If you think that you need high-tech cameras, planned out filming missions, and expensive skits to make a memorable video, you’re wrong. Today, all you really need is a few spots that you can post up at all day, a decent group of skaters, a few 12 packs, and someone to document it. You can even use an iPhone! As long as you can capture the vibe and have that translate in the editing – the real tricky part – you’re golden.
New York-based filmer, Justin Helmkamp, has kind of mastered the spontaneous video vibe. After releasing Berts Vid back in 2019, featuring the Bronze crew and their extensive group of friends, he’s back with a similar crew and more scratches on his fisheye in Berts Vid 2. These two videos speak true to the notion that the best moments happened when they’re unplanned.
Q&A with Justin Helmkamp
Do you think NYC is played? Can it ever be played out?
Nah, I think that’s impossible. It sounds cliché but the city is constantly changing. It’s a different place every day and presents different experiences for different people. I’ve been tripping on how crazy it is here sometimes now that things are getting back to normal and I think the potential to capture what this place is about is never-ending
Tell me your favorite slice in New York and your favorite slice in New Jersey.
Joe’s is a classic New York slice, but Spumoni Gardens takes it if you’re out that way. For New Jersey I’m saying Arturo’s in Maplewood for the pie, and Santillo’s in Elizabeth for the slice.
Does Chicago pizza stand a chance to a New York slice or should they just give up?
Setting me up to fire shots [laughs]. I don’t know about give up, but they should prob just call it something else. No such thing as pizza outside the tri-state. I think all the Italians got to Jerz and decided that was far enough.
When was this filmed and how did you decide who to put in it.
I put out the first video in late February 2019 and went on a trip to Barcelona the next day. All of that Barcelona footage is from days after the first video. The rest was accumulated with the fellas I skate with daily over the last two and a half years.
What’s the story behind the name? Why didn’t you call this one “Ernie”?
It’s my alias. I got the nickname Bert through homies years ago and it stuck. We always joked and called the TRV900 “Bert Cam” so “Bert’s Vid” came naturally.
What’s the hardest part about making a skate video that people might not consider?
I feel like this is more of a bro cam thing aimed at capturing the times had in between the work that goes into bigger projects and giving all those times a place to live.
That being said, the hardest part is probably just the time it takes to accumulate footage and genuinely show what a place and the people are about. “Remember when” may be the lowest form of conversation but it’s pretty chill on video.
Do you have a day job?
I mostly do freelance PA work, like a lot of other skaters in New York. It gets busy at points but also allows for a flexible schedule which is what makes this possible.
What pays better, skateboarding or panhandling?
Panhandling for sure.
Anything you want people to know about the video that you haven’t mentioned already?
It goes better with a Heineken.
Any advice to upcoming skate videographers?
Don’t take care of your fisheye. Let the chips fall where they may. Wrap your cam in a sweatshirt and throw it in the backpack. You never know what’s going to happen.