Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Follow Runs - Their danger and necessity in downhill skateboarding media

The most simple and common form of video in downhill skateboarding is referred to as a "follow run," or "raw run." Here are a few examples:

Raw Run - Justin Rouleau from on Vimeo.

Fun fact: both these videos are filmed on the same road.

This type of filming produces very clean footage, and shows the skaters in their truest element. It is all one clip so you know the skater didn't take 15 tries to nail the right line. A skater's true style is apparent with raw runs.

However, good footage comes with high risk. To get a shot like this most filmers take a suction cup mount, put the camera as far forward on the hood as possible, and follow the skateboarder down the run. To make the footage look the fastest and most impressive possible a wide angle lens is often used, somewhere between 10-20mm. These lens create a slight distortion around the edges which makes the skating appear much faster than with something like a 50mm lens. Because of the short focal length this requires the driver to be dangerously close behind the driver, often 7 feet or less, all while going upwards of 50mph.

To make a quality downhill video follow car footage is pretty much a requirement, regardless of how dangerous it is. The driver is knowingly risking the skaters life just to get the shot that will most likely be seen by less than 10,000 people. This is a shot I will definitely be getting for my film, however we are taking precautions to make it as safe as possible. 

There have been a few cases of people getting hit by cars while driving follow runs, however no one has died to my knowledge. Here are some videos of follow car driving going wrong. No one in these videos were hurt from the car, however in a few cases the car ran over the board or the board flew up and dented the car. 

 Skip to 2:54 for the dangerous part.

S1 Helmets / Bails Bails Bails Bails from s-one helmet co / s1helmets on Vimeo.

This can only end well.

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