Ten Years Ago…Preparing for Streetfilms While Shooting “BikeTV”!
People ask me how I came to shoot transportation videos, what school I went to, what my training was, etc. Well here's the skinny: I was always good with cameras. I liked being outside and riding bikes. In the late 1990s when cameras got small enough to fit in a camera bag or wear around your neck, I started trying to capture the fun of riding bicycles in NYC.
So, no, I never had any real formal training in making films or videos. I just used my instincts and filmed what I knew. And when I would look at all the expensive classes for learning video in the pages of the Village Voice, I just decided why not buy all the equipment (an iMac G3!) and learn it myself thru trial and error.
One of the big places that I learned process and practice was as the ringleader of a fun group of people who rode bikes on a cable access show called bikeTV! It was created in 2002 and featured "all sorts of bike phenomena", mostly about NYC. I did over 100 individual pieces and vignettes. Here's a fun one with me on camera talking to the NYC Unicycle Club, watch a few minutes, I'm at the beginning looking younger.
But as I started being able to travel to some great bicycling cities, I would see so much cool inspirational bicycle infrastructure that I knew I had to document it and enlighten others in NYC. Here is one such trip to Berkeley to ride the Bike Boulevards there.
And the more I saw and the more friends of mine at Transportation Alternatives and other organizations told me these features were helpful, I kept documenting. I did the first real documentation of a Bike Move in Portland, Oregon about 8 years ago.
All of this constant practice on a fun hobby I loved allowed me to be perfectly positioned to segue into Streetfilms and other paid work.
Interestingly, it was that last video above that prompted me writing this since CNN just did a story on a bike move (coincidentally you can see many of the folks in both videos!) and had me reminisce over some old clips. Let me know if you enjoyed this journey into the past and I'll make sure to post more archives I have from my bikeTV days.