Thousands of GoPro community members, users and HERO8 Black + MAX enthusiasts around the globe tuned in to the GoPro YouTube channel this morning to see if this was their lucky day. Did they earn their equal cut of $1 million and join the elite group of GoPro Award recipients included in the Million Dollar Challenge highlight video? One two-minute video would decide their fate.
At 6 a.m. PT, GoPro dropped its second annual Million Dollar Challenge video—a crowdsourced initiative to recognize and reward HERO8 Black and MAX users for capturing what GoPro refers to internally as “bangers”—videos filled with unique perspectives, spectacular adventures and captivating moments from around the world. These clips would fuel the most important GoPro highlight video of the year.
Traditionally, this product-focused video is produced by GoPro’s internal media team to ensure a continuous stream of jaw-dropping shots. But, for the second year in a row, GoPro put this trust in the hands of its community.
“The technology and ease-of-use of our HERO8 Black and MAX cameras makes it easy for everyday users to capture mind-blowing, professional quality footage of any activity,” said GoPro Founder and CEO Nick Woodman. “HERO8 Black and MAX capture cinematically stunning content straight out of the box in the hands of even a novice user, and the GoPro Million Dollar Challenge is our way of celebrating both the insane capabilities of our newest cameras along with our customers’ incredible creativity. Our world is such an awesome place filled with amazing people and you can see that clearly in this year’s GoPro Million Dollar Challenge video.”
Ultimately, 56 clips featuring 45 creators representing 17 countries were selected for the final video rewarding $22,222 each—an equal share of $1 million—for their submission. The full list of Award recipients is below, and it’s important to note, no one was given advance notice of their inclusion—each learned of their award by tuning in.
All in, creators from 104 countries submitted HERO8 Black and MAX content for consideration, culminating in 42,000 clips for the GoPro team to view (and trust us, we saw them all). The submissions nearly doubled from last year’s challenge, totaling more than 350 hours of video—some death-defying, some comical, some whimsical; yet all left the team in a mix of goosebumps, tears and unbreakable excitement.
Behind the scenes, the Million Dollar Challenge required everyone involved to work in lockstep toward the common goal of one epic user-generated highlight video. This meant culling the continuous stream of submissions, narrowing in on finalists and, arguably most importantly, helping craft social media posts that would, in theory, inspire creators to submit more bangers to the Million Dollar Challenge. All of it played into a larger vision, one that GoPro Associate Creative Director, and the editor behind this year’s Million Dollar Challenge, Daniel Sherer came prepared with.
“At first, when filtering through 42,000 submissions, you’re excited to see anything that’s well executed, but after a while, you start looking at it from the perspective of how shots will play with each other,” says Daniel. “We’ve seen a growing amount of curiosity and creativity influencing what people are capturing in their worlds, especially with the addition of MAX, so this is something we knew we wanted to highlight as well. Once we dialed in this creative direction, it became a matter of finding the pillars of the edit, creating an emotional arc and finding the right song to tie it all together. In the end, we probably tested five times as many shots as what you see in the final cut.”
The shots that you see in the final, from the list of 45 creators below, all checked a number of boxes that became paramount to the team—is it well-captured from a uniquely GoPro perspective; is it immersive or emotive, and does it feel authentic; is it creative, and does it represent a camera feature well; is it new and different from things we’ve seen before; and lastly, how does it feel in the final edit.
“Last year’s video was so incredible; we knew we had to push our limits. We challenged ourselves to think outside the box and differentiate the tone from last year’s video,” explains Daniel. “The first three shots of the video really capture the essence of the story we were trying to tell. In short: Our community continues to break the mold, it’s mind-blowing, and we love you.”
The GoPro Million Dollar Challenge highlights our everyday users, our creative geniuses and the danger seekers, and just how extraordinary the world’s most versatile cameras, GoPro HERO8 Black and MAX, truly can be.
“The best part of this year’s Million Dollar Challenge?” adds GoPro Head of Community Devon DiPietro. “It’s seeing how we have inspired the world to get outside and share what they love—no matter how extreme, creative, or heartwarming their passions may be, we’ve opened a window to witness an incredible spark for life that is SO uniquely GoPro. We couldn’t be more stoked to welcome these 45 creators to the GoPro Family and to continue growing those friendships throughout many years of adventure ahead.”
The following is the full list of HERO8 Black + MAX Million Dollar Challenge creators in order of appearance:
Robin Freiin von Holzschuher, Germany, @robinfvh_13
Collin Harrington, USA, @CollinHarrington
Jehan Benjamin Tarain, France, @jbenart
Steven Donovan, USA, @es_dons
Matthias Weger, Italy, @matthiaswegerkayak
Andy Lewis, USA, @sketchyandylewis
Massimo Gullì, Italy, @massimogu
Diego Prol, Spain, @prol_diego_prol
André Musgrove, Bahamas, @andremusgrove
Chase Reinford, USA, @adrenaline.addiction
Camille Armand, France, @camille.armand
Austin Keen, USA, @austinkeen
Andy Gryczan, USA, @gryzdale
Antoni Villoni, Italy, @antonivilloni
Andrews Santana, Brazil, @andrewssantana
Robert Wall, USA, @robert.wall
Jia Wai Chong, Malaysia, @jiawaiii
Konstantin Petrijcuk, USA, @dersity
Thibault Gabet, France, @thibaultgabet
Daniel Dias, Brazil, @moto_riding
Angus Sellen, New Zealand, @angus_sellen
Kilian Bron, France, @kilianbron
Pierce Cameron, USA, @Pierces_passport
Jye Demmrich, Australia, @jyeza85
Paul Vieuxtemps, Thailand, @paulvieuxtemps
Nicolas Gaillard, France, @nicolas_gaillard
Maiko Suzuki, Japan, @maikohaann
Victor de Valles, Spain, @victordevalles
Greg Slater, UK, @gregfilms
Semyon Kotenyov, Russia, @semyonkotenyov
Enliang Wang, China, @wangenliangdabai
Tyler Jordan, USA, @tylerbjordan_
Baki Zainal, Malaysia, @bakizainal
Ben Dicko, USA, @bendicko101
Peter Hoang, USA, @transition_ninja
Theo Demanez, Saint Martin, @theo_demanez
Chris Teal, USA, @westpsydefpv
Ying Liu, China, @jeremyliufilm
Bruno Bacchiegga, Brazil, @brunozebu
Ryan Bolohan, USA, @ryanpatrickproductions
Teeraporn Ramakomut, Thailand, @nicole.aloha
Gianmarco Gabriele, Italy, @gianmarco.gabriele
Trina Seerup, USA, @trinaseerup
Aurélien Chico, France, @aure_chico