Filming the destruction of iPhones in slow motion on an iPhone 5S at 120fps

This year I decided to wait in line to get the new iPhone 5s. Normally I scoff at such devotion to consumerism, but I wanted to get the phone as soon as possible so that I could make a relevant video about it. I happened to be attending a conference the same day, so I ended up not being able to do some of the ideas I had planned. Instead I went with something basic…destruction.

Based on the YouTube comments I received you’re probably thinking “What a monster, he wasted so much money!”.

Well, actually, the iPhones were fake. Sorry to rustle your jimmies.

You can get these on eBay for about $16 each. A lot cheaper than the real iPhone.

DIY YouTube

How to create a DIY Matrix bullet time/time slice rig using a ceiling fan and a GoPro

For July 4th I created the following video of fireworks.

I’ve always been fascinated by the time slice technique (also known as “bullet time”). Probably the most famous version of this comes from a scene in the first Matrix film where Neo dodges a series of bullets. To capture this look the filmmakers set up an array of cameras that fired off at high speeds in sequence. After a lot of work interpolating frames (creating frames between frames) using an in-house software program (now known as Twixtor), they were able to achieve  the final effect.

I’ve always wanted to try this, but you need an array of cameras, and cameras are expensive.

The obvious “cheat” to this is to get a high speed camera and build a rig that will spin it around the subject, but this also has limitations. High speed cameras are still expensive, they weigh a lot, and building spinning rigs out of metal is also expensive. A friend sent me  a video by Mark Rober who came up with the idea of using a ceiling fan as the spinning rig, and a GoPro 3 for the high speed camera (which shoots up to 240fps). I decided to implement this idea, but instead of mounting the fan upside-down, mount it the correct way so I could film larger subject matters.

Here is a video showing how I did it.

The ceiling fan was purchased from Lowes, it was one of two left on sale for $24.00. The fan is attached to a 14 foot 2×4 (if I did it again I’d use a 2×6).

Wiring was pretty simple. Two were for the fan, one was for the grounding, and a fourth was for the light, so I didn’t hook that one up.

The orange cord came from the fan and connected with the blue control box. The black cord came from the blue control box and hooked into the power source.

I used a section of 1 inch pine wood to attach my GoPro to the fan blade (via a hinge).

My GoPro was attached to the pine wood with a 3M GoPro stick mount. They are VERY sticky, but I super glued it on just to be safe.

Cost breakdown

8 foot 16 gauge extension cord: $10.47

Assorted wingnuts: $2.91

Deck screws: $9.37

14 foot 2×4: $6.58

Lag screw (attached fan to the board): $0.24

Utility hinge: $1.67

Utility bolts: $0.97

1 inch x 3/8 inch pine wood: $5.52

Ceiling fan: $24.99

Speed regulator and recessed wall box: Under $15 for both, I lost the receipt for these items

Bonus GIFs


5 Common Misconceptions About George Washington




2013 Super Bowl Commercials Remix

I’ve always wanted to do one of those remix videos. The perfect opportunity came up with the 2013 Super Bowl. I downloaded all the commercials and edited out interesting sound bits or shots in the videos. For example, someone catching on fire, a guy being thrown into a wall, a canon shooting confetti, etc. I started noticing trends in the commercials. There were 4 commercials that had horses in them (including one with a guy wearing a horse head mask). Two commercials referenced milk. 6 commercials had fire or things on fire. Two of them involved space.

There were a lot of sound bits I was able to combine together. My favorite is when I took a sound bit from the Fast and Furious Trailer. The line “They’ve got a tank” goes right along with the line “No they don’t”, taken from the Audi “Prom” commercial.



2012 Told Through Twitter – Year in Review

Last year I did a video that told about the major events from 2011 using Tweets. The video ended up getting 270,000 views and was featured on a number of popular websites. I wanted to do something similar this year, but more refined. I was thinking of doing one that told about the events in 2012 using social media (not just Twitter). In the end, I had to go back to just using Twitter. It was really hard to find Instagram photos taken during an event from 7 months ago, and you can’t really search Facebook profile posts.

I did partner up with Storify to make this video. Their site was very useful in finding Tweets and organizing them for the video. If it was’t for them I probably wouldn’t have been able to complete the video on time.


The History of Theodore [Teddy] Roosevelt

I first thought of doing a video about Teddy Roosevelt last year, but was too busy with other projects. I *almost* ended up not doing it this year, but I knew that Teddy was a person that people would enjoy learning about, so I went through with the project. It did take me two all-nighters to finish it on time. :P




Cute Scottish Fold Kitten

This was sort of a random video for me. I was noticing the antics of a Scottish Fold kitten and thought I’d get some footage of it. What I captured ended up looking pretty good, so I decided to edit it into this short video. My only complaint is that I wasn’t able to move the focus, which gives that cliche’ “DSLR look”, but other than that I like it.


Creating a video for the Internet 2012 Bus Tour

In mid September (last week as of this post) the Reddit admins posted about an event that the co-founder and general manager of Reddit were putting together. The Internet 2012 bus tour. The TL;DR version is that they are taking a bus across the midwest to raise awareness of internet freedom during the 2012 elections. I left a comment saying how I’d love to create an animated video for this event, and was surprised to get a response from Alexis Ohanian and Erik Martin (co-founder and general manager).

I had a very short deadline, was prepping to leave for Colorado in a little over a week, and was finishing two other projects. These factors led to me going with the simple sketch style and creating a script under 2 minutes in length. I enlisted my talented artist friend Cory Taylor to create the illustrations, this really helped, I don’t think I would have finished the video if he hadn’t helped me.

He and I wrote a rough draft of the script and went over illustration ideas.

Due to the aforementioned time constraints I went with a really simple sketch for the characters and used a real photo of a face for the head.

The storyboards were very simple, I let Cory play with the design of the sketches, I just told him what

I wanted, and occasionally gave specific instructions on a few items.

Cory drew the sketches in GIMP and I animated everything in After Effects CS6. It was the first time I used CS6 since upgrading from CS4. It’s quite an improvement and was blazing fast on my new retina display MacBook Pro (16GB ram and solid state drives). I did decide that I’ll need to use an external monitor, things did get cramped in After Effects when I was working on just a 15 inch display.

So that’s a quick rundown of the whole process of creating this video. There are a lot of things I’d like to change, but I’m pretty happy with it seeing all the time and schedule constraints I had.


Rarely seen photographs from the September 11th attacks in NYC

11 years ago digital cameras were not as common as they are today. They were expensive or bulky and took low quality photographs. There were also very few ways to publish your photographs online for many people to see. Contrast that to today where anyone that owns a cellphone has a decent quality still picture camera and can post an image online in front of thousands of people within seconds after capturing it. When the events of 9/11 took place there was a flood of photographs taken by professional photographers and members of the press, but you didn’t see many featured photographs that were taken by everyday people because of the limitations on technology and the internet at the time.

For the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers I decided to curate a set of photographs taken by everyday people that most of you haven’t seen. Thanks to the internet these people have been able to publish them to Flickr, but most of them have less than a thousand, or even less than a hundred views. I found it so fascinating going through Flicker and finding these images, images that very few people had seen. It was like I was witnessing history again, but from an angle that no one had ever shown. I decided to share these photographs with all of you.

For those images that were taken on a digital camera, I’ve made a note of the model of said camera. All images are hosted on the account of the person that owns the photographs, none of them were taken down and re-hosted.


Seconds after flight 175 struck the South Tower. Taken with a Canon PowerShot S100 by George Weld.

A Few Seconds After

Marc Garrett, about this image he captured. “The second plane flew directly over my head and slammed into the south tower. It took me a few seconds to get my head together, and this was the shot I took. I’m not a professional photojournalist, but I believe having a camera in my hand and feeling like a I had a “job” to do helped me keep my head.”

Down in the Streets

The photographer who took this photo mentions that at the time it didn’t occur to him how bad of an idea it was to walk so close to the tower right after it was struck. Later he discovered that he had been hit in the leg by a piece of falling metal, but didn’t notice it until hours later after he had settled down. If you read the comments you’ll find one by the owner of the open delivery truck you see in this image. He mentioned that the driver of the truck, seen in the blue shirt and pants survived the ordeal. The truck, however, was crushed. This image and the following were taken on an Olympus E-10.

Bundle of Sheets

This image struck me on a deep emotion level. In the midst of the chaos and destruction there were still people willing to show their selflessness and cover the remains of the victims.


Taken a few moments after the second tower was hit, you can see the cloud of paper floating through the air. Photograph by Ronald Smits.

Heading back out.

You can see the outline of the plane’s wing span. Photograph by Hiro.


I think this image speaks for itself. Photograph by Luke Kurtis.


Photographer Jay Boucher says: “My wife had called me that morning to let me know she was safe. “Huh?” I said. She told me to turn on the TV and there was the Trade Center, burning. I grabbed my cameras and ran out to Hoboken’s Pier A. This is what I saw”.


Photograph by George Weld, taken on a Canon PowerShot S100.

WTC 26

Photograph by Michael Foran, taken on an Olympus C2000Z.

The enormity of it

Photographed by Harvey Silikovitz on Houston Street in Greenwich Village. “An out-of-town TV reporter who is covering the 9/11 tragedy looks at the smoke emanating from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, a couple of miles to the south. Taken during my pre-digital days, this picture happened to be on a roll that for some reason I had gotten burned onto a CD when I got it developed.”


A rescue team taking off to attempt a rooftop rescue. They never made it. Photograph by Bryan Thatcher, taken with a Sony Cybershot.

WTC 93

Photographer Michael Foran says “This man was overcome with emotion as we listened to the calls of the Firemen and Police trapped in the rubble of the collapsed towers on his police scanner radio.”


Photograph by Eddy, taken on an Olympus C3000Z

September 11th

It looks like this woman is shooting with an Olympus film camera. I think I still have the same lens and camera. Photograph by Marc AuMarc.


Photograph by George Weld, taken on a Canon PowerShot S100.


There are a lot of photographs of messages scrawled into the dust covering the cars. I can’t make out what the note says. Photograph by Marc AuMarc.


Photographer Hiro says “The firemen were utterly covered by the debris. We all could tell that a lot of it was asbestos, though no one said it outloud. It crossed my mind that this could be the real terror, if all the people around became ill after the fact.”


Taken with a Nikon E990 by George Hackett.

Remembering 9-11  9 years later Photo  # 9

Photograph by Shayna Marchese. Her father posted this image on his Flickr account, he says “This is 6th Avenue and there was no traffic on it at all. Just pedestrians beginning to realize that the first tower had fallen.”

Running north to escape the tower debris 9/11

Photographer Brian Boyd says “I’m running North on West Side Highway, just one block from Chambers street. The tower just collapsed seconds before this photo.”


Photograph by George Hackett


Photograph by George Hackett.


Photograph by Bryan Thatcher, taken on a Sony Cybershot.

running from the cloud

The photographer that took this photo says he doesn’t recall taking it as everyone fled the debris cloud created by the collapse of the South Tower.

That Moment in Time

Photographer Santi-Jose says “I never go down to that area of the city during the week, but there I was on that morning. chance or fate? I was to witness this moment in history. ever since that day seven years ago I almost never leave the house without my camera.”

[9/11] Brooklyn - Onlookers

Brooklyn onlookers. Photograph by Hans.


Photograph by Ken Eng. Taken on a Fujifilm FinePixS1 Pro.


Photograph by Ken Eng.


Photograph by Ken Eng.

Smoke rising from the World Trade Center. September 11, 2001.

Photographed by Rob Sheridan from his Brooklyn apartment, on a Canon EOS D30.


This was taken the day after 9/11, on September 12th, by Eddy.


The History of Trivia – the Trivia Behind Trivia

I worked with the company MobileFWD in my latest video. I took an infographic they created for their trivia app and turned it into a video.


The drawings were created in Photoshop and then everything was animated in After Effects.

Click here for more screenshots.

Artwork took about 2 days to complete, animation was another 2 or 3 days. The music is Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No 3, 3rd movement.

Thanks to the following sites for posting about the video:

Mashable -

Alltop -


Below are my sources, plus some extra information if you want to read more.$64,000_Question