If you wanted to start shooting video, how would you go about it?
This first thing you’re obviously going to have to do is get something to film with.
What sort of budget are we talking about, and what’s the best format?
Digital is the most popular, it used to be the VX¿1000, but now it’s the VX¿2000. If you don’t have 3,500 dollars to drop on that camera, then there’re other cameras out there that would be good enough to start with. You could even get something used or a lower-end camera. If you want to do anything legit then you’re going to have to get a digital camera. In the long run you’re probably better off going ahead and saving for a good camera. Tosh Townend just bought a camera from a little store, and he got a super good deal. To get started–if you want to do it–you’ve got to be serious about it. You don’t want to put that sort of money into something you’re not even going to use. The first thing is to really have the ambition and then do it.
You’re going to need a fisheye, too.
Skateboarding video’s have been geared around the fisheye. Skateboarding, I think, has made the fisheye popular. Aside from skateboarding, the only time you might see a fisheye is in a band photo. Most photographers wouldn’t carry one. Fisheye’s are just like cameras–there’re low-end ones and high-end ones. The better the glass the better the quality. We use the Century fisheye lens, which, for the most part, is the best. The lenses they make are especially made for the Sony camera.
Would you start by filming your friends?
Start with your homies. There’s more to it than just pointing a camera at your friend. You need to know what your camera can do, what features are on it, how to set the white balance on it, how to adjust the shutter speed, what shutter speed to use, and what f¿stops to use. It’s just trial and error–the more you film, the more comfortable you get. It takes a steady hand, too. If you skate it makes it that much easier because you have a good idea of what’s going to happen, you can get a picture in your head before you even film it. If I go to a spot I’ll usually scope it out and see if I want to be on my board rolling, tracking to see more of the spot–it’s all up to you. Bring a ladder and get up in a tree. It usually pays off to be creative. In most videos you’ll see fisheye at the bottom of the stair. With skating nowadays, so much is going down that’s much bigger you don’t need a fisheye for a lot of stuff. If a guy’s doing a fifteen-stair handrail, you don’t need a fisheye–you’ll get more impact with a long lens.
How would you get into editing?
At one point all the editing systems were really expensive–they were made just for editing. You’re going to have to get a computer if you want to do any type of editing, but it’s becoming way more accessible. They’re coming out with Final Cut, and they have a low-end version, too. Start by doing simple cuts and edits, and putting music to it–nothing too off the wall with all special effects–just so you can get the gist of what you’re doing.Videos take a massive amount of memory for the most part. You could do small projects and put them on the hard drive, but if you’re getting into a thirty-minute production, you’re going to need a lot of external drives with a lot of memory. They’re fast so you can retrieve the information quickly. Technology’s advancing and prices are coming down. Someone will probably package the whole deal–camera and computer. You have to be serious about it, though. If you have cheap gear, like a cheap camera, then you’re going to have cheap photos. It comes down to what you’re using a lot of the time.
How do you learn to edit, should you take a class?
If you’re intimidated by a computer then you might want to take a class just to get familiar with it. If you already have some skills on a computer then the editing systems are pretty simple to run–annybody can do it. The cool thing is it’s like a canvas: limitless in what you can do with it. It’s all up to you.