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Is This 'Dancing' Video Real?

The New York Times today has a piece about this YouTube "Dancing" video that's been burning up the interwebs the last few months. I think some of these shots, especially the ones in the less accessible locations, look like they're faked in front of a green screen. What do you think?

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Why wouldn't it be real? It comes from http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/ Having been to some of these places (like the Ala Archa Gorge) I can see that he was there (it would have been almost impossible to get someone else to make the video for him in Kyrgyzstan).

Sent by Trent Milam | 9:46 AM | 7-8-2008

real? the thing that's real is its beautiful feeling and message...i couldn't turn away...it was rather compelling and made me smile...catchy melody!

Sent by janet | 11:16 AM | 7-8-2008

I had the same reaction at first. How does some guy get all over the world to, um, dance(?). It was intriguing but I do not see it as having some lofty purpose. Besides, does a YouTube video HAVE to have a purpose. Isn't this just, "I dance therefor I am,"?

Sent by Hollis in hamilton, NY | 12:00 PM | 7-8-2008

@Hollis: There's quite a lot of background to this that you're not aware of. The short answer is that this is his third such video, and he was able to make it because after the first two he got a big sponsorship deal from Stride (which is advertised at the end of the video).

I have no reason to believe anything about this is fake--the guy obviously has the will to go around the world and do this and Stride obviously has the money, but I must admit that the first time I saw the video I thought some of the shots looked distinctly fake--the Cape of Good Hope shot, for example. Still, I'm no video expert and even YouTube's High Quality setting (which I recommend) isn't really high enough for me to "tell by the pixels," as they say. What I do know is that the video makes me happy every time I watch it--even if I'm scrutinizing it for signs of fraud--so I think I'll stop worrying about it and just enjoy it.

Sent by Jordan Running | 12:53 PM | 7-8-2008

I agree that while it's possible some shots are fake, it's a really happy video. Ah, globalization meets creativity and sponsorship. What a world.

Sent by Liz Robertson | 1:31 PM | 7-8-2008

Bleech! This video disturbs me. Heavenly music and awesome exotic locales coupled with the rather odd imagery of a guy performing a not very funny dance is very off-putting. There is nothing really happy or joyful about this video -- it's rather odd forced saccharine.

Sent by Dan M. | 4:19 PM | 7-8-2008

I suppose it's possible that some of the locations were faked, but I sincerely doubt it. I've been following Matt Harding's adventures since the first video, and even tried to convince him to stop in Malm??, Sweden, during his last "world dancing tour". He chose Stockholm instead, but invited me to come up and dance with him on Segelstorg for Midsummer in 2007. That footage definitely made the latest video (at about the 1:32 mark). There is also a section on his website (the link is in the first comment) for participating dancers to leave messages about their experiences...even a gifted writer would be hard-pressed to fake those.

Sent by Sharon Bowker | 9:35 AM | 7-9-2008

I just went to a talk given by Matt and he gave us a peek behind the scenes of his travels. He had some great footage that didn't go into the main video and was very passionate about world travel.

Sent by Sam | 2:07 PM | 7-9-2008

When I first watched it, I also thought it might be a fake. Don't know if it is or not - but it was clever.
So, clever for sure- fake?? - - need hard proof - I'm a bit of a skeptic.

Sent by Carol | 6:44 PM | 7-9-2008

Maori - pronounced "Mau - ree"

Not "May - Or - ee" :)

Sent by Carlos | 11:15 PM | 7-9-2008

I've worked as a film compositor (someone who put greenscreen/bluescreen stuff into the scenes) and I can say with 100% certainty that this is all real.

Greenscreening this is not possible without MANY things. Some examples:

- Film or very high-end HD video (requiring large cameras). Color sampling limitations make it impossible to do realistic greenscreening without professional video/film equipment.

- Someone who knows how to expertly light said screen, and the subject accurately to match the background video/film

- A studio large enough to accommodate all the extras and the screen and all lighting and camera equipment

- You'd need all of the background footage anyway to composite in the greenscreen stuff - although this could be sourced from stock footage places. However it doesn't account for the complete consistency of the consumer-grade video appearance.

- An EXPERT compositor to composite the greenscreen and background elements together, any additional atmospheric items for realism, effects to make the whole thing look like seamless consumer-grade video, and hundreds of hours in time, rendering, digitizing, editing, compositing, and color-grading.

It may not seem it, but it'd actually have been much cheaper to send two people to those countries with a video camera and tell them to dance with locals.

Sent by Carlos | 11:44 PM | 7-9-2008

i didn't think they were dancin so bad...except for that one with elaine from seinfeld! you did see her didn't you?

Sent by janet | 10:41 AM | 7-10-2008

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