This topic is something I feel wont require a huge amount of explanation but is worth addressing just incase you weren’t aware of how potentially important your Freerunning footage is.
Freerunning is young, but its growing so fast. If we look back over the last two decades we can see how rapidly the sport has progressed, in the physical sense, the commercial sense and with that, how it is seen in society. Ryan Ford from Apex Movement wrote a really interesting piece about the growth of Parkour which you can check out here!
The commercial side of things is where a lot of my points regarding this topic lie. The fact of the matter is, whether you want it to or not, Freerunning is going to grow into a huge commercial sport to a similar level as skateboarding or BMX. It’s already happening and the best thing we can do is try to control it and keep everything on the right path. For example, supporting Freerunning companies rather than outside corporations and acting as ambassadors for our movement rather than letting other people come in and start calling the shots.
So where does your footage come in you ask? With every big commercial sport comes professional athletes. We already have a tonne of these and every year more Freerunners are making it possible for themselves to live off Freerunning. This is all because the sport is growing. What we are starting to see, but I feel we wont see properly for a while, is the rise of the internationally recognised ‘famous’ pros. The guys who are recognised by people on the streets who have never even done Freerunning, they just know them from a TV show or competition they saw. Essentially the Tony Hawk’s and the Danny Ways of Freerunning.
‘I cannot wait to be able to show my children, family and friends footage from my youth of something that I am so incredibly passionate about.’
What you may not realise is these people are around us right now. They might be your talented friend, maybe you, or even the kid in your town who’s terrible and you really wish he would try another hobby. But any footage of these athletes and even athletes who wont end up being pro is incredibly valuable. Maybe not in the financial sense but purely because it is history.
I watch a serious amount of sporting documentaries and I love films such as Bones Brigade and Waiting for Lightning. They enable me to look deep into the history of a sport I don’t even do and witness the historical moments made possible by athletes pushing the limits of the human body so many years ago. In one word, they are inspiring.
Everywhere you look in our community, stories are being created. Freerunners are coming up with new movements, athletes are winning competitions, and occasionally people are bailing. Luckily, thanks to the rise in cheap video equipment, almost all of this is being captured. What you need to realise is that footage you shot of a competition or the clips of your friend inventing a new movement may not seem important now, but thats because you may only be at the start of the story. That competition may of been the start of an athletes pro career and that new movement could change the direction Freerunning goes in forever.
The ‘Ollie’ wasn’t invented until years and years after skateboarding had started. Pro’s had already been and gone before what we would now consider the most fundamental movement of skateboarding was invented. For all we know in 5 years time someone could come along with a vaulting technique that totally revolutionises Freerunning as we know it and if you happen to capture that footage, you’re holding onto a huge chunk of history.
‘As new technology is developed the prices of hard drives are dropping everyday!’
In life it can sometimes be very hard to remember when things suddenly took a turn for the better or worse. Turning up late to work, causing you to miss a meeting which in turn causes you to have a bad day, week, month and year could of been the cause of you eventually loosing your job. But you most likely would never remember that. With filmmaking, when you’re working with a long enough timeframe and a decent amount of footage you can usually pinpoint exact moments that directly influence numerous events after that. With all of that information you could then shape and create an incredible documentary that may go on to inspire thousands of people to get involved with Freerunning.
Of course, there is the very obvious point that if your training parter ends up being the freerunning equivalent of Tony Hawk and you have a tonne of impressive/funny/embarrassing footage of them, that footage may be worth money in the future. This is definitely a valid thought when saving footage, but I would prefer to think that you would be doing it to preserve the history of our sport rather than for some potential financial gain in twenty years time.
Some people out there may be thinking ‘I don’t have any space on my computer’ and my response to that is essentially ‘tough, go buy a harddrive!’ Unless you’re like me and run a video production company (in which case you should be backing up your media like a mad man anyway) you probably don’t have THAT much footage. As new technology is developed the prices of hard drives are dropping everyday, to the point where you can now pick up a 2TB USB 3.0 drive for £70. If you have any footage thats even remotely impressive its worth more than that, even if its just for your sake.
That brings me onto my last reason for why we should be hanging onto these terabytes of content and that is simply for nostalgia. I fondly remember sitting with my dad as a child while he showed me photos from his youth as he grew a massive beard, travelled around America and at one stage pulled down a massive chimney stack with a tractor?! I cannot wait to be able to show my children, family and friends footage from my youth of something that I am so incredibly passionate about.
I am determined to stay connected to this sport and within the community and I have such aspirations that in the future, I can be in a position to tell some of these stories through documentaries or whatever medium works best. I haven’t deleted a single clip since I started Visive Productions back in 2009 because I know there are already stories about Athletes, events and our community as a whole that are still being played out. No one can predict for sure where we will all end up but as long are we are all capturing history and preserving it, then we are all going to have our own stories to tell.