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'Pushing Forward' Season 3: VX1000, skateboarding’s most influential camera

Can a camera be connected to the spirit of skateboarding? Witness through the lens of this iconic camera the golden era of skateboarding.
By Zane Foley
5 min readPublished on
Skateboarding has always been intrinsically connected to intimate forms of videography. From the Hi-8 tapes of early Dogtown, to today’s extremely advanced 4k video cameras and 20-plus megapixel smartphones, these video mediums immortalize the most iconic skate videos, skate spots, pro careers and moments in skateboarding.
Video cameras in skateboarding

Video cameras in skateboarding

© Lukas Wagneter / Red Bull Content Pool

That is precisely why skateboarders crown the VX1000 king. Alongside its perfect handle for follow filming, lightweight and sleek design, it's fantastic microphone capturing the pop, slides and grinds of skateboarding; the VX1000 captured the late 90s-early 2000s golden era of skating. And as you will see in our latest episode of "Pushing Forward," The VX1000 – Skateboarding’s Most Influential Camera, even with the VX1000 coming out nearly 30 years ago in 1995, it is still being used to document skateboarding and create full length videos.
From these skate videos, skaters witnessed the ecosystem of the skate industry and learned the media roadmap to becoming pro skateboarders. Cameras gave filmmakers new goals and challenges as full length videos provided brands a way of representing their riders and merchandise, both simultaneously inviting millions of skaters into the world of skateboarding and “what skateboarding looks like.”
Skateboarding is an incredible mixture of artistic facets and with every decade, every trend, every style, every competition and every skate spot here and now gone, fitting into certain eras associated with certain cameras. These video cameras and the skate videos they helped produce, become a living snapshot (pun intended) of skate history.
As our interviewees will tell you: name a skater, name a filmer, name a spot, name an iconic trick, and every single one of them has an intimate relationship with the VX1000. You don’t have to take our word for it. Take the Arizona crew of Happy Medium, or the SF hill-bombers of GX1000 and other filmmakers who stay dedicated to the VX medium. With this prevailing video format enduring nearly three decades, we can’t help but beg the question: “How can something unintentionally designed for skateboarding be the most iconic skate camera ever created?”
Tony Hawk sitting in front of a skate ramp holding a VX1000 camera.

Tony Hawk loved using the latest tech, including the VX1000 camera

© Red Bull

We sat down with some of the most influential filmmakers to have ever pushed record on the VX1000 for their experiences with the VX and VX versus HD Debate. Living legends like Greg Hunt, Chase Gabor, Ty Evans, Dan Wolfe, Chris Ray, Beagle, and their pro skater subjects like Tony Hawk, Kareem Campbell, Ryan Decenzo and Jamie Foy. Through our intimate conversations with these amazing skateboarders, we unveil a new launching point for the decades-long debate of VX versus HD. A debate of the old ways versus the new age and the things skateboarders are afraid to lose as skating continues to evolve technologically.
Even with the majority of skateboarding moving on to higher resolution cameras, there is a legit debate from both sides of the VX versus HD table. Tony Hawk for example, who has literally been filmed on every skate video camera ever created, reminds us that the VX resolution is only 720 by 480 pixels. Compare this to a 4K HD camera which is 3840 by 2160 pixels or even a smartphone that fits in the everyday skater’s pocket, you start to see the allure of the new age. Nonetheless, many skateboarders still prefer the VX1000 over its HD counterparts.
But you can’t talk about the VX1000 and not mention the lens–the Century Optics fisheye lens, the MK1–also known as the “Death Lens.” Long considered the greatest lens ever created, the 4x5 framing of the VX1000 Century Optics MK1 lens fisheye, creates a crisp clear dynamic range and a host of incredible audio sounds that situate any viewer right into the action of skateboarding.
With this set up, skateboarders around the world had an incredible new documentation jumping point – allowing filmers to be incredibly close to the action without missing any of the trick thus providing for millions of skateboarders a close encounter through the window into “what is skateboarding.”
Luckily for all of us, that image was incredibly crisp, vibrant, stylish and raw. Providing a spark of consistency for filmmakers for nearly 30 years and supplying an infinite well of inspiration and legacy to those who were drawn to its inspiration.
While the VX1000 has made so much of skateboarding immortal, the VX itself is seeing its time running out. As we see in our latest episode of Pushing Forward, skateboarders won’t let this camera go out without a fight with people across the world dedicating themselves to preserving the artform of the VX1000. The MK1 lens has already seen itself discontinued in 2019.
Undoubtedly, the VX1000 and the MK1 was the lens that provided young skaters a roadmap to becoming a pro skater and birthing uncountable skate groups throughout the world filming their own video projects. The VX1000 endures as the lens in which the golden era of skateboarding will forever be remembered.
So without further ado, sit back and enjoy this "Pushing Forward" episode: The VX1000 – Skateboarding’s Most Influential Camera, and witness through the lens of this iconic camera the golden era of skateboarding.