What was the purpose behind creating the DC Films Web site?
Two reasons: One, there really wasn’t a place on the DC site where kids that skate and are really into DC could go where there would be daily updates and video clips specifically tailored for them. The other reason was that through the day to day filming and trips that we do, there’s so much stuff that we collect that we can never do anything with. Even if it’s the most random photo or something funny or a video clip—we wanted to have an outlet to put that stuff out there.
Once we started working on it, we realized we could really do something cool as far as putting videos up and what caliber of videos we put up. We didn’t want to throw them up forever and have them get lost in an archive. We want to make videos that are really good and only put them up for a limited time and eventually put them on a DVD when we make a skate video. We’re working on a video that’s going to be out at the end of this year, so our plan is to put up two movies a month, make them good enough to be bonus features on a DVD—not just Web movies. With the Danny surgery thing and the Skate Clips movie, there’s some good footage in there and we really tried to edit it well and do the sound well so eventually it’s intended to be watched on a TV. It’s all working as a whole with this video we’re doing because this video is going to come in a book, and the book is going to be much more of a book than the Deluxe Edition book was. It’s going to be bigger and it’s going to cover our year, all the trips we went on. The video itself is going to be a year of footage primarily from Darrell, Devine, and Ryan Gallant who are going to have the full parts, and then everyone else will have footage. The bonus features are going to be the Now Showing movies from the Web site. It’s all one big DC Films package.
Is there a certain look or navigation you wanted the site to have?
My main thing was I wanted for it to be simple and very fast. I didn’t want to wait for animations to load, I wanted it to be really simple and really raw. You go to the main page and there’s updates, if you want to watch movies, you go there, there’s no stuff in between. We tried to keep it in the look of the book we did and a lot of the stuff we’ve done. We wanted it to be really visual, lots of photos, have a lot of personality. I wanted the skate team to have a big presence. That’s probably a better answer to your first question of why we wanted to do this site. I want it to instantly have the feeling that this is something very natural and very personable with the team.
Kids always want to know what kind of filming and editing equipment the pros are using. Do you want to divulge that info?
Yeah, I don’t care. I’ve always used Media 100. It’s what I learned to use when I worked at TransWorld. It’s what I edited The DC Video on. We have three Media 100s. One is very basic that we use for Web stuff. One is an older one that we use for the video, it’s a Media 100i. The third one is a Media 100 HD, which is a lossless high definition Media 100 which we did those two commercials on. It works exactly like the older Media 100s but you can edit all your footage lossless, there’s no compression and you can edit high definition footage and you can mix different codecs in on the same timeline and stuff. What I’m going to try and do too, is on this UK tour, license a song ahead of time and edit the tour on my laptop on Final Cut. I don’t use Final Cut much, I think Media 100 is a lot better. Because of the Web site, a lot of the stuff we do on the road we’ll do on Final Cut until Media 100 comes out with a llaptop version.
What about video cameras? Is there any new technology you’re using?
No, the camera I use most is a VX1000 and that’s been out for like ten years. With the advances in digital still cameras, it’s funny, I got a seven mega-pixel Elph for the same price I got a two mega-pixel Elph a couple years ago. They haven’t really cracked it yet with video cameras. They have these HDV cameras which is a high definition DV and it takes a mini DV tape, but they’re having some problems with it plus your computer needs to be able to read the HDV codec. That’s an expensive upgrade, plus in HDV it shoots in the 16:9 widescreen ratio. It’s a new format—I’d be really stoked to shoot a whole skate video in widescreen, it’d be really hard, but I don’t want to mix it up. If I have guys filming on the East Coast with Sonys that are shooting regular aspect ratio and you’re trying to shoot widescreen, your video is going to end up looking like a snowboard video with all kinds of different aspect ratios in it.
What about film cameras? Do you have one or more film cameras with you when you’re out shooting?
I have a couple VXs, a 1000 and a 2000, and a 16mm Bolex that I’ve had forever. I usually also have still cameras too, I have a Leica 35mm and little digital still camera.
How do you choose the music for the videos?
For the Web stuff we have to still license everything. We have to license it for the Web but ultimately it’s going to be in the video. It’s kind of fun.
Do you search for songs or is it more rider input?
Well, the licensing limits you. Like if you wanted to license David Bowie to put on the internet, I can’t imagine how much that would cost.
So do you sit back and let the record labels come to you?
Kind of, I’ve been working in the same constraints for a long time, from TransWorld to DC, so I’ve learned that there are labels that are really cool where their artists are really accessible. But even more than the label, the publishing is what really determines if you can license the song. A band could have an album on a really small label, like Interpol, but their publishing is EMI Publishing which is the biggest publisher in the world, and they never bend and go under the market rate which is almost unaffordable. You want to find artists who own their own publishing. Some really big bands do, like Fugazi owns all their own publishing. When you license music from them, sometimes you talk to Ian MacKaye directly. Every song and every band and every label is different. We’re pretty much licensing all indie stuff since it will be used on the internet. Labels and publishing companies are a little paranoid about the internet. With a video, you pay them per unit, but with the internet, God knows how many people can see it and are they going to be able to download it? It becomes a lot more complicated.
What are the next big things that will be up on the site?
We’re going on a UK trip for two weeks, so the next video will be of that trip that will go up the day I get back. Hopefully, if all goes well, I’m going to edit it on the trip and then finish it on the plane on the way back, and put it up the day I get back. I think it will be fun. And it’ll force me to learn Final Cut.
We’ll have daily updates from this UK trip with photos, but there will also be video clips everyday from the tour. And that’s ultimately what I want the site to be. DC Films is the video end of DC, so I want it to be much more video based. I’d like to put video clips up everyday—if it’s something random or like a minute long thing from a demo. That’s the goal, to be there by the time we’re in this UK trip.