Tag Archives: DVD

Video Review: “Newlyweds & Nearlydeads”

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I love that a BMX community can exist and thrive anywhere in the world at any given time. It’s like flipping over a random rock in a park and seeing a bunch of tiny creatures crawling around and filming bangers with their friends. For this particular instance, the park is the state of Utah and the random rock is the southwestern city of St. George.

I’m not trying to say that these people live under a rock- it’s just a metaphor for their obscurity. The typical American citizen probably wouldn’t be able to locate St. George on a map but if someone were to say that it’s about a third of the way from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City then they’d get a decent idea. With a population of around 80,000, it’s good to see that there are at least five dedicated riders (this gives us an average of one BMX rider for every 16,000 people… Extrapolate that to the other populations and we can loosely calculate there to be right around 20,000 BMX riders in the United States (with 525 in NYC, 1,418 in Southern California and 55 in ATX… does this sound correct? Anyone want to help out with a national/worldwide count?).

At any rate, out of that small sample of the St. George population there is one guy who put in the time to produce a full-length DVD- Jon Tinsley. Using a single Canon T3i with a kit 18-55mm and a Rokinon fisheye lens on a P&C GearBox with a Neewer CN-160 light when needed, the video is filmed smoothly and properly without many frills or unnecessary flashiness. A DIY pinhole was used for the perspective-shifting stop-motion shots used as B-roll and segue shots- a very nice touch to the entire production. Jon used Adobe Premiere for editing.

Since I first read it, the title of the video posed questions. I drew my own conclusion that it was a jab at the church- like when an atheist octogenarian tells his step-grandson “the only people that need to go to church are newlyweds and nearlydeads” or something to that effect. Turns out it’s a sly comment on the population of the area with many young couples copulating and retreating retirees.

The spots in this region of the country remind me a lot of the small Midwestern town spots that I grew up riding- the loading dock behind the shopping plaza, a clutch stacked ledge setup in the elementary school courtyard and a dialed university nearby. I only recognized a few spots in the entire 20-minute video.

I didn’t recognize one song from the soundtrack, however. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though. Comprised mostly of resurrected psych-rock, there was at least one song that I looked into. Ultimate Spinach is the only band from the soundtrack that I’ve seen used before.

The riding struck me as very innovative, given the spots being ridden. There were numerous tireslide moves I was psyched on, including one from Jon himself (his first clip I believe). There’s trails footage and some concrete park but the video is mostly street-based. Riley Carroll has a very memorable section with some flowing lines and unique spinning grind maneuvers. Everyone has a different approach with respective visions that complement nicely in this DVD.

Pick up a copy here.

The trailer-

If you have a video you’d like featured on the site, send a copy to 127 E. 5th street, LA, CA 90013.

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Talking Shop: Steven Hamilton and his Video “13”

In the BMX world, Steven Hamilton needs no introduction. I wanted to talk with him more in-depth about his numerous, varyingly experimental and always entertaining video projects. Having just finished his latest video “13”, I called him to get the inside scoop while the process was still fresh in his mind.

So, what’s in the name “13”?

Well the reason that it’s called “13” is because I worked on it through all of 2013, among other reasons… It’s was a big year for me because I was born on December 13th, and it was 12/13/13, and since there are only 12 months it can never actually be 13/13/13. Also that thing about how the world was supposed to end on 12/12/12, then the next day would have been my birthday, so… It was a big year for me. And I finished the video on the 13th of this month.

It’s possible that this is also your 13th video release, no?

Yeah, I guess it’s possible. If I were to count all of the VHS tapes and DVD’s I’ve made it would probably be close to 13.

Was the whole thing filmed with your TRV-900?

Yeah.

And that modded Lomo fisheye?

Yeah, the fisheye I hacksawed off of a little Lomo camera. But I got a new fisheye for Christmas this year so video 14 is gonna have a real fisheye.

What are some of the filming locations?

Off the top of my head- Columbus, New Jersey, The Bronx, Dayton and Philly…

Is this video anything like your previous videos? Can you compare it to any of them?

Yeah, I’d say it’s a mix between “The Price is Right” and “Inception 1”.

You mean “The Price is Wrong”?

No, “The Price is Wrong” was that Animal video, “The Price is Right” was my video.

Really? I had no idea. What is Lobsterspine Productions?

(long silence)

You’ve never seen “The Price is Right”?

No, I’ve never even heard of it. Where can I see it?

Well it’s sold out now but it was the first DVD I ever sold through Empire.

Damn. I’ll have to get my hands on that.

You can see it on the Coca-Cola promo video.

So what is Lobsterspine Productions?

Lobsterspine is my production company.

Do you guys venture outside of BMX or you just do BMX videos?

Just BMX videos.

Where did that name come from?

I was walking around Seattle one night- all night- and in the morning I found this thing… Well what it ended up being was the thing that holds nails for a nail gun, but I couldn’t figure out what it was, I thought it was a sort of bone or something. I was like “What could this possibly be?” and the only thing I could come up with was a lobster’s spine. Then I remembered that lobsters don’t have spines, but I thought it was a cool name, so I kept the name.

When did you get your first video camera, and when did you make your first video?

I got my first video camera in the eighth grade, then I finished my first video, “Inception 1” during my senior year in high school.

How many copies of these videos were you making?

I probably made 50 or 80 copies of Inception 2.

Damn. All on VHS?

Yeah.

Just VCR to VCR?

Well we had a stack of ten VCR’s so I could make ten copies at a time.

You have more than one YouTube page don’t you?

Yeah, I have one for Lobsterspine and then I have Sonicyouth4130

What’s the deal with you deleting your Vimeo account?

It was a couple years ago, but what happened is that I had put so many videos on there- I had over 100 videos and a lot of them were repeats or just the same video edited a little bit differently and I just got sick of it… But I don’t really like Vimeo that much anyway so I just thought “Screw it, I’m just gonna delete it” so I just got rid of it. I kinda regret it a little bit though because some of the videos that were on there I don’t have backed up anywhere. I still have the footage but a lot of them were live videos where I had my camera hooked up directly to my computer or had two videos playing at once… I kinda wish that I had kept the account and just made some of the videos password protected, but I just ended up saying “Fuck it” and deleted the whole thing so it’s gone now.

What kind of music is in “13”?

It has a mix of punk rock, indie rock and hip-hop.

Who has full parts?

Eric Probst, Ian Fendrick, Darius Hart, Jimmy Kleoudis, me, Damian Racut, Mike Rose and Luke Padelski.

You said you edited this video in one session. How did that go?

Yeah, normally once I get going with editing I don’t want to stop, so I just banged it out and did the whole thing in one editing session. I was up for… I don’t know, as long as I could possibly stay up and until the video was done.

What is your editing process, as far as the soundtrack goes?

I kinda lay out a couple clips then try to come up with a song, then once I have the song figured out I’ll edit to the song. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a song and I’ll see if it works, then edit right off the song.

What is your favorite video that you’ve made?

Right now I really like “The Price is Right” but “Inception 1” will always be my favorite because I worked so hard on it and it was the first video I edited and I spent so long on it.

Do take your camera with you every time you go riding?

No.

Do you film anything outside of riding?

I film my dad’s basketball games every Tuesday.

How important to you is the quality of the picture? Do you clean your lenses and set the white balance and all that?

I usually set the white balance, not necessarily on something white but the cleanliness of the lens does’t really concern me that much. I’ll wipe it off with my shirt or something, but it’s not really that important to me.

You just stuff your camera into a backpack, yeah?

Yeah I’ll usually just wrap it in a sweatshirt and throw it into my backpack.

What software do you use to edit?

iMovie.

Do you watch all the current BMX videos that are released?

Yeah I try to.

What is your favorite movie outside of BMX?

Right now my favorite movie is “Raising Arizona”.

You also shoot still photos- will you ever do a project with those?

Yeah, hopefully someday I’ll do something with my photographs.

How is “13” packaged?

The DVD’s are contained in handmade folded paper sleeves.

So how can people get ahold of the video?

It will be available through Empire this Thursday.

Will filming for “14” begin immediately?

Yep.

You have any big plans for this year?

Just filming for the next video. I’m pretty excited to film with this new lens. I just got a new bike too so I’m excited about that as well.

Behind the Chocolate Truck DVD with Matt Miller

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To coincide with the video review I just posted, here’s a couple Q’s & A’s with the man behind the lens and monitor but also with one of the standout parts of the video, Matt Miller.

Alright, so what’s up with the name “Chocolate Truck”?
“It has really no significant meaning. Probably 5 or 6 years ago we wanted to come up with a name for our video, and we were all trying to think of serious names or something and Carl was just saying the dumbest names, and Chocolate Truck was one of them. I think it stuck for the sole reason that theres no stupid meaning or anything behind it, it was just completely random. Then i just got some basic stickers made and it went from there. People are pretty disappointed whenever we explain the name haha.”

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How long did you guys film for this video?
“We filmed for this for about 5 or 6 years, pretty much the entire time I was in college. Most of the footage we used in the video is from the last two years but Kevin has stuff in there from when he was 15. Carl’s footage is from a long timespan as well.”

What cameras were used and who did the filming?
“The video was filmed with a VX2100 and a VX2000, with some random DVX footage in the mix. I did a majority of the filming but NickyB and Steve Tassone helped me film my part.”

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How long did you spend on editing? What software did you use?
“I use Final Cut Pro 7 and it took me around 7 or 8 months to edit everything. Im really unorganized so I spent alot of time relabeling shit and finding lost footage. Its hard for me to sit down and just bang everything out at once so I would just edit for a couple weeks and then wouldn’t touch it again for a month or two sometimes.”

Did you guys travel much?
“Not much at all. Its hard to organize trips cause the crew is so big and we all had jobs or school shit to handle. We went to Boston and Baltimore for some weekend trips, but the video was filmed mostly in Philly which is what we wanted anyway. Hopefully we can travel a lot more for the next one.”

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Who chose the soundtrack?
“The soundtrack was a collaboration between everyone. Some dudes picked their own songs or I would throw them ideas until something stuck. Certain people like Joby would always put their song on when we were in the car or just hanging out, so when it came time to pick music, those songs just made the most sense to use. Navaz found Brendon’s song for me too. Both of Kev’s original choices got used in web edits, so we had to change them last minute. I think a lot of people who make videos really want to use music that is relatively unheard of, but I didn’t really care too much about that. I just wanted everyone’s part to fit their personality and I wanted to make sure the video wasn’t too serious or anything.”

What is your favorite clip, or is there any clip that has a great story behind it?
“One of my favorites is Carl’s uprail to fence stall. We all told him to try it and he ate shit the first two times and then just did it perfect his next try. His reaction is pretty funny he looks so surprised that he landed it and everyone is laughing in the background. Brendon’s last two clips were filmed 30 minutes apart. We were driving to the kink rail and we saw this other rail and stopped there first so Brendon could fire it out real quick. Nicks infamous Polejam fall is one of my favorites and the Dog Shit bitch in the extras always makes me laugh. We tried to submit it to Worldstar but i guess they weren’t feeling it haha.
I think everyone has some really stand out clips in their part so its hard to name them all. Pretty much every clip I used in the Intro and Credits are my favorite as well because there just funny to watch and it gets me siked to ride with everyone.”

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Which part was easiest to edit? Which part was hardest to edit?
“The easiest part to edit was probably my own. Its easier to edit something when your the only one who really cares how it comes out. When you edit someonelse’s stuff, you have to make sure they are happy with it too. A couple times I would be really siked on a part, and would show it to them all hyped and they would hate it haha. The hardest part to edit was probably Brendon’s. It was originally edited to a pretty weird song that was kind of out there but we all really liked it. But the more and more you watch something that can change pretty quickly haha. When we changed the song it was hard for me to start over from scratch and come up with a new idea of how the part should look since i had the original one stuck in my head. But Im really happy with how it came out and I think it’s his best video part yet.”

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Any problems/injuries/setbacks?
“Me and Brendon both broke our ankles, NickyB broke his nose and John Yoh is always getting hurt. The most serious one was Kev. He compound fractured his leg in Baltimore a year and a half ago which ended filming for him. He still had enough footage for a full section though. Aside from that a lot of people who we planned on having full parts ended up quitting. Things moved pretty slow for the first couple of years. Once a bunch of us got a house together it made filming and organizing everything a lot easier so the last two years is pretty much when we got motivated and filmed the entire video. At one point though, our house got robbed and my computer and primary hard drive were stolen. I had to spend a lot of time re logging all the tapes from 4 years prior which sucked. I even had to make John Yoh nose manual the spring garden fountain twice cause that clip was lost completely haha.”

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Who shot the photos in the menu/on the DVD?
“I shot all the photos and Jay Dyer at Animal did the template layout for me. I have an old Canon AE-1 that I bring out sometimes and I like messing around with disposable cameras.”

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Did you ever find it difficult to balance riding time and filming time?
“Yeah for me it is really hard. I enjoy filming a lot and making videos but I would always rather be riding. Riding in Philly there are so many little spots to hit when your cruising, and having a big ass camera on your back takes the fun out of it for me. It sucks cause some days I just wont bring the camera out because I want to ride, but those always end up being the days when everyone kills it haha. I give credit to anybody who rides and films it takes a lot of patience.”

Will there be another Chocolate Truck full-length DVD?
“Yeah, eventually. Most of us want to work on some short term projects for a quick change and do a little bit of web stuff since we never really have. But we haven’t stopped filming since we finished the video. Everyone is pretty eager to keep filming, so hopefully this next one doesn’t take as long as the first did haha.

I want to thank everyone for filming for this video and for all the good times. Thanks to Navaz, Bob and Darryl for answering all of my questions. Jay Dyer for doing the artwork and Schimpf and Marshall for shooting photos. Kink, Animal and ODI for keeping my bike nice. Word, ALYK, Hood Antics, LFS, SAF, AM:PM, 90East, SharkAttack and all the other crews out there making their own videos. Thanks to all our friends and family and thanks to everyone who supports us. Follow us on instagram @chocolatetruck.”

Pick up the DVD here. Seven bucks shipped- you can’t go wrong.

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