Review - Bootleg Sessions v.1 & v.2

>> Monday, 19 January 2009

There are still a fairly limited amount of fixie videos available on DVD, as far as I know Bootleg Sessions is the only one to have made a sequel to date. I'm gonna review both of these at the same time because they are very similar, which I'm not sure is too great of a thing really. The Bootleg Sessions videos are very much trick based, there's not much in the way of traffic dodging or hill bombing, it's all bar spins and wheelies. They use a similar structure to skate videos, each rider has an individual section which is the best way to do it I suppose but I find that both of these videos suffer from less than great camera work, in fact they both look like some of the lenses were smeared with spittle! There is some debate as to whether the skate video structure works for fixie videos and I'm not sure what the answer is. I think it works to a degree but 'freestyle' trick based riding needs to be shot well, maybe locked off on a tripod with a nice depth of field etc, otherwise it just looks like some dude bouncing up and down whilst his mate films him with his camera phone, fine for youtube, not fine for DVD. MASH is a good example of how some decent camera work can really lift a video from just guys riding fast down a road to a very enjoyable thing to watch.

Image ©, click on it to go to the order page.

All that said both of the Bootleg Sessions videos feature some really insane tricks, if you are into technical stuff and can't tell Coronation Street from Citizen Kane then you'll love them. They feature street stuff and a fair amount of skate park action too from riders from all over the world, I'm really loving the style of the Japanese riders although they ride some ugly ass bikes! The first section on v.2 is some guy who rides UP a big set of steps and even rides down steps backwards, its absolute madness. The back of the v.2 box says "Bootleg Sessions v.2 details the efforts of a globally diverse group of wayward cyclists as they attempt to prove one thing: there is an infinite number of ways to have fun on a bicycle" and they accomplish that, albeit with a lack of camera steez.

Image ©, click on it to go to the order page.

I know this was more of a rant about shooting style rather than an in depth review of the videos but I think it is justified. Bootleg Sessions is paving the way for it to become the 411 (skate video magazine) of fixed gear videos but in order for it to accomplish that the overall aesthetic of the project could do with some cleaning up. Early skate videos weren't exactly very well shot but that was the 80's, this is 2009 and it is now very easy to get professional results with consumer equipment, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all the guys shooting around the world start to wipe their lens and hold the camera straight for future versions on this series.

Check out the trailers for both the videos below and then head on over to where there is a ton more footage for you to shout "nooooo waaaaaaay" at as well as some killer photos...

V.1 Trailer

V.2 Trailer