Wednesday, December 14, 2016

MTB Video Reviewzzzzz...

Well, it's that time of year when I can get caught up with my TV and movie watching because I'll be putting some time in on the rollers.

I'm NOT a fan of winter nor winter sports. You can keep your skis, snowshoes, snowboards, fat bikes and everything else, I'll be inside bitching. And I'm okay with that.

For the past couple of year however, I've had a really hard time finding any good MTB videos to watch.

ChainSmoke, from the mid-90's was one of the first videos, and still fun to watch.  And then the New World Disorder series of videos in the early 2000's were a blast too.

And then, it seems, things got lame. (read more)

Now, before I go any further on my scathing opinion of most of the modern mountain bike films, let me get a few things straight.

  • The level of riding is absolutely phenomenal. No question. ANY criticism I have of the videos in no way diminishes my awe and respect for the riders.
  • The majority of the videos are visually amazing. I know there are camera men whizzing through the trees on zip-lines to get the shots; and they are framing the riders with great lighting and in beautiful settings. 

My problem is that ALL OF THE VIDEOS SEEM IDENTICAL with the same components and they are all filmed with excessive use of slow motion, making everything overly dramatic.

Yeah, modern HD cameras get great slow motion detail, but not everything needs to be shown in slo-mo.

And, by the way, not every jump needs to be seen from multiple angles! Yep, that's a black flip. Yep, that's the same back flip from the front, from the back, from the side, and from above... yep, still a backflip...

Anyway, here are some of the mind-numbing MTB video components that drive me nuts from just about every video I've come across (ROAM, VAST, RedBull Tv, etc)

First, every video has some overly dramatic shot of the riders putting their helmets and goggles on in slo mo... Getting dressed? Boring. Maybe it's a creative b-roll scene, but it's been done too much.

watch me slowly adjust my goggles...
Then, there are more slo-mo jumping scenes. Now, again, the riding is a billion levels above mine, but as a person who has been watching MTB (and BMX) videos for almost 20 years, a flip is a flip is a flip. To me, filling a 30 or 40 minute video with someone nailing every jump variation is boring. At the level that these guys are at, I'd be more impressed if they couldn't flip and whip. (I'm probably even more jaded because in my opinion, BMX riders have done all of this before and I've been watching BMX videos for 30yrs).

so slow...
Then there are the MULTIPLE SLO MO shots of dirt being kicked up. Dirt? Wow... show me more and show me slowly!

seriously, I just roll my eyes by the 5th or 6th time this is done in a video
There are, of course, the gratuitous POV (GoPro) segments, which, I do enjoy. At least they're not typically shown in slow motion!

Okay, so back to the cliche shots I could do with out. Why do all the videos seem to have the "Bro scenes?" I see this in the current BMX videos too where everyone high-fives and hugs. I guess the levels of stoke run so high that you can only release stoke with some bro-love. I know the video makers are trying to add some "lifestyle" scenes in, but my god, every video needs to have everyone high-fiving? Or, even more cliche, drinking beers by a campfire...

Bro! Yeah! Stoked! Rad! Dude!
After everyone relieves some stoke by hugging, we're often treated to the slow motion "I'm okay," crash section. Crashing sucks. Crashing is a part of mountain biking and crashing is a huge part of these riders' lives because they are pushing the limits of what's possible. But again, it's just so cliche. Won't someone be bold enough to leave this out of a video?

Then there are the "long shots" showing the riders really small in contrast to the vast landscape. These ARE beautiful shots, but they're really just landscape photos.

I feel like there are some really talented video makers who have incredible resources available to them, along with some of the the best riders in the world, I'd love to see some original, EXCITING videos that don't rely on dramatic slow motion and the same formula as every other video out there.

Until then, I'll pop another New World Disorder DVD in...

Got some suggestions? Let me know!

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