Geoff Campbell has produced some of the best and most watchable videos around, some of which include, Bluestone Home, Secky Presh, Cunnies Box, the list goes on. Sit back as we’ve got nothing but quality viewing for y’all along with some words with the man himself.
How did you get started?
Just being a kid and my friend having a video camera, we would all take turns filming each other. We did that for years until I really wanted my own camera so I saved up and got a crappy little mini DV camcorder.
How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
I think at first we hardly even realised you could film something good or bad. I would always just try get the trick safe so it can be seen. Over time I guess I found things I liked in certain peoples filming and tried a bit of that, so my style probably comes from a bunch of influences. I for the most part just think about the trick or spot and do my best to emphasise the best parts of them.
What filmers/ movie makers do you look up to, skate and non skate?
Without naming names, just people that are out there doing stuff and making good edits or videos. I also love chatting about it with my friends who film, many of whom are amazing at it. I wouldn’t say I have any favourites outside of skateboarding. For the most part I am just into filming skateboarding and what goes on around it, while you’re out and about.
What gear do you use day to day?
When filming HD I use a Panasonic HPX170 and the Century optics Extreme fisheye. I also use a Sony VX1000, Century Optics MK1 and a Canon Super-8 camera.
How do you go finding people to film with?
Luckily I have heaps of friends that are really good at skating. I have always just filmed my friends. I have definitely met a bunch of awesome people through doing some filming for a company and then becoming friends with the people involved. Luckily for the most part skateboarders are cool people so even if you didn’t know someone for starters you become friends really quickly anyway.
Among your work, do you have a favourite piece/clip?
Whether or not I am proud of the actual filming or editing everything I’ve ever made is cool because it holds memories of the times you’ve had. I do like the Shanghai clip we did. It was a really fun trip and I feel like we got a lot done in the time we had as it rained half the trip. It’s good when a trip is productive but it all comes naturally from having a good time at good spots. Matt Reilly and (Jack) Kirksy’s footage on that trip was awesome, it’s cool to see your friends having the time of their life and killing it simultaneously. I’m also stoked to have been a part of bigger company stuff like the Nike projects and having a bunch in the Zero video was pretty cool.
Did you study in your field/do you think it’s necessary?
Nah I have never done any study in the field. I got accepted to the film course at SAE years ago but I bailed on it because it was insanely expensive and it seemed like it was going to be a lot more about script writing and stuff like that than actually technical aspects of filming. I don’t think that it’s too important. I think it is more important to refine your skills for actual skate filming and learn from others around you. Also be willing to put in a lot of time and hard work. It is also a lot about contacts and networking.
I don’t actually have a job in filming though so maybe my advice is invalid anyway.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started
What camera to use and how to actually set it up properly.
How do you deal with creative slumps?
If it’s in editing perhaps just by leaving the computer and walking away and doing something else. Watching old videos you are psyched on can be helpful if you are uninspired. Actually going skateboarding for myself can be good to get me psyched to go and film. Sometimes I get restless if I have just been filming all the time and have barely skated. It is good to have a mix of both.
What other types of jobs have you had?
I currently deliver fruit and vegetables to bars and restaurants for a living. I work with Bryce Golder and Jack Kirk and we work from 5 in the morn until 12 noon. It works out good because we have the arvo’s free to skate and film together. Throughout my life I have worked in a bunch of warehouses, factories, kitchens and even did a few days scaffolding because I was desperate but I had to puss and quit because I’m terrified of heights.
What was the first thing you filmed?
I have no idea. I do remember the first time I filmed with a VX though. James Wright was in Dunedin with Campbell Johnson’s camera and I filmed his sw fs nose on the library banks. It is filmed shocking but it is in his 4 Aves part so I was stoked on that.
What do you like to film outside of skateboarding?
I don’t really do any filming outside of skateboarding. Just filming the stuff on my phone for memories with my friends.
Advice for someone starting out?
Be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time, work out the right gear for what you want to do, don’t expect anything out of it, ask questions or research the internet and do it because you love it.
VX/HD, does it matter?
Not at all. I think HD gets a bad rap because when it came out people would just abuse the slow-mo potential and a lot of the stuff coming out was just mega slow-mo dolly stuff. I think those days are gone. I love filming in both HD and VX and each have their strengths and weaknesses. Either format used well can be amazing but also either used bad can be terrible. It’s not the camera, it’s the user.
Do you see any trends in filming good/bad?
I think these days with people just putting stuff out everyday there is a lot of filth there just for the sake of content. It waters it all down and sometimes it is hard to even remember what came out yesterday because there is a whole bunch of new “skatepark throwaway” clips out today. It isn’t too bad though it is pretty cool that any given day you can find at least one good thing to check out. You just have to work out the good places to look that filter down the filth.
I also think the standard of filming gets higher and higher which is cool. Like look at it with the VX1000 and the deathlens…that set up has been around for 15+ years and people are just getting better and better with it.