Theories: BMX Video collectors – Brandon Kline & Dillon McClain

[6 Apr 2019]

Intro/Questions: Lino Gonzalez

While its obvious to give attention to brands or video productions, what really makes these things possible is the people that spend their money to support them. The video itself started as a means of advertising with an end of selling a product but over time transformed into an art of its own. This article is a quick interview with Brandon Kline (@Brandonkline) and Dillion McClain (@Hardcopy_bmx_archive), two people who’s love of the art of the BMX video has led them to collect the majority of hard copy videos from the past 20 years.

 

 

1. Lets start with the obvious questions. About how many videos do you own and when did you start collecting?

BRANDON KLINE: Few shy of 500. Around 300 are dvd and the other 200 are vhs. The first video I ever got was probably 1998 when I was 13. One of the older guys in town made it for me. It had until monkeys fly, face values and chain gang on it. I was pretty much hooked on videos at that point. I’ve worked at the same bike shop since 2003 so that’s made it easy getting videos as they’ve come out over the years. It wasn’t til 4-5 years ago that I really become obsessed with trying to find a bunch of old videos.

DILLON MCCLAIN: Right to the numbers, Here we go. Excluding DVDs I’ve got more than one of, the current count is 539 dvds in house, 12 currently in transit, and about 30 more on the hook or being held in a few different countries by some good people. In the year 2003, I got the Animal “Can I eat” dvd. This was my first dvd and I loved it. Watched it a thousand times. As I grew up, I occasionally bought videos. I wasn’t trying to collect them at that time, just got some when I had money to spare. Due to a bad injury in 2010, I had to take a break from BMX and it looked like I’d never be able to ride again. I sold all the DVDs I had at the time to a friend of mine. Seven years later, the hard work of trying to get back to my bike had paid off and my body became well enough that I could ride again! So I bought my old dvds back from my friend and started buying new ones. Had a huge culture shock seeing what BMX had become in the years I was away. This sparked a passion for collecting DVDs from the past years of which I’ve missed out on.

2. What are the criteria for a good video in your opinion?

BK: Gotta have good riding and music for sure. When I think about videos I really love though the one thing they have in common is you can tell the crew is all homies. Sometimes ill watch a video were the riding,filming and music is on point but the video seems like a bunch of randoms dudes thrown together. I guess what I’m saying is I like a video were it feels like the dudes ride and chill together.

DM: The type of videos I most enjoy are the ones that highlight the “have fun” aspect of BMX. The ones that make you laugh and think to yourself “my friends and I would probably do the exact same thing”. I typically enjoy those over any major releases, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy seeing a DVD from a bigger company. The trouble with those bigger companies now is that certain aspects of street riding have become so trendy that it’s common to see the same tricks in those DVDs other than the bangers at the end.
 
 

Brandon Kline, Photo: Chriss Huckaby

 
3. All time favorites and why?

BK: This is a hard one I love so many videos. Trash might be my all time favorite video. The progression of street riding and the raw feeling of that video is amazing. Nowhere fast, Animal Can I Eat, Standard Domination, FBM all time low/ Albert street, Ells Bells videos man the list could go on forever. All those videos are so good in so many ways the riding, music and just the vibe of the crew is amazing. Some of my favorite videos in more recent years though would be the ALYK series and Banned series. Those video series have been so good. They are completely different styles but they both amazing riding and I think they both capture there scene so well.

DM: Deadline, Facad, Strangways2(UK),Business2(Canada)

Deadline – That amazing intro. The outrageous riding from the crew. And of course the 15 minutes of Garrett Reynolds GOLD at the end.Facad – The authentic mid 2000’s feel that video has. The energy is very chill then picks up a lot for Seth’s part which then sets you up nicely for Mike Hoder’s part. His best video part to date in my opinion. The last clip is pure insanity, if you don’t know it Youtube that. It’s nuts even by today’s standards. Strangeways 2(u.k.) – The filming and music are exactly what I’m looking for in a street dvd. It has that classic street vibe with some really pleasant fisheye work. Filmed mainly around Manchester with a solid crew of guys. Music is a lot of mid 90’s east coast (USA) underground hip hop with some other musical genres mixed in as well. Gets me stoked to go ride every time. Business 2. (Canada) – This one is a blast to watch. It has the feel of a big budget and represents multiple levels of talent. Showing that you don’t have to have a whole crew of assassins to have fun and put out an amazing video. If I had to choose a “deserted island” DVD this quite possibly would be the one.

4. Do you think there has ever been any merit to the “video of the year” announcements that the media makes?

BK: I don’t really think so. Its a good effort and I appreciate what they try to do but I definitely think it could be done better/different. 2018 for instance had so many amazing full length videos come out and hardly any of them even got a mention. It just had me wondering who the hell actually gets to vote and what videos did they fucking watch. Cause we must have watched some completely different shit. I also think there should be another category or something too. It’s hard to compare one dudes 5 minute long part to a whole crew who filmed a full length. I also feel like the riders should have more of a say and not just the “pros”. Ive spent the last 20 plus years buying every magazine and video I could get my hands on and I know a ton of other people that can say the same. Seems like all those people should have a say in things like this. After all we are BMX not the “industry”.

DM: No I’ve never watched a single one or paid any attention to the Nora cup. I’m not a fan of the industry trying to make BMX into a sport that values being the best over having fun. The guys winning that stuff know they are very talented so I never really understood what the point was I guess.

5. What appeals more to you, a big budget video with the highest paid riders/filmers or a small brand/local crew video?

BK: I enjoy watching videos of both kind but lately the small guys have been killing it. 2018 was an amazing year for full length videos and all my favorite ones were from small crews/companies. Lightworks, US/Them, Alyk, 90East, Duts Comp, Daily Grind all came out in 2018 and were all from small brands. Seems like a lot of the big guys are just about web content and not real into putting out full length videos at the moment.

DM: Small/ local every time! Guys doing it for the love and experience of filming each other and having fun.
Nowadays I feel the riding in most of the bigger budget videos is just a reflection of what’s been poplar on Instagram in that time period. With originality few and far between. Harsh, right? That’s why I look for the older stuff by those bigger companies.

6. There is still a debate surrounding SD/4:3 vs HD/16:9. Do you have any preference in viewing either of these or do you not care about the format of a video and what camera its filmed with?

BK: The camera the video is filmed with doesn’t matter at all to me. You can have all the best equipment and still film a shitty video. Look at the Banned video series for instance. Its just filmed with whatever camera was around and tons of bro footage but the videos are amazing. I filmed personally with a vx for years and loved that thing but mainly film HD these days.

DM: Personally I enjoy seeing people make the most of what they have. I’ve got some old UK street stuff filmed on shit cameras with the thin black bars on each side of the frame and they are still very enjoyable to watch. Although if you have the funds to go “Joe Simon” with it, that’s bad ass.

 


Dillon Mcclain, Wall ride tuck
 
7. Instagram has changed how video content is viewed. Do you think it has effected the latest generations desire to watch or produce a full length video?

BK: Ya I definitely think its had an effect. It’s just a difference in how they grew up and learned to view media. I grew up buying videos and reading magazines cause that’s how you found out what was going on. Its not the same for them anymore and I feel like they kinda dismiss things that don’t fall into the media format they are familiar with. There is some exceptions to this though so I don’t think we have to much to worry about. Long as bmx riding exist I think there will always be people making full length videos.

DM: Yes, completely. Why film for months/years when you can “flex on Instagram “ is usually the view point of the younger generation. I’d say Instagram did a lot more damage to BMX than just kids desire to make full length videos.
When I was younger, if you ran into another dude on a BMX bike, you guys were instantly friends. Now it is not even close to something like that. This aspect has been the hardest thing to witness since coming back.

8. Do you buy any of the digital downloads or iTunes videos? Also do you watch or bookmark any favorites you might have that are on Youtube/Vimeo only?

BK: I pretty much try and buy every video I can so ya I buy from iTunes and digital downloads. There is a few online only things that come to mind but always first is the Scavenger Pop Off edit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve went backed and watched that. Its so fucking good!

DM: Yeah I still buy those digital downloads if that’s the only option. Gotta see it somehow. Though if it’s amazing I may try to reach out to the editor and see if they would make me one. Depending on who that person may be. Youtube and Vimeo are good for stuff I’ve not got my hands on yet or can’t find a hard copy of anywhere. I’ve been able to see some videos on those websites that then become videos I’m most trying to find for purchase.
As for non-full length web videos, I don’t ever watch new stuff by the bigger companies. Not unless there’s an older name in there I want to see.

 


 
9. Are there any videos that you missed out on buying and wish you owned?

BK: Ya there is a ton of videos I wish I owned that I don’t. Most of them came out before I was riding or I was riding but just young and didn’t know about them. Bunch of mid 90’s trail videos I wish I had and some early Ells Bells stuff that’s pretty high on my list to find.

DM: So many videos from 2010-2017 I’m hunting for now. Around 200 DVDs that I know of and I’m constantly adding to that. So if you have DVDs don’t be too surprised if you catch a DM from me.

10. A lot of BMX riders and fillers watch skate videos for inspiration, Do you watch skate videos at all? If so any favorites that come to mind?

BK: I don’t watch a ton of skate videos but I definitely watch some. Probably watched Baker 3 more than any other skate video. I also watch all the nine club podcast does that count haha

11. Are you into any conspiracy theories?

BK: Stop filming with a skateboard and use a bike………

DM: I believe the Moon landing was fake. Man has never set foot on the moon. Look up the “Van Allen belts” then listen to NASA talk about how they “lost” the technology to overcome this problem and now are unable to send humans safely through that radiation. But, they were able to do it in the 1960s? With suits that look like they would rip like a paper towel if you gave them a tug.