We've come a long, long way since the days when we used to shoot video segments inside a car because we didn't have an acceptable microphone or had to prop a crappy camcorder on top of a pile of books and then run around to the other side and try to project — meaning scream — across the room so the amateur equipment would catch some acceptable form of audio.
We didn't know what we were doing. And most of our ideas started as a hilarious joke followed by, "Hey, why the hell not?"
But as CultureMappers got more comfortable yapping on cam and as we became much better at the editing process, the company invested in top notch equipment that transformed these home videos into something we can watch without giggling at ourselves.
Today, five years later, it's hard to believe that CultureMap's YouTube channel hosts more than 400 videos and counting. And although we'd love for you to binge watch all of them, here are our five favorites in no particular order.
I shit you not when I tell you that I almost died while working on this mini-documentary. What started as a fun road trip to Pearland to meet a troublemaker of a honey man quickly turned into a surreal nightmare. We hopped on a little plane to examine all the bee colonies only to be caught in the middle of a storm that made it almost impossible to land safely. Almost — not my time.
During a time when I was fascinated by little towns, I ventured out to Schulenburg on a tour hosted by the Architecture Center Houston. There I met a lovely lady, Patricia Balchar, who had infinite stories to tell about the painted churches surrounding the area. The video was a beast to produce, but well worth the effort as it captured the rich history of immigrants as they settled in towns along the rail route.
I had never been inside an operating room before Dr. Franklin Rose invited me to watch as he reduced a former Playboy cover girl's breasts from Pamela Anderson size to something more suitable for a school mom. With a GoPro on my head and with the help of documentary filmmaker Douglas Newman, we captured Dr. Rose extracting 500cc implants, alongside commentary from the patient on her journey from taking her clothes off for fame to keeping them on for her girls.
It took five hours in the kitchen with three of the world's best chefs as they prepared for an exclusive invite-only dinner plus interviews to get the footage for this video that surely delineates between cooking as a craft and cooking as an art. El Celler de Can Roca chefs Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca dished quite an experience for diners, viewers and this curious dude with a cam.
Would the real Shelby Hodge please stand up? While I often get questions about what it's like to work with The Hodge — because many out there are intimidated by the social party queen — I often refer them to this "Shit People Say" video in which Shelby drops the F-Bomb and in which she reveals why you never get in between a socialite and triple point sales at Neiman Marcus. And yes, it was so sad that we had to fire the cook at the ranch. Sigh.