Film Boards – The Art of Rolling Capture

A BMX filmer’s skateboard. When used correctly it can make that boring shot just a little more special. It can be used as transportation or as a dolly. As a tripod, seat, downtime fun, bunnyhop measurement tool, or an opener of adult beverages. It can even cause pain.

Some people may ask why? Why use a skateboard when you have a perfectly capable bike to roll on? Skateboards allow for two handed operation, a more stable camera, and ultimately smoother lines. How about filming a rolling long lens on a bike? Besides being dangerous, it never seems to look as smooth as rolling on a board. Whether filming lines, rolling long lens, rigging it up as a make-shift dolly, or just having a good place to sit, a skateboard is a must-have tool for many BMX filmers.

These days film boards are as unique as their owner. Below we take a look at what board setups some industry heavyweights use, and give you an idea what to look for in your next film board.

Read on.

Will filming Dakota Roche.

Will Stroud

Age, current occupation & position?
Age 30, Greenhouse BMX TM & video producer.

What is you current film board setup?
Right now I’m running a Habitat deck with Reflex trucks and Alien Workshop wheels. I honestly can’t remember the specs for my setup since it’s been a while since I bought it. My friend Shaun works at Alien Workshop so whenever I need a new board I’ll just hit him up and have him send me whatever setup he recommends that would be good for filming. Thanks for the hookup Shaun and Matt.

Is there any particular reason for your choices? Was board and wheel size a factor?
Again, I just let Shaun send me whatever setup he recommends for filming. I never really skated before I got into BMX so I don’t really have a preference of how a board should feel. As long as it rolls smooth, quiet and can handle sidewalk cracks and rugged terrain I’m good to go.

Will’s current board setup.

Are there any moments you can remember off hand that your board has been invaluable to your filming?
For sure. I used to film mostly using my bike for follow shots back when I filmed with a VX, but once I upgraded to HD my camera gained about 5 – 10 pounds (especially with Century Xtreme HD fisheye) so it was really hard to film follow shots on a bike with only one hand on the camera. Obviously with doing follow shots on a board you can use two hands on the camera which gives you more control over the camera and exposure. So a good filming board is definitely invaluable when it comes to filming fisheye lines and long lens rolling shots. It’s nearly impossible to film a good long lens rolling shot on a bike. You really need both hands on the camera.

Ever have you board broken or stolen while out filming?
I’ve never personally broken a board because I really suck at skating. I can barely ollie on flat ground, much less down stairs or anything dangerous. I constantly get made fun of on trips because I push mongo. I know it’s gross but I really don’t care. I know I don’t look cool skating but as long as I can get the shot that looks good that’s what matters right? Some people would argue but people only see what’s in front of the camera. I have had a couple boards stolen from skateparks and street spots because I left them there by accident.

For your next film board setup what do you think you might considering changing up?
On my next setup I think I’m going to go with the biggest wheels I can find and wider trucks. I’m not too picky about anything else as long as it rolls smooth and quiet. Thanks again to Shaun and Matt at Workshop for hooking up the good deals.

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  1. Matthew B. Moore

    Yep, that board is a “made in the USA” Black Label Pat Rackstraw. Something you can’t find any more. Good Wood = Good Times. Rock on, Mangler.

    Vintage Mongo

  2. great read, nice images. always kinda wondered about this.

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