The wildly successful film Professor Longhair, Big Chief was filmed over a period of two weeks in June 2010. Due to the summer heat, we would tend to only film ten or twenty seconds a day. Not least, because the movements in the film are challenging but more so because the places that we planned to film are far apart, the choreography took time and we had to account for security in certain locations, aswell as light and general footfall (I was adamant that I wanted as many clean shots as possible).
The idea for the film was proposed to me by Phil Doyle, who expressed that he really wanted to make a parkour film which was truly raw. We settled on a soundtrack by New Orleans jazz musician, Professor Longhair. This in turn, is where the film gets its name and where the two practitioners Kie Willis (Professor Longhair) and Phil Doyle (Big Chief) get their loosely appropriate nicknames.
I shot this whole film with a Canon 550D in 1080P. My lens was set at f/8 for every shot and my ISO locked down at 100. Shutterspeed would vary a little according to the light, but hovered between 1/60 to 1/125. The bright summers days were wonderful in allowing me to capture beautiful clear frames which ultimately results in the very high quality final version you can watch below.
We had some amazing feedback such as “I’m always amazed by this stuff. One slip and you’re done!” – Ashton Kutcher
The video slowly climbed in views until settling down at around 125,000 for a couple of weeks. Then it was featured on a popular russian message board, this boost of traffic lead it to being posted on another, then another, then Ashton Kutcher (of Punk’d fame) tweeted it and the views continued to rocket. The film appeared on CNN, TodaysBigThing, Rudetube, aswell as many smaller viral websites. It still circulates around as a chain email (under different names such as ‘My Morning Run’).