It’s an issue that has been talked about to death, but i’m going to hit it again. The skate video as we have always known it is dying. In fact it is on life support, barely breathing and asking God for forgiveness. The internet has spread to the spinal cord and all we can do is wait.
Don’t get me wrong, I watch videos online as much as anyone else. Thrasher has become the E-book Bible. I watch Instagram clips over and over again, sharing them with friends. But after watching the Vans video Propeller I realized that we are killing the skate video.
Being able to put clips online 10 mins after they happened is an amazing thing. And its free! more people than ever will be able to see amazing skateboarding than ever before. But it is forgotten even quicker. I know I have spent hours looking for clips that I remember seeing, but can remember who posted the video or how to find it. This makes good skate clips on Instagram a form of shock value, it is amazing when you see it but forgotten quicker. Instagram has its place in the skate video world, but the best clips should be saved for full length videos.
Internet videos on Thrasher or Hellaclips are just as guilty, just to a lesser extent. There is an attempt to build some hype and make it relevant, but it is drowned by formulaic videos like 5-trick fix and and mag minutes. There is no way to discern the difference between a 30second video of throwaway and a part that has been worked on for months. The full length video and the effort that goes into it emphasizes this and gives each part a sense of permanence. There are tons of parts that I have watched online that blew my mind, but because I don’t have a physical copy I don’t remember them. When it comes time to go skate i throw on a DVD, not try to remember an online part that I enjoyed.
Dylan really set the form with his solo Gravis part. There wasn’t a team that was going to make a video along with him, so if he was going to put out a part he had to do it himself. After the popularity of that part other skaters realized how many people that reached and how it could become a personal job instead of one muddied up with deadlines and other skaters. Torrey’s Big Bang was similar. Even so, I will probably watch Dylan in Cherry and Torrey in True more than I search those online parts out. There is something about spending money on something that attaches you to it and makes you remember.
Even buying videos on Itunes has an effect. I am still watching the video on the same computer screen. And often the parts get put online to watch for free (Looking at you True Blue). But when I have bought the video I feel almost obligated to watch it again and again. DVD is the strongest because I see it sitting on the shelf and am reminded of how sick it was. But buying a video on Itunes still reminds me that I have the video and should watch it.
It also forces me to watch other people’s parts. I know there is a vert button I could always press, but owning a full length video encourages me to watch the whole thing as a complete package. (Maybe it comes from my obsession with listening to whole albums rather than Pandora, but that’s a whole different topic that I don’t have time to tangent on.) Take the DGK video for example; I would never think to search Marcus McBride’s part or Stevie’s, but when they come on while I watch the DVD I enjoy the fuck out of them. It benefits the whole team to make a full length video.
Uh oh, I’m about to mention Bronze56k, prepare yourselves internet. First off I love these videos, editing and skating. But at the same time they break the typical skate video formula and it takes away from the skater. Who the hell is @Chachismaserati? actually who is anyone in this videos? the typical skate video formula that is divided into parts lets me recognize the skater and get excited about new people. One of my favorite thins about Propeller was the titles, there was a rush I got when each persons name came on the screen. I got excited anticipating the shredding that was going to come. Not having titles and not having individual parts ruins this hype. Like the chapters of a good book, it prepares you for a short second for a change.
It can be argued that the typical skate video formula is antiquated and I am just an old schooler that can’t adapt to the new times. It is true that getting your footage out to people who can’t afford to buy full length videos (or even own a credit card) is a huge benefit. Skateboarding is fueled by the kids, and kids typically don’t have the money to buy videos, magazines, or even product. To get them excited about a company is the most important thing to the company. But I am more concerned about this from the skaters and filmmakers point of view. Right now skateboarding is in the midst of a “fun” movement, where just rolling arond and doing no-complies is cooler than jumping down a 20 stair. There is room for both! Instagram and web videos can fill the hole of fun skating and tour videos or web shows, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of quality full length videos.
The bottom line is that the full length video gets me infinitely more hyped that anything that goes online. Anyone who has had their pro part premier online, but has not been in a full length is not really on the team in my opinion. Matt Berger’s part was insane, but he hasn’t been in a Sorry video. The context and vision of a full length video helps each part stand out stronger in my mind than being set up by a 15 second ad. My hope is that companies understand the value of making full length videos and continue to put their money and effort behind them.