This week's videos are sure to please, and we have content for everyone. We've got cat videos for the animal lovers, we've got time-lapse videos for the artistic audience, and even a few clips for the romantics among you. Just sit back, relax, click the Play buttons, and pretend the Friday work day doesn't technically start until you finish this column.
Let's dig in...
Videos that shock and surprise audiences are incredibly popular. Sometimes it's a pratfall, blooper, or outtake. Sometimes it's a prank, or a genuine fright. And sometimes it's video of someone who gets very close to danger but still survives.
Like both drivers in our first clip. In this video, one driver begins filming the erratic behavior of another driver. He believes the other motorist was texting-while-driving, and films the car swerving in and out of the lane lines. Eventually, something scary and shocking happens, though it appears everyone involved was okay afterwards (WARNING: he cusses in surprise):
It's not hard to see why that went viral. I mean... outside of a Hollywood production, there's no way that's staged. It's shocking and terrifying and unbelievable... all ingredients known to go viral.
For our next viral success story, we have a skateboarding video. Some might call it extreme sports. Others might call it calculated lunacy. But let's just say there's one jump attempt in this video that is clearly a near-miss, where the daredevil star nearly found the opposite of success:
Usually when you have the words "water-skiing" and "blooper" in the same sentence, it spells a month-long stay in the hospital for somebody. In this case, by happy accident (and sheer luck), the skier was able to turn a near accident into a perfect dismount worthy of Olympic gold:
I can't stop laughing at that video, and I think it has as much to do with the cameraman's giggling as anything else.
Kids Being Adorable
If America's Funniest Home Videos has taught us anything, it's that animals and kids will forever be caught on camera acting cute... and that viewers will never get enough. We'll get to the animals here in a moment, but first let's check out the week's most adorable children.
Like the kid who is melting hearts everywhere with his reaction to catching is first fish:
"Does it like me?" Man, that's some adorable stuff.
Not to be outdone on the cuteness meter by a fishing toddler was our next video star: a kid who finally learned to ride his bike. He's pretty overwhelmed with emotion, and gives an impassioned speech to all the rest of the kids of the world who might be struggling to ride a bike:
America's Got Talent decided they wanted to get in on the cute-kid-video act as well, trotting out a trio of little rappers that stole the viewers' hearts:
Viewers need to have an emotional reaction to your video if you want it to spread. It's no different from television: people want to laugh, they want to cry, they want to see cute things and scary things... they want to be moved. And nothing has been more consistent and moving them to share than the lovable, adorable antics of cute kids.
Cats & Dog
If I were writing a book about viral video truths, chapter one would be about the power of the domesticated animal. Particularly cats and dogs. Viewers can't get enough.
Earlier in the week, I shared a video on Facebook of a cat sitting in the sink... with the water running. He's perfectly content about it, too. And if you know anything at all about cats, it's that they universally hate water. So an intentionally-showering cat? That's viral gold:
Cat's can be adorable and hilarious even when they're not trying. Like the cat in our next viral success story, who simply interrupts his owner's video speech without realizing how cute it would be:
If I told you there was a video of a cat playing the shell game, and winning... would you think it was a viral hit? Because it is:
Here's proof that animal videos will never go out of style: a few months ago, we featured in this column a video of a small dog popping a room full of balloons. Now, here we are a short while later, and yet another cute dog popping balloons has gone viral. Why? Because audience's can't get enough. Plus, it's cute seeing a spastic dog try and pop 50 balloons with only his mouth:
Don't be afraid to tap into the power of animals for your own viral video. Big brands are doing it, and the smaller businesses can benefit as well. Viral success is simply about knowing how the audience tends to react to particular types of videos, and then seeding that video to the places where it's most likely to be seen.
Inventive and clever artists are going to continue to rise to the top of the viral video food chain. Viewers love being entertained by singers, musicians, and filmmakers... even more so when there's some real ingenuity at work.
Like with Matt Mulholland. He starts with a simple enough premise: create a medley of songs to honor Will Smith. But he goes about it in such a charming, unique way, that you can't help but be amazed. Oh--and it's all acapella... no instruments:
Another consistent viral performer is the group famous for putting flash-mobs on the map: Improv Everywhere. They hit the web with another new clip this week called The Mute Button, which involved actors blowing the minds of people in a park by going dead silent. As with most of their work, it's fantastic, and really fun:
Flash mobs have been done before. So have cover songs. But both the above videos took their basic idea and turned it into something viral through great talent, creative thinking, and personality.
Marriage proposal videos are so hot right now. And believe me, I don't think we've even begun to see the lengths some guys will go to in order to be the most inventive and creative proposer.
This week's heart-warmer comes courtesy of the Kansas City Royals, who decided to help a member of the military propose to his sweetheart in front of the entire stadium:
While some romantic guys opt for public proposals, others want the creativity and the fun on a more intimate scale. Like this young artist, who painstakingly created a piece of street graffiti as his way of asking his girlfriend to marry him:
You know, if you could keep it away from the major networks, a television show about outrageous proposals would probably find a healthy viewing audience.
Time lapse, as a filmmaking technique, is as popular as it's ever been. People can't get enough. It's a unique way to get a snapshot of a location, and the footage can be pretty mesmerizing when the subject of the video is interesting enough.
Like Manhattan. As it turns out, the city makes for an excellent time-lapse subject:
You don't have to shoot a major city for a time-lapse video to be beautiful. You can go the opposite route, in fact. Like... the Arctic:
As usual, there were too many great videos this week for me to be able to feature them all. So I'm tossing in a few extra videos for those of you who want to see more:
- Roger Federer showed some concern for a fan after a fall
- A baby goose slowly falling asleep is way cuter than I realized.
- The 50 State Stereotypes video is pretty awesome.
- Epic Meal Time made an incredible breakfast sandwich.
- Freddie Wong made a sequel to Jedi A-Holes.
- Here's a wall of cicadas in Nashville, which shows you what I've been dealing with for weeks this summer.