Rollerblading is in such state, that any video of it breaking ceiling of 100 000 views (or you can use term “going viral” if you like) is seen by our community as a really huge thing, almost miracle, or second coming. (Yeah, it seems that waiting for savior, more in form of group of people or company than person, is buried deep in mentality of many bladers).
Take a look at it, again, because – why not?
This piece originally was meant to be about what makes recent Danny Beer’s edit of Richie Eisler so different from all other recent rollerblading videos that did not managed to caught general public attention focusing mostly on technical aspects. I was thinking a lot how filming affects this, and why people who make blading videos are serving content that looks like wannabe Victoria’s Secret catwalk montages when you look at techniques used. But I’ve decided it is pointless for many reasons:
1) Most people I’ve spoken to about this issue are aware what is wrong with blading videos.
2) I’m not a filmmaker myself, but I know some, and know that many people really think spamming after-effects, slow motion, motion blur, crushing black and white levels, and over-saturating colors adds to the experience. As is music that makes you feel asleep, or don’t really go with the flow of video. It’s their choice, obviously, and it is their work so they have right to do as they please. Artistic expression should not be limited simply because it can be unpleasant to the eye.
3) It shifts focus from core issue, which is content, to outer layer – presentation.
4) Nobody would take notes, anyway.
I have to say something about technical side before I‘ll move to main issue though. One of many things that “sold” this video to me, is audio. I like how you can not only see Richie doing tricks, but also hear it. Hear his laugh, hear when he hits the ground, hear pleasant sound of skates scrapping concrete. Too many edits have completely muted background sound and slapped-o song instead and it makes tricks kind of, how to say it, detached, unreal? It really makes them “feel” less spectacular. Movie and videogame industries use sound effects to amplify viewing experience – in extreme cases it can make or break movie/game and trend is to make things sound better than in real life. Famous example is Glock 17 pistol – in real life, firing it sounds almost like a firing airsoft gun, and the handgun, while powerful, “feels” weak because of it. In movies and videogames sound effect is amplified to make it more appealing to audience. Also, remember that “shiiiing” sound of unsheathing a sword? After whole life of watching movies with it, when you actually do unsheathe sword for the first time, you feel like something is missing, because your brain expect to hear that “shiiing”.
While Danny Beer certainly haven’t used any super-advanced gear to record sound, at least he opted to keep what he got with his hardware of choice. Too many edits recorded with DSLRs aren’t even done that way, going “mute” instead. I wish that someday film makers in our community will realize that pursuit of better image quality should go on par with pursuit of better sound quality.
Now to the point: why, in my opinion, this edit has gone viral, and been posted on sites not related to blading in any way?
I would say, most important thing is, it really shows feeling of joy while skating. Richie keeps happy face all the time. He have positive attitude and never tries/bothers to be too serious about what he is doing, or making it look like a huge deal. Most important thing – Richie is never a “wannabe”, he is well aware that he is simply a dude with rollerblades on. Not once in the edit he tries to get in another role – he is a rollerblader, good one too, and he is having tons of fun doing tricks and skating around.
I have a little game for you! Read those sentences, and try to NOT think about edits portraying skating of some of top Pros from our industry:
1) “I’m blading, and for some reason you probably wouldn’t understand anyway it’s so gangsta. Also check that hip-hop track , because we all know you watch blading video to hear some good rhymes and beats! Hey, have you seen ass on that girl?!”
2) “My soul bleeds, and only thing that gives me relief is blading. Next to playing my guitar, drinking booze, and hanging out with almost naked chicks. Also, I like roses, there’s so much beauty in them.”
3) “I’m enjoying going on a motorcycle trips in to the wild, alone, because nobody understands me. Or my habit of bringing rollerblades in to the desert.”
4) “Dude, for some reason I’m sitting on the cemetery, breaking some sticks under a tree. Don’t really know why. Maybe I’m going to start a fire, and burn, burn it all. Because of Satan.”
5) “Watch me doing tricks with straight face, washed of any feeling of happiness, joy or hope. We are all doomed, I feel it in my old bones.”
Fun fact: I wrote these down with a help of a friend who have no clue about rollerblading besides the fact you have wheels under your feet when doing it. I linked her five rollerblading edits, three of them being Pro-model promos, portraying skating of some of finest athletes our sport is lucky to have in ranks. She expressed her general feelings about these videos. I gave them more refined form.
What she said about Richie’s edit?
“He seems nice, guy is actually having fun. Lot of positive vibe in it.”
You know already what made this edit so popular? Honest message it gives – it’s a no-nonsense video that focus on best part of rollerblading experience and do not try to make our sport something it is not, never was, and never will.
Rollerblading is first and foremost about experiencing happiness. This happiness can have different sources: simply rolling, pushing one’s own limits, finally executing trick flawlessly after a weeks of training, adrenaline rush after doing dangerous stunt.
If blading community won’t tackle on to this potential, trying to create false image instead, aggressive skating will stay as underground activity forever. Well, at least until someone will invent rollerblades with capabilities of those from Air Gear manga, then we will for sure see growth, I mean who wouldn’t want to ride up walls? But seeing as chances of such breakthrough are slim to none, let’s try to make a rollerblading a fun sport for fun people, again.
Alternatively, we could recruit well shaped women, teach them basics of street skating, dress them up in shorts and release edits with close-ups of their hunkers. It seems to work well for rollerskating, maybe it will work for rollerblading too?