Viral Video of a 1000′ phone drop: “This Ain’t my Phone”
Filming a WW I biplane* flying over Bowling Green Kentucky, my brother (Blake Henderson) accidentally dropped his Samsung S5 from 1000′ above the ground. It recorded spinning all the way down, plopping into a garden unscathed. The footage after that is hysterical.
Knowing this was a jem, we planned a viral marketing strategy. August 11, 2017, was a going away party for my son Ryan, who was moving to the Czech Republic. With the council of him, my other I.T. son Eric, and my world renowned video branding wizard cousin, Billy Pittard (MTSU Media Arts Chairman), we came up with a plan:
Consider legal repercussions. In this case we had two concerns: the FAA, and the property owner. We talked to both.
Cut the video down as much as possible (due to silence in-between auto recording). I ended up with just under 2 minutes of an 11 minute .mpg file.
Post to Youtube: Sunday morning August 13, 2017 about 11 AM.
Post to Reddit: (/r/videos) This was the most critical element. Reddit is a snake pit of tech savvy #millennial/GenY/futurist/disruptor/guru/putz’s 😉. They pounced on it immediately crying fraud, fake, hoax! Ryan monitored the chatter and responded with diplomacy. After a few hours, he asked me for the unedited 11 minute .mpg file. He posted it in response to the fraudster “pundits”.
We hadn’t planned this (at least I didn’t), but it was perfect. He had all the nay-sayers going after the second video. It climbed the charts as well, pulled by the first one, with almost as many views.
The crack-pot comments ranged from; bad math on the calculated speed of terminal velocity, to some idiot that asserted that an airplane could not have a window you could open during flight (pictures of the Beechcraft Bonanza).
Wait for the offers. As the videos climbed through 100,000 views, news brokers started contacting us. This happened about 3 PM Sunday, four hours after posting. Eric suggested we wait a few days, but with it trending upwards, when do you blink?
Wait 24 – Sign the deal. Monday 3PM – $xxx up front and $xx/$xx split over 8 months (negotiated up, with competing bids from three sources). Ryan selected Storyful (video below).
Answer the phone. By monday night, came calls for interviews. The first one with Blake was Right This Minute that evening via Skype from his home. By monday morning NBC and CBS were on the line. International stories started to appear all over (local news was last to pick this up). 2 days later, Inside Edition did an interview via FaceTime† to my office with Blake and Ryan. They cross-examined both as hard as a trial lawyer! (I have a private video of that).
Storyful: Our News Broker
They basically monetize the pay per click, and sell the story to various news agencies. I think this video is a good example of their video examination prowess. They apparently were able to analyze the video content very quickly to validate the authenticity of the story. We believe a combination of the frame sequence in rotation, and the audio made this possible. It would be almost impossible to stage.
Some of the news broadcasters edited the video down, adding their own commentary. Some of them used the comments from the YouTube feed. I think this is a bad idea, as it adds legitimacy to inaccurate and dim-witted comments. At least one network got the altitude wrong. There is a big difference between 11,000’ and 1,000’ fall!
Is the purpose of this blog obvious? 😉 @belmontguy
* Ironically, two weeks later the World War I Curtis Jenny crashed. It did not hold up as well as the phone, but the pilot is ok and the plane reparable.
**YouTube comment: (13 second freefall —> h=0.5*g*t^2 —> 0.5 * 9.81m/s^2 * 13sec^2 = 829 meter freefall distance. Maximum freefall velocity of 459km/h) The error in this does not account for mass resistance of the atmosphere. It was probably more like 42 miles per hour.
†FaceTime seemed to have better clarity. Inside Edition prefers it they said.
#phonedrop #storyful @belmontguy