Seagulls!
September 12, 2012 1:31 PM   Subscribe

A seagull steals a GoPro camera, flies around, figures it's not food, drops it.

Spoiler alert: the owner eventually catches up with it. Also, seagulls fly faster than I thought possible.
posted by mathowie (139 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
But it was food. It was food for thought.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


This made my day a little brighter.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there a viral ad like this posted to MeFi in the past year or two? This isn't the same video as the one I remember though.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:35 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This made my day a little brighter.

Made that guy's video a whole lot more interesting, too!
posted by heyho at 1:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wasn't there a viral ad like this posted to MeFi in the past year or two? This isn't the same video as the one I remember though.

The post you are thinking of.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I happened to be listening to 'It Was a Good Day' when clicking on this. I'd highly recommend it.
posted by graphnerd at 1:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Spoiler alert: the owner eventually catches up with it.

Either that or seagulls learned how to upload.
posted by phaedon at 1:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


The concept, if not the video itself, is a double.
posted by mrnutty at 1:37 PM on September 12, 2012


ahhh good ol' reality. you can't make this shit up.

and +1 for not dropping it in the water you asshat bird.
posted by twist my arm at 1:37 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


So this is an ad for GoPro, then? (I don't know what that is)
posted by graphnerd at 1:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


i mean unless it is in fact made up
posted by twist my arm at 1:39 PM on September 12, 2012


since I have moved to a city by the sea I have seen the following:

1. a seagull eating a pigeon
2. a seagull eating an entire crab in one bite
3. a different seagull eating a pigeon
4. a baby seagull hanging out in a doorway
posted by jonbro at 1:40 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Both videos name the camera in the video name; both YouTube accounts are someone's first and last capitalized names.
posted by gubo at 1:40 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


octopus steals camera
posted by twist my arm at 1:42 PM on September 12, 2012


"the owner eventually catches up with it."

Well, someone caught up with it.... I know I would be that happy if a seagull delivered a free camera to me !
posted by HuronBob at 1:42 PM on September 12, 2012


My favorite seagull video.

I would like to play a videogame where you and your seagull companion have to do heists. Maybe the human is a hacker and the seagull is the greaseman.

Or it could be a oceans 11 style thing where all of the characters are different kleptoparasites.
posted by jonbro at 1:42 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


hmmm...
posted by stbalbach at 1:43 PM on September 12, 2012


So this is an ad for GoPro, then? (I don't know what that is)
Yes of course. Same with all the other carefully crafted viral videos that happen to mention they were shot with a gopro every time they are described.

Mefi used to keep the ads in a differently colored box though.
posted by fartron at 1:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


You can't see it in the video, but there's a tiny Francis Ford Coppola riding him.
posted by griphus at 1:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


If this turns out to be an ad, I'll delete it, but it seems pretty cynical and far-fetched for them to try actually making a bird do this. How on earth would that even work?
posted by mathowie at 1:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tape bread to camera.
posted by mrnutty at 1:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


More far-fetched than multiple birds stealing multiple active GoPro cameras?
posted by cribcage at 1:47 PM on September 12, 2012


Tape a baby to the camera.
posted by phaedon at 1:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Either that or seagulls learned how to upload.

Well, now I have something new to keep me up terrified at night.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:50 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love the happy reunion at the end! So much amusement and relief! (Though maybe it was very convenient of the gull to drop it in an area so easily accessible after such a nice little flight?)
posted by harujion at 1:50 PM on September 12, 2012


Certainly some falconer or eagle trainer (are there such things?) has strapped one of these cameras to the back of a raptor, right? If not, they really need to.
posted by bondcliff at 1:50 PM on September 12, 2012


1. tape pigeon to camera
2. tape an entire crab to camera
3. tape a different pigeon to camera
4. put smaller camera in a doorway
posted by mrnutty at 1:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [54 favorites]


That gull has a killer sense of composition.
posted by The Deej at 1:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


How did the owner of the camera track the bird that flew over water so quickly?
posted by maryr at 1:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


both YouTube accounts are someone's first and last capitalized names.

That means nothing, it's very common now because the Google Profiles stuff encourages you to link it to your G+ identity. It's not required (mine still uses my username, not my Real Name), but it doesn't imply anything.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can train birds to do a lot of stuff.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:52 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


ruh-roh
posted by twist my arm at 1:52 PM on September 12, 2012


has strapped one of these cameras to the back of a raptor.

There was a really really good bbc show last year that had a bunch of these types of shots.

Earthflight... I don't know if it is available on dvd yet, but it was on iPlayer for a bit.
posted by jonbro at 1:53 PM on September 12, 2012


fartron: "Same with all the other carefully crafted viral videos that happen to mention they were shot with a gopro every time they are described."

I don't know. I don't think being specific about the camera means much in this context. I have several friends who own GoPros and they refer to them by that name regularly. I could see any of them posting something on YouTube and saying "Check out what I shot with my GoPro!" It's quicker than saying "sturdy, small, lightweight, mountable camera".
posted by brundlefly at 1:54 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, what are the odds that multiple seagulls steal video cameras, and while I learn about it, I'm listening to band called "Damn Seagulls"? Just asking.
posted by ikalliom at 1:55 PM on September 12, 2012


But it's not quicker than saying "camera," which I think most people do. Although I will grant you that "sturdy, small, lightweight, mountable camera" probably sells better.
posted by cribcage at 1:56 PM on September 12, 2012


Here is a video of a camera on the back of a vulture.

The vulture has been trained to fly from an ultralight.
posted by jonbro at 1:57 PM on September 12, 2012


The gull wasn't really flying that fast; it just looked fast because it was only inches above the water. I'm sure the photographer tracked the bird without too much difficulty to the point where it landed; the bird just wanted some distance to try dissecting its prey, and the flight was only a couple of hundred meters at most.
posted by localroger at 1:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


So this is an ad for GoPro, then?

Yes this is the new feature, "Can Easily be stolen by birds"
posted by phaedon at 1:59 PM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


The marketing people at GoPro are geniuses.
posted by crunchland at 2:00 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am extremely cynical about a lot of these GoPro videos since I read an article about how they are forcing this sort of thing for marketing. Though I was a lot more cynical about that whole stolen bike thing. Everyone's actions seem to not ring true to me.
posted by Napierzaza at 2:00 PM on September 12, 2012


If this turns out to be an ad, I'll delete it, but it seems pretty cynical and far-fetched for them to try actually making a bird do this. How on earth would that even work?
posted by mathowie at 1:46 PM on September 12 [+] [!]


Because as has been noted a few times already, GoPro has pulled this exact stunt before (bird steals camera and sets it down somewhere unscathed).
posted by basicchannel at 2:01 PM on September 12, 2012


GoPro is kind of a thing among people who shoot stuff like this. The mountain I bike down in the summer, at the K1 they rent GoPros (I am probably going to buy one before next summer). Saying you shot it with a GoPro is not quicker than saying "camera," but it is quicker than saying "A camera that shoots in HD and is basically optimized for awesome outdoorsy stuff and essentially is not a digital Funsaver or, like, my crappy cell phone camera or whatever." They're awesome little cameras, from what I can tell.

So I mean, is it fake? Well in the sense of whether or not this just happened to spontaneously occur to the GoPro owned by someone who has no connection with the people who made their camera, I have no idea. But it appears very real in the sense that, yes, a seagull stole someone's camera and flew around with it a bit. In any event I think it's cool seeing what it looks like when you attach a camera to a bird.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:02 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


But no one is saying it's fake in the sense that a bird didn't actually pick it up and fly with it, right?

It being a viral ad seems irrelevant to me. It's still showing the same thing.

(I realize some people Just Hate Ads)
posted by wildcrdj at 2:02 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


cribcage: "But it's not quicker than saying "camera,""

What I've observed is that people are specific about GoPros because they have a specific size and design and are used for specific things, and "camera" doesn't get that across.
posted by brundlefly at 2:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It being a viral ad seems irrelevant to me. It's still showing the same thing.

(I realize some people Just Hate Ads)


Yeah, I'm just annoyed by it being presented as not an ad when it clearly is.

Also, I'm a total hypocrite because I work in web marketing.
posted by graphnerd at 2:04 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


But no one is saying it's fake in the sense that a bird didn't actually pick it up and fly with it, right?

Not in this case, but the comments here contain a few people who talk about how these dolphins must clearly be CGI and it isn't even all that good.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:05 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not buying one. They all get stolen by birds.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


People are unlikely to only own a GoPro. It's a second or third camera. I call all of my cameras by name, so there you have that. Different cameras do different things. (See also: Holga.)
posted by heyho at 2:06 PM on September 12, 2012


but returned!
posted by twist my arm at 2:06 PM on September 12, 2012


True, but that woman may have trained that bird to steal them.

I want a camera I won't have to tether down.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:07 PM on September 12, 2012


How about the fact that she appears to be a marketing consultant?
posted by specialagentwebb at 2:08 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


People are unlikely to only own a GoPro

Yeah, it's a specialty camera (doesn't take very good video or photos, so you would be unlikely to use it for non-sport/outdoor stuff). I definitely refer to mine as a "GoPro" rather than a "video camera" for this reason (my actual video camera I just call a video camera, same with my still camera -- also this is because they're both some sort of Canon and I can't remember the model #s, GoPro has very few options and so its more descriptive than "Canon" or "Sony").

Yeah, I'm just annoyed by it being presented as not an ad when it clearly is.

Thats fair, yeah.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:13 PM on September 12, 2012


I don't believe Newark Airport is real either but, you know, that's just how I roll.
posted by mintcake! at 2:13 PM on September 12, 2012


Fake. I refuse to believe there's an ANIMAL that can FLY through the AIR. Have you ever seen a dog fly? No? How about a rat? Still no? Okay, what about a gorilla? Exactly. The notion of a flying animal is unbelievably far-fetched. Use your heads, people. They probably just hired a genie or a vampire of some kind.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


I'm imagining this woman's family happily watching the video on home movie night years from now. Some of these things you just don't delete.

On my phone's message inbox, I have a several years-old message resulting from the time my friend's little boy was playing with their phone and somehow managed to call me. My friend didn't realize this and didn't hang up when she took the phone away from him. So there's this long recorded slice of life in their household. One highlight of which was...

My friend to her little boy: Jonathan, you put your pee in the potty today at the sitters! You can have a lollipop!

Jonathan: Yay!!!!!

My friend: And maybe tomorrow you can put your poo in the potty too and get another lollipop!

Jonathan: Yay!!!!!

Then when he's given his lollipop he insists that his mother have a lick of it.

I'l never delete that message.
posted by orange swan at 2:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Not in this case, but the comments here contain a few people who talk about how these dolphins must clearly be CGI and it isn't even all that good.

Is viral dolphin pod video a hoax? -- "The camera's manufacturer, GoPro, denies any involvement with the engaging dolphin video, but that's exactly what they should say if they want it to go viral."
posted by ericb at 2:19 PM on September 12, 2012


"The camera's manufacturer, GoPro, denies any involvement with the engaging dolphin video, but that's exactly what they should say if they want it to go viral."

A comment from the uploader on the Vimeo link provided by FAMOUS MONSTER:
"I used the goPro Hero2, with the dive housing, then I made a "torpedo" housing to hold the gopro steady underwater. You can see the torpedo in the video. The dive housing with the flat lens on the GoPro is the key to getting sharp picture underwater. Costs $50."
Now, if that's not an ad...
posted by graphnerd at 2:24 PM on September 12, 2012


CBS San Francisco identifies Nathalie Rollandin as French Tourist.

The Sun says she's Italian. Great reorting there The Sun!
posted by ericb at 2:25 PM on September 12, 2012


I place my bet that this is a replay of GoPro's earlier viral hoax this year which nathancaswell posts to above.
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on September 12, 2012


*as a French Tourist*
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on September 12, 2012


Mathowie got played!
posted by orange swan at 2:27 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think some of you are being too jaded about this. There is very little indication it is fake. And so what if it is:

"Seagull grabs baited GoPro and takes it for a flight" is pretty much as cool as "Seagull grabs GoPro and takes it for a flight."

Either way: cool video.
posted by hamandcheese at 2:27 PM on September 12, 2012


(I realize some people Just Hate Ads)

Graphnerd basically voiced my sentiments above: It's not that I hate ads, it's that I don't like feeling deceived.

When I read or watch or listen to a message that says "the world is a great place where things like X can just happen", I want to believe that message. And then when I find out that X didn't "just happen", that it was set up or staged or outright faked, it feels disappointing, and I feel kind of gullible.

Oh, hey, I just noticed I put an accidental pun in the last second. Swisheroo!

Which reminds me of the only somewhat on-topic but definitely very pun-heavy comic strip Gulls.
posted by compartment at 2:28 PM on September 12, 2012


My favourite part was how the bird managed to set the camera down so he could film himself flying off into the sunset.
posted by hamandcheese at 2:29 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm drinking buddies with a couple guys from the GoPro marketing team and I think you all aren't giving them enough credit and you're too jaded. What GoPro did right early on was make a great product that is turning their name into the equivalent of Xerox or Kleenex for the small, lightweight, easily-mountable camera market. Ever heard of a Contour camera? No? Well that's their biggest competition.
For people that use these, they are not cameras they are GoPros. And people LOVE these things. What this has done is create an environment where their customer base happily pays them for the product and then turns around and uses it to create marketing materials for them. Go do a YouTube and Vimeo search for "GoPro". Everyday people are shooting amazing things with these little cameras and posting them to the world so everyone can see what they just shot with their GoPro.

In some way you may consider these videos ads, but in the majority of cases there has been no involvement with the actual company or their marketing department. It's word of mouth advertising.
posted by matt_od at 2:40 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Who is the shadow that appears right after the bird flies off? How much time was cut? Why does a man shout "no" at the "bird" but the camera is retrieved by a woman?

This video offers tantilizing glimpses of a deeper mystery. This is a mystery wrapped in a riddle swaddled carefully in an enigma. I maintain that this may be the finest work of experimental cinema of the 21st century. It's short duration a commentary on our new modes of media consumption. It is perfectly bite-sized for the youtube generation.It is a commentary on video qua video, with the act of filming itself acting as text.

a++ would view again.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:41 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


'[Saying 'GoPro]....But it's not quicker than saying "camera,

Um. What? I am baffled by that logic. They both take exactly the same time in any accent I can think of. GoPro = two syllables, Camera has two (or three if you're fancy). Exact same time.

Also, I haven't once met any of the many, many people I know who have GoPros who call them anything other than "My GoPro". They call them GoPro's like people call their Apple Cellular phones 'iPhones'.

The concept that calling it explicitly a GoPro means it is more likely to be an officially sponsored advert/promotion tool is nonsensical. Calling something by its name does not imply official involvement when EVERYONE already calls them that.
posted by Brockles at 2:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The dive housing with the flat lens on the GoPro is the key to getting sharp picture underwater. Costs $50."

Now, if that's not an ad...


You've never given people advice on the tools you've used to make something that you've posted online? I mean, it may well be an ad, but this is fairly flimsy "proof" of it.
posted by louie at 2:52 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gulls are assholes (as I said in a different thread recently; it's still true) and San Francisco gulls are no exception. The guy is lucky the gull didn't think it was a clam or a mussel - gulls will drop them from a great height onto pavement in order to smash the shells. Or they'll drop them on a street, wait for a car to run over it, and then pick out the innards. Mmm, camera innards....
posted by rtha at 3:01 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


So after this I'll back out of this post because I'm becoming obsessive, but here's why I don't believe any of this for a second (nothing here is definitive proof, but there's just too much to trust any of this):

1) The headline of the YouTube video "GoPro STOLEN by a SEAGULL!" sounds like it at least could have been written by a social media consultant
2) The description of the video specifically mentions the GoPro
3) The YouTube account has one and only one video uploaded
4) The woman who uploaded the account appears to work in high-level social media marketing
5) That woman also appears to have uploaded it to her Facebook page as the 'Official GoPro video of the day'
6) The composition at the end, with the seagull flying off into the sunset
7) This exact same thing happened, only at a castle in Cannes? Recently?
8) There's a history of this exact company arousing suspicion with other too-perfect viral videos

The real reason I'm annoyed by all of this is that the more that this kind of thing can get through to the Blue, the harder it is to trust anything that does. If companies can see actual value of getting the videos on here, how long until they see the value of creating their own accounts?

As I mentioned earlier in the post, I work in web marketing and I've spent a ton of time working with social media experts/gurus/consultants/etc. And there's no doubt in my mind that this is exactly the kind of thing that they sit around and plan on a daily basis.
posted by graphnerd at 3:04 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


> My favourite part was how the bird managed to set the camera down so he could film himself flying off into the sunset

But only from behind, so he or she can't be identified in a line-up. Unless it's a flying line-up, I guess.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:07 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Both videos name the camera in the video name; both YouTube accounts are someone's first and last capitalized names.

1. The GoPro is a specialized camera, and is typically referred to by its brand name, in my experience. (I know a bunch of people who use them, some for R/C use, others for sports.)

2. YouTube is in the middle of a big push right now to get users to de-anonymize and use their real names. (If you make a comment on YouTube, it will try to get you to reveal yourself and permanently associate your YouTube name with your real Google Account name. Creepy as fuck.)

So neither of those things, even in combination, are particularly sinister.

Also, seagulls are kleptomaniacs.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, here's several seagulls being filmed. That's some serious plumage on a few of them.
posted by Wordshore at 3:11 PM on September 12, 2012


Regardless of whether or not this is a viral ad, the more depressing part about this is that seagulls frequently pick up plastic because humans put so much of their food in plastic, and the gulls have learned that bits of plastic on the street often have food inside them.
posted by loquacious at 3:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favourite part was how the bird managed to set the camera down so he could film himself flying off into the sunset.

And conveniently film the "owner" showing up to pick up the camera.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:14 PM on September 12, 2012


The advertising cynicism around here is pretty fatiguing. As far as content goes, there is no real difference between what any of the skeptics have said in this thread and someone posting "FAKE!" as the entirety of a youtube comment on a video of your nephew blowing out his birthday cake.

Like, yeah I guess it could all be a marketing ploy and that could be all CGI and that's expertly acted display of wonderment and matthowie sold out after more than a decade in a complete reversal of site policy and culture and segulls might just be a myth they want you to believe in.

Or GoPro could just be lucky bastards in that they have a product that generates its own marketing without their involvement, and they're smart enough to support that sort of thing.

If getting suckered by advertising once in a while is the cost of never having another stupid FAKE derail, that is a price I am eager to pay.
posted by danny the boy at 3:18 PM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Also I think GoPro has some sort of promotion thing going on where users can submit videos for various prizes / recognition. It's gotta be an endless font of ad fodder for them, but it doesn't mean that the underlying videos are faked in some way, any more than photos from a Canon or Tamron-sponsored contest are. I know people who have submitted videos (including ones I thought were damn impressive) but they haven't gotten selected as the Video Of The Day or anything so far.

If you can stomach the fact that they use Facebook as an image gallery, quite a few of the selections are pretty awesome, for what is essentially a fixed-focus camera in a ruggedized enclosure.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:19 PM on September 12, 2012


That settles it. Just to be certain, I'm not going to ever buy a GoPro camera and I'm also never trusting a seagull with my car keys again (because he'd totally steal it).
posted by item at 3:20 PM on September 12, 2012


But yeah, looks like Mefi might've gotten played on this one.
posted by item at 3:21 PM on September 12, 2012


"Gotten played" in what way? Do you think the seagull was animatronic?

I was promised a seagull with a video camera, it delivered.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:24 PM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


My gut says that people who use these little cameras really seem to like them (or like people to know they own them), especially when they've captured something that wouldn't otherwise have been captured, so when something cool happens they either upload it to YouTube (and evangelize the product) or they send the videos to GoPro and GoPro says "hey, cool, why don't you post the video?" I mean, how many people on YouTube mention that their video was taken with an iPhone rather than with a camera? Lots.

So if GoPro posted the video with a note that said "one of our users sent this in", would it be more/less a viral ad? I dunno.
posted by davejay at 3:28 PM on September 12, 2012


I do find the whole "It's a fake!" culture thing wearisome. The state of mind that you can never totally, freely and spontaneously enjoy something quirky, offbeat, or original, on the off-chance that it may not be real. And, somehow, you're apparently a less of a person if don't spot that it's fake and others do. So you have to be guarded and analytical. Rather than just, heck, enjoying something.

It feels a lesser, more restrained, gloomier, way to live, to spend all of your time looking at things wondering if they are advertising. How dreary.

I enjoyed the video and grinned. I have no intention of buying another camera. That's good enough for me.
posted by Wordshore at 3:30 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is a great video, and I have no doubt that it was actually shot with a GoPro camera, which was actually picked up by a gull and dropped. In other words, I'm sure this video is not one of those "we did it all in post-production" things, with a green screen and a teamster acting the part of the seagull by wielding a claw extension in order to pick up the camera.

But I do wonder if it was staged. I wonder if they stuck a french fry on top of the camera, to encourage the gull to fly off with it. I wonder if they had to go through several rounds in order to get the gull to fly away with it, rather than just standing around pecking at it first (as gulls often do).

Most of all, I wonder who would set an expensive video camera in the sand and use it to record a sunset. As that is the presumed scenario that was going on, before that rascally gull interfered.
posted by ErikaB at 3:31 PM on September 12, 2012


That's what bothers me so much about it. It's not even about whether or not something is fake. It's about having a personality that really needs to show the world you are smarter than everyone else. You'd rather be right than happy.

More to the point, you'd rather be right than other people be happy.

These people are no fun and don't get invited to parties.
posted by danny the boy at 3:35 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Since we spent a lot of time on this question in the dolphin video thread, and since I did some research on it, I'll link and re-quote this:
Furthermore, GoPro's marketers consistently deny involvement with videos that viral marketing experts strongly believe they created. Case in point: an allegedly user-generated video posted last summer in which a seagull steals a man's GoPro camera and soars above the coast of France for several minutes, filming the glorious landscape below. The man allegedly found his camera where the seagull dropped it on the wall of a castle and posted the video online with the title "Seagull stole GoPro." (MeFi Thread).

Experts pointed out just how unlikely it would be for a seagull to pick up a camera, aim it downward for a while, then drop it far away only to have it inexplicably found by its owner. The video's explicit mention of GoPro in the title (instead of "camera") also raised red flags. GoPro denied involvement, and the stolen camera's owner also swore the video was real. However, he was interviewed doing so at a Cannes film festival for advertisers, and he has been known to make video ads in the past that use CGI (computer generated imagery).
posted by Miko at 3:43 PM on September 12, 2012


Link
posted by Miko at 3:43 PM on September 12, 2012


Looks like the seagull was doing him a favor. "Hey, you've got a GoPro? Why are you just sitting there on the beach? Don't you know they're designed for skiing and skydiving and stuff? Here, lemme see... lemme see ... HERE WE GO !! EXTREEEEEEMEE!!!"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:43 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder if they stuck a french fry on top of the camera, to encourage the gull to fly off with it.

Why does this matter? Is it somehow worse, less authentic, if we know that the seagull was compensated for his involvement, as it were? Why is the authenticity so critical to enjoying the video?

I think there's a pretty rich vein of possibilities for animals-with-GoPros. There's probably Internet Fame available for the first person who puts one in a donut box and gets a bear to carry it around.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:50 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


i thought the video was awesome, but have reserved room in my heart and hopes for the possibility it is fake, or viral, or staged. i'm sure there are some cynical ass bastards that want to take other people's joy away, but i think most people who have concerns just want the truth, including the circumstances under which this video and others were shot. there is plenty of precedent on metafilter of sniffing out bullshit. i like that about this place, that i can wait an hour after something is posted and know if there's obvious manipulation that the detective squad will ferret it out for me. to me, that's a feature not a bug. it's how you nab self-posters, for one.

it is interesting to me that with all the accusations, there isn't one that has stuck to GoPro, not yet anyway.

the reason advertising sucks is because it's manipulative and it works and i don't like knowing i'm that easy. the whole chik-fil-a/gay marriage thing? i never go to chik-fil-a, never crave it, don't understand the people who lurve it, nuthin'. but that week it exploded, i could. not. stop. thinking about it. true story!

on preview: i get invited to *some* parties, and i don't fun-police them. usually you'll find me at the grill. i try to engage strangers even though i'm ridiculously introvert and hate the world. i also help with dishes afterwards.

i think maybe you guys aren't being generous enough in your assumptions to accept that others might draw the line in a different place than you.
posted by twist my arm at 3:50 PM on September 12, 2012


I call all of my cameras by name

That's nothing, I'm on first name terms with my tame seagull Jeff.
posted by arcticseal at 3:55 PM on September 12, 2012


Whenever I hear "GoPro" I think of "go-slow", which is what the Nigerians call a big traffic jam. So now I'm thinking that there should be a GoPro viral video: a Nigerian traffic jam shot with a GoPro. GoPro Go-slow! Catchy!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:01 PM on September 12, 2012


Everyone I know who has a GoPro refers to it explicitly by name, and mentions it prominently when they upload footage captured with it.

I think it is more a case of a very successful initial branding push than anything, although some initial viral advertising might have had a hand in this, particularly as a means of demonstrating the cameras potential.


So while some videos may have been viral, not every cool video shot with a GoPro is a viral ad. I guess if you want to be really cynical, you could say every successful video shot with a GoPro is a viral ad, in that consumers caught the virus and are spreading it unprompted.


For the record, I own a Contour, and never refer to it in my footage or otherwise. Nothing wrong with it, it just wouldn't mean as much to other people. To the point I would have to say it's "like a GoPro, but barrel-shaped."
posted by louche mustachio at 4:13 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Gotten played" in what way? Do you think the seagull was animatronic?

I was promised a seagull with a video camera, it delivered


Woah there Nellie. I meant that Mefi got played because look at the discourse in this thread - if the video was fake then it's backfired horribly and if it wasn't fake then the camera's owner approached the whole thing in a rather weird way AND the camera's manufacturer has failed so much in their previous viral attempts that anything slightly suspect that's shot with their gear turns into clusterfucks like this one.

So yeah. Played. Like it or not.
posted by item at 4:29 PM on September 12, 2012


Mine. Mine. Mine.
posted by chuq at 4:35 PM on September 12, 2012


The real problem here is that it only takes one faux seagull-stealing-a-camera video to make us mistrust ALL seagull-stealing-a-camera video, casting aspersions and a shadow of complicity on all of the honest, hard-working seagull camera thieves who are out there every day working daybreak to dusk to ruin and/or delight the fine GoPro work of stationary scenery artists all over the world.
posted by maryr at 4:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


On top of everything else mentioned above, I just don't think that this behaviour is something that a seagull would do. Does anybody else have experience of a seagull snatching up something that is not food (i.e. not smelly/juicy/squishy)? I know that crows and their brethren are fond of shiny things, but if seagulls were doing stuff like this, with the many years of experience our species have had with each other this kind of cheekiness would have become part of our lore./faketyfakefake
posted by Flashman at 5:08 PM on September 12, 2012


Then again, I know how easy it is to be fooled.
posted by Flashman at 5:12 PM on September 12, 2012


For people that use these, they are not cameras they are GoPros. And people LOVE these things.

Obviously not enough to not leave them laying around on the concrete in public near the salty, salty, electronic-eating ocean while ravenous wing-rats hover nearby.

I don't buy it.
posted by Malice at 5:23 PM on September 12, 2012


near the salty, salty, electronic-eating ocean

Um, the whole point is that they're resistant to that stuff.
posted by louie at 5:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've seen seagulls steal packaged food (fast food trash, etc.), which obviously doesn't look like anything that would be part of a seagull's natural diet. But they're clever enough to know that the packaging typically contains food. It's not that hard to imagine that they might pick up anything plastic and haul it away and peck at it, just on the off chance it might be tasty. Which is pretty consistent with what the bird in the video does. It takes the 'catch' just far enough from the source to inspect it, and flies away once it realizes there's nothing inside.

One of seagulls' natural feeding strategies is to steal from other species (they are kleptoparasites), and they clearly know that humans are a good food supply. A person dropping something in the sand and walking away from it might easily invite interest. They will go so far as to steal food from people directly, as Rachael Ray found out -- although all the videos of it seem to have sadly been taken offline.

More entertainingly: here's an old animated gif of a seagull stealing bags of chips from a store (pre-Snoped for those who can't handle fun without several pages of source analysis).
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


not enough to not leave them laying around on the concrete in public near the salty, salty, electronic-eating ocean

Going to blow your mind here: I bought mine specifically to take it IN the ocean! (and now I has some nice scuba diving videos)

That is, as louie says, the point.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:43 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um, the whole point is that they're resistant to that stuff.

They're not resistant to being washed away, and also I was reading some forum complaints about how the cameras get flooded with water a little too easily.
posted by Malice at 5:45 PM on September 12, 2012


They're not resistant to being washed away,

I feel like people have not actually watched the video. It starts a good 20 feet from the water, in a fairly sheltered part of the bay (it's clearly in front of the beach hut, and lands on the porch of the yacht club - would have been easy to see and follow most of the way.) There is no risk of it being washed away.
posted by louie at 5:57 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


since I have moved to a city by the sea I have seen the following:


right about this time last year I was sitting out on the patio after an exceptionally hard day at work, watching the sunset sipping a beer, when a seagull flew into a power transformer and just got OBLITERATED. It was terrible and awesome all at once.
posted by mannequito at 6:00 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The first such video, with the seagull taking the camera and lifting it above Cannes old town is a couple years old; this one is from last week. If this is a viral marketing campaign, it's got a hell of a relaxed pace.

Plus, and this is from a marketer's point of view, that thing basically markets by itself: you build it, people buy it and make cool things with it and upload them on youtube and facebook. I know at least four or five guys making videos with it on their motorbikes, cars, riding downhill on bikes, scuba diving, ski, gliding... you name it.
Your customer base is the largest social media team you could ever dream of, and they paid for it in the first place. So what would the selling point be?

A video camera that can be stolen by a seagull. Twice.
posted by _dario at 6:00 PM on September 12, 2012


Certainly some falconer or eagle trainer (are there such things?) has strapped one of these cameras to the back of a raptor, right?

Helmet Cam Strapped to Hunting Falcon Captures “Birds-Eye-View” Footage
posted by homunculus at 6:02 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK so if this is a thing that happens to unattended cameras, wouldn't there be a whole slew of more crappy stolen GoPro cameras out there? Or is it that the one time it has ever happened, it turns out looking like a Sofia Coppola video?
posted by Flashman at 6:13 PM on September 12, 2012


Seagulls steal stuff. This seems feasible. If it's fake, Metafilter will find some real evidence. So far there is nothing definitive or overly compelling in this thread to support the viral ad argument.

My question: What's with the drastic change in the shadow on the wall with the cut at 0:43? Some time passes and something off camera is very different.
posted by TurkishGolds at 6:31 PM on September 12, 2012


So while some videos may have been viral, not every cool video shot with a GoPro is a viral ad. I guess if you want to be really cynical, you could say every successful video shot with a GoPro is a viral ad, in that consumers caught the virus and are spreading it unprompted.

The truth of it is somewhere in here. They've clearly done some viral-ad seeding. It doesn't take much of that to take it on yourself, and either share your crazy GoPro video that totally happened truly and authentically which then the company itself picks up and it goes viral, or share your crazy GoPro video that you totally engineered to create a viral video. They've got every marketers' dream going: your customers do the marketing for you.

It does seem like it happens a little too often to be completely accidental. GoPro has been successful in making "the viral GoPro video" an entity to be shared, admired....and emulated.

Of course seagulls behave that way and dolphins behave that way. But there's some confluence of Specific Equipment + Remarkably Intimate Natural Phenomenon, and the advertising power is right in that confluence. And GoPro knows it.
posted by Miko at 6:44 PM on September 12, 2012


My question: What's with the drastic change in the shadow on the wall with the cut at 0:43? Some time passes and something off camera is very different.

I think it was sitting where the seagull dropped it for a very long time, and she cut to the time right before she found the camera so the video wasn't an interminable slog of staring at a wall.
posted by capricorn at 6:48 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


On top of everything else mentioned above, I just don't think that this behaviour is something that a seagull would do.


I am not sure if you are aware of this, but seagulls are total assholes. Any horrid thing they are physically capable of doing? They will probably do.



After seeing a seagull attempt to eat a diaper in the K-mart parking lot I would put nothing past them.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:24 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


A seagull once carried my sunglasses away, from where they were sitting next to the empty food container near my beach towel. They were the foldable kind, and thus probably looked like a clam or mussel or something. The asshole gull carried it away, and dropped it a few hundred yards from the beach into the ocean. Guess that's when he figured out they weren't edible.

This does not seem so far fetched to me. I can totally see a couple hanging out at the beach, the guy yells when the gull takes the camera, they both go looking for it, and the woman finds it. I could be an ad, sure. But I bet there are other GoPros carried away by birds or animals, since they are often used outdoors. It's just that we only see the footage from the ones that people found again, not the ones dropped in the ocean...
posted by gemmy at 8:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


A seagull once stole a hotdog from my boyfriend's hand at that very goddamn same spot. Right out of his hand!

Stupid (clever) birds. This video is totally plausibly real to me.
posted by samthemander at 9:00 PM on September 12, 2012


Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, you put your pee in the potty today at the sitters! You can have a lollipop!

Yay!!!!!

posted by Sys Rq at 9:17 PM on September 12, 2012


A seagull once stole my son's plush yellow Pikachu right out of a sand castle on the beach. We have no idea where he flew off to and we never saw it again. (And it was his favorite. We ended up buying a plush banana slug but it just wasn't the same).

I'm waiting for when someone finds a camera on the ground and uploads a video from it, showing a bird stealing the camera and flying off.
posted by eye of newt at 9:40 PM on September 12, 2012


Well, I used to regale my "had never seen the ocean" ex-wife with horror stories from my ongoing one man war with the filthy thieving crap machines and she would tell me how horrible I was and how beautiful they were, despite the fact I needed scientific notation to track the number of times I had been crapped on (on bare skin!) and had food stolen.

So, we take a trip to California to show her the ocean, have her meet the familia and all that. During the trip we stop by Sea World for a day.

They have a nifty section where bottlenoses show up at specific times for feeding and you can feed and interact with them.

She buys two trays of fish and heads to the water, looking delighted at the opportunity.

BAM! GULLSTRIKE!

A gull buzzes her, almost gets entangled in her hair and steals her tray of fish.

Once her pulse drops (and I, um, stop laughing in vindication), she looks at me, deadpan, and says "I see what you were talking about." I graciously sacrificed my fish and stroked her dolphin when it came up.

It was cool. I petted/stroked a dolphin AND PROVED THE ETERNAL, DOMINANT EVIL THAT IS SEAGULLS WITH NO POSSIBLE MISINTERPRETATION!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HAHAhackhackwheeze..

Sorry, have a summery cold right now.
posted by Samizdata at 9:59 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I guess the real question is, does a video of a seagull stealing a camera make you want to buy that camera?
posted by crunchland at 10:00 PM on September 12, 2012


I guess the real question is, does a video of a seagull stealing a camera make you want to buy that camera?

Followup question: Are you a seagull?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:17 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: "I guess the real question is, does a video of a seagull stealing a camera make you want to buy that camera?

Followup question: Are you a seagull?
"

Followup question: Are you seagull targetted viral marketing?
posted by Samizdata at 10:38 PM on September 12, 2012


GoPro seems to have a really savvy marketing department, and I've wondered what level of involvement they've had in this :

https://www.35milliondirectors.com/
posted by jpziller at 10:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fast food chains and tourist bureaus have long courted the seagull demographic. While their purchasing power is less than stellar, one thing is for certain: Where the seagulls go, people will follow.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:47 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Kleptoparasitism" is my new word of the day.
posted by ikalliom at 10:49 PM on September 12, 2012


Sadly, "Kleptoparasitism" quite accurately describes my last interpersonal relationship.
posted by jpziller at 10:52 PM on September 12, 2012


I once had a seagull steal meat from my kebab as my mouth was descending upon it to bite it, nearly bit the damn bird.

Rats of the skies, capable of all kinds of evil.

(YES I threw the damn kebab away, urgh)
posted by Neale at 11:20 PM on September 12, 2012


Haters gonna hate. I love seagulls because they're dicks.
posted by brundlefly at 11:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


My company makes underwater robots. One of the guys who does the testing at sea is a camera nut. He has a few GoPros we occasionally attach to the robots to see footage of what particular parts of the vehicle are doing while it's going along, and he's done other random stuff with them too. (So point one: totally waterproof to some shallow depth. We do this a lot.) He always refers to it as "the GoPro" and now everyone in my office does as well. It's a unique product that people are using in unique ways -- much like the iPhone, which I keep calling my iPhone, even though it's just a damn phone. So it wouldn't surprise me at all if totally normal non-viral-marketing people call them GoPros on YouTube. And it wouldn't surprise me if this entire scenario were perfectly unstaged. They're cheap and durable enough to be an easy motivator for "Huh, I wonder what it would like like if I tried to film [X]" in a way they aren't with other video recording devices, so pretty random neat things can happen.

Also, fuck seagulls.
posted by olinerd at 3:31 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love seagulls just because they're beautiful and they're at the sea.
posted by Miko at 6:01 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's wrong with advertising?
posted by spilon at 6:29 AM on September 13, 2012


Nothing except that it's impossible to evaluate information accurately and moderate your response to it if you don't know a bit about who created it and why.
posted by Miko at 7:20 AM on September 13, 2012


That smacks of overthinking, to me. I think its a cool video and if it turned out to be fake I'd be impressed and intrigued as to how it was done. I wouldn't care too much if it was faked.

There seems to be a definite hardcore of people here that see advertising as ALL THAT IS EVIL and feel they must guard themselves at all costs for liking something that turns out to be an advert in any way, but especially if it is portrayed as anything other than full disclosure.

It was a pleasant video with an interesting backstory that was shot fortuitously well if it was real and pleasingly if it was faked. What on earth is the fuss about?
posted by Brockles at 8:04 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't care if it's advertising. I love good advertising. I just have a hard time believing that this happened, and you know, right now I'd rather be overthinking a seagull and a gorgeous San Francisco sunset than all this other fucked up shit that's going on.
posted by Flashman at 8:46 AM on September 13, 2012


> Or is it that the one time it has ever happened, it turns out looking like a Sofia Coppola video

Maybe it happens all the time, but the videos where it looks like a seagull made it never become popular.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:11 AM on September 13, 2012


What I find so irritating about these "OMG that's so fake" threads is the smug certainty with which people arrive at their "QED FAKE!!!" conclusion based on absolutely nothing other than suspicion. Obviously it could be "fake" in some sense. Obviously it could be clever viral marketing. But so far not a single piece of evidence has been brought forward that withstands even the slightest scrutiny. The camera is identified as a GoPro? Have you ever seen any video filmed with a GoPro that didn't call it a GoPro? The uploader uses a capitalized first and last name? Seriously WTF? Are you actually unaware that that is a naming convention used by more than half the world's population? The video was an "official GoPro video of the day"? Yeah, they post cool videos that GoPro users send into them. All that proves is that this was a cool enough video for GoPro to host--unless you're claiming that GoPro makes every single video of the day that they host on their site. We hear a man shouting at the bird in the beginning of the video and yet it is a WOMAN who picks it up at the end!!! Yes, how could we be expected to believe that a woman might travel in the company of a man? That's just crazy! And so on.

By all means do some digging around and find evidence that this is an ad if you want, but don't fool yourselves into believing that you have actually demonstrated that in any way whatsoever as yet. What you have is suspicion and nothing more.
posted by yoink at 9:48 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


GoPro Go-slow!

Isn't that a Fela song?
posted by mykescipark at 9:57 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


That smacks of overthinking, to me.

Guilty, I guess. I just don't think it's a bad thing.

I don't have any certainty and haven't even come down on a side or the other. I think there's something interesting going on here between this product's advertisers and their positioning and the product's users. But I am not sure what the full nature of the interaction is. It's certain that it's not all brand-seeded interaction, because there are far too many user-generated videos (after all, that's what people buy a camera for, to make videos). But the brand's own embrace of and imprimatur on the videos submitted by their users establishes a larger promotional frame around individually produced work which is interesting from a folk-cultural/institutional perspective. All of which I think is fine to speculate and think about.
posted by Miko at 11:13 AM on September 13, 2012


GoPro + Hula Hoop = Hula Cam at Burning Man 2012 (possibly nsfw).
posted by homunculus at 5:07 PM on September 17, 2012


(And it might make you dizzy. Whoa.)
posted by homunculus at 5:37 PM on September 17, 2012


Things that sell GoPros:

1. Seagulls
2. Dolphins
3. Hot chicks

That video was surprisingly fun to watch. I gotta admit, the camera captures a nice image. And it is fun to see the sky fly by from a hula hoop point of view.
posted by Miko at 9:14 PM on September 17, 2012


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