No doubt, someday, Jim Geduldick will create the world's most immersive virtual reality skateboarding experience—a heart-thumping technological marvel admired and studied for decades—and then everything will have come full circle. For now, though, the renowned director and cinematographer, continues on this path. He hones his craft, studies the future, reﬁnes his toolkit, and specializes in the virtual and augmented reality technologies currently redeﬁning today's digital imaging markets.
As a kid in the '80s, Jim loved all things skateboarding. He devoured trade magazines and pored over the footage of any skate videos he could ﬁnd.
"I'd watch them until the VHS tapes broke," he laughs. "But I always had an interest into how they made those skate videos that my friends and I would watch. I wondered how they became, as skate cinematographers are called, ﬁlmers."
Jim got his ﬁrst inkling of an answer when his folks bought him a 1987 black and white handheld camcorder that recorded up to 11 minutes of 120 x 90 video on a 90-minute cassette tape. Jim would spend hours shooting clips with his friends—"just silly stuﬀ, nothing cinema-style or anything"—and it was enough to make him want more.
Years slipped by. VHS cameras gave way to Hi8 and digital. Jim's passion for skating continued through high school. He saved up and even borrowed money from his sister for the must-have skating camera of the day with ﬁsheye lens. Jim chose not to attend ﬁlm or art school, but he learned everything possible about the camera and how to shoot with it from free sources, such as the public library and the ﬂedgling Internet.
"Every time I would go to skate or snowboard contests or things like that," says Jim. "If I didn't qualify, or there was some stuﬀ going on where friends made the ﬁnals, I would wind up just ﬁlming everything. I was beyond fascinated."
If this sounds like the 10,000-hour rule all over again, don't be surprised. Jim had talent, passion, and persistence all rolled into one kid searching for the right catalyst.
The spark for Jim's career arrived in the form of an opportunity at a prominent video magazine, which shipped to subscribers via VHS and DVD during the '90s and 2000s. A couple of friends who worked at the magazine agreed to consider a submission from Jim. Soon after, he received his ﬁrst check.
"Being a teenager and seeing 'Oh, I could get paid for this!' was pretty amazing," Jim recalls. "I realized I might be able to make a career out of video, beyond just pursuing a career as a professional skateboarder or snowboarder. I really took to it from that point on and started getting really serious about cinematography and teaching myself editing."
Fortuitously, Jim's embracing of video editing came right around 1999 when digital video tipped into the mainstream—a point not far from where virtual reality stands today. He started to land freelance jobs and, once again, set to learning everything he could about stop motion, digital eﬀects, motion graphics, and other technologies employed by the cinematic titans of the new millennium. He never wanted to copy what they did, only learn how they did things and then keep those techniques at hand for possible adaptation.
A burgeoning career pulled Jim away from the board sports world and into positions covering broadcast editorial, children's animation, and deeply technical production work.
"I knew computer pipelines, and I knew how to build RAIDs and high-end storage systems," says Jim. "I could build out post and visual eﬀects pipelines for editorial broadcast features, documentaries, things like that. I knew Fibre, RAIDs, SCSI, eSATA. It was that technical understanding that later helped me as a ﬁlmmaker, editor, and visual eﬀects artist."
Jim Geduldick does not like to ask for directions. He knows where he wants to go, and he'll get there through trial, error, and grit. His quest to master all facets of digital video production led him through a long string of companies ranging from his ﬁrm, Visual Collective, through the likes of foreign car manufacturers, engineering software, computer technology, and action cameras. With action cameras, Jim's propensity for blending video with next-gen technology was ﬁnally allowed to run free.
However, swan diving into the uncharted waters of shooting virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) content didn't mean being stupid and taking unnecessary risks. Jim's job had him developing and promoting new ways of developing immersive content. That meant cultivating a toolkit suﬃcient for enabling such cutting-edge work. Fortunately, his background gave him the knowledge needed to optimize his storage strategies for that exponential leap in data and employ that storage in the reliable, eﬃcient means.
In 2004, as Jim recalls, he had a collection of external hard drives from a prominent vendor. Several of them crashed during a single project. A colleague referred Jim to a guy named Roger Mabon, who had just purchased the rights to a two-drive RAID 0 product from Avid®. That product went on to become G-Technology®'s ﬁrst G-RAID®. Jim tried the drive and was instantly hooked. He's been a devoted fan and user of G-Technology's product spectrum ever since.
"As my career progressed as a cinematographer, and in visual eﬀects and editorial, I took the connection to G-Technology along with me," Jim says. "At the diﬀerent studios and freelance jobs I'd work in, G-Technology drives just became my reliable go-to. These days, I travel with at least four ev drives. Obviously, the SSDs are a godsend for working with high-resolution and multi-cam imagery, especially with complex visual eﬀects and shooting scenarios related around virtual reality, volumetric capture, and working with digital cinema camera systems like RED®, Phantom, and all the other heavy hitters."
For Jim, the storage he picks for a job is much like the camera system. Both are essential, both must be selected to ﬁt the work at hand, and both must deliver the utmost in performance and reliability. The need for data preservation that originally drove him to adopt that early G-RAID devices carries on over a decade later. In addition to a considerable collection of G-RAID single- and dual-bay drives, Jim now relies heavily on G-SPEED® towers as well as the tough yet convenient modularity of the Evolution Series products. (To explore just one example of how Jim tortures his storage in the ﬁeld, check out our case study on his VR work in the harsh conditions of the Nevada desert.)
As Jim continues to push the boundaries of VR and AR cinematography, he anticipates keeping G-Technology at his side. "G-Technology drives have been a key component of my career," he says. "The product line has grown right along with my knowledge and ability. I don't know where I'll be ﬁve years from now, or what kind of crazy visual worlds I'll be capturing, but I'm conﬁdent that G-Technology will still be there delivering the speed and reliability my work requires in any environment. G-Technology drives have been a key component of my career."
G-Team members are leaders in their respective fields who use G-Technology products in their day-to-day work lives. G-Team members are compensated for their participation.
G‐Technology external hard drives serve as an element of an overall backup strategy. It is recommended that users keep two or more copies of their most important files backed up or stored on separate devices or online services.