tv Caught on Camera MSNBC August 25, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
>> how do they do it? >> a good magician doesn't give away his tricks. >> but we do. "caught on camera: viral videos, how, what, why." welcome to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. when i look at the web's most popular videos, the ones that go viral, they have me going back and looking at them again and again to try to figure out the method to their madness. in this hour, some truly unique, brain-twisting videos to see if we can unravel their magic and misery. we all want to know what on earth made them try that and how did they catch it all on camera? >> a few people have tried it. nobody has ever managed to get
anywhere close to what we got today. >> have you ever witnessed a miracle? >> you have to believe you can do these things. it's not, like, impossible. me, my boots and i, we're going to make it. >> in april 2010, an incredible video hits the web making millions believe in the impossible. >> i definitely think it's going to be the next big thing. >> a new sport is introduced called liquid mountaineering, essentially walking on water. could it ever happen? >> who doesn't want to believe that you can actually run on water? >> and you see that image of somebody actually doing it and it's exciting. >> you're going one step, going two steps, going three steps.
we're discovering it as we go along. >> it feels like any other documentary you see about any other extreme sport. >> it showed the background of the athletes and their training and their preparation. >> it's not straight into the water. any curve and by that bend, you're actually not allowing yourself to sink into the water and you want to keep that skimming sensation going as long as you can. i think if you don't actually believe you can walk on that water, it's not going to happen for you. >> belief maybe. and the help of some magic shoes. >> go, go, go! >> yeah, yeah! >> liquid mountaineering is actually a clever viral advertisement for the high tech shoe company. >> what give us these extra steps are these shoes. the original equipment we first
started was equipment that would help repel water. >> the moment i realized that i was watching the ad, when they sort of close in on the shoe. and they say this shoe is how we were able to do it. >> it's like water repellent. like water off a duck's back. >> if this was executed right, then we would achieve a lot of our goals, which was to make high tech cool. make people think differently. and most importantly have fun. >> you actually see the athletes failing again and again. >> come on. >> that lent some real credibility to the video. and most people that saw this video thought it was real. it's definitely a fake. >> wait, not real? if it isn't real, how did they do that? the piece is shot over the course of a week in portugal and features three extreme sports enthusiasts. >> we needed them to be
believable, we needed them to be athletic and we needed them to be good fun. the fact they could act a little bit as well. fantastic. >> being able to walk on water is not a requirement for the cast. so what went into that biblical special effect? >> they created a wooden platform underneath the water that the guy actually ran on. >> weights are used to hold the structure into place. another pliable layer is attached to the top of the platform. >> it was a flexible, bendable platform. so when you see him run, you see him tip back and forth. and it really wale looks really, really real. >> when i first saw the guy running on water, i was very nicely surprised because i think the worry was that if people thought it was fake straightaway, then it wouldn't have worked. >> with the effect complete, high-tech launches the video online. >> we wanted a real conversation
starter. whether people loved it or hated it, whether they believed it or whether they didn't. we wanted everybody to talk about it and that's what happened. >> it creates a splash. racking up millions of hits within days. >> it's so goofy and so unbelievable that that's sort of what makes it so funny. >> i think every boy out there has a dream of doing something like this. and to actually see it online conjured up a lot of memories. >> the viral ad becomes so popular that it spawns countless copycats who quickly find out that liquid mountaineering is pure fiction. >> we don't necessarily suggest you try this. i guess it's a compliment. >> high-tech creates a safer method for budding liquid mountaineers, an online video game. >> we have got sharks in it, lairs popping up, and it's just great fun.
>> whooo! >> can you believe it? believe it, sunshine. >> go! go! go! >> at the same time, i suppose there's an element of something real in it too. >> walking on water may be impossible for us mortals, but you can still take away important life lessons from the video. >> be with yourself. believe in it, don't think of it as a miracle, just do it. >> you fall down, you try again. coming up, a couple of guys and a pair of sunglasses play stump the experts. >> when you watch it, you ask
yourself, when did this stop being real. >> the tricks escalated from a sip pell trick to an increasingly harder trick and harder trick and harder trick. >> how did they do that? >> someone said it's magnets. magnets. >> maybe you can figure it out. >> a good magician doesn't give away his tricks. >> when "caught on camera: viral videos, how, what, why" continues. [ male announcer ] aggressive styling. a more fuel-efficient turbocharged engine. and a completely redesigned interior. the 2012 c-class with over 2,000 refinements. it's amazing...inside and out. ♪ join mercedes-benz usa on facebook for the best summer sweepstakes.
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check it. >> whoa, check it is right. two characters get ready to roll south only pretty wild tricks. >> it looks like two slackers playing around and it looks like a stupid human trick. you can see somebody who practices all day long because they don't have a job. >> the tricks escalated from a very simple trick to an increasingly harder trick and harder trick.
>> and it gets more and more unbelievable. and when you watch it, you ask, when did this stop being real? >> a lot of viral videos are really meant to pitch a brand without really looking like it. >> i was approached by -- i spent a lot of time just sitting on the couch with a pair of sunglasses and had them in my hands and was thinking, what would be a good trick. >> why settle on just one trick? benzo and his partner start to shoot a montage of startling stunts but are they real. >> according to the laws of physics and gravity, it's possible in theory. i just kind of rode that line of theoretically possible, which is good.
>> certainly theories abound on the internet, all kinds of viewers have all kinds of explanations for how the boys do it. but the filmmakers are not talking. >> got it. >> i like to keep the mystique, a good magician doesn't give away his tricks. there was just a lot more planning that went into it than people realize. >> there were hundreds of videos of kids trying to do the same thing, discussing whether in fact it was real or fake. >> i remember people commenting that he has magnets in his head, or steel plates in his head, and i started telling people, magnets. >> the most ambitious of the video deconstructers is a silver painted character who called himself captain
disillusion. >> a combination of two shots. the first is played back in reverse and the glasses are not thrown to the catcher but pulled toward the hand by an incredible invention called the string. so the video is played back in reverse where there's a straight forward shot. >> there were moments where he was on to us but never really completely nailled. there were a few instances where he was wrong but he was very confident in his breakdown, yeah. >> the skateboarding is a simple reverse shot using the string and they left you a clue. listen to the sound of the skate board wheels on the pavement, it's backwards. >> the skate board was definitely the hardest to figure out how it's done. nobody's gotten it right yet and i won't break the secret.
>> that was pretty much the hardest one, the skateboarding one, to pull off. it took about 52 takes. something like that is really hard. >> as we get through the video, our own behind the scenes methods became more and more complicated. as someone's watching the video and think they know how we did the first few tricks, as we get to the skate-a-pault, then it totally blows that. >> i remember the first time i saw it the reaction that steve has with his ice cream cone in his hand made me laugh for about 20 minutes. and that was kind of when we knew we had a hit. it was just the best thing ever. >> yeah, i had about 12 ice creams. and then the car one was, like, ridiculous. it was like, you know, how do we make it even harder? let's nail them through a moving window on to his face.
>> and there's some pain involved in catching sunglasses. hard plastic hitting you in the face. >> videos that have an element of how did they do that are a real staple of viral videos on the web. and brands have jumped into that concept completely. it's a great way to get discussion going around the video. >> once the video is ready, josh warner and his company take on the job of what they call seeding to help it go viral. >> we have a network of blog relationships that we have with hundreds of blogs all across the web. so with we really know the influencers that will help propel a video to popularity. >> it's a different way to express the brand and it's a way that's more modern that traditional advertising. >> we have to never -- it's not
a blatant, in-your-face spot. >> that was a great catch. >> did you get that? >> but many do notice the ads, like the judges at the cannes film festival. >> i have been making videos for 20 years and always wanted to get into the cannes film festival. and did this little video and it won an award at cannes. coming up, an earthshaking boy meets girl story. >> we shot about 2,355 photos. >> with a cool twist on one of the oldest tricks in the book. >> so many photos. >> speaking of so many photos -- >> people don't know if it's fake or if it's real and if it's real, an insane amount of work in it. >> when "caught on camera: viral videos, who, what, why"
this project is probably the craziest i've ever done. >> it's a simple boy meets girl story told in a really unusual way. >> this is sort of like when you have some magical fantasy of a photograph coming to life. and it's people playing with their cameras. so the story line is also about the sort of medium they're using with all those little photos. >> this is a great example of stop motion photography. the filmmaker created a bank of frames and he's actually moving from one frame to the next. >> most stop motion videos are 30 seconds or a minute long and they kind of punch you in the face. the allure with this one is that it's four minutes long and it takes the time to tell a story
that moves at a pretty slow place. >> stop motion. you shoot one frame at a time in rapid succession. >> i was shooting with a digital slr. you're able to hold down the shutter and it's able to take something like six, seven frames a second. so we acted out the entire scene with them acting incredibly slowly. so we got it up to 24 frames a second. i used a storybook for this. we had to mark down where the five photo frames would be, so when they jumped from frame to frame, we would be able to gauge where one ends and one begins. >> i love when you realize that he takes a picture right above him and you realize there's a system to it. >> we just decided to push it a little further and do stop motion inside of the frames and then do stop motion again for the entire scene. >> kind of wonder how he set up
the frames, what kind of techniques he used. it would be really interesting to know. >> the entire scene there at the gorge was actually made up of two photos. we started with brian walking on the right side of the frame and we shot a corresponding scene on the left side here. you can see when you combine them together, it starts to kind of make the scene. we have got five photo frames along the top and five photo frames along the bottom. and as a final step, we dragged it into the sides of the photo frames that we needed and we exported the photos in a sequence one by one. you can see how something like that turned into thousands and thousands of photos. we shot 2,353 photos, give or take. >> the shots inside those frames
aren't digital, they're actual physical photographs. why bother? >> a company called click picks that does photo printing asks me to do something for them. so since they're a photo printing company, we definitely wanted to make sure we used real photos. so we sent those off to boston for quick print to print. quick print sent them back to me in a giant box with all these photos. >> like a well-oiled machine, they insert thousands of photos into the picture frames, while shooting the whole scene itself in stop motion, one frame at a time, for 11 hours. >> we've had great feedback so far. it's not in the millions just quite yet, but most importantly we have had the demographics that we want to be feeding back feed back. we want the photographers who are going to use quick pick. >> it would be less sort of
enchanting because part of the magic is the fact that somebody actually did all of that. >> so many photos. >> you want to talk photos, meet israeli filmmaker iran amir. >> this idea popped in my head and from the moment i thought about this, i knew i would have to make it. >> amir calls his video 500 people in 100 seconds. and what is that, a movie in their hands? >> this is a great, great video. you've got all these people being photographed and then there's a whole scene going on within the photograph that they're holding and you're looking at the people, but you're also looking at the video that they're holding. >> this video was made in two parts. the first part making the music video was easy. when i heard the song, i knew immediately this is the song i'm
going to use. it have a catchy tune and it's good rhythm. and, also, it's on for 90 seconds, which for me is the ideal length of a youtube video. i used my sister and my brother and my friends. >> it's so perfect that it's really hard to understand how the picture on the inside could be so smooth and pretty when everything was flashing very quickly. >> people don't know if it's fake or if it's real, and if it's real, it has an insane amount of work in it. >> the first thought is that he must be using some kind of digital trickery to put his music video inside the picture. not this time. as it turned out, he shot the black and white movie, but then he had it divided up and turned into still frames. >> amir took his 96 ---a he then took to a printer for hard copy. >> i got a box weighing in at almost 20 kilograms, and almost 1,000.
and not even knowing if this is going to work. and then i realized how many work i had ahead of them. >> then amir had to go out and find someone to hold up the picture in order. >> the first day i went out to the streets of jerusalem and i didn't have anything. i didn't have enough courage to ask anybody. and then after two days, i said to myself, well, i'm too deep in this, i spent thousands on it, i have no choice, i have to do it. >> part of the magic is knowing that there's actually 500 different faces there, that's 500 people different people there, and that's amazing. >> it gives us an analog feeling that you can't get in a different way. >> i break through on the second day of taking pictures, i put it
back home, i put it all in the editing software and i only had to see four seconds of it and know that i have something really cool in my hands. >> what's even more amazing is nearly a million and a half views in the video's first 3 1/2 months. >> some of the youtube covers say it's not 500 people, it's 436 people, and to get that sort of attention and interest online, it's absolutely incredible. >> we knew this was going to be a viral video. i do have to admit i didn't expect a million views. coming up, a photography studio shows just how complicated taking one single portrait can be.
>> we use almost every piece of equipment that anybody's ever owned. >> like some mad scientist's intricate system so you can take a picture? >> i thought this is fun, this is interesting. by the end i was like pulling my hair out. i actually had nightmares about it, the machine. >> when "caught on camera: viral video, how what why" continues. and a completely redesigned interior. the 2012 c-class with over 2,000 refinements. it's amazing...inside and out. ♪ join mercedes-benz usa on facebook
here's what's happening. the republican national convention will convene on monday and then immediately recess till tuesday afternoon, due to concerns about tropical storm isaac. south florida's expecting to face severe wind and rain from the storm tomorrow. tampa and the florida gulf coast are expecting to see significant storm surge by monday afternoon. the first man to walk on the
moon has died. neil armstrong died of complications following heart surgery. now back to "caught on camera." >> welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. the web has nearly as many viral videos as there are creative people to make them. in our next video, a group of talented people take one click to a new level. hey, rube, how do you take your portrait? ought to be pretty straight forward, right? not in this video, by a small photography company looking to get noticed.
>> we decided to shoot a rube goldberg machine and just take a photo in as complicated a way as possible. >> they created a photo machine that you can't take your eyes off. >> we used almost every piece of photography equipment that any photographer would ever own. we used camera bodies, we used lenses, we used little tripods, large tripods. we used light stands. we used lights. we used a conveyor belt which was kind of difficult to get our hands on. >> this is an amazing video. you have all sorts of actions causing other actions and you just can't believe that any one person could make all this happen as it's happening here. >> can you imagine like some mad scientist that put together this intricate system so he could take a picture?
>> they were like dominos. that immediately led me to think rube goldberg. the term rube goldberg machine is named after a famous american who was known for designing cartoons in the most, of the most simple tasks. >> getting from concept to reality takes more than six months, 25 people and many sleepless nights. >> it was trial and error. >> build an element, pray that it works, if it does, build the next element. and we had 133 elements. >> i thought this is fun, this is interesting, and at the end of it, i was pulling my hair out. i was actually having nightmares about the machine. >> i think the photo booth might
have been the most complicated elements actually. a very painful thing to set up. because mouse traps are -- >> i think my favorite elements in the machine is the little mario on the screen that jumps across. who doesn't like mario? >> they have hundreds of synchronized moving parts and every one has to work from beginning to end in sequence, without stopping. >> we decided not to edit the video and try to get it in one take, just because i think as a viewer you would want to see it in one take, and not have transitions or different camera angles. so you definitely have to learn the timing and learn what's going to happen and i had to choreograph the movements with the camera so i had to learn dance moves, in and out and twisting and turning. >> it's an amazing amount of work.
to put together a video like this. i have to imagine there were so many takes required to get this right. >> every time i would do a take, i would announce, "take 93, this is the one." i was disappointed 98 times. but i was happy on the 99th track. >> i think people really relate to the amount of work that's required to put something like this together. >> from the very beginning, we knew that it was going to be go big or go home kind of deal. >> my parents called me up and said, oh, i saw the video, it's got 10,000 views. that's amazing. i'm like, dad, just wait. >> 3 million views later, their imagination is a viral video smash hit. >> it was fun. i was happy i did it once. but to be frank, i never want to do another one of these machines ever again.
>> coming up. 1,000. >> got 77 hours to spare? >> evidently this guy does. >> 3,000. 4,000. 5,000. >> they say the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. what would they say about a journey of 10,000 miles? >> 10,000. >> clearly this guy has to get a day job. >> 13,000, 14,000. >> when "caught on camera, viral videos, how, what, why" continues. i've still got hou orsf battery life. it's an ultrabook. i'm good. with an ultrabook, everything else seems old fashioned.
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it reminded you when you used to play in the sand pit as a kid. you would make little towns and that's really where it came from. >> and look, someone else made a miniature chicago. >> it's just a different view of the city. and i was thinking, you know, i would love to get something people can relate to and enjoy. >> what's really fascinating about this is that you really can't tell if it's real or if it's miniature sets. when you first see the boat, it looks like a little miniature boat. it almost looks like it's in a bathtub. >> so, how did these two videographers make tiny little towns out of two of america's major cities? if you guessed model toys, you'd be wrong. >> this is the tilt shift photography, it's a method of where you're actually shooting down at an angle and it really focuses your attention on
certain scenes and the people in those scenes. >> there's sort of two ways people make these tilt ship images. on one hand, people use actual tilt shift lenses sometimes. but then people started figuring out ways to do it in post production. >> the things that makes it feel like toys is a combination of two things really. the first thing is when you see the focus is falling off, that immediately cues you to think that it's small. and the second thing is the acceleration. when you look at things like the boats and the helicopter, they seem to bob up and down. that's what a smaller thing would do. >> he used a still camera and normal lenses to shoot 35,000 digital images to create his stop motion effect. then played with focus and color in post production. in chicago, wgntv producer tony litli also thought tilt shift technique would be a perfect way to shoot his town and his tv station. but instead of shooting
thousands of still images like sam, tony created stop motion in his video camera. >> we decided to shoot video instead of still photography just because the process is a little easier and quicker to do. each shot is like two seconds long. the strobe effect is what gives you the stop motion look. and then the color correction. we mess with the saturation to make it look miniature and toy-like. and then the lower layer is the one that has the defocus or blur on it that really helps you focus on the subject. >> tony's bosses at wgn loved the results. their miniature chicago has become a youtube hit. and the station's most popular on-air promo. >> i think i've gotten so many hits on a video like this is because people love their city. i mean, chicago's a great town. >> it's just the pure pleasure of seeing the city look
different. so sort of charming and harmless in a way. >> sam calls his new york video the sand pit. in its first seven months, it has 750,000 hits. >> i didn't expect the response to be as big and positive as it has been. it's something i thought would generate some interest and be popular but i didn't expect it to explode in the way that it did. >> you almost get the feeling that every city wants to have it because when you're seeing your own city that way, it's familiar but different and it lets you see your own city in a different light. gee whiz, i wonder how high i can count. let's find out. one, two, three, four, five, six.
>> and so it will go for more than 70 hours. no flash, no tricks. he's going to keep counting all the way up to 100,000. >> 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. 24, 25. 831, 832, 833, 834. >> this video is legend on youtube. the concept is so simple and absurd that you really want to see if he's actually going to make it to 100,000. >> 2,798, 2,799. 2,800. 2,801. 2,802.
2,803. 2,804. 2,805. >> one of the comments on youtube was from a guy who said he went to spain for the weekend and came back and the video was still playing. clearly this guy has to get a day job. >> i shot the entire video on a little ipod touch. that has a front facing camera. just shoot it whenever i had free time. the majority of the video was in my bedroom. parts of it were all over pittsburgh. parts of it were at my school. i actually shot part of it at my sister's wedding. i was just a little bit bored so just left the reception area, went upstairs, hooked up the ipod and counted a little bit. >> 80,012. took about three months to make the whole video. >> how john does it certainly isn't very complicated. the bigger question is why, for pete's sake. >> i went to college
for tv production and our final assignment for the final class just to make an experimental film. the assignment was extremely open ended. i wanted to do something original and make people question what it is that makes a video entertaining and just do something different. >> the best part is that nobody's going to ever disprove it. because nobody's ever going to watch the whole thing. you almost wonder if he stuck in little jokes on the inside that nobody ever saw. >> 61,438. 61,439. >> and while some people may think this man needs to get a life, what about all the people out there who are actually watching this? >> i think it became a real contest of wills on whether people could actually watch the whole video. >> a couple of people pointed out little mistakes i made. >> i know i missed 99,991.
99,990. 99,992. people keep calling me telling me i missed a number. throughout making the video, there were several phases. at the beginning, it was kind of peaceful and actually relaxed me to do it. at the end it was torture. part of the reason i originally did it was to do an easier project so i wouldn't have to write a script. i wouldn't have to hire actors and stuff. but about the middle of it i actually realized it was actually much more work to actually sit there and count to 100,000. >> 99,798. 99,799. 99,800. >> john's torture doesn't stop with the counting. his concept hits a technical road block when it comes time to getting his video to go viral. >> youtube has a 20 gigabite limit so it's tough getting 77 hours of video down to 20 gigabits.
most video editing programs have a time limit. most of them are 12 hours. i had to do a bunch of research to find a program to do it. >> so there it is, his pride and joy, his claim to fame. >> that's sort of the magic of the internet that in can be something that nobody else did. it might be counting to 100,000 and maybe nobody else wants to do it, but it's his forever now. >> 99,998, 99,999, 100,000. >> i have had lots of compliments, i've also had people tell me i'm an idiot. >> coming up, two kids from germany run into trouble with a magic trick. and then it gets worse. >> holy crap. is that kid okay?
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two kids attempt one of the oldest tricks in the book. >> they start their magic trick which is just the old pulling the table cloth from under the stuff without breaking it trick. >> a trick that all of us have tried at one point in our childhood. the budding magicians try the trick again and again. >> everybody knows what it is to be the kid trying to do this trick and failing a whole bunch of times. >> you're in the zone expecting something to happen. >> and then something does. >> oh, my god, the kid gets crushed.
>> you have to sort of scream the first time you see it. >> holy crap, is that kid okay? >> you're wondering what the heck happened. >> don't fear, they are not hurt in the making of the video. in fact, it's not a magic trick but a camera trick created as a viral marketing campaign for the gop variety theater in germany. >> it's an entertainment for all senses. you sit there and look with wide eyes and it's very fascinating. >> we have five theaters in germany and we have about 700,000 people coming to our shows every year. >> however, the theater wants to attract a younger demographic, they hire filmmakers dominic and matt to create a video to gasp
grab people's attention. >> we went on youtube and found out that accidents of children and accidents of animals are a big sensation on the internet. we thought let's do a combination of both. >> the use of kids is a thing because how could they lie to you and make a fake viral video? but they can. >> dominic enlists his brother and cousin to star in the piece. >> it was roughly explained to me that we would be doing the table cloth trick. >> they had to do multiple takes attempting the trick. >> we laughed a lot because we had to do everything over again. and everything broke. we liked that. >> the first three videos we made simply to support the credibility of the piece. >> then the filmmakers come up with the real ta-dah moment. which is made up of two shots.
>> first, we filmed the two kids in the room, the table is set with just the table cloth, no dishes. and sven pulls the table cloth away, bumps into mikhail who jumps into the shelf and falls to the ground. >> they're sent out of the room as the directors prepare for the final shot. >> we secured the tables and knocked the shelves over. >> with the living room demolition a success. dominic and max bring the footage into edit. >> we then superimposed the two videos so it looked like both were happening at the same time as if sven was actually able to pull the table cloth from under the dishes and the shelf was falling on top of mikhail. >> with the magic of editing police, the filmmakers are happy with the result. however they do notice one small mistake. can you see it?
>> in the front you see a pin that is slightly moving so there is a mask that is not running correctly. this could be a clue that this video is faked. >> you need serious attention to detail to catch that one. >> in august of 2011, the theater launches the magic show online. it tricks viewers gaining more than 10 million hits and turning mikhail and sven into internet celebrities. >> i think it's cool. >> my father suggested we print autograph cards. >> it went all over the world so people in australia and people in south america, they were watching our video, so that was really, really exciting. >> i think this video went viral because it's really well done. it's short, sharp and shocking. >> there's an immediate feeling of sort of surprise and of
horror and then just wondering of where it came from and who made it. >> millions of others feel the same way and trace the video back to the gop theater. after the magic trick gone bad hits the internet. patrons flock to the theater in record numbers. this may not be the last you hear from young sven and mikhail. >> people have said, sven, you have the potential to be an actor. i want to move in that director so i can be an actor one day. the next time you click on a viral video and laugh out loud, cringe, or shed a tear, remember, there's a lot more to what you're seeing than meets the eye. i'm contessa brewer, that's all for this edition of "caught on camera."