Posted by:on July 5th, 2005
In the recent review of 70-71.com’s 2$ Pistol DVD I predicted that independently produced skate videos are going to be the wave of the future. Testing my theory are two more releases from Innovation Skateboards, Back in the Day Texas Style, and Skatefest Ingeside. Again, these are home produced and manufactured, meaning it’s a guy at his home computer, editing the video and burning the DVD’s. (Actually, Innovation is looking into some affordable small-run [ie. less than 1000] replication services.)
First off is Back in the Day Texas Style. Coming in at about an hour’s worth of footage, Back in the Day Texas Style is an assortment of 80’s era Texas events, starting with 26 minutes of footage from Shut Up And Skate 1986. Riders include Jeff Phillips, Mike McGill, Chris Miller, Craig Johnson, John Gibson, Ken Fillion, Neil Blender, Art Godoy, Allan Losi, Eddie Elguera. It’s unclear whether this is the finals or what, but it is essentially a guy standing on one side ramp, a couple of feet away from the flat, with the camera on record the hole time. There is some great skating as you would expect from the names listed, but since it is all one uninterrupted shot from the same angle it can be less than riveting at all times. The sound is hypnotic – the familiar noise of wheels wheels rolling over regular 8ft intervals of masonite with silence as the wheels leave the coping, followed by a synchronized “Yeah!” from the crowd, repeat. Listen for an announcer bitching about a pickup truck over the P.A. – some things never change. Watch Chris Miller make humongous bails to his crappy Rector knee pads. The Texas locals charge hard too, generally making a good show with their own style, Phillps in particular. Blender is up some of his usual creative antics. Next up is a couple of minutes of the Randol Mill Pool, in Arlington. It’s right handed kidney with what looks like Bill Danforth and some little kid. After that is about 9 minutes Texas Style Demo 2 from 1989. It’s a giant warehouse with what looks like a hastily erected 16ft halfpipe and one of those metal-framed plexiglass covered half pipes (literally- no flat) being totally ignored and backed up against the wooden vert ramp. The sessioners are listed as Gibson Phillips, G Hare, Wilkes, Billy Smith, Reese Simpson, and Fillion, Strangely, the crowd is separated by an artificially far distance from the ramp, and the camera has a much better view. Listen for repeated announcements for free coupons from Sound Warehouse for a dollar off!
Next for your viewing pleasure is 12 minutes of Metro bowl footage in Arlington, making a departure from the rest of the video because it is no longer just one long camera shot, and it also marks the first time the music overdub kicks in (after 36 minutes!) Appropriately, the soundtrack is provided by Texas’ own Bark Hard featuring John Gibson on guitar, Todd Prince on vocals, and Ken Fillion on skins. Three songs long for this right handed kidney with riders, Phillips, Greg, Salba, Tracy, Murf, Darren, and others. A fully padded Salba looks almost small and not beefy. There’s an archetypal 80’s Betty sitting on the deck, with big, big platinum blonde hair, sitting legs crossed in multiple layered shirts. She could be ugly but the video is fuzzy enough so it doesn’t matter. You know what she looks like. Also present is the classic “Crack Kills” t-shirt featuring a fat person’s ass hanging out some pants. And who is the shredder in the light blue shirt? Nice runs.
Lastly, there is about 10 minutes of a bizarre Six Flags Over Texas Spring Break demo with pitch black surroundings and a small metal surfaced half pipe on a stage. It’s almost a mini with no flat. The rickety sounding metal surface is enhanced by a weirdly distant crowd that sometimes erupts into inappropriately timed girlish squeals. It seems like the first couple of minutes are spent trying to figure out how to ride the ramp. Rides are listed as Phillips, Murf, Donaldson, Eric Taylor, Bobby Culver, and Craig Johnson. Some of them look like little kids. The DVD ends with a dedication to Jeff Phiilips.
If you approach Back in the Day Texas Style from the typical modern skate video point of view you will likely be disappointed. It’s more archival in nature as opposed to being a slickly edited short attention span eye candy vid. There some great skating but it hasn’t been filtered down. There was a time when contest videos used to be released in a similar fashion, essentially a minimally edited montage of single camera continuous shots with the occasional cutaway shot to the crowd and skate betties. The skateboarding public was so starved for content at the time that this approach probably made a little bit of cash. Unfortunately, they were mostly unwatchable after the first time. To it’s benefit, Back in the Day Texas Style has history and geography going for it. The Texas scene got a lot of press in the early days of Thrasher, and this DVD is a good way to relive or investigate that part of skateboarding history.
Skatefest Ingeside has recently shot footage of what appears to be opening day festivities at a new skatepark. In the words of the cover “See Salba, Jon Comer & Gringo team riders, Heidi Fitzgerald, Chaz Pineda, Gravity Skateboards Longboard Team: Brad Edwards, Roger Mihalko, Jessee Parker And More Tear Up The Concrete In This Superfun Texas Skatepark. Witness The All Out Madness In The Best Trick In The Pool Event Where Chaz Pineda And Longboarder Go For Broke. Roger Hurls Big Airs, Bonelesses, Grinds And Chaz Does Huge Grinds, Airs And Insanely Fast Runs. Includes Street Clips Of Patrick Melcher And Others. Plus Footage From The Private Evening Session For The Riders To Get Used To The Park-Not That They Needed To. Extras Include Interviews With Heidi, Chaz, Roger And Salba. 54min Of Skating”
Skatefest Ingeside is not nearly as interesting as Back in the Day Texas Style, again being single camera coverage. To make events like this more fun to watch on TV the viewer needs to either know the skaters or the park personally, or the event needs multiple camera coverage with a lot of editing. There is some great skating to be sure, but you have to sift through a lot of filler, and since the event has no special historical significance it can be a bit much. To be fair, my copy of the DVD cut out about half way through, so I can’t say I saw the whole thing. Of course, Innovation offered to replace it.
Priced at $19.95, + $4 shipping, these DVD’s are expensive when compared to major releases, especially with recent high quality offerings from Thrasher coming in at $10 plus shipping. I have to imagine the relatively high price is due to the fact that these DVD’s are being produced at home and with burning take up a lot of time. $25 is bit of a hard sell. Hopefully, cheap replication services will drive the price closer to the $10 sweet spot. Innovation has other titles available (Soul Bowls, Masters, Texas Jam…) as well as a promising Texas video magazine which is in the works and will be priced in the $6-$7 range.
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