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2017: The year in Verge video


We saw a lot of wild stuff this year, from the future of electric cars, holograms, and our planet, to the future of… banana phones. As we take a (short) break before January’s Consumer Electronics Show, here’s a look back on Verge Video’s favorite projects of 2017. – Tom Connors

April 9th: The sound of movie monsters

This video all started with a heated convo at lunch between me, audio engineer Andru Marino, and science editor Ale Potenza: two Jurassic Park fanatics versus me.

We really leaned into sound. Andru, our sound engineer, would edit first, as if it were a podcast, and then I would drop footage. We also watched Jurassic Park movies on the weekend… for research. – Alix Diaconis

April 18th: Galaxy S8 Review

The wallpaper we made for our Samsung Galaxy S8 Review has gone on to become one of our most memorable graphics. During a pre-production conversation with James Bareham, our Creative Director, we agreed it would be great to have a wallpaper that helps show off the curved edges of the S8. With the broad idea of “lines”, I sat down, created the design, and after seeing it we suddenly realized: why haven’t we been doing this all along? We make custom wallpapers for for a majority of our reviews, which are available to download here.

Bonus: a tutorial on how I made the wallpaper can be found here. – William Joel

June 5th: Walt Mossberg’s gadget museum

This was a series we always wanted to do at some point, and there was no better time than around Walt Mossberg’s retirement. I was lucky to get to work with Walt every week on our podcast Ctrl-Walt-Delete, so they let me edit some of these videos. As a fan of retro tech, this was a really cool way to show how some of the more recognized gadgets in his collection were inspiration for the phones, laptops, and tablets we use today; as well as shine a light on how a cultural status symbol was developing around consumer technology. The StarTAC made you look cool, the Kindle made Amazon a hardware company, the TRS-80 refined word processing, the IBM Thinkpad 701 refined that even further, and the iPhone, of course, changed the way we live in more ways than one. – Andru Marino

June 19th: Making the OnePlus 5

As a longtime nerd and fan of The Verge, technology runs in my blood. When asked if I would go to Shenzhen, China to shoot a feature with OnePlus, I had my bag packed by the first planning meeting. We spent a week in China’s tech capital, where my inner geek shined from the OnePlus factory floor to Shenzhen’s insane electronics market, Huaqiangbei. It was without a doubt a trip to remember, and I can’t wait to make it back to China for another video. – Phil Esposito

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Microsoft’s Calibri font is at the center of a political scandal

A Microsoft font may have exposed corruption in Pakistan.

Posted by The Verge on Friday, July 14, 2017

July 15th: A Microsoft font gets the last laugh

My favorite videos were joyful to work on because they were all inherently editorial, rather that keeping up with a Facebook Views rat race of virality. A video that sticks out as cementing a news format was, “A Microsoft font may have exposed corruption in Pakistan.” It builds off the work we’d been doing with Russell Brandom in videos such as the Petrya Ransomware news hit, and gave us the room to focus on more editorial stories such as AI Fake News and one of my favorites from Circuit Breaker, Gadget Myth-busting: Should you cover your webcam?Sarah Bishop Woods

August 3rd: Moto Z2 Force Review

The Moto Z2 Force is one of the most unimpressive, wildly boring phones I have had the pleasure of shooting this year, but even a donkey can look like a stallion in the summer months when the content lakes are dry and companies are putting the final touches on more impressive tech. We shot the hell out of this phone, but ultimately just wanted an excuse to buy glitter. Enjoy! – Becca Farsace

August 15th: Space Craft, Episode 1

Most of my time is spent keeping The Verge’s video machine running (aka operations aka meetings) and that means I don’t often get to be hands on with videos. Space Craft, however, was an exception, and this episode in particular was a lot of fun to pull together. We had a last minute opportunity to send the crew to North Dakota to run around in spacesuits, and how do you say ‘no’ to that? A lot of different people on the video team worked on this series in one way or another — and more than once I found myself sitting in the edit suite marveling at how lucky I am to work with this team and all the work we do. – Sophie Erickson

August 29th: Microgravity

One of my favorite things about creating videos for The Verge is getting the chance to experience the lives of some of the world’s most interesting people. Every shoot is like a walk in someone else’s shoes. On Space Craft, these shoes were moon boots, and they did not disappoint.

Just being at NASA was incredible, and I can now check the box next to the childhood dream of going to space camp. We got to see a spaceship. We toured the astronaut training facilities, and Loren learned how to exercise on space. We met and filmed with two astronauts as they completed an underwater simulation in a giant pool with replica space crafts. I mean, what is life? – Tyler Pina

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All the ways you’re wearing contact lenses wrong | Bad Habits

Your bad contact lens habits could make you go blind.

Posted by Verge Science on Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1st: Bad habits

As low-key as this video is, everyone sacrificed something for it. Our very patient coworkers gave up an office bathroom so that we’d have a place to film. Reporter Angela Chen spent the better part of the afternoon repeatedly poking at her own eyes. And the authentic bloodshot eye in the opening shot? That’s director Alex Parkin, who grabbed the wrong prop bottle of contact solution and ended up with some mild hydrogen peroxide burns. Buy hey, we got a good shot, and after a couple hours Alex got his sight back too. In conclusion: watch the video. Treat your eyes well. Don’t be like us. – Will Poor

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Will seafloor mining for precious metals destroy rare species?

Robots might start mining gold from the seafloor — but will it destroy rare species?

Posted by Verge Science on Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 7th: Deep sea vents

Deep Sea Vents was the first video the Science team produced using a miniature. Some topics that we cover are hard to visualize or find original footage of, but we took that as a challenge to create our own underwater vent. Using a 12”x12” aquarium, cement, a 200ml cooking syringe, plastic tubing, an air pump, white tempera paint, and glitter, we shot slow motion macro shots as the paint was injected through the vent column and into the water, creating a beautiful white plume. Each shot took approximately thirty minutes to set up, so we only were able to capture a few shots before it was time to wrap up and move on — but the process was extremely fun and we hope to continue building miniatures and dioramas as we explore other video topics. – Cory Zapatka

November 8th: Hurricane homes

Hurricane Harvey devastated coastal towns in Texas and the aftermath was surreal. I met folks that rode out the storm and lived to tell about it thanks to the design of their Deltec home. The timing to tell this story felt right. We had just seen most of the south get pummeled by hurricanes and climate change discussions were front and center. As a Director, my goal is to find the “human element” in stories and form connections between the subject and the audience. My hope is to spark conversations, inform, and entertain. – Christian Mazza

November 14th: Next Level drone detection

I’ve been tasked with the Next Level graphics for two seasons now and this one stands out more than any other. The series has many strong animations throughout it but what stood out here is the drones, I’ve always found them to be intriguing. Being able to recreate one and how they move in a 2d environment was a welcoming challenge. – Garret Beard

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The psychology of self-driving cars

Why don’t we trust self-driving cars?

Posted by Verge Science on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 28th: Self driving cars, how do they work?

My 8-year-old self would be thrilled to know that one day he’d get paid to play with toy cars. I locked myself in the studio, threw on some tunes, and set up scenarios for the little cars to act out. The only thing missing were the Squeezits. And I think that sense of nostalgia found its way into the visual style of the video, my inspirations included Carl Sagan’s Flatland and a Blockbuster training video. William Poor’s script was a fun, introductory look at a very complex topic, and it was fun trying to reflect it visually. – Alex Parkin

November 22nd: Microsoft’s weird hardware

It was my first week on the job and I was asked to hop on a plane and help out. Dieter had a hands on with the new Surface Book, but we were also offered access to design and engineering leads who could show us around their in house hardware lab. It was a hectic few hours, but in the best possible way. We knew there was a story, but we walked in listening letting ourselves to hear where that story was hiding. Working with Vjeran to capture the visuals and Dieter to craft a thoughtful and original story proved to me that this is the place that I want to be. So this piece is pretty special to me. – Felicia Shivakumar

December 5th: Exosuits

The easiest part of my job is making Lauren Goode look like a rockstar, and it was especially easy when she was testing out exoskeletons in the season two finale of Next Level. Aside from experiencing the tech, myself included, filming this episode was a blast — slow motion footage, dramatic lighting, Movi shots, sound effects, trip to Detroit… you name it! And another point of pride was the amount of research and journalism that went into telling this story. We talked to industry leaders, pioneers and beta testers for both medical and industrial uses. It serves as a great evergreen piece about the current state and future of exos. Besides, you don’t get an opportunity to shoot on the floor of Ford’s assembly plant, or operate the gimbal wearing an exoskeleton. – Vjeran Pavic


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