a 15-passenger van into a mobile camera unit. It now has a custom built storage system with a one inch metal frame and sliding doors that can support up to 500 pounds, as well as a SHOTOVER F1 system mounted to the front, back, or roof. Having the cameras already built and ready to go in the van makes thing fast and streamlined. 


Wooden Camera: You’ve worked with a variety of cameras over the years, but what is your camera of choice?

Ty Evans: Well, I started with the consumer video camera systems, and worked my way through Super 8, 16mm, and 35mm motion picture cameras. I had to learn the basics, like how to properly load film and how shutter angles work. And now, seeing the advent of RED cameras, it’s the digital version of what I learned with film. So going with RED was a no-brainer. And I have a good relationship with RED, since they are a supporter of Ghost Digital Cinema. I use their cameras almost exclusively.


To contribute to his shooting style and use with his personal camera package, we shared our Zip Focus and Push Button ARRI Rosettes with Ty. We were excited to hear about his experience using the gear out in the field.

Wooden Camera: What did you first think about the Zip Focus?
Ty Evans: It’s small. I’m a huge fan of that. Ryan Schorman (one of the founders of Wooden Camera), reached out to me and asked if I normally use a follow focus. In some situations, I do. Usually on traditional, studio shoots I’ll use a full follow focus system. But sometimes, I don’t use one at all. I’m always hesitant to put more gear on my camera, since I do a lot of handheld work. Accessories would usually make things heavy, but being able to throw the Zip Focus on a single rod, and seeing how small and lightweight it is was refreshing. It was also perfect for a music video I was shooting.

Wooden Camera: What was your camera and lens setup when using the Zip Focus?

Ty Evans: I was always shooting with a RED camera. I used a 18-35mm lens going handheld, and a 70-200mm PL converted lens when on a tripod.


Wooden Camera: Do you have a favorite feature of the Zip Focus?

Ty Evans: Since I don’t usually use a lot of accessories with my camera, I really like how small and lightweight the Zip Focus is. The size integrates well into the camera rig and is not obtrusive at all compared to a two-rod follow focus system.


Wooden Camera: What were your first thoughts on the Push Button ARRI Rosettes?
Ty Evans: I almost never use rosettes, actually. Traditional handheld or shoulder rig setups that include rosettes are great for documentary work, but I like to use less gear and keep my camera light. When I integrated the Push Button Rosette into my rig, though, I found that it gave me more stability and adjustability. I didn’t have to go find an AC to make an adjustment - I could easily do it myself. With the Zip Focus on the left, and the rosette on a handgrip on the right, I was able to get shots in a big crowd, where I had my camera right up against my chest. Other times, I was shooting above my head. The rosettes made these adjustments very easy and saved time.

Wooden Camera: Before using the Push Button ARRI Rosette, had you ever worked with a similar accessory? How does the Push Button ARRI Rosette compare?

Ty Evans: In the past, I used a Mantis shoulder rig system. But while I was filming, I found I’d rather trade off the weight and use it handheld in its slimmed down version. I don’t need a huge shoulder rig. The Push Button Rosette caters to a different mindset. It’s streamlined, and better for down and dirty shooting. I’m a fan of “less is better”.


Wooden Camera: What accessories did you pair with the Push Button ARRI Rosette?

Ty Evans: I attached it straight to the [Wooden Camera] Handgrip and then put it on a rod [by way of the 15mm Rod Clamp to ARRI Rosette] from the Easy Riser. It’s an ecosystem that works well for me.


Wooden Camera: What is your favorite feature of the Push Button ARRI Rosette?

Ty Evans: It compliments my shooting style a lot. I like to shoot fast and easy. And the fact that no tools are needed to make adjustments is great!


Ty’s work and shooting style have had an impact on new Wood Camera product development as well. Many of these proposed products will target the action sports industry, including skateboarders like Ty and Ryan.

Ryan: Our upcoming VX1000 microphone emulator reproduces the sound quality of the Sony VX1000. Ty mentioned that he and a sound mixer would use a library of old VX1000 skateboard noises to layer on top of in-camera recorded audio during post production. This process would take several weeks to complete for a 30+ minute skateboard film so he and other skateboard filmmakers are excited for this new microphone.


Ty’s progressive style and contribution to action filmmaking not only push boundaries but demonstrate his own unique perspective. We are excited to see where his vision leads us next!


Check out some of Ty’s recent work by following the links below.




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