Whoa…. How did they do that?!?
Even as a (relatively) experienced filmmaker, I often watch a new video and ask myself the same question, “how exactly did they do that?!” This is actually a favorite game among the filmmaking community. We love to guess how it was made … What cameras did they use? What was their lighting setup? Was that CGI or clever makeup?
Filmmaking techniques can be easy to spot. Other times, an individual will think outside-the-box and create something completely new and spectacular and we’re all left scratching our heads.
I saw a video recently for the headphone brand “Beats by Dre” called “Unleashed.” A fellow filmmaker had posted a link to the video in a Facebook group with the caption “Can anyone explain what camera sorcery is happening here?”
In the video, several famous athletes train for their respective sport while wearing the Beats by Dre Headphones. They run, jump, spin, fall, yet the headphones remain relatively centered and stable. As a product video, this makes sense. The creators want your attention to be on the headphones at all times. But how did they achieve this effect?
One filmmaker quit the debate immediately writing, “That last shot just wrecks my brain. I don’t know what is going on there.” Others thought that there was “Nothing crazy to achieve this effect.” Over 50 comments later, a consensus was reached.
So what’s the answer?
Although no one in the Facebook group was actually involved in the shoot, we agreed that the result was achieved with a combination of talented camera movement (possibly a gimbal), stabilization and motion tracking. The footage was probably shot in high resolution (6K or 8K) so that they couple spin the image and use an effect called single-point stabilization in Adobe After Effects. At least that’s what we think…
However they edited this video, the result is pretty awesome. This video hooked me in and left me wowed! It didn’t provide specific information about why I should buy these headphones. It didn’t flaunt that they have superior sound, noise cancelling capability or extended battery life… but that wasn’t the purpose. The video grabs your attention and says “Hey you! Come take a closer look.” And that is the power of a brand video done well. At least for me, it left a nagging urge to buy yet another pair of headphones I don’t really need.