Category Archives: Gear

Markit in Portugal Video

With this video filmed entirely on a cellphone, the bar has not only been raised but it has also been decimated and thrown away. In our defense though, the Nokia phone that this was all filmed with has a 20-megapixel camera and uses optical image stabilization (as does the iPhone 6 Plus, but no other iPhones). And also in our defense, we are talking about Dennis Enarson and Ronnie Napolitan here… I’m sure they could have done most of this in their sleep. With Hadrien Picard behind the keypad, this video proves that the gear doesn’t make a great video- the people using the gear do.

Framework: Austin Aughinbaugh – Opp Hanger

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I literally just got back from shooting this opposite hanger with Austin and thanks to free gourmet coffee drinks, I am super motivated to post this Framework piece.

We filmed this clip the other day for Flip Clips (volume eight coming soon) and on playback I noticed its potential as a noteworthy photograph. After driving him to a successful job interview, Austin and I jammed to The Fall of Troy while heading back toward ASU campus to ride this fun curved ledge spot.

Here’s the shot without any flashes-
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I decided I’d go all-in and use a classic three light setup. My key light (Lumedyne 200w Action Pack) was to the left and in front of the ledge @ f/11. My rim light (Paul C Buff Einstein 640 w/ 11″ reflector) was behind and to the right of the ledge, metered @ f/16. For fill I used a Canon 580EXII set @ 1/4 power to yield f/8, filling in any shadows created by the position of the key and rim.

At first I was thinking I’d shoot 50mm @ f/8 ISO 100 (my go-to these days) but upon further inspection, the 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm became the one. Only after setting up all the lights did I realize that the ambient was giving f/8 @ 1/250- the Arizona sun is much brighter than what I’m used to. In order to cut down on any motion blur that might arise from shooting at f/8, I decided that f/11 would be a better choice. I moved every flash in a little bit and re-metered and somewhat incredibly each one gave a perfect reading.

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I gave Austin the nod and he started locking in the opp hanger right off the bat. It took him probably six or seven tries to lace this one (this is the make) from end to end with amazing balance at a low and locked-in speed. We probably should have filmed this one as well, as it was much cleaner than the one we filmed on Sunday, but such is life.

A few on-the-spot corrections: The initial choice of f/8. I should have realized that the sun was beaming (even though we were under shade, the background was super bright) or just have metered in-camera before deciding on that. It only took a couple minutes to move the lights around for more power, but sometimes those couple minutes are the difference between getting the shot and getting the boot. At first, the rim light was casting a shadow of that second post onto the ledge. I moved it a couple feet to camera left and got the shadow to land in front of the ledge. My the fill light was really close to being in-frame and the rim was almost spilling light into the lens but simply moving myself a foot or two to the right and cropping a bit in post solved those issues. And of course, since everything went so incredibly smooth, I realized right after wrapping that I had forgot to switch from JPEG to RAW on my camera, due to shooting a sequence the other night. But knowing that this was going straight to Instagram, I really didn’t care. Life is too good to really care about minimal shit like that. We are both still happy with the results and I hope that you are psyched on this information as well. Thanks for reading, keep shooting!

Desktop Wallpaper: Charlie Crumlish by Gutstains

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There’s no shortage of ditch spots in Texas and when Chuck told us he was taking us to MegaDitch™, I figured it could make for a good photo and Guts was on board to shoot this wallpaper.

We met up rather late and rode the spot for a minute before starting to setup for the shot as the light was quickly fading. The dark sky made the photo super dramatic and I love the contrast between that and the gum tire.

Wallpapers here:
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Guts is a lowkey technophile who knows how to get the most out of the least equipment. He knows all the tips and tricks to squeeze every stop of light out of a Sunpak 555 flash and he knows how they work inside and out. To spread coverage across this huge (huuuuuge) ditch spot, he tripled up the 555’s (thus creating a 1665) and pointed each in a different general direction. It’s nothing short of amazing that he got light from corner to corner in the frame.

Here’s how it all went down-

iPhone 6 Plus Camera Review

I won’t be making this purchase anytime soon, but in case you are, you might as well be informed.

Desktop Wallpaper: Raul Ruiz by Chris Mortenson

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During my recent stay in Los Angeles, I linked up with Push It A Stop contributor Chris Mortenson and suggested that we make a photo walkthrough. Within minutes, a shoot with Raul Ruiz was organized and we found ourselves in Glendale, CA a couple days later. The resulting photo can be your new desktop wallpaper by choosing your monitor resolution from the list below-

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Here is how the photo was made-

Through The Lens: Inside BMX Media

I’m not really sure who the intended audience of this mini “documentary” actually is, but it gives you a little behind the scenes look at what its like to be a BMX photographer/filmer. Despite being severely cringeworthy at several points, there are a few bits of good information sprinkled throughout. If you’re an aspiring lensman, check out the video and read below for a little friendly advice of my own.

I’ve only been in the game for a few years now and some could make the argument that I’m no more qualified to offer advice on this subject than the people in this video, but I couldn’t just have you guys ingesting a bunch of vague pointers. In my years of paying dues and finally getting my foot and my camera bag in the door of the BMX industry, this is the best advice I could give you if you’re looking to do the same.

-Do it for the right reasons.
I feel like I read this in every interview with any BMX photographer ever, but if you’re trying to make a million dollars from shooting/filming BMX, go to the nearest pawn shop and sell all your shit because its not going to happen. Shooting BMX should be, above all else, a labor of love. You should love this shit so much to begin with that getting paid for it shouldn’t matter until you can do what you do with one arm tied behind your back and security breathing down your neck. If you get no genuine thrill from pedaling miles on end while lugging a 50lb camera bag, you’re in the wrong business, friend.

-Know your craft.
This goes beyond reading your camera’s manual cover to cover and knowing what every function does. This is about shooting so many photos or filming so many clips that you can see what its going to look like before you even pull the camera out. This is about closing the gap between what your photos/footage looks like and what you want your stuff to look like. Not by going out and buying a bunch of expensive gear, but by knowing how to squeeze every ounce of capability out of the tools and the light you’re given. Some of the best advice I’ve ever come across is, don’t practice til you get it right, practice til you can’t get it wrong.

-Its not about gear.
As much as you think having a VX1k, 1Dx and Einsteins or a Panasonic with the whale eye will miraculously make your shit look like Jeff Z or Navaz’s, you’re sadly mistaken. Unless you’ve got tens of thousands of dollars to run through B&H like Supermarket Sweep, you should be more worried about doing what you can with what you have instead of worrying about what you could do with what you don’t. Always try to keep in mind that there’s someone out there doing better with less.

-Be your own worst critic, not your number one fan.
No one likes a dude who’s feeling himself to the max. And its even worse when their photos/filming aren’t quite up to par. If you somehow think you’ve arrived or are more worried about your Instagram followers than continually improving the quality of your work, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice and you probably look like a douchebag. Don’t buy into your friends telling you you’re the shit, you gotta see the things that you could’ve done better. Its easy to let a hundred likes go to your head, but if you think that shit matters in real life, I honestly feel bad for you.

-Network, network, network.
Social media has made it easier than ever to meet and communicate with riders from your town all the way up to your favorite pros. In most industries, networking is a bunch of shaking hands and trading business cards, but in BMX it can be anything as simple as saying “whats up, let’s shoot sometime” on Instagram to just sharing a blunt at the skatepark. But be cautious of your hunger level when it comes to stuff like this though, most people can spot a weirdo from a mile away. Which brings us to our next topic…

-Don’t be a weirdo.
In the modern BMX climate, you might be surprised how far being a normal, level-headed person could take you. You could shoot the best photos ever, film the crispiest clips, but if you’re a pain in the ass, next to no one is going to want to deal with you. Don’t be the guy poaching photos/clips of people you don’t know at the skatepark. Don’t be the guy bugging your one and only local pro to shoot on every social network every day. Just try not to be “that guy”.

-Do good work and things will happen.
Same as when it comes to riding, the longer you’re out there doing you and making it look good, people will eventually notice. There’s no better feeling than being the go-to guy for riders or companies, but the only way to get there is to be consistently dialed and reliable. As soon as you start wondering why you’re not getting the recognition you deserve or why people aren’t fucking with you, your mind is in the wrong place and you should stop and re-evaluate why you’re doing what you’re doing. You shouldn’t have to speak for your work, your work should speak for you.

“The Michigan Video” Interview

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Titling a video with such an all-encompassing name like “The Michigan Video” is a pretty daring move, and I was unsure of what to think. To me, the name suggests that it is the sole video to come out of The Mitten State and therefore had some pretty big shoes to fill.

Although the intro sequence initially caught me off guard (even going so far as to making sure I had started the video from the beginning) after watching it a second time, it made sense. Cory Wiergowski is not a new name on the scene by any means, but his opening part definitely cemented his name as one of the burlier riders of our day. His second-to-last clip was all at once completely unexpected, mind-blowing and definitely something that is NBD to my eyes. His last clip is just ridiculous. Connor Keating comes through with some of the crazier crank arm grinds to date (super smoothly too, I might add). Up-and-comer Mikey Tyra (whose section went online not long after the release of the video) made quite a name for himself, with his first line as one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen. Tyler Fernengel, another one who needs no introduction, completely destroyed every gap and rail in sight, and just as the smoke cleared and I thought the video was over, Nick Bullen came out of left field, screaming loudly “NOPE! THIS AIN’T OVER!”. There’s a good reason that he just got put on Subrosa pro and his ender section proves it.

When it was all said and done, I felt like the name was justified and after talking a bit with Cory and Alex Burnside (filmer/editor) about the creation, it was apparent that they really had no other choice.

Where in Michigan is everyone from?

Cory: Every person in the video that has a full part claims Detroit but a few guys are from neighboring cities like Dearborn, Taylor and the Bullen brothers are from Lapeer.

Did all you guys grow up riding together?

Cory: Nick and I grew up riding together because we’re from northern michigan. Than we both moved down to Detroit area and met everyone down there about 5 years ago. Everyone else grew up together though like all the young dudes Connor, Mikey, Tyler, burnside etc. Than when they started to all grow up we kind of all became homies just from all of us riding transitions skatepark together on a daily basis. It’s crazy to see all of them grown up and killing it. I swear, it feels like just the other day I was giving Tyler pointers on tail whips now he’s like the best rider ever.

Alex: I grew up riding and filming with Connor Keating, but didn’t meet anyone else in the crew until maybe 3 years ago when I made indoor park videos at TRP. That was my first work with Cory, Nick, Govan, dudes like that.

IMG_20130812_124502_387All photos courtesy of TMV

“The Michigan Video” is a pretty bold name- Did you include riders/crews from all around the state?

Cory: Every weekend I’d just send a mass text message to the normal crew asking if they wanted to go to X city for the weekend and tell them how much it’ll cost each. Whoever replied saying they were down would be at my house Friday morning and we’d go. Just stay in cheap hotels and film good times every weekend all over the state of michigan hence the name “the Michigan video”. It was supposed to be more focused on the spots around michigan and film the dudes from the area riding them. Southeast michigan is easily the epicenter of the bmx scene here. There’s still a little scene in Lansing including Luke Swab, Brian Block and a bunch of other little shredders coming up. The Grand Rapids crew kind of fell apart but the dudes I link up with there are Alex Burgnon and Jordan Youngs, those dudes are rad. The west side of michigan holds it down with dudes like Tyler Ellis, Pat Ellis, Chance Garrison, Alex Elko, Kyle Line and the rest of the holland crew. They’ll usually travel together, they’re the only other “true crew” in michigan right now other than our crew that has been kind of dubbed the ” tmv crew” as of late. There was a good scene in traverse city, MI with Steven Ramos, Domke, Marcus, Mikey and a bunch of others but it kind if fell apart after there indoor park closed. As for not including people in the video, Alex and I would film everyone and anyone willing to ride in front of our lens.

How long did you film for? Were there any major setbacks/injuries?

Cory: We ended up filming for about 7 months we set out to get it done in one year because we didn’t really want to just sit on footage for a whole winter in order to film for 2 years. We def sat down a few months and all talked about filming for 2 years but we didn’t all want to stay in michigan as much this year and we had enough footage at the end of the year to make it happen, everyone killed it. There were only a couple set backs during filming, Tyler broke his foot trying that half cab in his intro. Which put him out for about 3 months. That was the only real injury the whole year other than rolled ankles and Nick got knocked out trying this big kinked rail in suttens bay. The last month or so of filming we only had one camera because one of our dvx’s broke and we didn’t care to get it fixed but even that wasn’t really a set back. We got lucky, everything kind of fell into place.

Was every single clip filmed in Michigan?

Cory: Yes.

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What was the inspiration for the intro?

Alex: The inspiration for the intro actually came from Cory. We were sitting in my room one night trying to find a good song for the intro and he must have had an epiphany because it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole video. I really wanted to break some stereotypes people had for the video and we felt like a raw intro would fit well with our theme and also break the mold for what a ‘normal’ intro usually is.

Is there any one outstanding story behind a certain clip?

Cory: So many stories that I don’t know where to start. When we went on a trip to the upper peninsula for a week, I had prior knowledge of this reservoir spot that my friend Scott Wanhala took Tony Neyer to last year to shoot that primo advert. So while we were in Marquette (about 9 hours from Detroit) Scott hit me with a google earth location, little did we know the spot was at a federal water reservoir about 45 min deep into the woods with a mile long hike after you’re there. I don’t know I’ve never been to a spot with an adventure like that. It’s so rewarding in the end. There were multiple 2 or 3 hour trips we took just to film one trick on a certain set up. We drove to suttens bay about 5 hours north of Detroit to check out this big kinked rail that Nick wanted to check out that ended up knocking him out, that was the scariest thing ever to witness your friend lifeless at the bottom of a rail without a hospital in site.

What gear did you use?

Alex: We were pretty strict on filming and which cameras were used, we wanted to keep a similar feel and style throughout the entire video. We relied on two DVX100B’s for the entire course of filming. We fell in love with them, they’re built like tanks and have an awesome fisheye option. We used an Opteka fisheye rather than a Century mkII because of the cost and ease of replacement for inevitable lens hits.

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How long did the video take to edit?

Alex: Editing only took about 2 months miraculously. I started editing early November and finished on December 22nd. We had to get the master copy out to our chosen distributor by the 23rd in order to have our copies ready by the 11th of January for the video premiere at TRP. We got the copies the day before the premiere, it was way too stressful.

What’s the deal with Nick Bullen’s last clip? It’s definitely a novel idea.

Alex: It was super windy that day and we all knew it needed to get done then as bad weather and winter were closing in on us. Nick grinded the rail a few times to get loosened up, then tried to get mentally ready for the clip. He went down the rail a few times feeling out the first part, then finally stuck one right off the end of the rail, couldn’t have been more perfect. Everyone tripped out and he ran back up the stairs, got lined up for the banger and a huge gust of wind hit him about 15 feet before the ledge. He was so mad and everyone was bummed. We were going to just take the rail trick and call it, but I pushed the issue a little farther and convinced him that the double banger would be so worth it in the end, and that I’d make it worth his effort. Once he got back up and pulled the clip seamless, I knew who would get the ender section. Nick is the dude and put in so much work and he totally deserved it.

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Are you guys planning on making another video?

Alex: As of right now, we have no plans for another project as big as The Michigan Video. It was a miracle things came together as well as they did this year and I know that won’t be able to happen in the near future. Too many dudes in the crew have plans to move or get jobs or do things outside bmx so it’s hard to commit to a big project. But we’ll be filming, that’s for certain. The world will just have to wait and see what we come up with.

How did the “Project After Hours” video come about?

Alex: The After Hours video was super fun to make. Basically, Cory does some work for Ron Thomas, who owns the shop we filmed in. Ron has been working on some really cool projects based around his Xtreme Builders business and his work with AGA Nation and Rise Above BMX. Hopefully you’ll be able to see more of his work soon, I can assure you it’s pretty cool. So Ron was down to support us with the space and time to film a video. Putting Ron’s support together with Cory’s welding ability, we were able to get the project done in a few short weeks.

The Michigan video is available here for just ten bucks and I highly suggest you buy it. It’s still early in the year but I guarantee this one will make lists for 2014.