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Michi Leber

‘‘ Parkour for me is a type of active meditation. It is about letting go, being in the moment and becoming 'one' with yourself. ’’

By Michi LeberSeptember 20, 2017

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Hi Michi, can you briefly describe your channel to new viewers?

Michi-Leber-Youhackers-Interview-YT

Hi, what’s up! Sick to have you reading this interview! I am Michi Leber, born 1997 and raised in Germany. My YouTube Channel is about parkour, traveling and exploring… and other action sports! I try to travel as much possible and shoot while I am on the run with my friends.

After graduating high school, you decided to go full-time on Youtube. How did you come to make that decision?

YouTube was (and still) is a vehicle that enables me to create things that I enjoy like videos. Its a platform with global reach that helps me to get my name out there. Back then and still now, I feel that the path of a content creator is the right one for me.

[Daniel: Michi started filming action sports in 2010 with an iPod Touch 4. He strapped it to his head with his mother’s kitchen tape. Since then, he has never looked back and is focused on making it as a filmmaker in the action sports sector.]

What do you enjoy most about parkour? Is it the adrenaline rush of a chase?

No, I never had any huge adrenaline rushes from doing parkour. And I don’t think parkour should be about getting adrenaline rushes.

Parkour for me is a type of active meditation. It is about letting go, being in the moment and becoming ‘one’ with yourself.

When I first got started in filming, I was searching for content that was interesting for me. I didn’t know what else to film besides my friends that liked to ride BMX, skate or do parkour. So I decided to put my own hardcore amateur parkour skills on film. I kept doing parkour since then, while also working on my videography skills. Still working on both skills today through my Youtube channel.

What kind of planning or preparation do you do before filming a parkour video?

Almost none. The only “preparation” is picking out clothes that are suitable for the weather. When filming in an urban environment, we occasionally have to deal with security or police. So it is difficult to really plan scenes or a route due to the fact that we could get chased away…which is absolutely fine with us! We usually just come back another day when there are (apparently) less people to “disturb”.

What have been the most challenging videos?

The most challenging videos up till now have been the sponsored videos for Electronic Arts (EA) and Square Enix. The video we shot for EA was for my all-time favorite Xbox 360 game Mirror’s Edge. In this game, you play a “Runner” (her name is Faith) and explore the city, delivering USB sticks that contaain illegal documents. Just super sick stuff like that! The game is played in a first-person point-of-view and Faith surely has some badass parkour skills. This specific game is also one of the reasons why I started parkour – so promoting the launch of the second Mirror’s Edge Game was an honor to me!

Check out the video below and then continue reading:

This video was incredibly challenging because I needed to film difficult parkour POV shots (filmed by myself) while promoting the game and its release. It was hard to walk that thin line between being seen as a guy that was “bought” by the gaming industry and being seen as an independent filmmaker everybody can trust.

Besides that, we had to smuggle fake airsoft guns into buildings to shoot offices scenes. I had to coordinate all the people involved while still shooting POV and external footage. Plus, editing all the footage afterwards. Even though, we had HUGE challenges during the shoot, everybody was digging it in the end and the video turned out pretty cool.

I faced the same set of challenges of independent reputation and the coordination of a huge shoot for my collaboration with Square Enix (video below). I worked with them to promote a new first-person shooter game called Deus Ex – Mankind Divided.

You frequently use drones in your videos.  Do you have any #protips or creative techniques for filming or editing drone footage?

Yes, I love to recreate Parallaxing effects in my Drone shots. Nothing cooler than that!

[Daniel: Parallax effect is taking still images and making them move. It places static 2D photos into a 3D dimension. Reference video below for an example of parallax.]

Music is a critical part of action sports videos. Do you film with a certain song in mind? Or do you find a track that blends well with your editing cuts?

Most of the time I have a certain beat or music style in mind which I then go and search for. I am frequently using music that could be labeled as Future Bass. But I gotta admit, I absolutely LOVE abstract music like A Tribe Called Red. Go check them out, they are incredible!

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money in growing your channel?

I should have bought a decent camera straight away! But that’s about it. There are certain mistakes when it comes down to filming, editing, editing program choice, camera choice, etc… that HAVE to be made as a new creator. Otherwise you will never appreciate where you started and where you are now.

What do people never ask you that you wish they did?

How long it took to actually get the deal with the sponsor for the 2-day (200KM!) trip. Ironically, that ended up only being a 2 minute video on Facebook/Instagram! Or how long the editing/post production took. I would love for people be more interested in the technical, behind-the-scenes side of my videos.

What’s next for Michi Leber?

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Stacking up the frequency while stacking up the quality. This is my biggest challenge and something I am constantly working on. Always trying to improve my workflow and camera skills so that a clip can be shot taking three takes.. .. and not 30!

Before I leave, I want to say thank you for reading this interview! The fact that you are interested in my opinion or taking interest in what I do really means a lot. If you have any further questions you can always hit me up via Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. I am now also on Patreon, so if you want to support what I do (and get some exclusive rewards), check me out here.

Once again, thank you for reading this and for your time – it is the most precious thing we can give!

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Connect with creator

Channel growth

3K

Subs/month

354K

Total subs

51M

Total views

.68%

Sub rate

Time spent per video

6 hrs

Planning

10 hrs

Filming

16 hrs

Editing

2 hrs

Marketing

One comment

  • Risto Raisanen72

    Hey Mich! The parkour video with EA – very cool. Didn’t come off like marketing to me. When you do work with gaming companies, do they give you a script for filming or parameters for editing?