In case you didn't already know, The Verge's video team is the best in the business. In any business. They are the business. They work incredibly hard and do incredible work — honestly, their only problem is that they make too many great videos even for our staff to be able to catch everything, much though we try.
So, as we wrap up 2014, we asked our video team to collect their favorite things we did this year. What follows is a weird, wild, adventurous mix of stories, from simple hands-on tips to powerful trips into the past and future of magic. You won't want to miss a moment.
John Lagomarsino: When Nathan Cykiert first brought up the fact that there is a town of 1,000 people in Michigan called Colon, and that the town has three competing magic shops, we were frankly a little worried about Nathan’s sanity. However, Abbott’s Magic Get-Together turned out to be one of the most touching and — dare I say — magical experiences I’ve ever gotten to work on. In a year dominated by some pretty dark and worrisome news, the get-together is a pocket of pure, unadulterated joy. It’s good to know places like Colon still exist.
Jimmy Shelton: For my entire career I’ve wanted to film something on a mountain. Earlier this month, The Verge asked me to film with X Games gold-medalist skier, Tom Wallisch. This guy.
Instantly, the desire wavered a little bit. A genuine fear arose that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I did, though, somehow. And the footage is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever captured, showing some of the most exciting technology you can find on a mountain.
Tom Connors: A lot of my time behind a camera has been spent in pursuit of getting stable and smooth shots, using everything from a glidecam to even a Ronin for the BMW i8 review. Camera stabilization rigs can help produce amazing shots, but they definitely take a lot of practice to use correctly. You simply can’t just point the camera where you want and come away with smooth shots, it takes years of practice. Then Instagram’s Hyperlapse app came out and proved the complete opposite. Now my mom could recreate my best efforts with a glidecam, using nothing but her iPhone.
Ryan Manning: Eboy was kind of a monster. Going into it, I knew Josh Topolsky was a huge fan of the boys. So that was a lot of pressure. I also have a history of "being creative," so people always tell me to "just be creative!" or "blow it out!" or "do your thing! I know it'll be great!" In my mind this translates to, "Oh my god, they all expect the most amazing thing they've ever seen. You have to make something so great that everyone will love it. Oh my god, just quit and start working at Subway again. It's so much easier. You just make sandwiches."
The following weeks were filled with research, doubt-filled experimentation, indecision, and deep dread (business as usual). Every edit is a puzzle with a million solutions. You have to consider all these packets of information: the things they say, the things we shot, photographs, complete pixoramas, old websites, gifs, old German TV shows, archival footage of the Berlin wall, YouTube videos, music, narration, etc, etc. Yet eventually, after a surely unhealthy amount of anxiety, you see some sort of logic in the storm of data, and an edit forms.
Phil Robibero: I never had any kind of traditional schooling in animation and motion graphics — it was something I just fell into. Because of that, I see every new project as a learning experience. My process starts with flipping through an endless stream of amazing motion graphics work on Vimeo, pulling different aesthetics and methods together to build a style I want to work on. For this episode of The Big Future, I really wanted to try out some character animation since I’ve never done it before. With the help of Duik, a graciously free After Effects plug-in that intuitively rigs characters for you, plus our incredible sound designers and Adi Robertson’s wonderful wordsmithing, we produced my favorite Verge video of 2014.
Tre Shallowhorn: To simply answer which video from 2014 is the best from our team is a monumental, if not impossible, question to answer. We have done it all. Captured the i8 through the scenic autumnal beauty of the New England. Got up close and personal with dystopian LARPers. Ventured to Berlin to paint a humanistic picture of the faces behind Eboy. Made a fun and flashy graphical animation of what life on Mars would truly look like. We have done it all. And in the midst of all this reporting and coverage, it's important to note that expanding our creative boundaries is always at the forefront of our production process. How can we perfectly sum this up? In this official keyboard music video.
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