Nosebonk, Mike Zanelli.
Josh Martinez has become one of the most dedicated and motivated skate filmers in Utah. His everyday mission is to get up early and stay out all day, filming. He has spots from Las Vegas to Reno and is never short of an idea on where to go. “I just like filming. I love making skateboarding films and working with people that want to skateboard and make something happen,” says Martinez. When he sets off on a filming mission, his brain starts working the second a skater throws down their board. Each trick landed and each line put together is like a piece to a puzzle locked up inside his mind. Losing himself inside that puzzle, there are times when he can feel like a slave driver, pushing the people with whom he’s skating to try something harder. But it works, and he captures some of the gnarliest skating going down by skaters in Utah. Even when they are burnt, busted and broken, Martinez will somehow invoke one more try out of them that, more often than not, ends up being a make. It’s this type of determination that has lead to his third film, Let It Be.
Let It Be premiered at the Inferno Cantina on October 7, 2011 at the second annual Artoberfest, an event Martinez put together to showcase the video, along with other local artists and musicians. “I saw how many people came together for a small video premiere and thought, ‘What else could be done to bring more people together and do something better?’” he says. “Artoberfest is for the community, to showcase local talent—it’s something for everybody to be a part of. You can come here and not even watch the video, just check out the artwork and listen to the music. I just want it to be fun.”
Before Let It Be became a project, Martinez was working on a video with Las Vegas filmer Garret Taylor. When Taylor moved to California, that project ended. “I needed to keep working on something, so, on the side, I started stacking footage in all HD.” It was around June 2011 that Martinez saw that the footage he was collecting was good enough to start putting together a video. At the time, he was skating with Austin Namba and Danny Souk a lot, going out every day on extreme missions. “At first we were just skating, out having fun, collecting footage,” says Martinez. “[Then] I saw that I really liked their styles. They were collecting footage so quickly that I knew I had an opener and ender part I could build a video around.” From there, all the other skaters just started falling into place.
His attention to detail and drive to put out the highest quality video possible is what makes Martinez’s video stand out. His choice to film Let It Be in all HD gives it a crisp look, on par with any big Transworld video. “I wanted all the footage to match and to be as high quality as I could put out,” he says. “I wanted to raise the bar for myself and for people to take a different look at HD filming, to take a look at it from my perspective and see if they like it.” In the final days of editing, Martinez came in contact with Red Point Digital, a production company that approached him about doing some skateboarding test shoots with the Red Epic camera. They worked out a deal together and filmed the intro in one day. They only had six hours to work with the camera, so Martinez had to plan as much as he could the night before. “It was super last minute,” he says. “Whatever we could get, I just tried to make something make sense.” Besides its $58,000 price tag, what makes the Red Epic camera so unique is its ability to shoot in super slow motion rates up to 300fps. Shallow-depth close-ups show every detail in a spinning skate wheel, and ultra slow-motion clips reveal every movement of the feet and board as tricks are flicked and caught in the air. It’s a unique view that is rarely seen, except in videos with big production budgets to burn.
Before the video rolls on, a dedication reel plays for Martinez’s friend Jake Garrett Waterlyn, who passed away earlier this year. Martinez says, “I remember before he passed away, we were always talking about the Beatles song ‘Let It Be,’ so I decided to name it that, as a dedication to Jake.” Waterlyn sets the bar for what’s to come with a 270 board slide down shed rail as the first trick in the video. The quick feet and technical wizardry of Austin Namba follow suit, ending with a switch bigspin, front nose, front shove-it out. The film continues with Gabe Spotts and Logan Summers, two young bloods who have no qualms with handrails, flip-ins or flip-outs. Levi Faust is smoother than ice on a skateboard—he’s the most well rounded skater in the video, whether it’s fakie tail grabs in the deep end of Fairmont or nose slides down 18-stair hubbas. Matt Fisher and Ricky Chavez serve up a gnarly shared part with a bigspin front board as the main course. Mike Zanelli puts down a smooth penultimate part before Danny Souk pulls out all the stops with seriously impressive skating. Talking about Let It Be does it no justice, but I will say this to perk your interest: tailslide 270 heelflip.
One hundred copies of the video were released the night of the premiere, but, for those who missed it, copies can be found at Blindside and Milosport. Just a week after the premiere, Martinez was already on road to Reno for a filming trip and the second premiere of Let It Be. Martinez says, “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, making skate videos for as long as I can and see what happens next year.”