Posted on 08 March 2008.
Since the first video tape recorder was sold in 1951, reality has appeared directly on screens, first in grainy black-and-white, later in color. Today, with digital cameras as common as wristwatches, as websites such as MySpace and YouTube featuring user-contributed and controlled content, just about anyone with a laptop or cell-phone can upload clips from their lives to share with the entire world within minutes.
The art and science of skateboarding was forever revolutionized with the popularity of the home VCR. Released in 1965 “Skater Dater” is thought to be the first movie ever released which focused solely on skaters doing tricks. This revolutionary look at a relatively unknown sport was nominated for an Oscar in 1966 and also won the Golden Palm Award for the Best Short Film category in the same year.
These days it is a standard part of the promotion departments for many skate companies and shops to sponsor skateboarding teams and release skateboard videos of competitions and practice sessions. The availability of these videos represents a quantum leap in the art of skating instruction, making it possible for today’s skater to study directly under the tutelage of the finest athletes in the field. By watching these videos over and again, at different speeds and with the ability to pause those split-second movements, the 21st century skateboarding student can learn in a single afternoon skills which once took months to master.
Notable movie director Spike Jonze, cofounder of Girl Skateboards, has raised the stakes professional skateboard videos. Most well known for his role as co-creator of MTV’s Jackass, his Academy Award nominated film Adaptation, as well as the cult classic Being John Malkovich, Jonze directed Girl’s groundbreaking video Yeah Right! featuring trick skaters doing never-before documented moves captured on film by other skaters.
Famous original Zephyr team member Stacey Peralta has also tried his hand as a director of skateboard videos. Focusing on the history of the movement and evolution of styles more than specific technique tips, his documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, is one of the more significant entries in the field, covering the inside scoop on skateboarding’s key players and pioneering moments.
Vert skating legend Tony Hawk has risen to the edge of superstardom, flying under the sails (and sales) of his popular Trick Tips videos and Secret Skate Park Tour series. Though subject of controversy and fierce opinions, the world champ is undeniably one of the greatest names in the sport, and his DVD’s continue to be highly coveted as well as fiercely defended from critics.
Making skateboard videos is equally the province of amateurs and professionals, who capture with varying degrees of skill skateboard efforts which are also of different levels of skill. A truly compelling video will combine step-by-step instruction with gravity-defying courage and a little humor.
Skateboard videos are consistently among the most viewed entries on sharing sites such as Blip.tv and Vimeo. And no wonder; for action, drama and pure bellylaughs, few sights captured by camera can offer so much as footage of the skater in his natural habitat.