The first two examples we have been served are the Fit DVD 'Fit Tripping' and the S&M DVD 'Blind In Texas'. Both DVDs promise to be part of a set, with the first S&M DVD coming with a cardboard case big enough to house the next 3 trip DVDs, part of their 'Quarterly Productions' series. These two DVDs are possibly the first of a new wave and at first glance, its a good thing. BMX films have historically been longer and more expensive but if you can condense a film down into a 15 minute DVD and charge $5 why wouldn't you? How amazing would Forward have been if it was just the bangers and lasted 15 minutes? Or Criminal Mischief? They would have been 15 minutes of mind blowing riding with little to no atmosphere, and thats the problem.
Its hard to find any real atmosphere in such a short time frame, the Fit video manages it for the first section with Brian Foster and Justin Inman in Australia. The music is mellow as the two flow through trails and around concrete skate parks, Larry Alvarado takes care of the editing and he keeps it basic and the editing takes nothing from the riding which as you would expect with Foster and Inman is solid and big with style through everything. The filming from Brennen Britton is solid throughout the Australia section and both Brian Foster and Justin Inman have the tricks to keep your jaw somewhere near the floor. Unfortunately once that section ends the 'Cali Tripping' section begins any notion of atmosphere then quickly evaporates. Thats not to say the video becomes bad, (Daryyl Tocco takes over filming and editing duties for the Cali section) on the contrary, the tempo steps up and the riding continues to impress through out. Van Homan has some stand out clips on the streets and in the concrete parks of Cali, as do most of the rest of the team. Its just a completely different feel to the first part of the DVD. After the tempo has built up in the first part of the Cali section, it slows right down again for the second part, the music turns to a more relaxed pace whilst the riding remains typically ridiculous, as you would expect of the Fit team. The camera work and editing, remain solid throughout the entire DVD, something I was fairly surprised at. I think I expected the shorter DVDs to have less effort put into them and that simply is not the case. This is 15 minutes of nice filming and nice clean editing, although sometimes feeling like two completely disconnected videos, this is not the hastily slapped together DVD I expected, it's a full production. 12 minutes after you press play, the credits roll, all I could think about after watching was grabbing my bike and heading to the trails of Australia or the streets of California, no such luck. But thats surely the point of these quick DVDs, they keep the companies in your mind and make you want to ride. Its as much about branding and advertising as it is showcasing the riders.
The other mini DVD is the S&M offering 'Blind In Texas' filmed by Larry Alvarado and edited by Dave Jacobs. Again a trip DVD and with a similar format to the Fit movie. S&M chose to take a few select team riders, throw them in a van and head to Texas. This doesn't mean however that you are going to sit through 15 minutes of the S&M team riding the same spots you have seen a thousand times from the Lonestar state, they do spend some time in Austin, as is required of any trip to Texas but even then, they don't stay long. The S&M van roams around Texas searching for the spots you wish you could ride. With Matt Berringer, Josh Stricker, Mike Hoder and Cameron Wood among the cast you know you are in for some heavy hitting BMX! The first thing that struck me about the DVD was the overall production. Again, the filming and editing are on point and surprisingly good for a DVD that costs less than one of Mike Hoders homemade tattoos. The movie starts out fast paced and keeps it that way, S&M style all the way. The riding is everything you want from the crew with big street moves from Hoder and Cameron Wood. Randy Brown has some clips that will definitely have you frantically reaching for the rewind button, as does most of the team, with one annoying exception, Josh Stricker. I want to see the Stricker from his Etnies 'Forward' section, I think he has 2 clips throughout this DVD. Maybe he was hurt, maybe he was hung over, what ever it was, you cant have enough Josh Stricker and two clips was not enough! Seven minutes in the trip is over, for the next five minutes I thought I was watching an S&M advert in an S&M DVD. Without any indication the movie switches from trip DVD to a more traditional rider section format. Its odd at first and definitely upsets the previous rythm of the film but you quickly forget and get into the riding again. Arrash Saidi kicks off the rider sections with huge trails moves and equally large street and skate park lines. rider sections continue with Isaac Barnes and Matt Berringer having quick sections as well. Matt Berringer's section, for some reason is jumpy and twitchy, something wrong with the conversion to DVD but that may have just been our copy. Mike Hoder rounds out the rider sections and, lets say, this section is worth the $3 on its own. Massive street lines and big tricks culminate in one of the biggest and long overdue bangers in recent years. Credits roll at 18 minutes and yet again, Im eager to ride. That seems to be the power of these short DVDs, its just enough of a taste to get you out on your bike.
So, the mini DVD, good or bad? I think that remains to be seen, but if these two are any indication, BMX is in for a good thing. I definitely don't want to see this style of film replace the full length DVD but as a stop gap between full features, these 20 minute promos have their place. What surprised me was the amount of content on both discs. The main features were relatively short but both discs contain bonus sections. The Fit DVD has a Day In The Life section with George Ramirez as well as a few short rider sections and a Jeff Z photo gallery from the Cali trip. The S&M DVD has similar features, though I dont know if United will care much for Mike Hoder after watching! Controversial? You decide. Overall I like the format but not at the expense of real full features. It doesn't cost you much to pick up your own copy of either DVD and make your own mind up and I suggest thats exactly what you do, you cant go wrong with two DVDs for $10. These two in any case, showcase great riding, good production values and definite value for money.