Photo: Nick West
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of different names pop up in the “Filmed and edited by” line. There’s a lot of names that come and go, and then there’s names of guys who as soon as I see it’s by them, I know it’s going to be good. Adam Blyth is one guy who I became familiar with after seeing his work that he produced for some of the U.K’s finest riders including his brother, Tom. Although his name isn’t popping up every week, whenever something new comes from him, it’s one you’re going to want to hit that play button on more than once. I’ve become a big fan of Adam’s work, so I figured it was time to get ahold of him to find out what he’s all about. This is what he had to say! Check it!
Name: Adam Blyth
Location: Hull, UK
Years Riding: 12 off and on. Mainly off.
Years filming and editing: 6
What was it that first got you into BMX? Did you get into BMX because of Tom, or did Tom get into BMX because of you?
Yeah, I got in to BMX because of Tom, he had this 98 GT Performer that we would take turns on round my village. He showed me how to do 180’s and those rocket manual barspin things! Safe Nath played a big part in it too, Tom and I rode mountain bikes in the 90’s and he told us those were gay and we should be riding BMX. Next thing we know Nath was doing 10 foot roof drops to flat on a yellow Haro Cosmo. Of course he broke his ankles but that was the coolest thing I ever saw, so I was sold!
What about filming and editing and photos? What made you want to pick up a camera?
I used to assist my friend Nick when we first left school. He gave me my first 35mm and some good quality black and white film. He helped me learn everything I know about photography really. Good dude and ridiculous photographer people should check out. NickWestPhoto.co.uk.
I also wanted to be involved in what was going on in Sheffield, Newcastle and Liverpool BMX scenes. Tom had moved to Shef to study and it meant I had a loose connection with all that was going on in 2003/2004. I guess I wanted to be involved in any way possible so I rode a bit, filmed a bit and tried to understand what the fuck Joe, Newrick and those dudes were doing.
What was your first camera setup?
Minolta 35mm and some sketchy super 8 video camera.
What are you working with these days?
5D MKII’s, 5d MKIII’s and a Canon XF300
Do you have a dream setup that you wish you were working with, or are you pretty content right now?
For BMX, I’d like to go back to Sony VX’s or Panasonic DVX’s right now. I miss shooting 4:3. It suits the subject better for me; extra vertical space is nearly always a good thing in skating and BMX. Just without the tapes. I don’t think anybody misses DV tapes. Still, I would definitely miss large sensor cameras. I don’t like using lens adapters and depth of field is important to me so that’s cool with DSLR’s. I don’t think I have a dream set up, I like the idea of using different stuff in BMX and having a change now and again.
You have been producing some real good web videos featuring riders from the U.K scene for quite a while. Who are some of your favorite people to film with?
To be honest, I’ve enjoyed filming everyone I’ve worked with for one reason or another. Martin Tambling is fucking awesome, Nath is super motivated, Sanders is really focused, Carl Wood is a tragedy! Haha, just kidding mate. My brother Tom is good to work with, if anything he over scrutinizes his footage, but that can push you as a filmer to improve and be self critical, which I think is important.
Is there any riders you haven’t had the chance, but really want to at some point?
I would like to shoot Kenny Horton, in a mix edit with Tom. I would basically like to make the next FBM video.
I want to see that happen.
I’ve noticed that you do quite a bit of work for a handful of brands. Who all have you had the opportunity to do work for?
4Down, United, Mutiny, FBM, Savakas, 1664, DC, Albion I don’t know, there aren’t too many.
I know a lot of filmers really just don’t know where to start when getting jobs like this. What kind of advice do you have for people who are looking to get some freelance jobs going?
In my experience if you want to make money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons and you’ll find it’s pretty hard anyway. If you just want to film and edit BMX, maybe break even – Ride with people who are hooked up, if your good enough then it just makes sense for you to film for them.
Do you do film and photo work for a living, or is it just something you do on the side?
Yeah, I work full time as a commercial videographer.
Let’s say you get a big huge budget for a shopping spree for new camera gear. What would be some of the items that would be found in the cart right away?
It depends on what I was going to shoot I suppose. I like the look of the Black Magic Cinema Camera. I’d like to work with an Alexa. I like the c300 and the look of the F55. I’d like a bunch of Canon’s Cinema lenses, but none of that for BMX is practical. Barring the C300 I suppose. The point is that filming BMX is all about what you can set up in 5 minutes and what can carry on your back.
How about if you got a huge budget to take 5 riders anywhere in the world to film? What 5 riders would you choose, where would you go and why?
I don’t want to be in charge! Urgh… Can they be dead? Ok, I’d take Leland, Lance, Lou Bickle, Dave Young and Jeremy Davis on a motorcycle trip. Kinda like easy rider but way more weird.
Who are some of your favorite filmers and photographers?
I like Tim Philo. He’s the guy who shot The Evil Dead. So much of the camera work in that movie is what makes it awesome. Greg Toland did Citizen Cane. Vittorio Storaro shot Apocalypse Now. I’m reading a book about cinematography at the moment and I am blown away by conventions in video that affect the viewer subliminally. The use of colour, shape, even the direction people are headed across the screen can determine whether they are good guys or bad guys. That’s awesome!
BMX wise, Joe Cox, Pieringer, Benson, James Cox, Navazio, Parrick, Stu Johnson, Scerbo, you get the idea.
Do you do any filming outside of BMX? I hear weddings are where there’s quite a bit of coin…
I do have freelance time left over but I’m using it to make short films and work on my house. I seem to be bad at making money.
I know that being the guy with the camera tends to screw with the actual amount of riding time you get in. What are some ways to make sure you get some riding time in?
Maybe small set ups again. That way you aren’t exhausted when you arrive at every spot! The other thing when you carry so much heavy shit is that when you do take it off, your bike feels super foreign, all light and weird! I don’t ride anything like as much as I would like but weather permitting, I’m gonna ride a bunch this year.
What kind of advice do you have for the people looking to get into filming and editing in general?
Start small and watch the classics.
Are you looking for more work? How should brands go about finding you if they are looking for a filmer in your area?
Anyone can contact me at:
Do you have a portfolio site at all? Where can people check out more of your work?
At the moment, just a vimeo page:
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thanks for doing the interview man!
Anything else you want to say?
If you like Death Metal, check out mine and Tom’s band Parasitized: