vr

Putting the “Err?” in VR

So the technology is interesting. A video camera posted at a reflective dome essentially captures your complete surrounding. When you add image processing software, you can manipulate the image to fix the perspective and crop the visible area. Then click and drag around to get a 360° panorama. This technology has been around for stills for over a decade I think. I’m not sure when they applied to video, but someone did, and now there’s a skate video for you to watch. From a novelty standpoint it’s interesting for a little while. From a skate video standpoint it can be cumbersome. If you change your viewpoint once then you’re going to find yourself missing the action as there’s no way to reset to the default view. I played around with it for awhile and it was fun, but more gimmicky than useful for this type of video. What I really enjoyed was watching the raw video in an unsupported browser. The still on the bottom of the picture above shows you what that looks like. It was snapped more or less at the same time as the VR view in the top. As you can see, during times where there’s no skateboarding action, they like to stagger guys in a circle around the camera so there’s something to look at if you’re looking in another direction. You can allegedly watch this on an iOS device, but for some strange reason it doesn’t work in Safari. Be warned, this video is Xtreme!™

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soloshot

Soloshot

Soloshot is a great piece of technology for those who can make use of it. It’s a camera mount that will track a radio tag for up to 2000 meters. Basically you wear it and your camera mount will pan and swivel to follow you. You can get one that is just a base that you add your own camera to, or they sell one integrated that also allows for automatic zooming. You can program camera moves into it. This sounds like a paid product placement, but it isn’t. Cool technology for sure, but not so useful for skate footage. If it works well and you need this kind of thing, excellent. As far as using it for skateboarding? I suppose if your friends are tired of shooting you… but as you know, good skate footage usually requires more intimate angles. That might be why the skateboarding part of the promo video only lasts about a second. I still want this, but have no idea what I would use it for.

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graava

Shoot First, Edit Never

Graava is a camera/app combo that is supposed to make it easier for you to actually do something with all the footage you acquire. Basically, you dock the camera and the open the app, decide how long you want the the end result to be and then let the app make a video for you after it analyzes the footage for… what I’m not sure. A skateboarder is used in their marketing video, and apparently he works in an office where it’s cool to come in late and edit skate videos… hold on, his video is edited for him while he works so he doesn’t have to worry about getting fired. Obviously, this wouldn’t work for any sort of “real” skate video, but it seems to do the trick if you’re just pointing a selfie stick at yourself while you cruise on the bike trail. The question is, why build and sell a separate camera instead of just making an app that takes video from any source? If only someone could invent an app that automatically compiles and writes an Ebay Watch.

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Nike SB App

Nike SB App

This is a little old, and a little odd. There are already a few social apps and web sites out there for sharing skate spots and footage, and a couple for playing S.K.A.T.E., But the Nike SB App rolls them all into one and then some, giving new meaning to the term “tech skater.” Nyuk nyuk nyuk… The tagline is “Connect. Progress. Respect.” The app lets you play the game of S.K.A.T.E. worldwide, connect with other users, and accept challenges:

Step up to new challenges issued by Nike SB and our pro team to help you keep progressing. Share your footage and have the chance to get noticed by Nike SB, our team, and many more!

Then there’s something called a “trick tree”

Lose yourself in skateboarding’s endless creative process with our extensive Trick Tree, further inspiring you to learn and expand your skills. Watch the pros demonstrate with new filming and viewing techniques, and help expand the Trick Tree with your own footage.

The whole thing sounds marginally acceptable until you get to the point where you get to earn virtual badges, which is a little bit too much in the Dora the Explorer vein for me. The video promo features a remix of a Cocteau Twins song, so I’m not sure who this is aimed at, but it’s slick. That’s for sure. If you’re on an iOS device you can download it free from the App store. Imagine showing some kid in the 70’s how one day, other kids would be skateboarding, watching videos and entering contests with their phones. Actually, I think they showed this in the claymation scene of Skateboard Madness…

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iPhone Photography

The new iPhone has a nicer camera than the old ones. I have a 3G, and it’s truly an art to get a usable skate photo with it, but the prize is all that much sweeter if you manage to get one. I had an idea a few years ago to make a print edition of a skate zine made entirely with cell phone pictures. It was several years ago actually, because I was still gainfully employed. MC bought a cheap stick on wide angle adapter for his phone. I think Mark said someone ought to make a camera with a phone, instead of making a phone with a camera. Still, there’s something to be said for the aesthetic. You make the most with what you have, flaws and all. Crappy plastic film cameras are all the rage. The image above is from an iPhone camera review of sorts on Boing Boing. The new iPhone camera has a bump in the megapixels and possibly even a faster shutter mechanism with reduced lag. Pretty soon people are going to start hording vintage iPhones for the camera effects like Holgas. Maybe there will be a Hipstamatic flim/lens combo in the future that emulates old iPhones. Bryce Kanights has some nice iPhone photography up at the Above Coping show. After the jump I’ve posted a few of my own.

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titanium

Titanium Trucks from Theeve

I thought there was already some downhill company making a titanium axle truck, but then again I’m not keeping track. These guys (What guys? Theeve Trucks) claim to have the first titanium axle trucks:

Theeve has created the world’s first 6/4 Titanium axle truck. TiAX Titanium axles are 40% lighter and 2 times stronger than standard steel axles. This gives you a weight saving and less chance of bending axles. Titanium / alloy blend with non-slip 6/4 Aerospace grade Titanium axles, Grade 8 king pins and Bones® Hardcore Bushings™ standard.

I don’t know how big a part of the overall weight the axle is, so I’m not sure that it would make much of a difference to all but the techy-est of riders. However, extra strength and Bones Bushings are something I can get behind. Theeve says it’s their take on a classic truck, which is kind of funny because I thought these were ACE’s take on a classic truck when I first saw the profile. Speaking of ACE, does anyone know what’s going on with them? I’m trying to set up an account over there and I haven’t heard back in months. Getting back to Theeve, their web site says they also have axleless hangers coming in 2010. So I guess that means split axle trucks, along the lines of Gull Wing, but probably without the coping slot, since the recent incarnation Gull Wing has dropped it themselves.

Thrasher Magazine iPhone case from Uncommon

iPhone skate roundup

There’s a company called Uncommon that makes custom iPhone cases that are pretty cool. You can upload your own artwork and through a unique process, they basically bake it onto the case. The image actually penetrates the shell a considerable distance, so it doesn’t simply scratch off two weeks after you buy it. For those of you who aren’t artistically inclined, they also offer collections of cases designed by artists, as well as a Juxtapoz Magazine and Thrasher Magazine collection. The best offering in the Thrasher collection is one that looks like you covered your phone in assorted Thrasher stickers. Of course you could do this yourself, but they wouldn’t protect your phone, and it would look like hell the first time you pulled it out of your pocket. It may seem like I know an inappropriate amount about the product, but that’s because I know a guy who is one of their handful of employees. I got the tour and a chance to peep the classified video. I’ve even been rocking a blank case for the past three months. As a case without blandishment, I’ve got nothing but positive comments. With a graphic, I can only imagine it would be twice as nice. Now considering all this, and especially my insider connection, my only complaint is that there is no Skate and Annoy collection, or even a Killwag Kollection. Come on, I think we could sell at least one GVK edition. Once again, that name is Uncommon. They also do a Blackberry case. Cough, cough. Ahem. Plug. Also in iPhone news: Made For Skate now has a free lite version of their iPhone app. , and several updates. It seems like they update it every month with new content or features. Concrete Wave Magazine dropped a big surprise with their new iPhone app. It offers another extension to their community, the ability to view photos and all advertisements from their current issue, and exclusive discounts arrangements with some vendors, among other things. That last tiny picture is Erik Ellington and Geoff Rowley, the two new spokespersons for the GoSk8 iPhone app.

Skateboard wheels with replaceable urethane treads or tires.

Don’t Tread On Me

Hey look, I’m not making this stuff up. This is a system for skateboard wheels that consists of an aluminum hub with interchangeable urethane treads. It dates back to around 2003 or so, possibly a little bit earlier. I believe they were made by Dragonetti, although I could be wrong. If not, I think it was some similar sounding name with an Italian sounding suffix. These pictures are from a used set, and I neglected to clean out the skatepark grime that accumulated on them, but you get the idea. The aluminum hub was actually a two piece fabrication. Pressure from the axle nut was supposed to compress the hub against the inner lip of the urethane wheel to keep it stable, but the reality was that normal use would cause the wheels to slip on the center hub. It seemed like a difficult but not insurmountable deficiency to overcome. This might have been a case where the product was rushed to market too soon. They don’t seem to be available anymore. In fact, this set belonged to Grover, and he was in contact with the manufacturer for a while about the performance issues. They said they had a solution figured out and were supposed to send him a replacement set under warranty but nothing ever came of it. The costs of the initial wheel and hub combo was moderately more expensive than a traditional wheel, but the replacement treads were priced to make them cheaper than buying a new set of standard wheels. There are some more pictures after the jump.

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