The following is a guest post by Wooshii member Manroop Takhar, Managing Director of Qudos Animations, an animation studio specializing in producing high impact animated web videos at an affordable cost. You can visit their website here.
What was the first viral video you saw?
Maybe it was David after Dentist, maybe Charlie the Unicorn, maybe Peanut Butter Jelly Time.. or maybe you were more of a Weebl and Bob fan. While those videos owe their viral success to video sharing sites, there are some videos that found their way to the mainstream before YouTube.
One of them you’ve probably seen before – it’s in its sixteenth season and features four animated unruly primary school children. Not sure yet?
In 1992 two friends, Matt Parker and Trey Stone, made an animated short called Jesus vs Frosty. This was to be the first in their two episode series “The Spirit of Christmas”. The animated shorts feature characters from the South Park series that we know today, but they were made from cardboard and glue, and animated with stop motion, filmed on an 8mm camera. They screened the film on campus at the University of Colorado.
Luckily for them this video caught the attention of Brian Garden, a Fox executive. He commissioned the pair to make an e-card in 1995, which he passed onto eighty of his friends.The animation reportedly found its way to George Clooney who made 300 copies for friends.
After the video was circulated around email and bootleg video, it got the attention of Comedy Central. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Another viral video of the pre-YouTube age shot to fame through the television show Ally McBeal. Remember that 3D dancing baby? It was initially a sample animation file made for 3D character animation software “Character Studio”. The file was released to the public and users and animators were able to use the file in their own animations. People loved the animation, and it began popping up on web forums, websites, in emails, commercials. It appeared in showreels major trade shows, then hit local news, then CBS syndicated stations. And after two years of its viral rise to fame – not without modifications – it eventually ended up on Ally McBeal, symbolising her “biological clock” ticking.
Fast forward ten years and the term “viral video” was coined. YouTube sees days of video uploaded by the minute and businesses are clamouring to make viral video a part of their marketing strategy.
We have the pleasure of enjoying the weird and wonderful in visual form, and the opportunity to watch it remixed over and over and over (see: Nyan cat and all its various forms).
Viral video has done great things for comedians – just think of The Lonely Island and their successful series of videos. Saturday Night Live now incorporates these “digital shorts” featuring some of the members of The Lonely Island into their live shows. Their earlier videos were largely low-budget, pop-culture filled animations – you can see why they grabbed the attention of SNL!
Video production is literally in the hands of all of us. Even the most basic phone usually has some sort of video capability, and where phones fail, there are always digital cameras. Viral video has the potential to affect social change and give insight to events as they happen. After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, devastating footage filmed on people’s phones and digital cameras went viral all around the world.
From the moving, to the hilarious, to the inspirational. Viral videos can inspire, even change the way we think. Nike has had some great success with viral campaigns, the latest of which is “Find Your Greatness”. Their latest is a simple video of a jogger on his journey to fitness, trying to better himself, to “find his greatness”. A clever and inspirational campaign.
It was a lot of fun researching this post and going back through the archives of viral video – which incidentally featured a lot of animations! I was largely inspired by watching this short PBS documentary about the rise of sharing culture.
Has this post jogged any memories? If you can remember, leave me a comment and me know what the first viral video you saw was!