I ran into Casey Neistat in the men’s room at the Oscars, two Oscars ago. I recognized him from his vlog. He looked the same as he does on YouTube, except he was wearing a tuxedo and sunglasses instead of a T-shirt and sunglasses. He had a Samsung Gear 360, which at the time was a spanking-new, golf-ball-shaped camera that tech-type people were going crazy about because it promised to allow the masses to record virtual-reality video. Neistat’s was perched on a selfie stick, and he carried it around like it was a rare bird.
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“You got one?” I asked him, a little disbelieving, a little jealous.
Eddie Redmayne, a nominee for best actor that year, smiled and squeezed by on his way to the row of urinals.
“Yeah, Samsung’s letting me play with it,” Neistat said. He was moving quickly. “Come check it out.”
It was a nice gesture, though I wasn’t sure what he meant. I followed him for a bit, but eventually he disappeared into the crowd. Neistat was working. Having fun, but working. He wasn’t up in the cheap seats, like I was. He was on the first floor. Spielberg territory. Neistat shoots video for a living—better than almost anyone—and here he was, on assignment for one of the biggest brands in the world at one of the most viewed events in the world. Fun, sure, but he only had one shot at getting the night. He had to move.
Like everyone featured in this special issue of Popular Mechanics, Neistat uses video as a tool—to communicate, to entertain, to tell stories, to make the world smaller. (And to make quite a lot of money.) The reason we devoted this entire issue to the topic of video—the first print magazine ever to do so, as far as our team of statisticians can tell—is that we want to help you use it, too. Video is fun, but it’s increasingly important, too. Video can confirm that we know better than NFL referees, but it can also escalate protests that overthrow governments or draw us into the personal lives of people a world away. It can build brands and strengthen friendships and facilitate research about Mars. It can help you design your kitchen, or help you make a good Creole gumbo in it. It can help you at work. It can become your work.
Whether you’re shooting your kid’s birthday party, a political rally, or your attempt at internet fame, you’ll need the right gear, the right software. Maybe the right drone, even. And you’ll need knowledge. We canvassed some of the internet’s most successful and talented video experts to find out what you need to know right now. Save this issue—and read it alongside the special website we’ve created to accompany the print edition, popularmechanics.com/thevideoissue. Every story in the magazine has a video counterpart, so you can read this magazine or stream it. Share the videos on social media.
Share the magazine by handing it to another human. Or just, you know, leave it on the coffee table.
Editor in Chief
This appears in the October 2017 issue.