Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wow, I Went Viral!

Yesterday, quite unexpectedly, a little video I put on Facebook went viral, with 2.5 million views. Here's a link to the video on Facebook, and here is the longer version on YouTube that shows more of the making.

The video was a new 1-minute edit of the making of my handmade animated logo "Gurney Studio." The concept was simple: to alternate the motion graphics shots with behind-the-scenes clips. 

I made the video for Instagram, where it got a respectable 10K views. I thought just for fun I'd put it on my public Facebook too. It has been shared especially strongly in the Spanish-speaking world and across Southeast Asia.

Facebook gives you some stats. The majority of watchers were men, age 25-34, and 82% of the audience watched it with the sound off.

Here are some preliminary guesses to why it went so big:
1. Simple intro line: "A different way to do logo animation." 
2. No need to speak English to understand the video.
3. Simple, tight editing: Flurry of 1/2 sec. clips at the beginning, followed by A,B,A,B,A,B.
4. No links out, which probably boosted it in FB's algorithm.
5. "Share-ability" which is an elusive thing. People want to share something that makes them look good.
6. Bottom line is THANK YOU! for watching and sharing. That's what makes it happen.

The comments ranged from people who thought it was a funny stunt to: 
"What if Cinema 4D was done practically?" 
"Let's try this on our project" 
"Bro, this is your kind of stuff," 
"Pretty good, Grandpa!" 
"Hey, let's dump our computers; we can get the same results working in the garden."

A lot of shares were among people who work in the graphics trade. One multimedia company said "Reality, first and foremost."

Perhaps we have arrived at the intersection of two vectors: one being what is possible with cutting-edge digital tools and the other being what can be created by hand and shot in-camera. The former requires expensive software and expertise on how to use it, and the latter takes some workshop skills and some level of commitment.

As an artist, I am mesmerized by watching examples of the latest software and how it can capture complex interactions of particle effects and fluid dynamics. But I know that with my learning curve and my budget, the best I could ever accomplish with those tools is a very second rate effort. For me the fun of the practical build is that all those effects are "for free."

Once you make the device, you can place it into new visual environments and situations. It's the gift that keeps on giving.


Dow said...

I watched it as well and found it fascinating! The fact that you could do it without fancy animation programs was the biggest appeal. All of our creative wheels started spinning about if we could do this ourselves. Excited for it going "viral!"

Karen VR said...

I really enjoy your behind-the-scenes videos like this one and your LEGO dolly, etc. and have wondered for a long time how you created your Gurney Studio openers :-D Thanks for sharing!

Do you think you will make a behind-the-scenes of how you created the video of you peeking out of the "Watch" buttons that you put at the end of your videos? I enjoy that one, too!

Kyle Henry said...

It's craftsmanship, which is becoming scarce, and I just smiled the whole time I watched it.

Warren JB said...

Fascinating stuff. As always, you make it look easy!

I took notice of the swayback dolly near the beginning of the video, and the effect it creates. I'll be interested to hear more about it in that future post.

And congrats on going viral!

Luca said...

Congratulations for becoming the new internet sensation, then! Ah ah! :D
The first time I saw one of the "Gurney Studio" 's title behind the scenes (the one at the end of "Portraits in the Wild" video, i think) I thought you were just playing a little to re-create in a practical and funny way the original digital title, so i can understand the surprise of people seeing it!

I think it got viral because everyone can understand what's happening in your "making of" video (i mean, even people that never tried an animation and so can't actually realize the amazing amount of creativity it took to you to create it) and everyone may have pleasure sharing it for their friends. If you had used a software (or, i don't know, animated it in a traditional way) it would have been a "just for artists" thing. I'm a disaster as a cook and i have zero interest for cooking videos, but if i see a video of someone cooking in a funny and strange way i enjoy it! Maybe i can't understand what the cook is doing and why but i can recognize a funny thing when i see it (proof is that i really love the swedish cook of the Muppets show and i can't understand a single word he says, ah ah) ! Same for your video, i think . :)

I think your "Gurney studio" animations are perfect the way they are and you don't need 3D at all (it would take away all the charm!) , but if you are curious about 3d animation and want to play a little with it, have you ever tried Blender? It's totally free (and if it runs on my cheap pc from stone age, it runs on everything) and very complete, but quite difficult to master (i've been using it for a while and i'm still totally lost for many of its functions), even if there are a lot of tutorials on the web that help understanding it! It's famous as a 3d modelling software but it's actually an animation software too (and it's also a game engine, if you want to create your videogames!).
Perhaps with the same time needed to make an animation in Blender you could make an entire feature movie with practical effect, but whenever you'd want to experiment something different, give it a try (but you have to promise you'll keep on doing Gurney Studio titles with pratical effects!) :)

Unknown said...

Is Metro Manila #3?
Just curious 😃

James Gurney said...

Brennen, it ended up with 3.77 million views, and the top regions were Thailand, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia. Thanks to everyone who shared!

Unknown said...

Thank You so Much for posting this. I have been dying to see how you did your pratical effect logo.