The "unofficial" I Believe 2010 trailer has gone viral – is it the best?
Back on January 31st we featured a video that had just been posted on YouTube, with only a few dozen views. It was a mysterious work by an unknown 2010 Games superfan who calls himself Vancouverite1989. That was then, now the I Believe video has had over 95,000 views (another 10,000 just since last night)! I showed this video to several folks, including people I know who work in government and the response to it was universal praise. Everyone who watched it got a lump in their throat, and some had tears well in their eyes. It was a masterful piece of editing by the man they call Vancouverite1989.
Why did the video connect with people? Part of it is the magic of the video's pacing, but ultimately I think it's because it made that important connection between average folks, our national pride, personal achievement and the Olympic Games. It's a connection that for all their money and power the IOC has a hard time making themselves. I mean, we're all proud of our athletes, but there is a stronger bond to people like ourselves, and our community leaders.
Fast forward to 6 days later, and the "official" version of the trailer was released by CTV during the Super Bowl broadcast last Sunday. The response was good to CTV's offering, but few said that they had the same emotional reaction that Vancouverite1989's video stirred. What make things worse, is that in order to watch CTV's video you are required to install a Microsoft browser plug-in to view on anything other than Internet Explorer. Yeah, I know. That's so 2002, isn't it?
As a result of this unwillingness to share the video through YouTube, the world's most popular social media video application, the CTV version of the "I Believe" video has many barriers for viewers. And if you're the approximate 50% of web browsers today who avoid Internet Explorer, you'll probably take a pass.
I contacted Vancouverite1989 to find out more about his video. It turns out that the editor's name is Kenneth Chan, a UBC student and one of the world's biggest fans of the 2010 Games. He cobbled together all the footage he could get his hands on from the web, borrowed the "official" CTV song by singer Nikki Yanofsky, and slaved over his Macbook Pro to create something great. Like us bloggers he was driven by the passion for the work, and not by personal profit.
Chan is humble when he describes the work, giving more credit to the people who appear in the video, those who shot the footage, and Yanofsky herself. Now, it's difficult to celebrate Chan's accomplishment too loudly because he's broken a whole bunch of Canada's copyright laws. In fact, the minute some executive from CTV or Yanofsky's music label reads this, they'll probably fire off an email to Google to get the video taken down.
That would be the typical, heavy-handed reacton we expect from the corporate guys. The smart thing to do would be to court Chan instead, or at least emulate his work. Then, they should find ways of sharing the video in a way that millions can truly enjoy it by posting it on YouTube.com.
I've done lots of video editing in my day, and my opinion of the CTV video is that there was too much effort to include every famous Canadian Olympian in the assortment of clips, and not enough effort to make people feel the emotion of the Games. Chan, not bound by the business imperative to make as much money as possible selling song downloads, has made something more artful and memorable.
We've repeated it over and over again. Vancouver's Olympics is the world's first Games where social media matters. Chan's work represents the excellence that comes out of a culture that values sharing.
- post by Mike