The Blunts, Brews and Bad News crew edit Black Out premiered last weekend and at the risk of sounding like Kanye West I am going to say that Scott Smith has the best video of all time; at least as far as local edits go. In my opinion, from a cinematography aspect, the video can do more than hold a candle to any shred video ever made…needless to say I really enjoyed it. I don’t know much about making videos or filming anything, but I do know that everything has been done and it is almost safer to just do a run of the mill shred edit than it is to make one with any type of artistic value. More often than not these attempts come off as cliché and end up being just a copy of a copy of something else. Scott took the risk and succeeded, but I don’t think anyone that knows him had any doubt. As cheesy as it sounds I compare the edit to the writing of a song. Scott put emotion into the film, put it on the table and left you, the viewer, to take from it what you will and decide its value. He left himself open to the critic to either be praised for his efforts or to be slammed for them. I thought everything was perfect right down to the song selection. No other local video that surpasses the twenty-five minute mark has held my absolute attention like this one did. I mean there isn’t much more to say.
The making of the video aside, Black Out is worthwhile for many reasons; one of them being it showcases some Michigan talent that hasn’t really been in the “limelight” for lack of a better term. Sure a few of these guys have had more than a mention on this site, but about half of the riders really haven’t had anything circulating on social media. Obviously they’re lack of presence in other videos has been because they took part in this two-year project. That’s quite a commitment. From a riding perspective, the trickery that goes down in this video is top shelf and is complimented by Scott’s filming. A lot of videos have killer riding, but the shots are so terrible. Scott made sure this wasn’t the case. I mean I don’t know who I would pick as having the best part. I am partial to Carroll’s style and Alec has a really nice back one on lock. Jack murders everything. Dixon I’m not counting because he’ll be pro by the end of the season. Elshoff, Sukes and Puffer all had brilliant parts, but I would have to say Chad Wolfe or Mark Hartmann’s part got me the most pumped. The east side of the state has a certain style that clings to these riders; this video showcases it perfectly.
I don’t know what artistic ideals Scott was trying to convey in Black Out, but it is more than a collection of stunts. The video is a perfect portrayal of Michigan snowboarding at it’s finest. The cold, the brick, and the loyalty…even the smell is something you can sense in the video. I’m super pumped for Scott and the BBnBn guys.
Black Out with Scott Smith Interview
Waterford MI, Pine Knob has always been the local resort for most of us.
What is your video background? I’m under the impression this isn’t just a hobby?
I have always been playing with video cameras since I was a kid. Filming skateboarding was a big thing growing up. In high school, Mark, Chad and I began filming snowboarding at Pine Knob then slowly progressed to filming street stuff. I currently work on film and video sets for a living. Music videos, movies, commercials, corporate video stuff, etc… My main job on set is in the lighting department. I take camera gigs when they come my way. The goal for my career is to eventually be a cinematographer.
I understand the idea for this project started with Mark Hartmann, Chad Wolfe and yourself. What facilitated the idea to have a two-year video project?
It’s defiantly a group project. It started out that way in high school. Mark, Chad, and I just wanted to make a snowboard video together. We were already good friends long before that so it just made sense. As far as this project goes, its not just us, but everyone in the video was down for the idea. One major thing is Michigan winters are unpredictable and everyone has a different schedule. Which can be tough sometimes when you’re trying to make a large project. Most of the footage in the video is from this past season a little from the year before
I have seen you with a few different types of cameras. Was the video shot in multiple forms?
Yes. Most of the footage is shot in Digital HD. I also use a VHS camera here and there as well as shooting Super 8mm film that I had transferred to Digital HD. I just bought a 16mm film camera I plan on using a lot next season.
From a filmer standpoint, what was the experience like shooting a two-year video? Is it something you would do again? How do you think the riders took to it?
It was nice to have a break period between seasons to see where you could improve. Being patient was something that I got use to. Everyone is always anxious for videos to come out. As far as another project goes, I’m looking into it as of right now. There will be some form of another project being shot this season for sure. Surprisingly most of us are still down to film more which I honestly thought wasn’t going to happen.
Local crew videos seem to be the thing…why do you think that is?
It’s something people can relate to in there area. They see their friends hitting spots that they know about and a lot of the snowboard community rides together. It makes sense that people in the local area would enjoy it.
Michigan snowboarding wasn’t much to look at a few years ago. Frankly it was often times scoffed at. It’s always been about Minnesota. We feel like things have changed, do you agree?
Detroit I think has something to do with it. Detroit is different now than it was 5 years ago. It has however always been a big skateboard scene. Now it’s even larger. The culture in Detroit is more creative and youthful now than it was. I went out with the Technine crew and Videograss crew this past season and showed them around Detroit to film the snowboard videos. Both crews were super hyped to be there. Word of mouth spread and other big crews started coming out as well. I guess they saw something in Detroit they couldn’t find anywhere else. It seemed to be a big cliche to hear what everyone outside of Detroit was saying about it. Crime, corruption, abandoned buildings, whatever the hell else. I showed the crews spots we have been hitting in Detroit over the past years. They were all stoked on it! In my mind I was thinking ‘What? I just assumed all cities were like this.’ Guess not…haha.
Lastly…there is obviously a lot of artistic integrity in the film. It’s quite different from most other crew edits. Is there a statement or a general message you are attempting to convey with the video? Endeavors like this are usually backed by a theory or another form of motivation.
As far as creative direction goes, it’s a combination of a lot of things. The list is about a mile long. Music, art, emotions, spot choices, other films; we took these things into consideration when we were out filming and when I was editing the pieces together. I don’t want this to be looked at as just a snowboard movie with stunts. I guess all I want is this video to be something that every generation of people in the snowboard community can watch not just this season, but every season to come. I grew up watching only local snowboard videos as a kid. “Nice Life”, “Human Doing”, “Fresh Air”, etc. All of those videos inspired me and my friends to go out and make our own videos, to go snowboard and to have fun. We still watch them till this day.