Mofilm wants to showcase and promote your Virtual Reality and Drone videos

POTUS watches some Mofilm videos (I assume)
POTUS watches some Mofilm videos (I assume)

Remember when “crowdsourced” ads were hip and cool?  Well, those days are long gone, Chachi.  Thanks to advances (and price drops) in camera technology, homemade commercials now look as good as “real” TV and web ads.  That’s one reason why Doritos discontinued the Crash the Super Bowl contest.   The entries kept getting slicker and eventually the ads lost that weird, wild, amateur edge that originally made them special.

Fortunately for us, brands still love crowdsourced videos because they get a great bang for their buck.  But as new types of media are being developed, companies will probably once again look to semi-pro and amateur producers for unique, cutting edge content.  It seems like there’s about to be a huge jump in demand for three types of videos: drone footage, 360° videos and virtual reality projects.  The folks at Mofilm are already planning for this Sea Change; the company wants their members to submit certain types of “innovate” content.  Here are some details from Mofilm:

We want to showcase and promote your innovative content!  We’re well aware that many of you are experimenting, learning and creating some really great work with 360° cameras, virtual reality technology and drones – and we want to help you show it off.

Here’s what we’re looking for:  360 and VR – your best work that uses the technology in smart and purposeful ways, to immerse the audience in a story in a way that only 360 and VR can, rather than retrofitting concepts that are perfectly suited to traditional video.  Drones – films that use drones creatively, to transport the audience to the sky in a way that really enhances the experience.

We’d love to see films that are: narrative, pure beauty / landscape, sports / outdoors, comedic, sci-fi or fantasy etc. They must be brand friendly – please steer clear of anything that may be considered inappropriate or uses harsh language.

Keep in mind that Mofilm isn’t running any kind of contest here.  They just want to see and showcase your VR, drone and 360 work.  And that’s a little weird.  I mean, why are they doing this?  Well, I haven’t talked to anyone at Mofilm but I have a theory; it seems like Mofilm is doing a talent search here.  I’m sure their clients are asking about all these hot new formats so Mofilm is probably trying to build a healthy roster of cutting edge VR/360/Drone creators.  So if that sounds like you, you may want to submit some work.  If Mofilm likes your stuff, they may just offer you some gigs or grants in the near future.

For more details about Mofilm’s new content search, click here.

The Chicago 2016 Olympics only had one winner; ME.

The Rio Olympics will be over in three days.  Thank God.  I usually enjoy the games but this year is different.  That’s because this year the Olympics are in Brazil….and not Chicago.  Most folks probably don’t remember this but eight years ago Chicago put in a bid to host the 2016 Olympics and the city made it all the way to the Top 4.  I live in the Chicago area and I thought the bid was an amazing idea.  I guess things worked out for the best but I’m still disappointed that “we” didn’t get the games.  (Most of the grimey hipsters I knew were against the whole thing for typical, dumb hipster reasons like “all the decent bars are gonna be packed for two weeks, eight years from now, man!”)

Anyway, one day, way back in the fall of 2008, I was walking through the loop and I saw a billboard that said the Chicago Bid Committee was hosting a video contest.  To enter, people had to shoot videos that explained “Why Chicago” would be a great place for the 2016 games.  First prize was a trip for two to Vancouver to see the preparations (yes, just the preparations) for the 2010 Winter Olympics.  But second prize….second prize was $5,000 in video production gear.

At that point I had entered and won just one online video contest.  I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime windfall and I didn’t realize that anyone else was running them.  I didn’t want to go to Vancouver but I sure as heck wanted to win five grand in camera gear.  So I set my sites on second prize.  There was just one problem; I didn’t own a video camera.  So I went to Walmart and bought a little handycam for $350.  I ran around town and got a bunch of footage and then I wrote some voice-over to match the footage.  Here’s my entry:

I can’t really remember what happened next but I think I made a Top 5 or Top 10.  Then there was a public vote phase that I tanked on purpose.  I told people to also vote for the video in first so that I could never pass them.  My plan worked and I wound up winning second prize.

Instead of $5,000 in production gear, the Bid Committee gave me a $5,000 gift certificate for Amazon.com.  I used that sucker to buy myself the camera I had wanted for years, a DVX-100 plus a refurbished Mac and some lighting and audio gear.  And let me tell you, that gear changed my life.  I lost my job in early 2009 when the economy crashed but in those dark days I was able to make a nice living shooting goofy videos for online contests.  So even though Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid was a bust, it really wound up saving my ass.

Oh and camera I bought from Walmart?  Yeah, I returned it after I shot my video.  So thanks Walmart I guess you and your liberal return policies saved my ass too.

 

 

I’m the king of the Stikbots!!

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I got my first video camera when I was about 14 years old.  And as soon as I figured out how to use it I was trying to make stop-motion videos.  But clunky old VHS camcorders weren’t made to do stop motion so of course my experiments never worked out.  Ever since then I harbored a secret desire to create a successful and GOOD stop motion video.  So when I heard that Zing Toys was running a Stikbot-themed video contest for stop-motion animators I decided to go all in and create the biggest, craziest, most epic entry I could.  (Stikbots are these amazing little robot guys that kids use to make stop-motion videos on their cell phones.)  I was hoping that maybe I’d place in the top three but I actually wound up winning the $15,000 grand prize!!  Here’s my submission:

I’m very proud of this win and I’m extremely proud of my entry.  There was no public voting so a panel of judges picked all the winners.  And as a nice little bonus, it seems like Stikbot fans really liked the entry too.  The view count for this video just kept going up and up and up and it’s currently at 147,000 views.

I probably put at least 60 hours of work into this project since I was basically learning stop motion by trial and error.  I figured out a lot of helpful tricks during this shoot and by the end, things were moving really quickly.  So I think I might try and do more stop motion videos in the future. For anyone who may be interested, I shot this video with my Canon T4i.  To eliminate camera shake, I used a 2 second timer to take each photo.  I wanted the lighting to look as natural as possible so I used a very fast lens.  But that gave me a really narrow depth of field sometimes.  So in close-ups, one stikbot would be in focus and the one behind it would be soft.

The entire process was kind of grueling but I did have fun.   It was definitely the most creatively challenging video contest entry that I’ve ever done.  Here are some behind the scene pics:

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My stikbot set. I only made one small section of the cave and I used photoshop to make it seem bigger.
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Here’s the wideshot I used in the video.
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And here’s what the shot look like before I photoshopped it.
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I’m not sure if many people actually noticed this but I put a working LED light inside a toy lantern.
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This set was pretty much dirt, sticks, lease and some fake Halloween moss.
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I found that Sticky-Tack was the secret to getting a Stikbot to hold things. You can see some on this guy’s left hand.
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Here’s a shot of the bots falling into the cave.
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And here’s that same shot before I erased the rig I used to drop them.

Zing is actually planning to do another big Stikbot contest this fall so if you’re interested in entering you should watch their facebook page for updates.

OnlineVideoContests.com starts posting daily contest updates on their Youtube channel

You’re a fan of OnlineVideoContests.com, right?  If you like entering video contests, you pretty much have to be.  Sure, VCN is the #1 video contest blog but OVC is easily the #1 video contest site in the universe.  I only post one or two articles a week but the OVC team updates their site every, single weekday.  And now, they’re actually increasing their coverage!  As of July 4th, OVC has been posting video updates to their youtube channel five days a week.  Each video is hosted by the site’s admin Marissa and in each episode she recaps a hot new contest.  Here’s a sample of a recent upload:



If you’d like to keep track of all these helpful videos, you should probably follow this link and hit the SUBSCRIBE button:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9ia3on6vcDdclMg6CNVQ7Q

Tongal wants to give you $119,000 to shoot a TV commercial for Seagram’s

Gotta drink 'em all! (responsibly)
Gotta drink ’em all! (responsibly)

I don’t usually post about individual Tongal projects but any contest with a six-figure prize pool is definitely newsworthy.  This week they launched the Seagram’s Escapes Video Project and it looks like it might just be the biggest video contest of the year.  (NOTE: Tongal doesn’t exactly run traditional “video contests” but their “projects” are close enough for me.)  Here’s a general recap of the contest project:

The goal of this project is to create a 30-second broadcast spot with a 15-second cut down for Seagram’s Escapes featuring singer, songwriter, actress Kelly Rowland.  Additionally, you will need to create 30-second broadcast spot along with a 15-second cut down, focused specifically on Jamaican Me Happy (Kelly Rowland will NOT appear in the Jamaican Me Happy video).

Got it?  One Tongal producer or team will create a 30 second commercial that features Kelly Rowland (one of Destiny’s Children!).  After that they will create a second, entirely new 30 second commercial for a specific Seagram’s flavor. Then the creator will provide 15-second cut downs for both ads.  So in total that’s two unique 30 second ads plus two short versions of those ads.

That’s a lot of work.  But trust me, Tongal is making it worth your while. Take a look at what this gig pays:

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No, those aren’t typos.  One Tongal member is going to get paid $119,000 to produce these commercials.  That’s a serious mount of money so this project will probably attract a lot of heavy hitters.  I’m sure most of Tongal’s top tier winners will submit pitches.  But $119,000 might bring in a bunch of new producers.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the project was awarded to some mid-sized production company that came out of nowhere.  So if you’re an independent filmmaker and if you know a semi-established producer you may want to try teaming up with them.

Hardcore Tonglers may have noticed that this isn’t Tongal’s only active, big-money project.  Right now they are also running an assignment for Labatt beer entitled Cheers to Hockey.  The creator that lands that gig will get paid a total of $153,000!!!!

This is really exciting stuff and I hope we see more of these “Super-Projects” over on Tongal.  Right now they’re running the Idea Phase for the Seagram’s project but you can begin submitting pitches on August 5th. The Pitch Phase in the Labatt project is already open and runs until August 2nd.  Good luck folks.  If you win either of these projects, please save me a 12-pack!

https://tongal.com/project/SeagramsEscapesVideoProject

https://tongal.com/project/LabattCheerstoHockey