The Story Behind “(270) Seconds of Summer”

Summer goes by quickly in Washington. You’re so busy enjoying it with friends & family, then all of a sudden the rain comes & you’re left with memories… Screw that. This year I wanted to breathe some life onto those memories & make ‘em last, so over the course of Summer 2011 I took my camera around & gathered nearly 100 GB worth of footage (Somewhere in the ballpark of 20 hours). I wanted the final video to be fast pace yet nostalgic, so I chose a song that reflected that: Stay Close by Delorean (RAC remix). After I-don’t-know-how-many hours of editing in my spare time, this was the outcome…

(Watch in HD on Vimeo!)

Many of those editing hours were spent experimenting. For example, the tracking text on the animals took a day to learn & another day to implement. Creating the split-screen intro was like assembling a mind bending puzzle! All that’s nothing compared to the amount of time spent organizing & cutting clips. Taking 20 hours of footage & squeezing it into 4 minutes & 30 seconds is an achievement in itself.

The film’s supposed to make people feel something. The goal was goosebumps. Excitement. Dopamine in the bloodstream. The intro’s meant to keep the viewer mildly interested while the music builds to the beat kicking at :58. That’s the point at which I wanted them to be drawn in, and if they weren’t, the introduction of real audio at 1:57 was meant to hook them. The tracking text on the animals was a set-up for a joke, the punchline for which is at 3:48. I wanted the cuts to be quick so viewer’s left with a feeling that they missed so much they have to go back & watch it again, thus making the piece a little more interactive… and making the viewer feel a little more involved.

Inspiration: The title alone was inspired by Marc Webb’s mind-bogglingly creative (500) Days of Summer (Written by Neustadter/Weber). Though the title was a bite, the content in (270) was unrelated. The use of real audio was inspired, in part, by Romain Gavras’s Adidas, All In video, which gets me amped every time I watch it!

(270) blew up & went viral three days after I posted it on Vimeo. It’s gotten a bit of press, being featured as a Curator’s Choice on storyful.com and being featured on a nationally syndicated television show called Right This Minute (which I never even got to see). It’s all very flattering, really, googling the title & seeing write-ups on hundreds of websites, in so many languages. It’s nice to know that my work can transcend borders & cultures, and inspire & touch all of humanity… and for that I’m grateful.

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23 Responses to The Story Behind “(270) Seconds of Summer”

  1. Rachel Marie says:

    Goosebumps: CHECK. I saw your video a while ago, but I thought of it again just now (yes, at 1:30 am). I’m new to videography, and am confused about how music copyright issues work. How did you get the rights to use that song in your video?

  2. Samuel Ebat says:

    Thanks! I sent a message going into a little detail about this, so check your inbox.

    • Curtis says:

      Great video. I’m very happy to inform you that all your controls in the video worked. I re-watched the video several times.

      Anyways, same with Rachel, I am also very curious on the question she asked and was wondering if you could give me some pointers on how get the rights to use songs in my videos.

      Thank you!

  3. Grace says:

    So good, What program did you use?

  4. Aurélien Groussin says:

    hello samuel, I came across your video and really I’m a fan.
    This really great video and much more emotion
    I would like to make a montage of my trip to Thailand in exactly your style.
    That’s why I wanted to know if you ca bother if I use the same music and videos effect ?

    Nice day ;-)

    • Samuel Ebat says:

      I’m flattered. But I would encourage you to be original, use a song that hasn’t been used before, create your own style & try to be better than me instead of mimicking. Ultimately, it’s your decision, so do whatever you want… Good luck & enjoy Thailand (and get a LOT of footage!)

  5. Aurélien Groussin says:

    I am already back from my trip. But you’re right I’ll try to do better;-) (it’ll be hard).

    I’ll let you know for your advice.

    Good day @ +

  6. Ian Johnston says:

    Did you create the text Tracking the animals in FCP? I am looking to do something similar for my next project and need a tutorial. Thankss

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  8. Maja Miloradović, also: МАЈА МИЛОРАДОВИЋ says:

    Hello. I loved it and wish to You all the best. Also, I’m very grateful to GB for this introduction he made… I haven’t tracked any of your working projects so far but shall do, in the future, hopefully. All the best to You, Sam(uel) – by all means. Срећно и пуно успеха!

  9. Maja Miloradović says:

    It really doesn’t matter :-) Someone showed me something and that’s how I discovered this page.
    Maybe I shouldn’t have commented but I did. Cause I do wish to you and to all people, committed within their way of redesigning and reshaping our own and others’ perception – all the best. Thank you for answering! Keep up with good work and spread that positive spirit worldwide!

  10. alline says:

    hey sam,
    im simply in love with you video, im from brazil and i study animations design at this university in China. i showed it to all my class mates, and i also have to do one video that is a bit similar to yours until the end of the semester… but yours is AMAZING… a truly inspiration to us all..
    i also have a t3i canon, i was wondering what lens did you use to film?
    thanks, i hpe all your summers are like that! =)
    alline

    • Samuel Ebat says:

      Thanks Alline! Means a lot. I was mostly using the 50mm f/1.4 & the kit lens to shoot (270). I’ve since gotten a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 for my current film, and it’s been a wise investment. Where can I see your work?

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  12. Cousin Kent says:

    Excellent work.

  13. Sarah says:

    Hey Sam, I am really into video editing, mosly in iMovie. I am looking to invest in Final Cut. Can you tell me a little about what exactly you did with Motion 4 and Compressor, so I can figure out what would be best for what I am looking to do with videos?

    • Samuel Ebat says:

      G’day Sarah! I used motion for the motion tracking text on the animals. I also used Optical Flow in motion for the reverse slow motion shots… I used compressor to get the format right for uploading video to the web. You can find tutorials on how to use all this on either YouTube or Vimeo, as well as other tutorial sites like Lynda.com, etc.. I’d definitely recommend stepping up to FCP from iMovie! I’m using FC Studio 7. Some people are moving over to Final Cut Pro X, but I’ve heard mixed reviews on that. For now, I’m sticking with 7. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  14. Pablo says:

    Hello Samuel, so good, What camera did you use?

  15. Amanda says:

    Hey, I LOVE your video! I know it was posted awhile ago, and I saw it awhile ago but I keep watching it over and over again. I can’t get over how amazing the video is and how awesome it makes me feel. I was just wondering, what are the places that you went in this video? Not specifically the towns, but the beaches were so beautiful I was wondering where they are. Also what camera do you use? Thank you!

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