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From Fisheye to HD

The History of Filming in Skateboarding

From the moment skating went from just a way to get around to an art form, skaters have wanted to capture their successes (and bone-breaking, skin-shredding failures) on camera. It’s a good thing, too, because the filming and distribution of skate videos is a big part of why skating is where it is today.

Nowadays, just saying a famous skater’s name can instantly start conversations about their best parts — the moments in skate videos that made them legends. ‘Fulfill The Dream,’ ‘Misled Youth‘ and ‘Fully Flared‘ are some of our favorites that put some names on the map.  

But as skate videos have stayed mostly true to their roots, the tech used to make those videos has evolved and changed. Although, some still film on VX let’s scope out how things used to be — from the 80s to today.

Sony VX1000 and a Fisheye Lens

VXSkateCam

Not long after skate videos first became a ‘thing,’ there was only one pairing that serious filmmakers trusted — a Sony VX1000 camera and a fisheye lens.

The VX first came out in the 90s, and it instantly changed homemade videos around the world. When skaters found out about it, they fell in love. It was portable, sturdy as hell, and came with a fisheye lens that could capture the entire line without losing sight of the spot where they were filming. 

To this day, purists consider the VX1000 the only real way to shoot a skate film. Ahem, Zero. But for those who are more open to embracing new tech, there are more options than ever. 

From Then to Now

Skaters have pretty basic needs for skate videos — they want sturdy, dependable cameras that can take a beating and also film stable videos while in motion.

Big names like GoPro have obviously become popular, while some others simply use their cell phones. But there are also other new options, like SmallHD and TeraDek — both companies that are bringing world-class filmmaking to the streets.

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Now, high-end filmmaking is becoming more wireless and portable to meet the needs of a range of creators. That fits with the guerilla-style of skateboard videos, where the cameraperson is often riding a skateboard themselves while shooting.

Whether you’re a VX-fisheye purist or a believer in the new, there’s room for all. As long as there are skaters who are willing to put their reputations and ankles on the line for the camera, the world of skate videos will continue to thrive.