The debate on VX vs HD has been going on since HD's inception into skate filming a few years ago. There are some who argue that it is pointless to pursue using an old technology and that the clarity you get with HD only makes it more enjoyable to watch - especially online. There are some, like myself, who feel that VX offers a more natural and intimate feel to a video and that the need for a higher frame rate is irrelevant so long as the skating is good and the filming is done right. And then there the rest who really don't care what medium it's shot in so long as they like the final product. Although there has been a massive evolution in skate videos, and the cameras used to shoot them, there seems to be a stubbornness to give up the VX, from its filmers and following, that perhaps wasn't so profound in the past. Here are three examples from each medium that show great skating, filming and editing we can all appreciate.
[part title="No Complies & Wallrides+Shuvits"]
You've all seen this one before but you're going to watch it again because it's so good. The second promo video from Polar skateboards called "No Complies & Wallrides+Shuvits" presents a powerful and identifiable aesthetic that Pontus and his crew have curated and perfected. The VX footage has dashes of super-8 and 16mm footage spread amongst it, really accentuating the use of analogue formats. With footage from their hometown spots alike and from a trip to New York, the gritty versatility of the team really comes through with the likeminded camera its captured on.
[part title="Night Prowler"]
Katsumi Minami's fantastic full length video "Night Prowler" is a perfect example of a Japanese skate video and VX filming. There's something so tangible to VX footage that makes it more relatable, usually pointed towards more fun, simplistic and powerful skating, there's no need to over-complicate the filming and production - reflecting the skating that's being filmed. With a great cast of skaters, from Maru, Hiroki Muraoka, Rich Adler and many more, "Night Prowler" is a great representation of Japanese skating and spots; giving a fun and communal vibe to it.
[part title="Eleventh Hour"]
Here's Tom Knox's section from "Eleventh Hour". Jake Harris chose to film a full-length video in physical format, in the age of HD, a bold move (considering the maintenance costs of the camera and need to buy film) which payed off in the form of winning best video at this years Bright Awards. Originally meant to be the Grey magazine video, a few technicalities led to it having to be released independently but none of these facts are really relevant when watching the video. There's still something to be said for the physical format that really taps into your inner-child - having bought it, you race home and rush straight to the machine, put it in and sit back to absorb the whole thing. Whether it's a full-length or an online part, the VX is still proving itself to be just as relevant as when it first came out and an absolute work-horse within the skate industry.
Dylan Reider's Gravis section, simply titled "Dylan" was an absolute sensation on its release three years ago. The first of its kind, being just one section released purely for online viewing and not part of some larger video with other sections - or even available to buy. Shot by Greg Hunt, you know that it's going to be done well and the choice to film it entirely in HD was a good one. Dylan can skate anything and the footage came out looking like nothing ever done before (not that HD was new, but the standard of the video was so high and set a really high precedent of what could be done). The video manages not to seem devoid of character or over-produced as a lot HD videos can seem. You know that a lot of time and effort went into producing it and that really comes through.
[part title="Search The Horizon"]
This full-length Christmas treat from the good boys over at Habitat and Thrasher is a brilliant demonstration of an HD video done right. As their first video done entirely in HD, Joe Castrucci and the gang must be applauded for managing to retain the Habitat aesthetic in a cohesive and expectantly beautiful way. High Definition looks great for nature documentaries and so on, but the simplicity with which this video is shot, focusing on the amazing skating and some nice shots of trees, doesn't come off like some other HD releases - that seem to try too hard to impress, with flashy editing, overuse of 'slow-mo' and drawn out camera angles.
[part title="Adidas NYC"]
Adidas' New York trip video is a prime example of HD done right. All shot in/converted into black and white the clip doesn't let the high frame rate distract you from the astounding level and sheer amount of skating displayed in the clip. Featuring pretty much the whole team - with Gonz in his natural habitat and Mark Suciu's introduction to the team - skating well known spots across the city (like the courthouse and black hubba) this video doesn't disappoint. Shot by Torsten Frank and Dan Wolfe the video is of fantastic quality that won't get NY locals shaking their heads and you can tell that by the sheer enormity of views it has on the youtube upload.