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The Slow-Mo Guys' Most Insane Videos

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If cinema has taught us anything, it’s that action heroes don’t look at explosions. They turn their back on lethal shrapnel and fiery debris to nonchalantly swagger off into the distance.
 
The Slow-Mo Guys, on the other hand, quite wisely decide to run like hell. For these two mavericks - namely Dan, Lance Corporal in the British Army, and Gavin, a filmmaker based in Texas, have blown up their fair share of buildings with grenades and lived to tell the tale.
 
They've also fired a few machine guns and performed other action hero tasks in the name of science, racking up YouTube hits in the millions.
 
With this new found fame in mind, we asked the guys to talk us through their most interesting projects of peril thus far.
 

Biggest Budget

Gav: We’ve been lucky that certain brands have given us budgets. But in the case of the grenades video, where we had help from the makers of Battlefield, we were also able to blow up a building, resulting in one of the biggest fireballs I have ever seen. The guys also provided us with special blast shields and lighting equipment, which helped.

Dan: The production value of our usual videos is between £20 and £40. So this was something else. We still called the shots on the day though, so it was all us. It was a ridiculous budget on that shoot.


Most Dangerous

Gav: We blew up jars of paint with an actual cannon. There was glass everywhere, and if you have high speed fragments flying at you then you’re in trouble. In hindsight, it would have been easier to use plastic cups. Anything where fire is involved is always a gamble, too. But that’s the joy of shooting slow-mo, because you can’t predict what will look best.


Toughest shoot

Gav: Firing a pistol underwater, because every time we fired the water would go cloudy, meaning we couldn’t see much. We used a periscope for that one. It was time consuming. We’re lucky that we don’t get stressed. We usually spend a week together and shoot anything up to 15 videos, so we’ve plenty of time to see what works and what doesn’t
Dan: And you’d be surprised how much doesn’t work. We wanted to do a saucepan fire where you throw water on it. 
Gav: People are wisely advised not to do this because water sinks to the bottom of the saucepan and evaporates. And then all the oil flies up in the air, like a big fireball, and I’ve always wanted to film that. But each time we try and film it there’s been an issue with the oil not being hot enough or Dan spilling it all over his hands.
Dan: I’m not going to set fire to myself!

Oddest Fan Suggestion

Gav: The ones we had suggested the most from the very start were inevitably ones of us getting hurt or injured – get shot with a paintball gun. Vomit was another one.
Dan: A lot of love for the vomit. So we shot a video of me vomiting.
Gav: I was quite worried that the video might be taken down if Dan brought food back up – no one wants to see what he’s eaten in the last 24hrs in HD, so we chose a gallon of milk because milk vomit just looks like milk, it’s not actually as gross as pieces of corn coming up.
Dan: People also liked asking for the weapons stuff, like us firing the machine gun. That was a good one.

Geekiest Effort

Gav: The company I work for in Texas has a convention every year. That’s nerd culture.
Dan: We flew to GE Labs in New York last year where we shot super hydrophobic surface and magnetic liquid. That was really geeky, but people seem to really respond to it.
Gav: We get Tweets from teachers who show videos like these to kids in schools.

The Game Changer

Gav: The giant water balloon. It got 2.5m hits. Our videos around the time were getting 40,000 or 50,000 views, which was great, but we didn’t expect the giant water balloon. Then that got 2m views in a day. All of our mates told us and it was all over our Facebook. It went all over TV, too, like it was news.

Dan: Water balloon popping was the classic internet video, but we took it to the next level.

Gav: I actually ordered that balloon about six months before we shot the video, as that’s the one I wanted to do from the off.

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