I honestly don’t think there is anyone who has done more for YouTube, for other YouTubers, for the industry of online video as a whole then Casey Neistat. I would be shocked if there were anyone reading this post doesn’t already know who he is and hasn’t already heard this news, but I want to talk about it anyway because I think he’s had such a profound effect on the way all of us work in this huge industry.
Welcome Back, Casey!
Interesting Fact: On march 25th 2015, Casey started the very first episode of vlog and It was also his 34th birthday. He has restarted the vlog exactly two years from starting the first one and we are all pumped and super excited.
Film-making Career: How It All Started
The first time I remember seeing one of Casey’s videos was actually before YouTube and it was the apples dirty little secret video about iPod and I remember the time being blown away because that was a really radical video to do when it came out. Those were the days where no one ever said anything bad about apple unless you were a windows fan. Apple’s users were very loyal and we would bow down and buy anything with the almighty apple would realize and he was some guy actually calling them on something and it was pretty amazing.
That was actually the time when things could be produced with fewer people and First-person narrative become popular on the internet. The following video was breaking out of this formal way of doing a film which was very expensive, involved a lot of tools and people. But most importantly it was a shift from the original way of making videos to something new, which turned out to be Awesome!
I remember coming across Casey once again when he started proper daily vlog back in 2015, and it was a new challenge for him. In photography, we all know about 365 projects where you are going to take an image every day for an entire year, to create one single video. Here it’s an open-ended, not 365 where a person shares his life with an audience the way we have never seen it before. So I started watching Casey and a lot of people got really into this in a very short period of time.
There were vlogs before Casey and he was not the first to do that, but he ruled the game and I think most important aspect of his videos is the very mature sense of storytelling, the ability to hold your attention for 10 minutes and keep things very entertaining and this brings us to a new generation of films.
Most copied YouTuber in the World
Casey Neistat is also one of the most copied YouTubers out there. You might have seen different time-lapse, drone footage, 360 cameras, smooth video transactions and Canon 70D on GorillaPod in almost all videos which Casey does on his YouTube channel. The main idea behind this incredible work is to entertain the audience and to make each video unique and classy. In addition, people learn so much from this vlogs and they try to replicate his work to become successful in their career. However, the main problem of being a secondary version of something is that you will never achieve the same result if you don’t respect the uniqueness of yourself. For example, you might become a very good musician in this case to a great band, but a secondary version of the real thing.
Although there are plenty of imitators, it’s pretty much impossible to duplicate the style of Casey Neistat. I think that even his style is worth taking a closer look at, because along with various other interesting sub-genres, the daily vlog particularly, what Neistat has done to it has grown organically and uniquely out of the medium where it lives and where it all started. The inner vitality of Casey Neistat is undeniable and his world is insane, work ethic, even his recklessness, but I think the craft that supports these things goes largely unnoticed.
Reason why Casey stopped Uploading Vlogs
Producing daily videos is not an easy job and sometimes when people have a way of making something look effortless you assume that it’s easy and anybody can do the same. In reality, it’s a very difficult process and for most of the part, this is a creative challenge for a person. So I think it’s exhausting emotionally, creatively and physically, to do it that much and stay up-to-date. For me, Casey’s work is always very relevant and it best describes his daily life.
The interesting part of vlogs is that you have to make sure you are doing everything correctly because it’s not just about hitting the upload button. There is a lot that goes into all these things, mainly the preparation process. However, there is a huge reward if you can get to that level obviously financially, in terms of popularity and other opportunities that can open up.
There is one thing that Casey said in his vlog one time, that has really stuck with me and this is very much true.
Casey Neistat: “Success is where preparation meets opportunities”
So I think if you are prepared, opportunities come up and that where success happens. After all, Casey is the person who was in the right place, at the right time and was prepared to be the one who accepted the challenge and he truly deserves to be number one. For me, he is the person who lives for that moment and never loses the momentum which is so important our life.
Difference between Daily Vlogs and Reality Shows
The Neistat’s revolutionary move is bringing a decade of videographer experience to a sub-genre that prizes amateur craft. Daily vlogs need a dose or a feeling of amateurism because what makes them valuable is how real they seem. Today’s reality shows are completely scripted and people have lost their interest in this type of shows.
For me, daily vlogs are the response, a real slice of life with no corporate mediator and the signature of something that’s true. The video that passes through the hands of only one person before it is delivered to an audience, without any audio touch-ups and color correction. Neistat elevated that amateur spirit to an art and I say spirit because I think what he does is actually amateurish.
Casey Nesitat: “When is comes to this vlog and Youtube in General, I was trying to find opportunities to up my game and the production value.”
Neistat has been slowly developing his style from the start. In 2003 he and his brother made a short film called iPods dirty secret about the crappiness of iPod batteries that collected over a million views in six weeks in the era before YouTube. The hybrid combination of gonzo journalism, guerrilla filmmaking has evolved across a number of short movies and eventually found its way into the vlog for which it’s a perfect match.
In cinema verite, the camera is often acknowledged, made a part of the product Neistat takes this to another level by making his massive collection of camera equipment and his studio another charter in his show. DSLRs, GoPros, PowerShots, 360s, iPhones, drones each camera and each lens has its own personality and Neistat is constantly swapping them around. But it goes further than this, Casey keeps all his old footage on mini DVD memories, VHS tapes and other first generation video camera memory cards. Within this universe old video camera footage does not look dated, it’s just another stratum in the ongoing story of the democratization of filmmaking, the story that parallels our lives.
Casey Neistat’s Wildly Functional Studio
So through the Vlogs and various Casey’s videos, we have seen pretty much every conceivable angle of his studio and it can look like a mess. There is stuff everywhere and it doesn’t fit the traditional visual of neat or organized space but it is. Actually it is one of the most neat and organized spaces even surprisingly.
The main idea of having the separate workshop or construction area is to maintain the rest of the studio. I assume everything there is always breaking and he needs to be built or rebuilt something, so it’s nice to have a little tool shop. For those of you who have seen Casey’s videos which is probably most of you, you know that a lot of what he does involve literally building stuff like; putting together new things that are purpose-built for exact situations or tasks and then once they are built you can keep them around or use them again if it comes up. But this little tool area is where he makes all his tools for different projects.
“All this is exemplified by build over buy, if you can’t buy exactly what you need just build it ”
So the Casey Neistat’s studio is low-key kinda a masterpiece, it’s a tightly woven collection of technology and construction tools that make it possible and maybe the most functional use of the square footage imaginable. But it all comes back to two main things build over buy and being a lot more organized than it actually looks.
Firstly pretty much everything in the studio is labeled, like meticulously. The boxes of things, categories of gear, supplies, tools, equipment, tech stuff it’s all literally labeled so ideally you can find exactly what you need in second and the cables are also visible so you can trace everything to where it’s plugged in. The studio is exceptionally well lit, everywhere you look there is a light including; ceiling lights, dome lights, diffusion lights to brighten the space and to give it a consistent even look.
Everything is this studio has its own purpose and it seems like every square inch, every surface is used for something and that’s what you can do when you have been in a same place for a decade. Even space under the floor is used to store different cameras, LED lights, drones body mounts and etc.
The Next Generation of Filmmakers
Daily vloggers before this were using compact cameras, small enough to fit in your pocket and most of them still prefer hand-held or action cameras. Despite that fact Casey has a slightly different approach, he wants to show his life in a different way, the one which best represents his emotions and feelings.
So to up his production process it takes millions of little things like; setting the camera down framing a shot then running back out of frame to capture the most realistic shot. Going out at sunset and waiting 30 minutes while three different cameras take three different time-lapse, carrying a Canon 70D on a GorillaPod all day, using boosted board and controlling the drone at the same time.
Casey Neistat: “My Goal with this Vlog is not and it has never been to share all the intimacies of my life, it’s always just been to create a good or entertaining piece of content every day”
The effortlessness of Casey Neistat’s Vlog is an illusion, the next time you watch one just pay more attention to his camera setups, notice how things are framed, notice how his time lapses always feature some sort of large move, notice how he edits the video footage and then think about what actually was happening there. There are a lot of things on YouTube, but only a few of them are legitimately something new under the sun. These new styles cultivated not from film or TV but out of how we watch and share specifically online video. We have to be acknowledged that this medium has to be recognized as something other than the stepchild of older formats. I get a thrill watching Neistat’s work, I’m motivated by the art that is in it and how wonderfully visual it can be. For me, it’s the style you can not duplicate, because the show is animated and held together by his energy.
Now it’s your turn to start your first daily vlog and I’m here to help you, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.