Basti Balser

How did you start working on movies? How long have you been editing movies?

It started all natural. Flo had a Snowshoe company called “Backyard” and we started making small team videos on super 8mm together with Gigi and Lars, who were next to myself the team riders of Backyard. After our first full length Backyard movie “Decent Frames” we decided to take the next step and produce our first European movie with Sponsors etc…since then I am hooked! that must be 7 years ago when I started editing I think.


Tell us about the process of making a movie! Where does it start, where does it end?

Oooh it´s a pretty long process…
First of all, you have to think about what kind of movie you want to make - in our case, it’s a Snowboardmovie. So you need riders, filmers and a budget to pay for it,  with other words Sponsors. So first of all after we talked with filmers and riders, we make a proposal that we can show to the Sponsors to get the budget and support we need to make it happen. After this is done, and everybody is ready to hit the mountain and the cities to start filming, we wait for the first snow fall. waiting in general is a big part of the progress. As soon as the snow hits, we are busy chasing it and getting as much unique and sick shots as possible. That includes a lot of traveling which is nice but also can be a pain in the ass, living out of a Boardbag can be annoying at some point…When the tricks are banned on film, we bring the roles to Arri in Munich, for development. After getting the analog films, we have to go to AVP, a telecine studio in Munich for transferring it into a digital format.
After that, it´s logging time, which means endless hours in front of the computer, naming the shots and arranging them in the project. After you found the right music and fixed the rights for the songs it´s finally editing time.

What is the best/hardest part in the progress?

The hardest part is the time in the office, organizing the budget and the musicrights. Also it’s a mission to have the filmers and riders at the right spot at the right time. About the best part, there are actually a couple of them. One for example, is when you sit in the transfering studio and you see some really good footage for the first time…Or when you are done with an edit and you are so stoked on it that you can watch it over and over again.


Music is really important for snowboard movies. How do you get the songs?

Since 2 years we have a good friend, Florent DeMaria who is helping us with this part.
He starts out with sending e-mails to all the riders, trying to motivate them to send in ideas for songs, wich works mostly pretty good. At the same time the whole production crew is searching for music, talking to friends and so on. As soon as you have the songs you want to use, he has to contact the artist directly (that works best, if you really lucky enough to get a direct contact), the label and the publisher to talk about the rights. Sadly a lot of times we can´t use a song, just because it is way out of our budget…


You are also a rider. Does this influence your editing style?

I guess so. I never really went to a school or something to learn editing, so everything is “learning by doing” (thanx Cepten...). So when I edit, I think I have a different approach to it then somebody who is a “real editor” but has no clue about snowboarding in general…


What programs do you use?

Final Cut Studio Pro (wich includes next to Final Cut, Soundtrack, DVD Studio pro etc.)


Analog vs digital: what are your arguments to keep on shooting analog? what would be the biggest benefits of changing into digital, plus what keeps you from switching?

Analog film has a feeling that is not possible to create with a digital camera…
I already hear all the HD filmers screaming at me that this is not true, but YES IT IS!!!
The colors, the grain, the depth of field from real film just makes it really special and gives the movie once it is done a really nice and warm feeling. The biggest benefit of shooting in a digital format would probably be that the riders can check out their footage right away on the spot, and they don´t have to wait until the film is developed and transferred.


With what expectations do you watch movies nowdays, did editing change your way of consuming filmFood?

First of all, I really enjoy watching all sorts of movies…documentaries, Hollywood productions, indie, shortfilms and so on…Of course I recognize more then before…If there is some really nice camera movements or cuts in a film, which I probably would not have noticed a couple of years ago.

Music videos, documentaries and even some Big Blockbusters can be great for inspiration.


Where do you see the snowboard movie industry in 5 years?

That´s a hard one, but I guess there will be way less productions in the game that there are right now. Hopefully some of them will still shoot on film and are able to really produce DVDs (and not just showing their movies over the internet, even that I think this is gonna be the main direction probably…).


Do you have any idols, producers that you admire?

In Snowboarding films, I look up to people like Pierre Wikberg, Dave Seone, Hoystinek and Jaako. In general, I really like the work from Jarmusch, Tarantino, Spike Jones….