Red Cafe & Pete Rock
"THE HEART & SOUL OF NEW YORK CITY"
A K1X film by Kevin Couliau
Yes, it's about that time. Rain, sleet and snow have made way for the sun, long evenings and fresh sneakers. Early may, when Europe's hardwood champions have been crowned and the NBA playoffs shift into full gear, marks the inofficial start of the real basketball season: the streetball season! That's when reputations are made, nicknames are born and every ballplayer naturally gravitates towards that "thump", "thump" sound of his or her home court. Playground basketball is where it all started. Playground basketball is where talent is honed and friendships are made. It's where neighborhoods gather and where skills and sweat are a currency. That's especially true for the mecca of basketball, New York City. Nowhere else do streetball tournaments, players and games attract a quasi-religious following. Dollars, pride and bragging rights are on the line. Believe the hype!
The idea for a visual love letter to NY basketball was born when Red Cafe's unreleased track "Heart & Soul" established itself as an instant office-favorite at K1X headquarters in Munich (Germany) last spring. Niels Jager (K1X Go-To Guy): "The tune was on replay 24/7. And one day it hit us: let's build a statue for NYC streetball!" Red Cafe's ode to the city that never sleeps is a Pete Rock production that boasts all the makings of a hip hop classic. K1X, who has been active in the outfitting of several high profile NYC streetball tournaments for several years, was all the more surprised to find out that this beast of a tune was not yet a prime focus of Red Cafe's record label. Shake Down quickly agreed to let K1X shoot a poetic clip for the song, whose lyrics are a glowing personification of K1X's appreciation for street basketball: The Heart & Soul of New York City.
French streetball documentarist Kevin Couliau (Asphalt Chronicles), who spent the summer of 2009 in the five boroughs hunting down supreme blacktop action, was a natural choice to capture the raw essence of NYC and its rich streetball culture. As was the Canon 5D Mark II as Couliau's weapon of choice. Art director / director / producer Thibaut de Longeville (director of the acclaimed "Just For Kicks" sneaker culture documentary) and motion graphic designer Vincent Dumond of 360 Creative in Paris added their visual expertise to the project and took care of elegant motion graphics and bona fide post production.
The outcome of this work will celebrate its world premiere on May 1st 2010 on k1x.com. The clip features action from K1X affiliated tournaments in Harlem ("Together We Chill" and "Kingdome Classic") and the Lower East Side ("Lower Manhattan Classic") as well as a variety of other city courts and an impressive array of cameos by iconic players, opinion leading heads and a bunch of regular dudes. Bobbito Garcia, who got an early preview of the clip last winter had this to say: "It's so beautiful, man. It's snowing tonight but it made me look forward to the coming summer months again."
World Premiere: Witness "The Heart & Soul of New York City" on May 1st 2010 on k1x.com!
Concept by Papa Neal & Fu for K1X. Track by Red Cafe & Pete Rock, Cinematography, Direction & Edit by Kevin Couliau (Asphalt Chronicles), Art Direction by Thibaut de Longeville, Motion Graphic Design by Vincent Dumond and Post Production by 360 Creative (Paris) feat. Red Cafe, "Miles High", "The Franchise", "Anti-Freeze", "Special FX", "Best Kept Secret", "Headache", "Black Diamond", "The Pirate", John Starks, Bobbito “Kool Bob Love” Garcia, KRS-1, Stay High 149...
(Watch in HD with headphones on & volume cranked, if you can! Hands & arms inside cart at all times!)
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After the great response to SUNCHASER STAR TRAILS (vimeo.com/54741100), my brave team and I trekked to the world-famous Eureka Dunes in Death Valley National Park to search for some of the darkest skies on Earth. Despite temps below freezing, we went on December 13th, 2012 – the night of the Geminid Meteor Shower Peak, and a time of great planetary alignment. Armed only with boxed wine, firewood, and our DSLRs, we had to conquer epic climbs, sand roads with the 4x4 Jeep, and the occasional UFO!
But it was all worth it when the skies cleared and showed us an incredible galactic palette! Star Trails shot at 25 sec exposures. No special effects used, just the rotation of the earth's axis. Photography Merging: STARSTAX. Used Canon 5D & 7D, with a 24mm/1.4 lens and a 28mm/1.8. The Geminids get crazy as the sun comes up (2:20-2:35) but you can spot a bunch more throughout, if you look closely -- or here's a nice shot (http://bit.ly/SkZGdw). There's also some passing planets (1:15-1:30 and 2:15-2:25). I believe the first big one is Jupiter.
The "UFO" appears at (1:30-1:35) and makes three broad circular sweeps over the desert. Though in timelapse it appears to be moving fast, consider the 5 seconds = about 50 minutes, so it's creeping. There was no sound, so it definitely wasn't a helicopter. Closer picture here (http://bit.ly/T3yK3s). It can also be seen cutting through the circular star trails in the shot used above!