Trying Clickbait Photo “Hacks” From Instagram
Hello friends, and welcome to another video. Today, I’m going to be trying out questionable photo and video hacks from Instagram. Now previously, we’ve tried recreating some odd, sort of silent movie-esque beauty and fashion hacks that are all over Instagram, with pretty mediocre results. And since then, we’ve stumbled upon yet another bizarre family of how-to videos: photo and video hacks, which are meant to teach you how to take artistic like-bait Instagram photos, as well as uniquely edited videos that will have you going a-viral. Now while some of these hacks and videos are kind of cute, a lot of them seem to fall into the “is-that-even-good?” and the “there’s-no-way-that-works” categories. There’s also sort of an intriguing meta-ness to these hacks, where they’re trying to get views on Instagram by teaching people how to get views on Instagram. So they’re able to justify using a click-baity thumbnail, because they’re teaching YOU how to click-bait. Now overall, I would say these videos are still in the early stages of being produced, as they’re not quite yet as spammed to the masses as, say, beauty tutorials or clothing hacks, but mark my words: the flood is coming. As the few that we have found on Instagram or re-posted to YouTube have ridiculously high view counts, and usually with these Instagram hack videos, once there is blood in the water, there tend to be many copy-sharks ready to hack at the chum. So I thought it would be fun to jump on this bandwagon and try some out myself. But before we dive in, I also wanted to let you guys know that we just launched our first merch drop / clothing line, which is called “Fiends by Saf” or, I guess, “by me” which includes this shirt I’m wearing right here, as well as few others we’ve shown on Instagram, but we’ll show you the whole line at the end of the video. Also, no, there’s no relation to “Best Fiends.” All right. Let’s get to hacking. Now, from watching a few of these videos on Instagram, but also versions that were re-posted onto YouTube and Facebook, I would say that there a few different categories that these hacks fall into, and the first category that we’re going to tackle is the forced perspective hack. Now I would define forced perspective as kind of like optical illusions, where you can make your subject seem bigger or smaller or at a different angle in relation to the objects around them to create a titillating image. I feel like the classic example of this is the “holding-up -the-Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa” photo and these hackers LOVE this trick, whether it be a watermelon dress, falling off the side of the sidewalk ahem, blowing dudes off your hand. popping out of a chapstick holder, or tricking women on Tinder into thinking you have a Lambo, which is the subject of an extended play-out in this video by Crafty Panda. But the hack we’re gonna be taking on is the classic tiny woman jumping into teacup. So this video was posted by diy.learning, but it was freebooted from 5-Minute Crafts and this version has, like, 40 million views, which is sort of disappointing, because 5-Minute Crafts’ original posted video only has 10 million views. Freebooting wins again on Instagram. So basically for this hack, it seems that you need two people, a mug, a rock, and some water … and also a camera. Tyler: Definitely that. Saf: So basically, you have one person who’s, like, really close to the mug with the camera, and then you have another person who is the “fall-ee,” who jumps and then compresses, to pretend to have jumped into the cup. Once that happens, the person who’s holding the camera drops the rock into the cup to create a little splash. And then, afterwards, you edit out the rock so you just see the jump and the splash. So for this hack and, I guess, most of these hacks, we’re gonna have to go out into the world. So I guess we’ll go out, try it out, and see what happens. Tyler: You gotta compact jump, Saf. Saf: So we headed out to a park, where we found a picnic bench that I could stand on top of and then jump off of, and we tried a few test shots without the rock, just to make sure, like, Tyler could get the cup lined up properly for that real forced perspective. Tyler: Oh okay, that looks pretty good. Saf: And also to perfect my jumping technique, which we quickly found out was bad. Tyler: You gotta condense faster. Saf: I can’t. I don’t know how. Oh, like this? Tyler: Yeah, you gotta frog-squat. Tyler: No, that’s really slow. Saf: Once we introduced the water and the rock, though, we quickly found out that it’s difficult to both hold the camera and also drop the rock. [Loud clank as rock hits the rim of the mug, Tyler laughing] Saf: How was that? Tyler: I missed! Saf: So to solve this problem, we had one of our editors, Emily, drop the rock– I feel like that sounds weird for some reason. Tyler: It sounds like she’s taking a dump. Saf: So Tyler could just focus on the cinematography. Tyler: This is like a Michael Bay film. Tyler: Okay, you’re dancing on the side of a pool. Saf: I’m warm! I wanna take a dip in this teacup. Tyler: Don’t make a tea joke. Saf: I’m swimming in tea! Tyler: God damn it. Saf: And with our new set-up, we got some better results. Tyler: Oh, sh*t. Tyler: No, your head’s popping up, you gotta go back down. Tyler: Yeah, there you go. Saf: We tried a couple of different angles and actually a couple of different park benches, and in the end, we came away with at least a few usable takes. Although there was one squirrel who didn’t seem to think I was doing a very good job. All right… something just hit my head. That was rude! Unfortunately for him, there is no such thing as a dislike on Instagram. Tyler: Ah, there he is, being a little bitch. Saf: Overall, I would say that the experience of making this hack was pretty… medium. You definitely need more people and more hands on set than they insinuate, and I also think that with most of these forced perspective hacks it’s hard to get both the close object and the far object in focus at the same time. In fact, I would say that a lot of the “finished products” in these hacks almost look like they’re photoshopped together. However, I do think that this hack ended up looking kind of cute, though it probably would have been cuter if I were better at jumping. Tyler: Have you ever jumped into, like, a swimming pool? Saf: Yes, but this is not jumping into a swimming pool. I’m jumping onto concrete. So overall, I would say that “I” wasn’t very good at doing this hack, but this definitely isn’t the worst hack on the list. So the next category I would call: prop hacks. As in, they’re basically just telling you what props to use or what backgrounds to make so your photos just look more interesting. And these can range from using crumpled up tinfoil, to taping flowers to a piece of Saran wrap to posing suggestively with mirrors, or even pretending you’re being kidnapped, I guess. Woman in photo: How did I happen to get here? Saf: Once again, we’re all out here playing checkers and Troom Troom is, I don’t know, playing Jenga or something. And these prop hacks are contained within the larger category of just teaching people how to take better photos. Like, stand up straight, pull back your leg fat, etc., etc. But the hack we’re going to be doing is a SInging-in-the-Rain-esque hack with a water bottle and an umbrella. So this video is another 5-Minute Crafts video and it is basically just that you take an umbrella with a little, sort of, spoke at the top, open up a water bottle, upend the water bottle on top of the spoke, and sort of let the water, like, flow down as if it’s raining, and then you, kind of, like, pose underneath the umbrella to be, like, “Oh, my God, it’s sunny and raining at the same time.” Tyler: Whaaat? Saf: All right, so we’ve got a clear plastic umbrella, and a water bottle. Tyler: Yeah.
Saf: Right? That’s all we need. Saf: All right, ready? Tyler: Yeah, you gotta twirl. Gotta twirl. Saf: Over the shoulder? Tyler: Yeah, go, yeah, go! It’s on! Oh, hold on. Tyler: There we go. I rotated mid-shot. Saf: It’s hitting my head. So we figured out pretty quickly that the top of our umbrella was pretty much the exact same size as the opening of our water bottle. Is anything coming out? Here, help. Tyler: (Laughs) Water bottle’s full. Saf: So Tyler kept having to lift the water bottle up to give me a spurt here and there. Oh! Hohohoo. I’m really wet. Oh, I’m really wet. Okay. Tyler: At least we’re watering the grass.
Saf: Yeah. (laughs) Saf: So we wanted to try something with a bigger nozzle, and coincidentally we happened to have an empty Odwalla bottle that we filled up with water. Saf: Ready? Tyler: Go! Tyler: Ooooh, wow. It’s raining. Saf: And it definitely did work, almost too well. Is it empty? Oh, crap, that was it. Saf: How was that?
Tyler: That was fast. Saf: So once again we had to employ the help of Emily. Saf: Uuuh! Ready? So Tyler could be ready with the camera. Good? Tyler: I think so. Saf: Was that better? Tyler: I think so. Saf: All right. Ehhh, we tried that, like, five times. Overall, I would say that the end product of this hack is kind of fun, but I think it is actually sort of difficult to execute. How do I twirl this umbrella well? Over one shoulder? Oh, I’m getting wet. And when I really think about it, I wonder what the purpose of the hack is. It’s kind of cute. I just don’t know, like, if we Instagram that, like, what would someone say? Be like, “It’s not… it’s not raining. How are you doing that?” Tyler: Why is that good? Saf: I’m not sure if it hinges on the idea that it’s interesting that it’s raining while it’s sunny, or if they’re just putting any prop in your hands to spice up your feed. Like, “Hey, maybe you haven’t taken a picture with an umbrella in a while.” Ha ha ha. That was fun. Okay. So our next category is what I would call the equipment hacks. As in, how do you enhance your current equipment or simulate the effect of having fancier equipment? Within this category, there are a few hacks that focus on how to play with lighting, like making a bounce light with a Big Mac box, using a CD for a rainbow effect, or using a pasta strainer to get, like, a dappled light. There are also some that focus on camera stabilization of which a couple seem okay, but others seem very dangerous, like rolling down a street in your office chair, or using a belt to swing your hundreds-of-dollars camera around. This one makes me very upset. Please don’t do this. But the subcategory we’re looking into is the putting-stuff-on-your-lens genre. Which includes using things like lipstick, chapstick, water, or for a less destructive approach, pantyhose, sunglasses, or a construction-paper cut-out of a heart, which is the one we’re gonna be trying. Now we actually found this hack in a few different places, in a few different compilations, from different D.I.Y. conglomerates, but just for, like, our purposes right now, we’re gonna be comping off of this video posted by Blossom. So I believe this is called a heart bokeh effect. And basically what they instruct you to do, is literally just take, like, a construction-paper circle, cut out a heart in the middle, and then place it over your lens. And then you should basically be able to direct your lens at anything with Christmas lights in the background and turn those Christmas lights into hearts. Now admittedly there are some holes in my DSLR knowledge, but even so, I feel like there has to be something more to this. However, there are no further instructions in, like, any of these hack videos about this, and also, for other hacks, they touch on things like changing the settings on your camera, whereas for this hack they say nothing of the sort. Apparently, construction paper is fricking magic. All right, so basically I’m just supposed to trace the circumference of my lens onto a piece of construction paper and then sometimes they, like, trace a heart in the middle, but I’m gonna do the, like, fold-in-half-and-create-a-heart-that-way method. This is some serious second-grade-ish. I feel like an old-school cartoon. I’m like “Hubba hubba!” So once we had our heart filter cut out, I realized pretty quickly that there *was* something more to this that I did not know. Wait. (Laughing) Tyler: What? Saf: What?! Tyler: It doesn’t look right? Saf: No, you’re just in a heart. Basically with all of the settings on my camera the same as they are right now, putting a heart filter over the lens just puts a heart over the picture. This looks terrible. So, determined to give it the old college try, I ended up watching a couple of YouTube tutorials on how to do the bokeh effect. I love this question. “How do I get the most bokeh?” And it seems to be pretty hard. So I messed with the settings on my camera a little bit and tried to get some distance between me and the Christmas lights, and have Tyler far enough in front of the Christmas lights so I could really get them out of focus. You’re too close. Tyler: Oh, I’m too close, all right. Saf: You’re too close. And I even changed out my lens for a zoom lens, and even with all of these adjustments, I didn’t really get it to work. Okay. I *can* get the background lights to look like hearts if I’m zoomed in and looking only at them. But I can’t get any hearts with Tyler also in frame. Also, Tyler looks like, sort of, like, a tomato demon, because he’s so, like, not lit. Heh. So, overall, in reviewing this hack, I do not think it works. I think that bokeh is a real thing and, like, a real technique and I’m probaby not pronouncing it right, but this hack is just lying. Maybe one day I will learn to bokeh… …but not today. So the next category is the transition category, and there actually aren’t a ton of these on Instagram yet, but there are some. And I think they’re mostly based on the musical.ly– or I guess it’s called TikTok now–transition style. And I would say their signature element is the moving of the phone to create the effect, like sliding your phone in a certain direction or flipping it upside down, etc., etc. And the hack that we’re going to be doing comes from our mega-freebooted 5-Minute Crafts compilation and they basically sort of create this story where someone comes in, stomps on the ground, and then someone on the other side of the world is listening to that person stomp on the ground above them, I guess. It sort of feels like an Instagram version of the “dig a hole to China” thing. [Tyler laughs] And basically the technique that you do with your phone is that you film someone stomping on the ground, and then you lower your phone, like, below a stair, flip your phone around, and then raise your phone up, and by the time you, sort of, come up, there’s someone else there listening in the spot where that person was just stomping. So let’s go find some stairs and try this out! Also, for this one they use a second person, but I’m just going to be stomping and listening. Tyler: Yeah, you’re on both sides of the world, I guess. Saf: Yeah. It’s the “Upside Down”. Tyler: Ohhhh! Saf: So we tried this one quite a few times, and I think it is kind of tricky to, like, get all of the elements together. [Tyler laughs] Tyler: I don’t think I gave you enough time. Saf: Like you need a steady hand whilst holding the camera. You need to be fully below the stair before you start flipping. You need to make sure the subject is changing position at the right time. Etc., etc. Tyler: This is really hard. Tyler: I’m not good at this one. Saf: I don’t think I’m that good; Saf: I need to hit the deck really fast. Tyler: Yeah, you gotta speed it up. Saf: But after numerous takes and quite a bit of awkward-looking stomping– I don’t know why I’m so bad at stomping and jumping, and, like, anything to do with legs– we ended up with a few decent takes, I think. That was great! Tyler: Okay, cool.
Saf: Yeah. Saf: Leaving me hanging, that’s rude. Now, in terms of post-production, I think that they basically intend for you to edit out the whole flipping time– as you can see, like, in their footage there is no flip– but I feel like they’ve done something a little more, because not only can I not see a jumpcut in their footage, their stair is also very smooth and much darker than the one they show themselves filming in front of. So I don’t know what they did, but they did something to make it look really good. In conclusion, I do think that their finished product is pretty cool, but following their tutorial as stated, our version doesn’t really measure up, all stomping issues aside. All right. So our final category is what I would call just editing. Though some of these other hacks also require editing to achieve the final product, these ones specifically require nothing else besides cutting out some footage or playing something backwards. Now, some of these seem to be like stop-motion animation, which definitely does require some effort to edit, but overall this category is basically just, like, “Hey, have you heard of Adobe Premiere?” So our hack that we’re gonna be doing is also from 5-Minute Crafts, but it is from a different photo-and-video-hack compilation. Now this one is very simple. It’s essentially just walking backwards, but you play it backwards so it looks like you’re walking forwards and everyone around you is, like, walking the other direction. So you’re, like, going against the grain of society. You’re a free spirit and/or you probably don’t live in New York or somewhere where someone would just barrel right into you. But it seems straightforward enough, so we’re going to head out to somewhere in L.A. that has some foot traffic and see what we can do. All right. So we decided to come to Hollywood because we thought that, you know, there are people walking around here. But it seems like people are more milling than walking with purpose. Tyler: Yeah. Saf: And there also wasn’t really continuous traffic. there were more, sort of, like, lulls and waves. Tyler: There’s no one there. Saf: Damn it! So even though I had, like, a few good stretches of walking backwards, there were plenty of times where there just, like, wasn’t anyone around me. You zoomed in on my feet, but there was no one else’s feet to compare me to. Tyler: Oh, was that what I was supposed to do? Saf: Yeah. Tyler: Okay, I didn’t really get the memo. Saf: We tried a few different takes of this, going different directions on the street, waiting for foot traffic to, sort of, catch up to, etc., etc. We’ve got one more crowd of people coming. Ready? But I feel like the biggest tells with this hack is if people walk the same direction as you or if you have to dodge them. Tyler: You’re gonna walk into people–gotta veer left! Tyler: There you go. Saf: The girl in the video is able to maintain, like, a very straight gait, which makes me feel like the people around her were, perhaps, extras. I know there was at least one guy in the video that we see in other hacks. So I’m not saying that, like, everyone else in the video was an extra, but, like, maybe they had a few strategic people so they could have some good traffic and also some good straight lines. Tyler: The one thing you can’t do is look over your shoulder. You can’t just go … Tyler: I’m walking *that* way. Saf: Now overall, I think that there were a couple of good moments in what we filmed but with how many challenges this one has and how difficult it is to look natural walking backwards, I woudn’t say there’s a lot of pay-off to this hack. And I think that this category in general is definitely the longest stretch on the word ‘hack’, because I feel like hacks are supposed to be neat tricks or quick-and-easy fixes, and this is more: take footage, put it into editing software, edit it … and that’s literally it. Okay. So those were our Instagram photo and video hacks. I think that overall my favorites out of these hacks were the jumping-into-the-cup hack and the umbrella hack, just because we did have some fun filming them, and also because the ending products were something, at least. On the other side of the spectrum, I feel like the walking-backwards hack is probably the least hack-like of any of the hacks we’ve done in any of these videos, and I think the heart-bokeh hack was probably the least-informative hack we’ve ever tried. Now as for whether or not they achieve their supposed objective of getting you more Likes, I’m not 100% sure that they would, but I think that perhaps the more straightforward tips about teaching you how to pose may actually be helpful, especially if you’ve never heard of those before. While other ones may just confuse your followers and in some cases they may even make them worry for your safety. Troom Troom: Eyes full of horror and imitate a cry of despair! But, hey, even if these hacks won’t necessarily help you go a-viral, they may help you get a date on Tinder, as long as they never ask to see the actual car. Tyler: Gotcha! Saf: Thank you guys so much for watching and as we mentioned before, we just launched our merch line, which I decided to call “Fiends,” because I feel like “Fiend” is the, like, word embodiment of this hand-motion right here, which is kind of like sneaky, mischievous, and hoarding of many lipsticks, amongst other things . As for the items, we have this Fiends long-sleeve t-shirt, which I’ve been wearing pretty much for the last week straight. And besides that, we also have a Bat B*tch hoodie and a Hello Friends t-shirt, as well as a beanie, a dad hat, and some pretty neat pins and stickers. Now, in general, this is, like, our very first drop of anything ever, so we’re definitely still figuring some things out and learning as we go. I feel like we’ve been saying the word “Merch” a lot, but we’re, sort of, actually going for something in between merch and a clothing line, because we wanted to make stuff that would be wearable in your everyday life, beyond just repping Saf. We also wanted to make sure the items were pretty good quality, so, like, the Hello Friends t-shirt is embroidered, if I can find it. It’s embroidered. And with the sweatshirt we went for a bit of a nicer hoodie– apparently it’s a good cotton mix– just so you guys could get some good use out of them. Now that said, based on the feedback that we’ve gotten from you guys in the last couple of days, we’re definitely going to be adding some more plus-size options, but besides that, just go take a look, check it out, and see if you’re into it, and just know that we have a bunch of ideas for future drops, and we’re gonna be adding some different products at different price-points as well. The link to the shop is right here… as well as in the description below. So yay! Thanks again for watching. If you like that video, I don’t always plug my merch, so please SHMASH that Like button and it you want to see more videos like this, make sure to SHMASH that Subscribe button. Here are my social media handles and a big shoutout to Emerald for watching. Thanks for watching, Emerald, and I will see you guys a-next time.