Burning Man

This Viral Video Experiment was HUUUUUUUGE!

Just because you saw it on the internet, and it looks real doesn’t mean that it is. However, if you put the right kind of fake content together though, you end up with a recipe for a successful viral video, and that is just exactly what Melbourne-based The Woolshed and Company did. With over 205 million views, I say Woolshed has found what works.

From shark attacks to lightning strikes, bears chasing snowboarders, to drones falling into Burning Man – the world watched, they shared and then they argued like hell over their authenticity.  And it was this debate over authenticity that propelled each videos’ viral success.

The content series was envisioned as a social experiment to explore the creation and distribution of ‘new media’, with the process involving The Woolshed Co. strategizing, creating, releasing and then integrating the learnings into the next piece.  We set out to better understand exactly how to create short-form, highly shareable, ‘snackable’ content, that is capable of reaching worldwide mass audiences without the luxury of pricey media buys, ad campaigns, publicity strategies or distribution deals.

Series Directed By:  Richard Hughes & Caspar Mazzotti


Design Friday. The B.F.K. Chair. Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy.

I have a vintage Knoll B.K.F. (butterfly chair) that dates to about 1960. My mother bought it before I was born and I inherited it when I bought my first house more than ten years ago. The butterfly chair is credited with being designed by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy in 1938, but is widely attributed to mid-century modern design due to its distribution by Knoll furniture beginning in the 1940’s.

The original design for this popular chair dates from 1938, when GATCPAC member Antoni Bonet left le Corbusier’s studio and went into self-induced exile in Buenos Aires. While living in Buenos Aires, Bonet together with a group of Argentinean architects, they established the Grupo Austral based on GATCPAC (Group of Catalan Architects and Technicians for the progress of contemporary architecture) principles. Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy was one of the founding members of the group. Hardoy graduated from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1939, he had lived the previous year in Paris, where he worked with Bonet and le Corbusier in the development of the “Plan Director para Buenos Aires.” Hardoy is probably best known internationally for his BKF chair, designed together with Juan Kurchan and Antonio Bonet in 1939 yet his work spans far beyond this singular item.

The B.F.K. chair was originally designed for a building in Buenos Aires, designed by the three architects in 1939. The first name given to the chair was  “Southern”, but then they developed a new  name by using the first letters of the name of their creators, B.F.K.. later the chair simply became known as the “butterfly chair” or even as the “Hardoy chair”.

The actual chair design was inspired by chairs used by the British military in North Africa in the nineteenth century. The B.F.K. however is an object much more refined and simple. A sculptural object that is light years away from the folding canvas chairs used by the military. The impossibly thin, light design was achieved by using two thin steel loops, bent and welded together, which were hand polished to create a seamless finish. Even the earliest chairs produced in Argentina were treated with epoxy paint which was cured with high temperature baking to create a protective surface.

The first two B.F.K. chairs to come to the United States went to Fallingwater, Edgar Kaufmann Jr.’s home in Pennsylvania designed by family friend Frank Lloyd Wright. Edgar Kaufmann accurately predicted that this lightweight and inexpensive to manufacture lounge chair would become hugely popular in the U.S. The B.K.F. chair was produced by Artek-Pascoe from 1941 to 1948. Knoll Associates acquired U.S. production rights in the late 1940s and unsuccessfully pursued legal action against unauthorized copies, which continue to be produced to this day.

Burning Man vs The Canon 5D Mark II.

Every time I turn around these days I am seeing more and more video shot on the canon 5D that just blows me away. If someone had told me 3 years ago that you would be able to get this kind of quality out of  a DSLR I would have laughed.

This 13 minute short video was shot in 24p with the camera in full auto mode on a Canon 5D Mark II with a variety of lenses and a tripod with a Zacudo fluid mount. And yes it was in the very skilled hands of accomplished film maker Stephen Bové.There is no color correction on any of the footage. The whole thing was shot and compressed natively to H264 and edited direct with H264 master files.

One of the things that is so astounding about this is, even with all the gear, he packed into the Burning Man Festival to shoot with, it was still cheaper and easier than using traditional film or video equipment, and the finished look is just amazing. For more detailed information on the shoot read the details of the project here on Vimeo.

“Once you get the hang of shooting video with this cam its pretty amazing. Compared to shooting 35mm film by yourself (which is nearly impossible even with an Arri 235 or Aaton 353 – I’ve tried), this is a breeze – and the marginal cost from start to finish is ZERO per minute…compared to at least $100 per minute for 35mm film (raw stock, development, transfer to video). The marginal cost is a modest factor compared to the GIANT benefit of not having to schlep 800 tons of cam, batteries, film mags, etc. around – and changing a film mag every 4 minutes of run-time (1000 foot mags would have pulled the camera over in the wind!) on the playa in a dust storm would have required being tailed by a camera van – un-mounting whole cam, moving into van, dusting exterior, carefully swapping mags so as not to let dust get inside the body etc. = lots of crew and expense.

Bottom line: 35mm SLR movie making is a whole new amazing world of creative freedom just starting to be explored.” Stephen Bové