The Life and Work of Clark Little
by Meagan Keane
posted on 11-06-2017
Anyone who’s a fan of the amazing waves on Hawaii’s North Shore has likely heard of Clark Little. A lifelong surfing enthusiast, at the age of 37 Little left his steady job, bought a camera, and started exposing the inside of the North Shore’s massive waves. His unique images struck a nerve, and 10 years later he’s widely acclaimed for his remarkable wave photography, as well as his work shooting surfing and sea life.
For years, Little’s good friend and action sports filmmaker Peter King traveled to Hawaii in the winter to capture video of the Triple Crown of Surfing. He also shot small segments of Little photographing the shorebreak and eventually proposed that they work together on a documentary focusing on Little’s action wave photography. The two teamed up and King later brought Editor Darren Doane on board to help finish the film SHOREBREAK: The Clark Little Story. The team is now working on a television series of the same name.
Adobe: Tell us about how the film was made.
Little: Peter came out to Hawaii often and followed me around the island as I worked to capture the perfect arc in wave or an under over picture of sharks and turtles. It was very natural, focusing on what I do and how I trigger my passion. I trust Peter and he’s very talented when it comes to film. Nothing was staged, which made it a lot more fun.
Doane: I joined the project after Peter had shot everything. He called me and asked if I could jump on board to help finish it. He had some sequences already cut, so I was able to take those and continue cutting, editing, and shaping the story. Over the course of three weeks we were able to put a narrative together. Because I knew the story and structure based on cutting down and aligning sequences I knew what I needed from the interviews. I flew to Hawaii, interviewed Clark, and then threaded the interview through the film.
Adobe: Darren, what was your experience with Adobe Premiere Pro CC going into this project?
Doane: I began working in filmmaking in 1990 and transitioned to non-linear editing in 2002. I was already using Adobe Premiere Pro CC before this film, but this was the first project where it hit me that I didn’t have to leave Premiere Pro to do all of the things I love to do. Every time I sit down at my computer and open Premiere Pro I still get a thrill that I can do anything, it’s all right there. The online/offline world doesn’t exist anymore. You basically live in post, which is this constantly evolving process.
Peter worked for a year creating sequences and laying in temp music. I took it all in and there was one sequence that I knew would be the beginning of the film. Once I know the opening sequence, I work on building the credit sequence that leads into it. I learned how to use titles in Premiere Pro and it was really fun.
I also like to do color correction and sound mixing on the fly as I go. It’s all part of the process, which makes finishing that much easier. When I turned in an edit for Peter and Clark, I didn’t have to ask them to imagine the sound and color, it was pretty complete.
Adobe: Clark, do you also work Adobe Creative Cloud apps?
Little: Someone taught me Adobe Photoshop when I first started out in 2007. I have a very simple process. I open raw files, adjust shadows, highlights, and exposure, add a little saturation, and reduce some of the noise. I like to keep things as natural as possible. Shooting in Hawaii, I already have vibrant beautiful sunsets, white sandy beaches, palm trees, abundant sea life and water clarity so there’s not much that needs to be pushed.
Adobe: How has the film been received?
Doane: Peter and Clark wanted to make the film and thought they would just finish it and put it on iTunes. I was able to take it to my distribution company, which helped get the film into some festivals where it won some awards. We also did a small theatrical tour and sold out events across the country. SHOREBREAK debuted on STARZ and was also number one in its category on iTunes.
Little: Peter is very good at putting together projects and I’m very stoked with how it came out. We didn’t have much of a plan, but we do have a great fan base on social media and through our newsletters. I didn’t know how it would go, but I’m happy with its success and how people were inspired.
Adobe: Tell us about the television series.
Little: I was a late bloomer when it came to finding out I would be a wave photographer. If you find your passion you forget what day it is. The television series let us take that idea further. We filmed some really cool segments that reinforce the message that it’s never too late to find your calling.
Doane: We created 10 20-minute episodes that we’re hoping to launch in the fall. The episodes are smaller stories of Clark’s day-to-day life highlighting his artistic process and lifestyle. They are also a celebration of Hawaii, which is a really unique place.
What was great about the television episodes is that we kept everything in Premiere Pro the entire time, right down to the final mix. Once we had the first 10 minutes done, that served as a template for the rest of the episodes in terms of look, audio level, color, and more. Every time I looked something up to see if Premiere Pro could do it, sure enough, it was there. Both the film and the television series prove that you can do everything in Premiere Pro.
_SHOREBREAK: The Clark Little Story _is available in the US to download and stream on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Hoopla, Flux Fling, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Cable, Brighthouse, and Charter. The television series will premiere on Charter Cable OC16 on October 2, 2017. In fall 2017, the show will also be released on Outside TV.
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