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Video Visionary Award – Education Recipient: Smarter Every Day

by RealPlayer on August 18, 2013

Video Visionary Education Smart BubbleLast summer we announced the RealPlayer’s Video Visionary Award – Education. The award recognizes those who are using video to create world-class educational content for the masses. We’re happy to announce the next recipient of the award is Smarter Every Day.

Smarter Every Day has been creating educational science videos since 2007. Currently, educating via his YouTube channel, the site’s founder Destin abides by the philosophy of exploring the world through science and motivating people to learn. His intent is to inspire people to see the world in a different manner. His mission: “To learn something new everyday.”

Destin lives in Alabama and is an Engineer who has acquired a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Rocket Propulsion.


One example of Destin’s teaching methods can be seen in his recently published AK-47 underwater video. In this video, Destin shoots the AK-47 underwater while his video team captures the experience using extremely high speed cameras. He explains concepts such as the Rayleigh-Plesset Equation (bubble motion), the Bernoulli Principle and phases of Cavitation.


We recently caught up with Destin, host of Smarter Every Day, to learn more about the organization’s video program. We asked him a few questions about creating Smarter Every Day videos and how using this media makes such a big impact with his audience.

RealPlayer (RP): How long has Smarter Every Day been producing videos?

Destin (D):  I’ve been making videos since January 2007, shortly after the birth of my first child.

RP: What gave you the idea to use video to help educate people?

D: I enjoy teaching, so this was a natural creative outlet for me. It wasn’t until about 2011 that I realized that if I was a little more intentional about it I could possibly use it to educate 3 major entities:

1. The general population through creating interesting videos they can enjoy and learn from.

2. Myself through researching the topics.

3. My children by using any revenue I’m able to generate to save for their college education. I create more Smarter Every Day videos using a percentage of the incoming funds (data storage, props, gas money) and put the remainder into a bank account for the children’s future educational needs. I don’t restrict this to the college fund. For example, we use it to visit science museums, purchase school supplies, and possibly the most exciting purchase ever to happen at our house, we bought them a real microscope!

RP: How do you decide which topics to cover and should people view them in any particular order?

D: Many YouTubers try to cover trendy topics that people will find popular or relevant at that given moment in time. My mind is always wondering about the odd things in life, so I simply do whatever I’m interested in at the moment. I generally get into a particular topic and explore it until I feel like I’ve mastered the basics, feel comfortable with the general ideas, and have dabbled in the complex aspects of it. This video exploring the Mystery of Prince Rupert’s drop is a good example.

I have recently gone on independent kicks of butterflies and weapons. I’ve been playing around with both topics in parallel. I’m looking forward to the time when I become interested in researching sleep.  Unfortunately, right now is not that time.

RP: Have you found a video style more effective than others?

D: Yes, I just explore the world around me.

RP: Can you tell us about the video team?

D:  I hear that having a video team means you get more sleep. That sounds like a nice idea! Speaking of sound, Gordon McGladdery is an Audio Engineer/Sound Designer/Rad Music Composer who lives in Vancouver, Canada. We met online in 2010 and created an experimental video together titled “The Gentle Art of Blowing Up Bottles.” We learned quickly that we work well together and respect each other. He creates the music for Smarter Every Day and has been critical in giving Smarter Every Day its “emotional voice.” He writes the music as “A Shell In The Pit.” Most people don’t realize how much music adds to the feel of a video, but it is a huge deal. George Lucas has stated it’s 50% of the experience of watching a video, which I totally agree with.

Gordon is extremely patient and forgiving with my unpredictable schedule. His efforts with Smarter Every Day paid off for him in 2011/2012 when he earned himself a scholarship to the Vancouver Film School for Sound Design for Visual Media by winning a contest using sounds he collected from a video shot for Smarter Every Day. He has continued to support Smarter Every Day even though he has moved between continents, attended school, started a company, and changed jobs. He could have graduated top of his class but decided to go to Peru for Smarter Every Day.

Although my face is on the videos and people identify me as the heart and soul of the effort; Gordon deserves equal share in any awards given to Smarter Every Day. As far as my share of any such award, it will be immediately deflected to my wife, who puts up with my crazy antics so we can all explore and learn together.

As far as help shooting any particular video, there is usually a willing family member or friend who ends up being heavily involved in shooting the video. Their efforts and self sacrifice cannot be discounted. Editing mostly takes place after bath time and night-night books are read to the kids.

RP: Where can people go to learn more about Smarter Every Day and spread the word about the video services?

D: People can see my stuff on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Click here for instructions on how to nominate a series of educational videos to receive a Video Visionary – Education award.

What do you think of the Smarter Every Day videos? What’s your favorite video? What scientific phenomenon would you like explained or would like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Kathy Smith August 20, 2013 at 9:19 am

Destin took some very complex scientific principles and explained them to his audience in interesting, entertaining and innovative ways. Although with my feeble mind I do not personally fully comprehend all of the principles I was shown, I do feel smarter now having watched these videos and therefore, I think Destin has accomplished his goal of making the viewer feel “Smarter Every Day”. Bravo, Destin. Bravo!!!

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