Rob Harris is the creater of Rich Mahogony. The video is from New York focusing on a crew - the likes of Yage Popson, Billy Rohan, Lurker Lou, Dan Forkin, Brett Land, Brett Nelson, Luke Malaney, etc. Right Now Rob is working on some promo stuff for DQM amongst other things......
How did 'the Green Diamond' come about?
Basically I had a shitty blog, and I moved into a building called the green diamond and thought it would be a good name for the blog. It was originally just for my friends I grew up with to look at, and once I figured out how to see how many people look at it, i got freaked out and almost deleted it, then decided to make it just documenting the making of "rich mahogany"
How long did you spend filming the video ?
Probably about three years, but more like two where i actually had a plan and knew what I was going for. It changed a lot in the last year with the addition of a few people.
Yeah I mean it's pretty much impossible to make a video by yourself. Especially since I was in school and working, but even if it's all your focusing on, you can only be in one place at a time. I was really lucky to have people like Joe Bressler and Justin White, to name a few, helping me out with the filming. I did all the editing myself, Bosco did the titles, Brett Land did the animations, and Bressler came to my rescue again to make the DVD
Who do you regularly film with?
These days it's super random, but I film pretty regularly with Yaje, Black Dave, Eli Reed, Kevin Tierny, Carter Donnell, Brian Delatorre, Curtis Rapp. Bryce Golder is in town right now, and I skate with him a lot when he's here cause he's the best.
Who do you like filming with?
See above. I wish people like Will Brown, Dustin Eggeling, Torey Goodall and Bradley Sheppard lived in NY, cause they're super rad to film with.
Where do you particularly like filming?
Umm I guess wherever. I'd rather have the skater take me somewhere, I'm not to big on trying to make people do shit that I think is cool. I'd rather be filming lines than just standing somewhere though. Lines are way cooler.
How do you keep away from the myriad of distractions that NYC has to offer?
Ha man I don't know. For one thing, I'm not a big drinker so that certainly helps. Plus living here you get pretty used to it, it's not too tempting. I guess I can only speak for myself on that one though. You see a lot of people get caught up in the scene or just getting wasted all the time.
How much leeway do you give for skaters to select their own music?
I feel like it's the skaters video part, so they should have a lot of say in what they skate to. When doing a video with individual parts like that, I would just say if you want to, pick a song, and if I like it, it's all good. I know Forkin and Lou both picked their songs and I was super psyched on both of them. I think Pryce and Torey skating to Soulja Boy was an idea we had when we were drunk and ended up actually being a really good idea. In our opinions anyway.
I think music is almost equally as important as the skating, a bad song can ruin a persons part, and a good song can carry a part, sometimes i'll watch a part over and over again just to hear the song. How strongly do you feel about music in a video?
Oh yeah, I mean I think its importance is second only to the quality of the skating in the video. I mean growing up watching skate videos, just think about how much that informed your musical tastes you know? I can't tell you how many parts I've seen ruined by shit songs, and vice versa, enhanced by great songs. And the "safe" songs. That's what's really killing me these days, is just stock, generic fucking soul or something.
What are some examples of good music / skating combos in a video?
Shit, there's so many, I don't even know how to compile them. Just off the top of my head, I was really psyched on all the music in the new Blueprint video, "Make Friends With the Colour Blue", especially Coakley's part. Rob Welsh skating to Shyheim in "Ryde or Die", Carrol skating to Kurupt in "Modus", Jake Johnson skating to Animal Collective in "Mindfield", Jason Dill skating to Radiohead in "Photosynthesis". There's so many, I could go on for days.
What are some of your all time video parts?
This is basically impossible, but I'll do the first five I can think of:
Carroll and Howard in "Mouse"
Jason Dill in "Photosynthesis"
Gonz in "Video Days"
Jake Johnson in the Quartersnacks Re-Edit of "Mindfield"
Torey Goodall in "Babysteps"
What are you up to now? working on now?
I'm always filming if I can, i just like to do it, but it really helps to have a project to work on. Right now I'm working on a little promo for DQM, who just put together a skate team. I think it should be done for the fall line, I'm pretty psyched cause the team is all homies, and I'm doing it all HD which is a first for me
With peoples attention spans whittling away rapidly - whats your take on full length videos?
I mean basically the full length video is doomed. Big companies can still get away with doing it because they have money and big pros, but their videos are still gonna be online the day after they're out. I still love getting a DVD of a a video I'm excited about, but those are few and far between these days. And younger kids aren't gonna want to do that, they're too used to finding them on slap message boards probably.
A lot of people have been getting down with digital SLR cameras for the focal length drop out, have you been filming anything on these cameras?
I've seen them, they're rad, but I haven't personally used one. I just got the HPX setup pretty recently so I'm set with that for a bit. Those lenses are super awesome, although i feel like it might temp filmers to get way too unnecessarily artsy.
VX or HD?
VX will always be the best, and I still use it when I can. I got an HD camera to use not for skating, just for other film shit i do, but then i started using it and it just grew on me. But the VX will always reign supreme.
Do you think the primary outlet for skateboard videos is now online?
Well, it's certainly the most accessible way, but the question is how can you profit of it? Plus, watching a video just isn't the same. When you get a DVD, it's a tangible thing and watching it on the TV is an event, you know? When you're watching a video in the Internet, you can have three other windows open and you might not be giving the video your full attention.
How does the online potential differ from traditional skateboard videos/dvds?
How can the traditional skateboard film narrative be switched up?
That's an interesting question. My mentality for the most part is if it's not broken, don't fix it. I mean people watch skate videos to see people skating, so if you try switch it up and put too much other shit in it, it can be distracting. Obviously there's some great videos with skits in them, girl/chocolate always comes through, but they've got Spike Jonze doing it. A lot of times with skits, even of they're good, how many times are you going to want to watch it? Videos should be fast-paced and short I think. If I ever make another video I want it to be like 20 minutes max
Just how important are the architecture/music/editing/camera work in putting together a skaters video part?
I think that depends on who you are, both as a skater and a filmer. A lot of time, good music, camera work, editing, etc can make a part way better than it would be raw, but some dudes it just doesn't matter. Gino in "Yeah Right" right for example, that part has a lot of footage that looks like his homie filmed it, and the lens is all dirty, but it doesn't matter cause it's so ill and he's Gino. But if some new kid comes out, and half his part is shit homie cam, i'm gonna notice it and it could potentially distract me from enjoying it. But as a filmer/editor, I might be over-thinking it, you know?
What are your all time NYC video parts?
Charles Lamb in "Lurkers 2"
Harold Hunter in "Mixtape"
Zered Bassett in "Vicious Cycle"
Any Ryan Hickey footage
Bobby Puleo, "Infamous"
What are your thoughts on bro cam footage versus more staged dolly cam type footage?
I mean I love bro cam footage. I try and make a bro cam clip for the website once a week if I can. I think the dolly stuff is kind of stupid. I mean it can look cool, and I can certainly appreciate it in a cinematic way, but it's kind of just too much. It's the opposite of raw street skating footage.
What do you think the future is for pay-for videos? (in terms of skateboard video downloads.) ?
That's another tough question. The only time I've justified paying for an online video is if it's actually a full video you buy on itunes or something like that. I saw the berrics tried to charge money for a Shane O'Neill video part and that seemed a little weird. Where's that money going, you know? I feel like in the next couple of years they might figure out someway to deal with skateboarding on the internet, because it's headed that way anyway. But right now, anyone trying to make a video, especially an independent one, is pretty much fucked. Thinking positive!