Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Exciting times for Footbag

The eagle has landed, Footbag Archives is live.

Finally is the first word that comes to my mind when I think about the adventures of FootbagArchives.com. I had my first footbag tournament filmed in 1989 right here in my hometown of Montreal. The images from this one are pretty degraded as it was shot in regular VHS but still one clip was produced with it and it will be published eventually.

The goal of this site is to make all of the video that I collected and edited available to the footbag community. First and foremost for the players to have souvenirs that are a little bit more solid that just their recollections. Secondly for all the ones who watched or were involved as players, tournament organizers and spectators. Of course it will also be useful for those who would want to study the game and the players that made it to the finals. Overall I always felt that a sport that is not well documented loses part of its legacy.

For this launch I will make available the finals of the five net categories at the 2014 and 2013 World Footbag Championships: Open singles, women singles, open doubles, women doubles and mixed double. There will be free previews available for each match and for those who would want to see the entire games, with the scores, they will be available on demand. The Montreal annual tournament the Akisphere 2014 is also ready in the form of the doubles finals.

I guess the match that the most people wanted to watch from Worlds 2014 is the singles finals as it's been a really long time since a player from the USA won that title. Randy Mulder was the last one to win it in 1997 and now the crown belongs to Walt Houston from Memphis, TN who defeated Florian Götze in 3 consecutive sets. So without further due let's see the preview of that match:

2014 World Footbag Championships singles net finals short preview. from Pro Kicker. Find the other free clips from Worlds 2014 here and the complete collection of full matches available on demand here

Now a little bit more on the history of this site


As I mentioned earlier I started to document footbag tournaments in 1989. The first years I pretty much gathered video about the local tournament ''Le Championnat de Footbag de Montréal'' and some of these years nothing was filmed at all. In 1996 I organized the first World Footbag Championships out of the USA. That was the occasion to film with a little better quality. A Hi 8 camera was used and a lot of images were taken by Bruno Dubuc a fellow kicker. The 1997 Montreal International Footbag Championship and 1998 Worlds were filmed with a
''Super'' VHS cam, wow. Still it is archives right? I acquired a digital Sony Hi 8 in 2001 and brought it along to a lot of tournaments: Worlds 2001, San Francisco, Worlds 2002 San Francisco again, 2003 Prague, Czech Republic, 2004 Back to Montreal and rented cameras, 2005 Helsinki Finland, 2006 Frankfurt, Germany, 2007 Orlando, FL , USA, 2008 San Cristobal, Venezuela for the second South American Championships, and the first one that let gringos enter the competition etc... Plus the local tournaments and more.

These films were all on tape and parts of it were transferred and classified on some of my hard drives but still a lot of footage was unused. I decided to take care of that task and acquired all of the footage I had on hand at the time, which was about 65 tournaments. These were long nights and some technical problems complicated the process, I had to buy 2 used cameras just to finish the acquisition process but how satisfying was it to know that this material was all available for editing.

From 2012 I started to film with a HD camera and eventually a second. In 2013 and 2014 I started to edit a lot of footbag net matches, adding the scores to every play most of the time with the logos of the 2 players / teams involved. Now I'm in the process of creating the preview clips and uploading all this stuff to my Vimeo Pro account so that it can become available for you to watch.

I always felt that it was important to film the whole matches to properly document the history of our sport.


Freestyle competitions


Of course I also filmed a lot of footbag freestyle competitions while I was on location. The World Championships usually have the two disciplines interleaved so it is possible to capture them both. It is increasingly difficult to do so as the schedule tigthtened over time. One example, in 2010 the World Championships were in Oakland, CA and the net open doubles match was very long, and very exciting, so the director of the freestyle event decided to start the finals routines competition without waiting for the doubles match to end. As a result I missed the first competitor or that final round, Milan Benda, and he ended up winning, which is highly unusual for an 8th seed to do, in fact it might be the only time that this was accomplished in footbag's World Championships history. So I don't have that routine as part of my collection and I find that really frustrating.

Another problem with publishing freestyle competition videos is that the players use popular songs which leads to the usual commercial vs fair use dilemna.

At this time I'm working on the net stuff, I'll see what I can do about the freestyle part of this documentation and let you know on this blog later.

For the moment I hope you will enjoy this body of work as it's finally coming to fruition. To all of you who asked me where my @$%?(* footbag footage was, well here it is and much more is coming.

Yves Archambault, author

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