PotsNPans was honored to have been hand picked by Atlas Genius to be one of four directors to create a viral video for their hit song “Trojans.”
But what to shoot for it? Given our penchant for extreme discomfort, we obviously chose to cast off all the typical New Year celebrations and film this video instead.
Heck, why stop there? we said. Let’s film someone joining the Polar Bear Club for their Annual Coney Island New Years Day Swim!
For those who aren’t familiar, the Polar Bear Club is a group of masochists who, like their animal namesake, leap into frigid, polluted water on a regular basis. Their New Year’s Day swim is one of their largest annual events when crazies from all over the place come to join them.
To make this shoot happen we needed two things: One, equipment that could handle the extreme wet and cold without breaking, and two, an actress that could handle the extreme wet and cold without breaking.
Finding the right equipment was easy. Only one camera has cornered the market on near-invincibility and that’s the GoPro. We chose the GoPro Hero 3, which is small, waterproof, shock-proof, and shoots in full 1080p.
As for the actress, we cast our friend, the lovely Alexandra Miller, who stars in The Carrie Diaries on the CW. We weren’t sure how she would react to the news that she would be playing a young New Yorker that would willingly jump into the Atlantic in the middle of winter, but to our great surprise she was down like funkytown.
On December 31st, we shot Alexandra going about a normal routine in our apartment; then ventured out into the city to capture the bike scenes.
The New Year’s Eve party in the video was actually a real-life New Year’s celebration at our friend Benny Blanco’s apartment. Fun Fact: Benny Blanco is the writer behind pretty much every hit pop song in the past four years and also Trevor’s childhood friend from Virginia. Watch for the jew fro at around 1:50.
Don’t worry, filming this scene was all strictly professional. The champagne was apple cider, the joint was oregano, and the furniture was made of gingerbread.
New Years Day dawned. Actually, well before then, we’d sent David out to film the shore’s sand, waves, and seagulls, lots of seagulls.
The rest of the crew arrived later on with Alexandra. We strapped on our GoPros and set them to 120 frames per second, super slow-mo, to capture all of the intricacies and emotions of the moment.
And now, the moment of truth. Yelling like warriors charging into a bloody battle, we ran straight into the waves, where our battle cries turned promptly into girlish squeals. Here’s a video on our Youtube channel of all three cameras in real time as we dove in.
Most of us were shaking so fiercely that the initial footage we captured was almost unusable, but luckily anything touching the water for more than 30 seconds went numb, so things went better after that. Trevor somehow stayed in the water a full ten minutes to film our fellow swimmers, and hasn’t stopped shivering since.
Our video premiered through Vimeo on Hollywood.com, seventeen.com and mashable.com on April 2nd, 2013 along with the other talented directors’ interpretations of the song. Whose is the best? We’ll leave that up to you (although we all know who suffered the most for it). Make sure to check it out!