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Thursday, October 11, 2012
Interact with your video

Let's be honest, the market for actually buying skate videos is shrinking quickly.

If you haven't bought a physical DVD since 'Fully Flared', you might come out of buying retirement for 'Pretty Sweet', or maybe the Bones Brigade documentary, but most of us do our viewing online.

As I type this, there's a box of VHS tapes including 'Not the New H-Street Video' and some terrible Tracker video sitting in my storage space, alongside a plastic bin of DVDs. The likelihood that I'll ever view any of them is pretty slim considering everything I could ever want to see is archived online, or will be soon. People love to argue about whether web clips and online exclusive videos are killing skateboarding, but the numbers don't lie. We all have Hella Clips bookmarked, are responsible for thousands of YouTube views, and who hasn't sent a Richie Jackson or Kilian Martin clip around -- usually with a line like "What do you think of this dude?"

Of course everyone in the industry knows this, so companies like Real go out of their way to make DVD packaging special with lush photo books and exclusive extras. Collector's editions will always have their appeal, but the immediacy of web clips and downloads have pretty much taken over and become the most important component of the skateboarding media. I've found myself spending a Sunday morning watching a Maloof webcast event, and even chilled at home to watch the Nike SB Chronicles premier because, like everyone else I'm online all the time -- and can admit it.

Plan B and online action sports channel Network A put together what could be the future of web clips, or just a cool experiment. Filmed in Ryan Sheckler's training facility in HD, the video boasts a user experience that's a first in skateboarding: A fully customizable video with over 800 combinations. It's basically one part 'Choose Your Own Adventure' and one part video game.

Ryan Sheckler, Paul Rodriguez, and Torey Pudwill all filmed together for the project , and if you don't like watching one of them, you just click away and pick someone else. The clean interface gives you options to choose between skaters, tricks, and obstacles, without slowing down the flow of the video. Once you finish you have the option to share your edit via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Is being able to decide if you want to see Sheckler pop shove it nosegrind a ledge or T-Puds switch blunt 270 out going to change skateboarding? Most likely not, but the goal here doesn't seem to be change, it's about user experience and that's where it succeeds. Sure P-Rod has a mean switch tre flip, but it's kind of fun to be able to skip it for another trick -- it's almost like watching an old VHS video and pressing the "Vert Button." (That's the "fast forward" button in case you never watched street videos in the 90s).

You can create your A Sessions edit here. Or if you're curious what my version looks like you can peep it here. For the record I didn't skip Shecks.