Saturday, January 29, 2011

Going Viral - The Game Changer

The main purpose or idea behind the kind of videos that I create for my youtube channel, it's the hope that they will be shared, or passed along. In the internet world, we call this "going viral".


The first real youtube video that we made, "Huge Bike Jump Into A Pond 35 Feet Into The Air", we made it with the idea that it would go "viral"... The first day it got around 1000 hits, within the next couple following days, it was getting around 80,000 hits a day :) It ended up on the front page of and, and, which are all huge in the internet world, for those who are not familiar with those websites :) Since then it has been passed on facebook 40,846 times... but who's counting? :) 3 months later the video is almost at a million hits. We reached the 800,000 hit mark though within almost 3 weeks, and since then it dropped. I have below the graph of how the bike video went viral because of it being posted on these major sites.


After the bike video went viral, it dropped pretty gradually, as you can see in the graph... However since that time, for the last two months it has consistently been hitting 2000 hits a day since that time, on its own because of the number of people that got exposed to it originally.


After that video, the next "viral" video that I made was the "breakdancing to classical music". I put that one up... and it did alright... It slowly grew... however it then ended up on, which is one of the biggest blogs/news internet sites in the world. Here is a graph I got off of youtube where you can see exactly one the video went viral, and how after that it dropped.



Just recently my youtube video, "Worlds widest slip and slide" went viral. It had been online for a month and a half, and it had gained around 9000 hits.. however, the day posted it on there website, which was yesterday, it went from 9000 hits to 58,000 hits over night. I have no problem waking up to that :) posted it on their website, on their facebook, and they twittered it as well, and they have over 100,000 followers, so it was huge for me.

Here's a graph below of how fast the hits rose on the video itself.


Now when a video goes viral on your youtube channel.. It doesn't effect just that video, it effects every video on your channel... significantly.

First off, on the slip and slide video.. Youtube has allowed people who upload videos to put "annotations" at the end of them. These annotations are buttons, that people can push to go to other links, or videos. At the end of the slip and slide video, I had 3 other videos pop up with links/annotations, to other videos on my channel, to the HUGE BIKE JUMP VIDEO, the WASHINGTON ENCHANTMENT video, and THE RABBITS FOOT video.... Because of this, these 3 videos get the next most hits on my channel. To show you an example of just how many hits, this is the effect it had in one day, because my slip and slide video went viral.




So those videos above were the videos that were linked with the SLIP AND SLIDE video that was on So they had the most hits out of my channel, however, that didn't stop people from wanting to see more on the channel.. Now looking at other videos.. that had no connection at all to the SLIP AND SLIDE video, except for the fact that they were on my channel... Here's the graphs for those that I got off youtube.




So once again there is a HUGE effect in play because of one video going "viral".
This also has a different reflection on my subscribers, and my main channel views.



So, what's the conclusion? Well,.. have more videos go viral :)

Just looking at all the statistics.. Here's what the statistics prove...

1. My youtube subscribers triples, and continues to rise exponentially.
2. Annotations videos that feed off the main viral video get 9 TIMES MORE HITS THEN NORMAL. If you look at the bike,Washington, and rabbits foot video, this is true without question.
3. EVERY OTHER video on my channel gets double to 4 times more hits then normal.
4. My main youtube channel views triples.

It always seems like part luck though with this.. because so much is dependent on cyberspace once that video goes out there.. however, there are certain formulas that do work, and I would like to be considered one day, one of the youtube channels that can constantly produce "one hit viral wonders" on a regular basis, time will tell :)

Websites like collegehumor,smosh, and huffingtonpost have changed the game for me, by them posting there videos on there main pages, it has gotten my name out there so much further then anything I could have done on my own, it's been the game changer, it's given me the chance to compete with the big dogs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kauai - The Lost World - Questions

I posted a video I shot in Kauai today, and within the first 12 hours I've gotten over 30 emails of people asking several different questions as far as how things were pulled off, camera settings, etc. This blog is in response to those ask questions.

For those of you who haven't seen the video yet, here it is.

Common questions:

1. With your glide cam how do you get the shots that are going over the cliff, and high up in the air, are you using any other equipment like a book stick or something? OR just holding it the whole time?
I am ONLY using the glidecam 4000 for all the shots in the video. I even use it as a tripod aswell, for the shots where the camera isn't even moving. I DO NOT use a vest, or harness, or anything of that nature.
For the shots where the camera goes over the waterfall the first 30 seconds into the film, and other similar shots... I personally am afraid of hights that big.. In fact that waterfall is 180 feet high, and anyone of any recent times that has jumped off it has died... So to get that shot, and any similar shot... I walk through it several times on my own, just to make sure I know the terrain (it was all rocky), then I walk through it slowly with the camera/glidecam several times to get the movement down, and then I film it 10-15 times just to make sure I get it right. This whole process on several of my shots can take anywhere between 1-15 minutes.

2. How do you get the camera to fly over the water, rocks, and sand so smooth?
I have been filming with the glidecam for the last 5-6 years now, almost every other day, which is no exaggeration. So a lot has come with experience. I didn't start out smooth, but anyone can make it smooth with time/practice. It's like riding a bike :) When I film on the sand, because you sink, I have learned to walk a certain way, (kinda looks funny, ha) that makes it so I can still have the glidecam work the same way as I was walking on flat cement. The same thing goes for walking over big rocks, I've just learned to walk on them and pace my self so the camera consistently stays smooth.

As far as the shots that fly over the water.. There is no fancy tricks about it, if it looks like we are flying over the water, that means I got wet filming it :)

For all the glidecam shots, I use a wide angle lens, 16mm is the focus length I normally use. That also gives us a much wider perspective, and makes us look like we are a lot higher then we are, just because of the lens perspective. I'm not holding the camera up higher then I normally wouldn, generally speaking anyways. I have never once put it on a pole or anything fancy like that.

3. What camera do you use? And why?
I use the Canon 5D Mark II. I think without a doubt its the best camera quality out there for its money, and because i'm a photographer as well, it allows me to do that on the side :) Also, because the camera is super small, it allows me to be a one main film crew, and take it anywhere I go, and blend in with anyone else, as far as I'm not carrying around a big camera where I go.

4. How do you treat the footage you shoot? What do you do to it in post/editing?
I generally do nothing to it, except for some times raise the contrast a little. Almost 95 percent of the shots are exactly as they come out of camera. I try and shoot everything in camera how like it, just because I don't like to spend a lot of time coloring it later, because I don't have a ton of experience in that world. So in camera, I always set the white balance for sure. The shutter speed I try and get as slow/low as possible, ideally it would be 30, often times its to bright for that. And then I have a "picture style" I have set in the camera that gives me a "saturated look" that brings out the colors a lot more then typically what the camera would do.

5. Do you use any filters or effects in post to make your shots smooth?
Every video I do, it depends. For this Kauai video, I would say on about 10 percent of the shots that I filmed on a glidecam, I used a filter that comes with Final Cut called "smooth cam". It zooms into your image a little, and smooths it out. It works great, however, keep in mind that you must have shot it smooth first in order for it to work to begin with :)

6. As far as the "exact" picture styles that I use on my Canon 5D, or any dslr for that matter, i use these settings.
Sharpness: 0 | Contrast: -1 | Saturation: 1 | Color Tone: 1

There is an awesome blog online that shows different examples of picutre style settings, and how they effect everything, you can check out that blog, and video in the two links right below.

I hope that helps, please let me know if you all have any other questions, and I will do my best to answer them :)