|UFO Sighting Cedar Rapids, IA (Video)|
There are three tiers of a viral video. Global, National, and Local. A viral video is not made, it just happens to become one. In my career as a filmmaker, I recently experienced a small dosage of reaching the tier of a local viral video. However, it wasn’t “going viral” that was intriguing in this case, but more so the social experiment that was induced by the project. Video is a powerful tool that evokes an array of emotions among the viewer. I recently made a video that raised every kind of emotion from the viewers who shared their comments.
My best friend and younger brother had been toying with the idea of filming our very own “Found Footage” video, from a first person perspective. You may have seen something similar to this in the Paranormal Activity movies and The Blair Witch Project. After months of bouncing ideas about which form of found footage video we would film, we land on a “UFO” video. That’s right, we were going to film a video where we “capture” an unidentified flying object. What was our end goal with this project? To possibly garner more traffic to our YouTube channel and hopefully gain more subscribers. The video took 30 minutes to film and 3 hours to edit (not my best post-production work, but it was just for fun).
On August 8th, 2012, we released the video, claiming a strange and mysterious light, similar to a UFO (note: we never say UFO in the video), was spotted in our hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA. The most important aspect about gaining a large amount of views on this video was to post it on all our social media networks, and convincing as many people as possible to re-post the mysterious sighting.
We sat back and saw 4,000 views in the first 24 hours:
An additional 6,000 in the following 24 hours:
And a total of 20,000 views in the first week. Our video had gone viral within Cedar Rapids. Word quickly got around town about the UFO that was captured. Four internet articles were written about the hype, as well as two YouTube users who took the time to create “de-bunking” videos to prove the falsehood of the video. All this attention and views were about as impressive as what else had happened: A Social Experiment.
What emotions are evoked when you see a video? We left it up to the viewer’s imagination (and beliefs) in reaching an ultimate decision in regards to the legitimacy of the video. Over the course of the first week, we received different stages of responses to the video.
The first stage: Intrigue. The first set of viewers was very intrigued by the footage and applauded it for being so spooky. The next stage was followed by the Nay-Sayers. Those who were convinced this video was a complete hoax set out to post links and images of how this video could not be real. The third stage (the most unusual and unfortunate) was hostility. We got a variety of negative and hateful responses by viewers who felt we were, let’s just say, “Upsetting the system”. The fourth, and final stage, was the believers—by far the most interesting stage. Here, we got several comments and messages “confirming” the sighting. People who happened to be out and about that night, or had friends who saw the same “UFO”.
In the end, our original goal was reached. We indeed captured more views on our other videos, gained more traffic to our YouTube Channel: Monawar Productions, and subsequently earned more subscribers. Once the viewers saw our other videos (such as “The Killer Pan”, and “Machine Gun Fingers”) they slowly began to realize that we are Videographers and motion graphic artists. And then they began to put two and two together.
What causes people to react or behave a certain way after watching any video? We don’t have an answer to this question. What we do know, however, is that just like you can’t make a video intentionally go viral, you can also never guess what responses your video might evoke.
How does this correlate to our client work? At de Novo Alternative Marketing we sit down and figure out from the start what the intention of the final product is. What emotions and feelings does the video need to convey? We use several methods to achieve an end-result, and we use no cookie cutter method. Our prime examples can be seen with our Cedar Rapids Public Library’s “ARY” Project and Skywalk Group’s “Attract, Train, Retain” Project. Two different projects and messages.
|Cedar Rapids Public Library “ARY” Project (View Video)|
|Skywalk Group’s “Attract, Train, Retain” Project (View Video)|
A viral video is not made, it becomes one. Who knows, it could also be the next social experiment. In the mean time watch our social experiment by checking out our UFO Video Here. Also, be sure to check out our de Novo YouTube Channel to see more examples of message driven video work.