The Conversation: 'Guy Walks Across America'

Filmmakers behind new viral YouTube video show stop-motion of 2,500-mile trip.

ByABC News
July 27, 2010, 9:30 AM

July 27, 2010— -- Can video of a man walking stop you in your tracks?

For the hundreds of thousands of people who've watched the latest viral video on YouTube, the answer is an easy yes.

The video, "Guy Walks Across America," is now racking up hundreds of thousands of hits, and today the young filmmakers behind the clip talked to ABC's Linsey Davis about how they made it.

"I don't think we ever saw it catching on this fast," said director Sam Griffith. "We definitely knew we had something original [...] But you never know with these things."

The video is not conventional moving pictures. It pieces together still photos taken on an actual, 14-day cross country trip -- no green screens involved. Using frame-by-frame video of actor/model Michael Johnson walking as a guide, the filmmakers carefully positioned him in various locations to create the stop motion, time-lapse visual of him passing landmarks on his way across the country.

"It was just moving the camera anywhere from 10 to 20 feet each frame and lining the model up in the exact same position in the frame. The camera had to be the same distance away from the model the entire time," said Peter Cote, photographer/producer on the project.

As proof of the way that viral video is changing advertising, producer Blake Heal told Davis that the project was funded by Levi's jeans, which make a prominent appearance at the end of the clip. While they wouldn't share the entire cost of the project, they say they created the video on a shoestring budget, making the journey in an RV and editing along the way.

"We came up with this concept, and we didn't have the money to do it," said Heal. "We looked for a sponsor, and we thought Levi's would be a good fit. So we pitched it to them, and they loved the idea."

It's a stunning video with a fascinating backstory. We hope you'll watch today's Conversation for more.

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