I’ve taken to reading and following a handful of photographers blogs. While I’m reading it never fails that I bump into one of them, through first person or conducting an interview with another photographer, talking about shooting skateboard videos when they were younger. Most of these guys are in their mid-thirties now and they were at the perfect age in the 90’s to get involved with both skateboarding and video.
The 90’s provided a perfect collision of technology and a rise in skateboarding on the national radar. That’s no coincidence that the growth of each came hand in hand. I remember being an avid skateboarder during my pre-teens in the early 90’s. As an only child it was a perfect sport. And I remember being at the video store renting videos of guys skateboarding in empty pools and awesome half-pipes. Usually out in california, which was only a day dream from upstate New York.
The videos of the time were usually shot on a consumer camcorder that someone got their hands on. There was nothing special in the “look” or “beauty” in the style of the videos. As with all consumer camcorders the user is stuck with the zoom lense on the unit. There’s no depth of field and no arts focus pulls. What there was was interesting composition and lots of energy in the shots.
So, fast-forward twenty years: digital technology has grown leaps and bounds since those early skateboard videos. And as technology has grown, so have the guys shooting the video. This new breed of directors has grown up shooting digital. Some have never shot film. Ever. And they’ve also been breed in a low budget environment. They’re used to working with no time or money, yet needing to find interesting solutions.
So what can we take from these guys?
- Creative framing.
- Energy in the camera.
- Great use of natural light.
- Moving with the subject.
All of these are elements that add value to the production, and when used effectively can be a great tool for telling the story.