Latest Videos on Stark Insider: Ziplining, a short doc, EdgeWalk CN Tower, Iceland, Pebble Beach

Plus some thoughts on the State of YouTube and streaming platforms.

When we first made a serious push into video for Stark Insider in 2009 we didn’t expect how fast everything would change. Back then YouTube was a place primarily for cat videos, home videos, and a whole bunch of random stuff.

All of those, of course, are still there in abundance but so are: major TV shows, the White House, a litany of former television personalities with their own niche channels (i.e. Jay Leno’s Garage), news networks (and live streams), sporting events and highlights, music video premieres. Plus all of the sub-genres that are attracting droves of young audiences to the site: makeup tutorials, tech unboxing videos, and reaction videos (ugh), among so many other emerging niches that seem to be popping up all over the place. Also, it’s often easy to forget the anchor of YouTube, the How-To videos for just about anything you can think of (my recent favorite: “how to fix loose spoiler on a Prius”).

I Heart Reykjavik - Walking tour with Audur
Shooting a Stark Insider video in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Iceland Glaciers - Loni Stark
Loni Stark somewhere in Southern Iceland.

And Vlogs. Vlogs, vlogs, vlogs. Far from my favorite (will we care 10 or 20 years from now what you had for breakfast last Tuesday?). Still, many presenters have such charisma and interesting things to say and show that it’s hard not to feel compelled to subscribe, or at least check in from time to time. To watch the phenomena yield “YouTube Stars” that make multiple millions each year from views is remarkable.

No question, it will be interesting to see how YouTube evolves in the coming years. Then there’s the Big Time streaming competition: Netflix (who just had a stunning quarter, blowing away subscriber growth estimates), Amazon Prime, and Google.

If there’s one constant it’s (cliche alert) disruption. Count me as one who’s not exactly disappointed to trade in a satellite dish for the cloud.

Now original programming for video platforms is all the rage.

Who would’ve thunk, back when Netflix was mounting its attack on Blockbuster Video, that it would someday produce a show as successful as House of Cards? Soon after, Amazon produced the movie Manchester at Sea and would go on to win an Oscar. Now high quality, award-winning programming from streamling platforms seems the norm. How fast markets move. Cable cutting? So 2010!

For small indie publishers such as ourselves here on Stark Insider, more video platforms and the potential to reach larger and global audiences is both a blessing and a curse.

Stark Insider Video BTS with Loni Stark
Shooting a Stark Insider video on location in Sonoma with Loni Stark.

Yes, much of the tools are free (or, at worst, very inexpensive relative to the past). That’s helpful. For example, indie filmmakers no longer necessarily need distribution if they’re content on doing the heavy lifting themselves, and marketing aggressively via social media and other digital channels to reach a, likely, very small and niche audience — ironic, given the potential for such global reach. At least it’s possible.

However, cutting through the noise is increasingly difficult. Add on top of that our collectively decreasing attention spans, and you soon realize that it may take a strategy and path to market markedly different than even just 5 years ago.

All of that to say, we at Stark Insider will be trying some new things.

Zagging instead of zigging.

Fewer clients!

Maybe Jerry Maguire was right. The video market, like sports marketing as represented in the 1996 film, might continue to become long tail-ish, and cater to increasingly fragmented and loyal, yet niche segments. Who knows. I do know that one significant thing that I enjoy out of this process — this experimentation — is the right to absolute, uncompromised, often unhinged, creative freedom. To me that is valhalla.

With that, here’s the latest Stark Insider videos you may have (sadly) missed over the past few months.

Look soon for some of our most ambitious projects yet, and thanks for following the West Coast adventure.


Ziplining at The Sasquatch, Whistler, BC

Loni Stark checks out the monstrous zipline in Canada. Traveling at speeds up to 100 KM/h with incredible views, it’s a bucket list experience to be sure, but probably not for the faint of heart.

Short Doc: The Sonoma Artist Everyone Knows

(Also available to stream on Amazon Prime)

His name is Bradford Brenner, and he’s the talk of Healdsburg, Sonoma. Stark Insider spent a day in the charming town of Healdsburg checking out his work and learning about his creative process and why everyone seems to know and love Brad.

Crazy or Die

(Also available to stream on Amazon Prime)

Loni Stark and I spent a few weekends shooting a short film. It started with an idea: a bedtime story reading of The Little Prince. But, of course, it spiraled out of control.

EdgeWalk CN Tower

Another bucket list item. Sure, you can take an elevator up the CN Tower to the observation deck for expansive views of Toronto. You could also hang out on the edge. Trust me, colors are more vivid and everything — everything! — tastes better once you’re back down on ground level.

3 Days in Iceland // Aurora Borealis

Stark Insider headed on location to Paris and Iceland earlier this year. Here’s a quick look at The Northern Lights. Look soon for my “3 Days” trilogy, coming soon to Stark Insider. Shooting video in and around Reykjavik (the capital) was an amazing experience, it was also the first time my camera (Sony a6500) completely froze over. I mean totally frozen!

Pebble Beach Food & Wine

(Also available to stream on Amazon Prime)

We met up with Chef Graham Elliot at the pinch-be experience known as Pebble Beach Food & Wine. Later, I took my Panasonic GH5 and followed Loni Stark to the Grand Tasting…