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Next-Level Filmmaking: Inside Casey Neistat’s Mobile Video Project

BY Zacc Dukowitz
27 April 2017

Casey Neistat—a vlogger and drone aficionado whose celebrity was further enhanced by the HUMAN FLYING DRONE video that swept the internet back in December—recently announced that his next big video project will feature, and be created by, famous YouTube vloggers. And if that’s not enough, it’s going to be made entirely on Samsung smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy: The Rest of Us

As Neistat makes clear in the video above, he wants to showcase “the rest of us”—those involved in filmmaking who are part of Neistat’s generation and who have taken unconventional paths to success. Namely, by vlogging on YouTube.

Over the last week Neistat has been traveling throughout California, in Coachella during the music festival there and in Los Angeles, where he’s been shooting with some of the most famous YouTubers out there: Ethan Klein, Willy HaynesDavid Dobrik, Jason Nash, Zane Hijazi, Scotty Sire, and Toddy Smithy.

The end goal of all this collaborating will be a commercial for Samsung that splices together the work of several of these vloggers into a single video.

What about Drones?

Even though the shooting for this project is all being done on smartphones, Neistat, true to form, is still innovating and trying out different ways to use the limited technology he has to work with.

In the video below, Neistat and his team rig a Samsung Galaxy S8 onto a drone, and attach a gimbal to make sure the shots they get are steady (skip ahead to 13:00 or so to see the shots of the smartphone attached to the drone).

HOMEMADE CELL-PHONE DRONE

We’re not sure what kind of drone they’re using in the video, but it could well be a custom rig from Droneworks Studios, since we noticed Droneworks co-owners Justin Oakes and Elaine Lozano helping out at various points in the video. (Check out the gizmo Justin’s driving at 11:15, which is rigged to hold a smartphone on a contraption made up of a three axis gimbal attached to a shockmount, with wire isolators and motors used to make the footage shot by the phone “butter smooth.”)

We loved the panel Neistat, Oakes, and Lozano participated in at the NYC Drone Film Festival a few months back, and we’re excited to see that they’re working together again.

To say there’s buzz around Neistat’s new project is an understatement. In one week, the video above already has almost 1.8 million views…and counting.

PRANKED by 20 Kids

This video features a skit for the project shot with vloggers Ethan and Hila of h3h3Productions. We’re sure to see lots more videos like this come out as the project unfolds.

With this project Neistat is consciously focusing on, and elevating, the work of vloggers, which is often discounted by mainstream filmmaking.

The central idea here is that it doesn’t take a huge budget and the best cameras on the market to make amazing videos.

The technology today is so good, and so inexpensive relative to the quality offered, that anyone who works hard can create an impressive video. The thing that separates great from good is creativity, and that’s sure to be in evidence in what these vloggers produce.

The outcome of Neistat’s last partnership with Samsung was incredible. We’re looking forward to seeing the end result, and all the work along the way, from this new project.

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