Phantoscope

Film, Skate or Die

When I was in high school my friends and I skateboarded every chance we could, and we all loved skate videos. A skate video is basically a short film featuring pro skaters, usually edited into segments with music added. As far as me and my peers, one of us would get a hold of a new video (literally a VHS video tape) we would watch it and let our friends borrow it. As we got a little better at skating, we also wanted to film our own skating. This was before smart phones and affordable digital camcorders.  So, we used what we access to, which meant using a parent’s or a friend’s camcorder to film. A lot of pro skate videos at the time were filmed on tape with a fish-eye lens, anyway. We would film tricks and then “pause, record, pause, record” with two VCRs to make “parts”, but mostly it was just unedited footage of trying the same trick ten times and making jokes.

Skate videos are still a big thing, and now with easier access to digital cameras and editing software, kids are filming skateboarding more than ever. It has given the average skateboarding teenager the tools to create a video of their own. The quality and volume of skate videos being put out by skate companies has increased drastically in the last 15 years, and many videos are highly polished and entertaining. With the climbing popularity of skateboarding in mainstream culture, the “Skate Video” has become a worthy component of filmmaking. Even with all these advancements, new markets, and bigger budgets, the main purpose of a skate video is still to get you hyped to go skateboarding.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQp-m64eKro

A promo video from Scour Skateboards, an up & coming Indiana based skate company.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJcJQ6uaCBo

A skate edit of my friend Shane and myself from 2012, at age 29.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_byvItg2NU

Toy Machine’s Jump Off a Building, 1998

-Joe Swanson, Creative Assistant at RAM, artist, and skateboarder

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