Doritos pays tribute to Crash the Super Bowl fans

I gotta admit, now that Super Bowl weekend is finally here I’m starting to get a little bummed about the end of the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  I’ve had a lot of fun covering the competition and once it’s gone the Super Bowl will never be the same.  So before the big game starts, lets take a quick look back at 10 years of The Crash.

Be sure to check back here on Sunday for full coverage of the final installment of Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest.  And as always, stay bold my friends….stay bold.

Hipster Videography 101: The Art of Lens Whacking

When future film students start writing papers creating virtual reports about the visual styles of the 20-teens, those kids are going notice a whole lot of lens flares and light leaks.  Right now, that dreamy, home movie-esque, Instagram-y look is all over the place.  Most hipster photographers and videographers just slap some filters on their photos and videos and call it art.  But you’re no poser so if you want want flares and light leaks, you should lean how to create them for real by “whacking” your DSLR’s lens.  Vimeo’s Video School posted a great tutorial about the Art of Lens whacking and the site describes the practice thusly*….

Lens whacking, also called free lensing, is a method of shooting with the lens detached from the camera body. It allows light leaks, creates a tilt shift focus effect, and adds a dreamlike, vintage quality to your footage.

Here’s what a lens-whacked video looks like.  If you can master this little trick you should be able to create some seriously cool looking footage:

Oregon Lens Whacking from Riley Hooper on Vimeo.

Vimeo says that entire video was shot with the lens detached from the camera.  Here’s how the trick works:

Normally the only light that hits your camera’s sensor is filtered through the lens. When you remove the lens, light can hit the sensor from many different angles. If too much light is let in your image will be over-exposed and hard to make out – but if you let just a bit in, you’ll get some lovely lens flares and light leaks.

Now that you’ve read these descriptions you probably already understand how to whack your lens.  Basically you just detach your lens from your DSLR and then hold it in place while you shoot.  If you tilt it a little, light will leak in through the opening.  Vimeo does a very thorough job of describing how to correctly whack your lens so head here to read the full tutorial.

*Please note, “thusly” is not exactly a real word.  So every time you say it, stuck up people will think you’re dumb.  But screw those pretentious jerks because “thusly” is a fun word and you should use as much as you want.

Folgers announces their 2013 Jingle Contest winner

Folgers’ annual jingle contest doesn’t usually get much attention but it’s actually one of the biggest video contests in the world.  In 2011, the contest received more than 3,000 entries.  Now that I think about it, this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest only got about 3,000 submissions.  So it’s very possible that the 2013 Folgers Jingle contest was BIGGER than the 2013 Doritos contest.  That’s kind of surprising since Doritos literally offers millions of dollars in prizes in “The Crash” but Folgers only gives out one prize of $25,000.  Folgers probably gets so many entries because their contest is so easy to enter.  You don’t have to hire actors or write a script.  All you have to do is perform your own version of the classic “The Best Part of Waking Up…” jingle.  Oh my God.  Can you imagine being a judge in that contest?  I’d never want to drink a drop of coffee again after hearing thousands of people perform the same song over and over and over.

The judges that didn’t go insane selected and announced a slate of 10 finalists back in March.  Then there was a month-long public voting period.  But…votes didn’t actually determine the winner in this contest.  The judges made the final pick and contests just got a few extra points if they did well in the voting.  The winning musician is named Sawyer Frye and he’s from Carthage, NC.  Here’s his video:

Folger’s Grand Prize Winner.  Prize: $25,000:

Holy crap.  Wait a second, that was sort of amazing, wasn’t it?  I just now realized that I recognized the guy who won that contest.  Last fall I did a blog post about a music video he did that won a contest sponsored by FireHouse subs.  His FireHouse entry was so good that I said something like “If this guy keeps entering contests he’s going to make a fortune.”  Guess I was right about something for a change!

Folgers really milked this contest and they made all of the finalists appear in little biographical videos.  If you want to watch any of these or if you want to see the other nominated jingles, head here.

A Go Pro + some helium balloons + fishing line = cheap aerial photography

Last year I bought a little GoPro camera and I sent it up into “space” using a weather balloon.  The footage from 100,000 feet up was really cool but the best stuff was recorded right after take off.  Since my little space balloon adventure I’ve wanted to see if I could send a GoPro up just 500 feet or so and get some overhead shots.  It looks like I’m not the first person to have that idea because today I found a tutorial that explains how to do aerial photography with a GoPro, some party balloons and a fishing pole:

The footage that the guy in the video shot is pretty hazy but it did look steady enough to be usable.  One of these days I’m going to set up a rig like this and get some areal shots for a video contest entry.  Contest judges love crazy camera tricks!  No seriously….they do.  Judges always like it when it’s obvious that someone put a lot of thought and work into their entry. If you slip a cool overhead shot into one of your videos, someone is going to be impressed with your creativity.

AND NOW, A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:  Helium is a non-renewable natural resource.  It’s the most abundant element in the universe but it’s very hard to come by here on earth.  Most of it has to be extracted from pockets of gas in underground caverns.  The human race is using helium at an absurd rate and we are on track to exhaust the Earth’s Helium supplies in less than 30 years.  Scientists estimate that if the government sold helium at an appropriate market rate, a single “Happy Birthday” balloon would cost about $100.  In the next few years we’re going to be hearing a lot of stories about our diminishing Helium supply.  So if you want to send your GoPro up in the air, you better do it soon.

FireFox Flicks’ Winners

Man, you really should have entered the FireFox Flicks video contest.  Actually, I guess I should have too.  They were offering a butt-load of cash prizes but for some reason they didn’t get many decent entries.  I think maybe the premise behind this contest was a little too abstract.  Contestants were supposed to create short films that “told the firefox story.”  I love Firefox and I’ve been using it for as long as I can remember but even I couldn’t figure out how to make a short film a bout a web browser. 

You can see all of the FireFox Flicks winners here. There actually were a few stand-out entries. For example, here’s the perfect little video that won the US “30 Second Spot” category and went on to win the $10,000 USA Grand Prize:

click to view

Another weird thing about this contest; it was open to people all over the world and prizes were set aside for winners in each region (USA, Europe, Asia/Africa/Australia, and Latin America.)  Video contests just aren’t very popular outside of the US. Consequently, some not-so-hot films won $5,000 prizes simply because there were almost no other entries in their particular category.  I’ve actually seen this type of thing happen in a few “international” video contests before….you know, maybe I should pull an Eduardo Saverin, renounce my US citizenship and start shooting my contest entries in Asia.  Ha!  I’m a genius!  See you in Beijing, suckers!