The Dilemma

Event DVDs have always left a bitter taste in my mouth for several reasons:

One: Raw footage of the event has already been posted all over the internet and everyone has already witnessed the major tricks that took place so there are no surprises.

Two: The video usually fails to capture the atmosphere of the event which, in essence, is the whole point of an event DVD.

Three: The production time for such a video usually takes a few months and by this point the footage is normally out of date.

The Winterclash is the biggest event in rollerblading at the moment, thanks to the hard work of Jojo Jacobi. I often wonder what exactly is required to organise such an event and what ordeals one would go through when setting about such a task. There is no doubt in my mind that Jojo is a man obsessed with detail and this is evident in how Winterclash manages to improve and expand every year. However, when it comes to video production, I cannot help but feel that Jojo may be a little out of his depth.

Here is a breakdown of the DVD’s main advantages and disadvantages:

Positive

One: You get a certain idea of what the event is like, thanks to many sweeping shots of the venue and interviews with some of the most prestigious members of the rollerblading community. However, the interviews are not very well constructed.
Two: There are multi- angle shots of all the biggest tricks that took place during the event. You also see the number of attempts that each big trick took, which shows that even the greatest skaters in the world are only human and cannot perform on command.
Three: The coverage of the amateur event is the most impressive part of the DVD because you get to watch with sheer horror as children no older than 13 years old perform 540 disaster grinds on the handrail and attempt gaps that will leave you breathless. The Winterclash DVD shows that it is easily one of the best formats for displaying raw new talent in our culture.
Four: The DVD is only ten euros and the profits go towards the funding of the Winterclash, so buying the DVD supports the event.

Negative

One: There wasn’t enough focus on what it takes to make the Winterclash possible. There was little or no footage of the leadup to the event, the building of the ramps, the meetings, the planning and the hard work it took. If the DVD is anything to go by, Jojo simply organised this event with a few phone calls and some preparation the day before. I think we all know that this is simply not true, so the DVD should do him justice and reflect all the effort he puts in.
Two: There are no behind the scenes insights into the event. No one tells any funny/ interesting stories about what happened apart from the skating. It would have been entertaining to hear about what all the pros got up to once they took their skates off. I know it’s intrusive but that’s what would make it fun.
Three: According to Jeremy Stephenson, the town where Winterclash took place was besieged with skaters and everywhere to stay was booked out. Why was none of this shown? It would have been incredible to see panoramic shots of a town swarming with skaters. If done correctly, that could easily have been something that would make this DVD unforgettable.


To Conclude

The Winterclash DVD is by no means terrible. The footage is good, the editing is clean and there is a lot of bonus footage to work your way through once you get bored of the main feature. The problem is, you will probably get bored of the main feature after one viewing. Sure, it’s incredible to watch Stephane Alphano and Chaz Sands destroy yet another competition, but this DVD could have been a landmark in our industry. If done correctly, The Winterclash DVD could have been a fly on the wall documentary that shows the planning Jojo must do to pull of such an event and then there could have been a narrative of the months leading up to the event, showing all the stages of production and preparation. This way, the viewer could get an idea of what it takes to make such an epic event possible. The Winterclash is one of the most unmissable events in our culture; unfortunately this DVD simply does not reflect that. If you want to support this incredible event, buy a copy of the DVD and show your loyalty, but don’t expect anything spectacular from the content.

Review by David McNamara
All photos by Grand