The Video Vault - Volume 1
Humans are really good at heaps of things; progression, creativity and efficiency to name but a few. Alternatively, our ability to recall the past (even in a short-term sense) remains wide open for improvement. This concept applies in many consequential ways as related to the direction of humanity. Perhaps not so significant is applying this concept in relation to BMX videos.
What am I talking about? Well, having been a keen purveyor of fine BMX content since the web video even became a thing, I have cast my eyes over many a great video. Some stick in the mind for good, others are vaguely preserved and most are quickly forgotten. The purpose of this feature is to resurrect a web video that, for a range of reasons, deserves more attention.
The first project within this format is ‘Maple of my Eye’, a DIG BMX x Fiend video featuring Matt Comeau out of Halifax, Canada. The dude doesn’t have a household name, nor the video’s producer, Ian Fleming, but that fact has little bearing on the quality of this video. Clocking in at just over 4 minutes, the project is a culmination of roughly 2 years filming, including travel to Montreal, Barcelona and New York. There is something special about Matt’s riding, which isn’t obvious on initial view, perhaps a display of modern, technical prowess, but not just a result of trend chasing. The dude has a real looseness to how he positions himself on the bike through to execution and roll-out, a sense of slack, yet completely in control with a slight hint of hubris. However you describe it, the boys have created a video which is hard to look away from, a hell of an achievement.
Moving on, it would be remiss of me to not touch on the production. Almost the first thing I noticed when watching this video was the quality in terms of export value. This shit is legit crispy. I have spent many, many hours over the years trying to perfect the quality of my Sony VXs in terms of how the footage exports and then subsequently, uploads online. You can be the best filmer on earth, but if you aren’t proficient at exporting, the footage will corrupt and look worse for wear (i.e. super grainy). Whatever Ian Fleming does, it works and it works good. I would go as far to say this is the best looking Sony VX footage I’ve seen in a long time. Mixed in with the timeless combination of Super 8mm film, as well as some really clever (and subtle) editing techniques using still images as well as the sparse use of some classic filters, the video presents in a professional manner as well as in alignment with the Fiend brand.
Props are also warranted for the track selections, spanning an intro-esque hot minute by Warsh and their song ‘Excuses’, then leading into the bulk of the part as paired by a Prince Jammy song, ‘Throne of Blood’. I love when editors use multiple songs, it’s a really effective way to improve engagement as well as enhance your ability to tell a story. Again, the songs work great to remain consistent with the Fiend brand while maintaining a uniqueness to this particular video and lastly, remaining on point with what you might expect from a genuine BMX part.
In driving home the purpose of this feature, I wanted to highlight a few moments in the video which warrant further attention. The first clip stands out in my mind, a tight fish angle, wide-screening what appears to be an NYC bank spot which Matt gaps to fakie. This clip is no joke, not in being a do-or-die setup, but in requiring incredible accuracy and dexterity in maneouvring a bank as long as the bike while also avoiding a 90 degree fence very close to the landing. There is also a beautifully satisfying line which starts at 2.37; ice chink to wall, vertical bonk to ice chink 360. A seemingly nothing spot, manufactured into something super memorable through yung biker boy swag, an eye for spots and the manifestation skills. These characteristics are also on display with the final couple clips from 3.24, an unbelievable take on a classic Barcelona spot.
In wrapping up, I hope this piece has been valuable in either acting as a reminder to revisit this video, or even better, to bring this to your attention for the first time. This was an easy choice as the first option in the Video Vault feature, meeting all necessary criteria and most importantly, requiring little to no thought. If the video is worth its weight, it will rise to the surface with little assistance, a beautiful metaphor and life lesson in remaining modest and letting one’s actions speak for oneself.