Name / age / residency / job?

Al Finn Hodgson, 31, Brighton, Video Editor.

How would you describe filming skating in Sussex and the greater south coast?

Somewhat challenging when it comes to the lack of "spots" and its general crustiness, but that creative limitation makes for a more interesting overall product in my opinion. It also makes the journey of finding stuff and getting clips that much more satisfying.

Brighton is OK for spots, there are some, but the city is small and very bustling in the summer, and spots have generally been quite rinsed, so it can be difficult. As for the wider Sussex area, there are a few gems for sure, but it's a bit of a spot desert compared to other counties, and lots of the classic spots from the 2000's have been demolished or redeveloped, due to a lot of new money coming to the counties in the past 20 years. But again I think this means you're forced to work creatively with what you've got.

It's also rad to have a whole dual-county area that isn't completely rinsed and there are still a lot of options. It's very much a matter of 'you get what you put in'. If you're going to make the effort to find spots, mission and try interesting shit, it'll always look good. Jumble Sale was a prime example of that. The spots are all really strong aesthetically.

What do skate videos mean to you and how important are scene videos to the culture of skateboarding?

For local scenes, scene videos are what set subcultural benchmarks for our craft at a grassroots level. They represent the eras of different local scenes and demonstrate the history and progression therein, and help place smaller and less prevalent towns and cities on the map of skateboarding.

For wider skate culture, scene projects allow a catalytic space to foster creative ideas without the constraints of the wider industry, in turn, having the power to aesthetically influence and direct the skate industry from the bottom up. I don't know if anything else occupies that space in skateboarding. They mean a lot to me for sure.

How did you get involved with ‘Jumble Sale’ and how was it for you being in front of the camera instead of behind it?

Tom and I have been friends for a good while through Hastings legend Sam Roberts. He hit me up saying he was working on a new vid and was keen to have our crew have a spot in the video. He'd made a bunch of cool projects in the past but more recently I was super into the part he did with Rich De Courcy, so I was definitely keen for the project. We were working on a handful of other OWL projects during the filming for Jumble Sale so there was a bit of navigation as to what and when to film for which project, but generally it was pretty seamless. Tom is a good friend so I just enjoyed the opportunity to hang out to be honest, even if that time was spent with me mostly falling backwards into muddy bank spots.

Being in front of the camera was fun, if not a little stressful. I'm pretty rusty and not very consistent so it takes me forever to do anything. But I definitely enjoyed the process overall. Filming with Tom was ace as we definitely have some mutual appreciations when it comes to spots and approach. Also big thanks to Harrison and the others for tagging in and turning my handful of clips into a shared part.

So why SD over HD? Comparatively, for you what are the pros & cons? How did it feel seeing yourself and the OWL crew in HD?

It's not so much the definition that's important to me, it's more to do with the 4:3 aspect ratio, the MK1 fisheye, the ergonomics and the cultural heritage of the VX1000 that draws me to it. There are clear cons to the VX1000 in regards to it's reliability and rarity, but definition doesn't matter to me that much. As long as it's clear to see what's going on and the settings are set well, I think it's the perfect camera for documenting the kind of skateboarding that I like. Likewise I think HD 16:9 is fine. It can look great and it can look awful. For Jumble Sale, I like 4:3 HD a lot and Tom filmed everything like it was VX anyway so it didn't feel that different to what we're used to. He did a great job I really liked how it came out.

Your personal favourite clip of the video and any fond memories from the filming of the video?

Kind of an obvious one but I really like Toby's Varial Heel down those stairs in Battle, especially because it was the last trick filmed for the video the day before the prem. Sonny's Ollie into the bank is a cool spot, he skated lots of cool things in his part. Harrisons Ore mannie pad tricks were sick too, that spot is beautiful in its decrepitation.

That weekend Hastings mission with Harrison & Cal staying in Tom's front room was definitely a highlight. That was a really fun and productive two days. I'd love to do it again and explore more Hastings spots as it's probably one of my favourite Sussex towns, yet definitely one I've explored least.

What is Orwellian World Landscape and do you have any projects coming out this year?

OWL is the moniker/psuedonym I release skate videos/projects through with our little crew down here in Sussex. We occasionally do little runs of product too.

We've got our latest video SΦMNIUM dropping hopefully in the Spring. We've been working on that since November 2021. Our 'Villagers' photobook should hopefully be out in the next week or two as well. Then there's one or two other little bits and pieces in the works too so keep 'em John Peeled.

Check out the OWL 'Jumble Sale' part at the bottom of the page.

Below is a comparison video presenting various southern spots filmed in SD and HD.

Photography by Sam Roberts, Toby Shaw, Al Hodgson & Griff.

You can find OWL products here.