For our second edition of our “Best Blading Video” series we spoke with notable blading videographers Karsten Boysen, Taylor Kobryn, Boris Gaisner and Adam Johnson about what videos are their favorites and have made a lasting impact on them as well as influenced their own personal video work. We have also included links to all of their selections for those who would like to educate yourselves on some of the most important videos in the long history of blading cinema.
But that is not all! We also want to know what our readers opinions are on what you feel are your own personal favorite videos! So fill out the survey question listed below and we will be announcing the winners of our poll in a few weeks.
Now peep what some of blading’s best minds have to say about their own personal favorite skate videos and what made them special to them. Their choices may surprise you!
Favorite video: Barely Dead
While it released around 15 years ago, I think “Barely Dead“ is still one of the best produced videos in our sport. The production value of this video was unheard of at the time in our sport (2005?). The early use of HD, the beautiful 16mm footage, the fantastic motion design and the time-lapses made it the biggest production, most professional production thus far. They put so much effort in not only the video, but how it was presented with the high quality packaging and including one of the very few videos that ever released on HD-DVD (the format that lost the battle against Blu-Ray).
While it might not be the video that I rewatched the most, probably due to the fact, that it features a lot of talking heads with some cringe worthy statements and that is generally not as exciting to rewatch as skating, this video had an impact on me for what is possible with filmmaking in this sport.
Favorite video: The Truth 2
Tough question, I think the most inspiring skating video through my life was “The Truth 2″. The Kelso brothers & Austin Paz made it real. My mother brought a group from our home town in New Jersey to a recreation center in SOHO NYC. Folks were selling brews, there were p-rails, & the pro skaters we all idolized were in attendance. It was unforgettable, I still have the poster with Sean Kelso’s signature.
My brother and I had really became hooked on skating after the “The Truth” (1) was released so, we watching it repeatedly. The idea of a “Truth 2” had our minds blown when we saw the trailer. Fish had a comeback section, we thought it was over after he got nailed by that car. He showed us that was clearly not true. It was very clear when we started rollerblading that the industry was declining, the internet kept talking about it.
John Bolino has the first section in The Truth 2, and him being a New Jersey native was a huge inspiration for us. Everything James and I did after that video/premiere makes a lot of sense looking back on it. Making friends from New York to Philly with the desire to experience what we had seen in the Truth 2; a video by skaters.
Favorite video: Road to Nowhere
I began aggressive skating in 2003, and the early 2000s were years of big progress in blading. Living in Russia with 56k modem internet, I had very limited access to videos, and our crew called “Aupa” got a chance to copy skate videos from other collectors. The first ripped videos we received were: “Razors – Closer” by Beau Cottington, “KFC-3: Straight Jackit” by Adam Johnson, “Mindgame – Words” and “2R: Sell Your Soul 2 Roll“. Those were unique in many ways and formed my approach to skating process, style and technique. The hammers were just out of this world, the style was already looking solid and mostly hip-hop, so I felt myself as a total gangster shredding the little ledge after watching Iain Mcleod 2R part or joint Vibralux section of Haffey, Farmer and Broskow in KFC-3.
After that I got my hands on Carl Sturgess releases “Film” and “Demode“, and eventually started focusing on angles and camera movement, not just tricks. The fisheye work was very skateboarding-alike, editing was unreal and stood out compared to aforementioned videos (except Closer, which was packed with effects and trippy editing) – massive color correction, some dissolves used in perfect place, timing to the music was awesome.
But the video that stood out the most was actually Road To Nowhere by Brandon Negrete (RIP) which was fundamental if we talk about storytelling and presentation of people’s characters. The skating was very unique, clothes and art direction were different from other releases, it was heavily influenced by rock-n-roll and punk culture. Bonus moments between the profile, skits, cool outro, lots of improv tricks and toe rolls done in cool places – everything was done in a very special way.
Generally Brandon’s films were all about the people and personal style, and the skating was just one of many parts of their characters. This immediately gave me a sense of presence, like those dudes were not stars and mostly felt as your neighborhood blade brothers, and it attracted me. Another thing in Negrete videos was the soundtrack, it was not hip-hop, mostly rock and post-punk melodies, which opened me to the whole new culture and new artists.
Some time later in 2007 I’ve decided to buy my first camera and was searching for the pics of Brandon holding his camera to recognize the model. I read all his interviews and finally stumbled upon the Be-Mag msgboard and found out about the Myspace social network. Then there was a massive grom moment of asking Negrete “What kind of model do you use to film your movies?”, so he casually replied it was Sony VX 2100 and a week later I bought it; thanks to my Dad for the support.
Then I totally copied Negrete’s style despite the disclaimer in his videos saying “don’t copy people’s style”, and made my first blading video Color For Ya, so just check the BITE level on this one hahahaha. Hope you enjoy the little story, and maybe it inspires you to watch videos with more attention to style and detail – important things that are a big part of our culture. Check all of the Negrete videos, or attempts as he called it, and maybe those will make you recognize and understand some new shit!
Honestly, I hate the question: “What’s your favorite skate video?” With dozens of things to consider — quality of filming, tricks, soundtrack, pace, corny narratives and blade acting, nostalgia — it’s too subjective even for one’s self. Instead of choosing a favorite, let’s ponder what I hold as the most important characteristic: vibe.
“Hoax II: Anarchy Across America” was a VHS that I watched a few times a day for an entire summer when I was sidelined from skating and filming with a broken elbow. The most ambitious project at the time and arguably one of the more successful in its ability to remain relevant today. Let’s break it down.
- Characters— There are very few skate videos that have a crew like this, let alone skating and traveling together for the duration of the skate video. Videos are thankfully getting back to this style with the likes of Champagne, the Cayenne projects, Balas Perdidas flicks, and the list goes on. Videos that showcase the humanity and love of skating resonate with me more than people jumping off roofs and trying to kill themselves.
- Travel— Unless you live in a paradise (and even if you do) one of the greater goals in skating is to travel with people you care about and skate new and exciting obstacles. It’s a chance to kick the tires on new cities around the world, try different cuisines and live a life partially unknown to you before. It’s a romantic notion that ultimately ends with you sleeping on the floor and being hungover for days on end as you abuse your body. “Don’t eat an apple.”
- Drama— A thing that hardly makes it into videos now a days, DRAMA is woven throughout “Hoax II“. Evan Stone and Craig Caryl knew that the driving force of drama keeps people watching. Anarchy Across America was reality TV before it existed. “A punch to my head is going to get you a fucking knife to your throat.” “Arlo, did you get your um, penis pierced?”
- Music— You might not be a 311 fan or into Sublime. Odds are you’d never heard a Mexakinz track in your life. Evan and Craig didn’t give a shit though. They used representative tracks from the regions depicted and you had to sit through that choice…or mute or fast forward. There was no iTunes to play in the background back then.
At the end of the day, there are dozens of “favorites” to list. But the driving force for me to want to put my skates on and pick up my camera after my first major skate injury was “Hoax II“.