8 Booth: Savagely Creating Content
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the almost over-night YouTube sensation (circa 2016) 8Booth. His videos have been a bit of a personal obsession of mine since my introduction late last year. You see, some years back I had a friend convince me the jumping out of a plane at 5k feet would be a fun idea. It was. As anyone who’s jumped out of a plane, or maybe even off a bridge (with a bungee cord) will tell you, in the hours, days and weeks after jumping… There is a fairly particular feeling, a desire, to jump again. It hits me after at the most in-opportune times, while I was on my 28th story balcony for instance, or when I visited Niagara Falls – basically when you’re up that high, you just start to think about how fun it feels to fall that far down. So in the age of first-person gaming, the need to know everything and our almost perfectly human flirtation with death, it’s no surprise that what 8Booth was doing, was / is getting noticed. I thought a lot about how we at Toronto Creatives create, plan, execute, edit and even release our content. It’s planned, discussed, researched, and produced meticulously. I also reflected on our team members, probably the most talented group of people I’ve ever worked with – each one creates differently. Different creative processes are explored and nourished. This was what I wanted to focus on in my time with 8Booth; the process.
Q: On Instagram (@8booth) you’re a “cameraman ‘til death” – the Internet at large has named you a “daredevil”, which of these two things are you first? Are they the same?/ how do they work together?
A: Yes, in my belief, they are the same. I will continue to film until the day I die. When thinking on which title I am first, I’d have to say they are equal components to my end goal, which is that I want people to remember my name at least 200 years after im dead. They work hand in hand by displaying how technical a stunt can be with the proper set up. I rarely had anyone film me.
Q: Following up to that… you’ve said before you’re not thinking about the ‘views’ when you’re there, in the moment, ready to jump – you’re more focused on the jump itself. What about the shot? How much are you thinking about what the footage looks like?
A: This is a rad question. The amount of time I’ve spent making selfie sticks, checking camera angles, so much trial and error while freediving, then i moved on to to skating with an assortment of poles. Learning the different frame rates and resolutions. It was all hard work that eventually paid off. Basically, the entire time I am filming, Im thinking about how the view looks from the camera. It was strange at first. I had just gotten into GoPros the summer before my “jump” summer and when i first started using them, I was actually camera shy. It was a trip.
Q: How much time do you spend scouting; and how do you find your locations before a jump?
A: It would depend. Some of the jumps i did, i had been looking at for years. Some, friends would tell me about, id maybe do it mid-way, a flip or something, Check the depth. Some i had thought about randomly in my head while maybe working at some of these places i had jumped. (haha). Some of the times to do the jumps were too perfect to pass up. Like Pool Drop 7, which was on Christmas Day. Prior to jumping, Id be running around like a mad man, scoping people, cameras, workers, escapes, cops, everything you could imagine. After I had Jumped El Morro. Which was the third on my list of 3 that had been bothering me for years prior to even filming. These three consisted of Table Rock Roof, Pool 1, and El Morro. After I turned 28, because most “famous” people had died when they were 27. I stared scouting hard and sending everything. I would often use maps to find things. A lot of people would tell me about jumps, but i would slightly modify them. So after Pool Drop 7, A manager told me about the Pacific Edge Pool. I saw it for my first time that night . (the 25th). I saw the pool, saw the drop and was like, “mehh, you cant do something easier”. After just gapping from roof to pool on Pool 7, I thought a gap was possible as well in this location. my estimates were at a 24′ gap, when rather it was a 28′. Fuck.
Q: On the subject of locations, what’s the farthest you’ve traveled for an 8Booth video?
A: Everything was in laguna, then the harbor, and pools in Catalina.
Q: Do you have any background in stunt work? Apart from the 8Booth videos
A: No. Ive done everything on my own, but I’m not opposed to stunt work.
Q: If not covered above… Did you / Do you do these kind of jumps without a camera rolling?
A: I used to do minor things. All of the jumps i filmed were first time jumps apart from some of the smaller ones. After being introduced to the gopro, i never pushed it as hard. No point in doing something that may kill you without filming it.
Q: When you work commercially what are you typically working on? What’s your favorite thing / kind of thing to film? Make? Talk about?
A: Honestly, editing is like writing and writers get “writers block” I make videos that i feel inspired by/passionate about. I have to feel it to make it.
Q: You don’t use a lot of music in your videos, particularly the first person jumps – is this intentional? Do you go through any post on the audio?
A: I just thought the videos themselves looked insane. I was posting them on instagram. A lot of my first youtube posts were just instagram posts i has already done. If i thought they looked nutty, other people did as well. I had people telling me i was going to blow up when i was only at 800 followers on instagram. Didnt even have a youtube.
Q: Typically how long are you spending setting up an 8Booth video shoot, when you have multiple cameras in play? How do you pick the camera locations? What’s the process in setting up the secondary cameras? How long before/after a jump do you do setup/teardown? Do you have to be aware of any risks here? Have you ever ditched equipment?
A: I spend a good amount of time thinking about where to set up cameras. I pick locations by picking a spot i think would give a sick view, maybe adjust it a little, i rarely use tripods. I usually have gopro mounts or just set a camera somewhere. Setting up secondary cameras doesnt take much time at all. After scouting a spot, i already know where a camera is going to go. With how small some of the sessions are, its easy to just throw them somewhere and turn them on. I also really depends on how secure the area is for me to film, or not, meaning how risky the spot may be to be caught. teardown is simple. grab all the cameras and run. haha. The only equipment ive ditched was a gopro i left on the roof of pool drop 8 that was recording. I still dont know where it is. Ive also had to ditch “looking” for gopros. sometimes you can almost drown yourself looking for them.
Q: What’s in-store for you once you’re back at full capacity. Do you think you’ll keep making this style of videos? Overall, what’s next for the 8Booth brand?
A: I’d prefer not to give up any future plans. I will definitely be making more POV style videos in the future. Overall whats next?Wing suiting? BASE jumping?
Q: Any tips/thoughts for creators?
A: Ya. you got to put in what you want to get out. And then some.