All I really know about Erik Bill is that he is from Idaho and he rollerblades. I’ve seen an online edit of his skating and I liked it, so when I heard he was making a video, titled I Was a Cloud, I thought I’d give it a look. I Was a Cloud not only features Erik’s skating, but also includes profiles on Cameron Card, Erik Bailey, Chris Olpin, and many more. Also, the DVD has great cover art, and a good artistic feel to it all around, if that means anything to you. I can appreciate it.
I Was a Cloud opens with some scenery shots and introduces the riders who are in the video. There aren’t too many skating clips in the intro, as the intro really just sets the mood for the rest of the video, which I can only describe as “feel good”. I was pleasantly surprised with the first trick for two reasons: First, I didn’t know that Cameron Card was in the video, and secondly, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the footage. The flick was filmed with a Canon XH-A1 and looks really good. Beyond the camera itself, the NDN is a good filmer, so there aren’t really any “bad” shots.
The first of way too many profiles belongs to Cameron Card. This got me juiced because all I knew about this video was that Erik Bill and Erik Bailey had sections. I haven’t seen much of Cameron at all since his injury, so it is great to see him skating again, and doing it so well. If you’ve never seen a Cameron Card section before, his style is the smoothest and he’s really solid. There are a lot of soyales and tts’s in this section, but there is still plenty of variety. Easily one of the top sections in the video, I Was a Cloud has a great start with Cameron Card.
The next profile is from this guy, Phil Davidson. This section has started growing on me. Phil has some tricks that look really sick, and then others that just seem like a random kid from wherever. I really liked the perfect alley-oop fish 360 off, the sick style on his spins, and some of the creative stuff Phil does in this section. The music on in this section doesn’t fit my personal taste, but it works perfectly in this section, so that’s cool.
**this section is actually online already, so i'm not putting screens. go watch it and buy the video**
After Phil Davidson comes Chris Olpin. If you’re like me then maybe you watched his miniview in VideoGroove, and I think he had a little section in some other video, too. So, also like me, when you hear about a Chris Olpin section you might be thinking “SKIP!”… but not so fast!! If you skip this section you are missing out on a great section. The skating, music and filming are all really good, and this Chris Olpin section is nothing like any section you’ve seen of him before. He skates really fast, does tricks switch and natural, and has such improved style and overall skate moves that this section is one of my favorites from I Was a Cloud. If you consider yourself an un-fan of Chris’ skating, I suggest you pick up this video and watch his section. Your mind will be changed.
Erik Bill is from Idaho, so the next section is a montage featuring what I would assume is primarily Idaho rollerbladers. This is your standard local skate video section, full of people that you’ve only heard of if you live in the area. Nonetheless, this section is still watchable because of a good vibe, good filming and music choice.
The next guy to get a profile is Tad Tregeagle. Like most of the people in I Was a Cloud, I’ve never heard of this guy before, but I like the way he skates. He makes his tricks look nice, throws in a couple switch tricks, and just comes through with a decent section. Still, I would have much rather seen Erik combine most of these profiles into shared sections or montages. There are just too many sections in this video. It’s one thing to watch a VideoGroove that is an hour long, but every clip is someone you’ve heard of busting their ass for DAP, and it’s another thing to watch a long ass video out of Idaho/Utah full of people you’ve never heard of. Still, Tad’s section is cool enough. I didn’t like the song but I don’t like a lot of songs.
Yet another profile section, this one is from Eli St. Germaine. I think this guy is from Idaho. This section is a perfect example of what could have been done differently with this video. Instead of another section of a random guy who doesn’t necessarily have the abilities that warrant a full video profile, there are a good number of tricks in this section that could have been used toward a shared/split section that would work properly. The rest can be used for DVD bonus material. The same could have been done with like 4 or 5 other sections. In any case, Eli does some good tricks, and I like this topacid on a curve drop ledge.
After this is a Jay Whitmore section. I don’t know who Jay Whitmore is. This is another section like the Eli St. Germaine one: Take the best clips and use them for a split section and then use the rest for as bonus material. Jay does some cool tricks and a lot of ledge transfers and little random grinds that anybody can appreciate, but not everyone can do.
The NDN got it right with the next montage. It is a shared section with a bunch of people I haven’t heard of, but all of the tricks in it are really cool and make me want to see a lot more from each skater. This guy Jeff Stanger totally steals the show. He has a sickening style, tricks switch and natural, and just kills it hard. Just look at the true topsoul below! I Was a Cloud should be more like this section. If you take all the 45 other profile sections, just take the best clips and turn them into 3 shared sections you’re going to keep a lot of people’s attention better than 45 profiles of people we don’t know.
Extra props again to Jeff Stanger. I am now a fan.
Mike Petrack is the next profile in I Was a Cloud. This is another section that could have been combined with someone else and the rest used as a bonus section. There are a lot of good tricks and lines in here, and I like Mikey’s style.
Dan Dickerson also has a profile in the video, and it’s pretty good. There is something in his skating that is lacking in some of the other sections. Maybe it’s a few new spots, or the way Dan steezes out some of the tricks. Whatever it is, I like it. Really solid skating, a good trick and spot selection, and good filming all contribute to a nice profile.
I guess if you’re going to have a bunch of profiles and you don’t want to combine them, you could just have a mini-profile like Ty Acuff has. This section is less than 2 minutes long, but it works really well: Ty gets to show off his skills and we get a good, short look at his skating. That’s pretty much what local videos are for – highlighting local talent. No better way to highlight someone than this section – short, good clips, good editing… good miniview.
Finally we come to filmer/editor/skater Erik Bill. I Was a Cloud is his video, but thankfully he doesn’t have tons of clips of himself all over the whole DVD, a la Too Much Love 2. I really enjoy Erik’s skating and was looking forward to this section. If you like his skating then you will like his profile. Erik has a visible confidence in his skating. He looks like he is having fun and doing exactly what he wants to do, and that is what rollerblading is all about (and pantz).
The closing profile in I Was a Cloud goes to Mr. Erik Bailey. This profile is the main reason I sat through 14 other sections to get to this. This Bailey section definitely isn’t a WAV/WAV2 section, but it is obviously still sick. Bailey skates the same stuff that everyone else skates throughout the video, but he kills all of it. The same ledge that Phil savanna’s down, Bailey fakie 450 backroyals, and so on and so forth. This section really shows the difference between pros and locals, and what a difference it is. Bailey kills it nicely, though there aren’t really any insane hammers, if that is what you’re looking for.
I Was a Cloud closes like it opens – with a fun section that shows the vibe of Erik Bill and his friends. I’m sure if I were from the area I would absolutely love this video. As it is, I’m not from the area, so seeing full profiles of 8 people I’ve never heard of isn’t the most awesome thing ever. If some of the sections would have been combined, I would like it better, but they weren’t so I’ll have to live with I Was a Cloud as it is – a sick local video with TONS of skating from unknown locals, known ams, and top pros like Bailey.
Pros: Tons of skating, lots of sections, Bailey/Card/Olpin/Bill/Dickerson/Stanger all come through really sick. The unknown guys are fun to watch and see what kinda stuff they’re into skating out there in Idaho. Good filming with a good camera means clean footage. Music fits well in pretty much every single section.
Cons: Too many profiles to sit down and watch straight through – I kept falling asleep cause it was so long and I didn’t know who the people were.
Overall: If you like blading videos, then you should get this. If you like local videos that highlight your everyday rollerblader, then you should get this. If you like videos that are filmed well with high quality cameras, good editing and music, and Erik Bailey/Cameron Card, then get this!