2016 was definitely an intersting year for elevator photography. I, for the first time since ealry 2012, went outisde Nebraska to film elevators, as well as went out west to find and film elevators! I was able to go to Grand Island, Kearney, Norfolk (up north), Council Bluffs IA, and Maryville MO.
I have also graduated UNL so I hopefully will get out more, but then again, I moved to Omaha so it depends on how you look at it.
If yout thought 2015 was the Year of the Mod, you haven't seen 2016 content yet! Only three elevators got modded in 2015 that I was able to salvage original content for. In 2016, TEN elevators were lost! The details on that will be presented, as I am planning to make a "Elevators lost in 2016" video again.
I did not get any meet ups this year. It appears that it's something that always happens in odd numbered years. 2013, then 2015, and hopefully, one in 2017!
Most popular elevator video uploaded this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-8k5DAngUQ
Most popular vending machine video uploaded this year: N/A
Videos uploaded (Published date from 1/1/2016 to 12/1/2016): 153
Elevator videos: 150
Vending machine videos: 0
Miscellaneous videos: 3
Star City Elevator videos (counted in elevator videos): 2
New trailers: 0
Requests taken: 0
Requests rejected: 0
New cameras: 0
Meet ups: 0
2016 was a great year for filming elevators, and I have bigger plans coming in 2017. I have a lot more freedom to go places than I used to in terms of money.
While I have the money to go places, finding the time to do so has been the real challenge.
Vintage elevators are getting modernized almost by the dozen per year! As I predicted, Dover Impulse will become the new "vintage elevator" by 2020.
Listed below are the results for each of my classic leveling compilations that I posted early this year. Note that if you ranked the elevators, I counted seven minus the ranking you gave that particular elevator as votes, since that's more than what I asked of you for these videos. Scroll down on the document to see the graphs.
Probably the best and worst thing to happen to anyone on YouTube is getting a comment on one of your videos. It's both the best and the worst because it could be either something you want to see, or something you don't want to see. For almost every person who runs a youtube channel, there comes a point where reading comments becomes unbearable. even if they're good. Here I will explain 5 types of comments I don't like to see:
Note: These are not specific to elevator enthusiasm. This is also NOT an update to my comment policy.
1. Destructive criticism. As I mentioned earlier, if someone does something you don't like, don't tell them you don't like it and leave it at that! Give them a legitimate reason why you think it's a bad idea.
2. Asking who or what something is. Seriously, it's 2016. Google it!
3. Telling me you're unsubscribing. I'm not going to quit or cater content to you just because you don't like what I do. If you were my only subscriber, then I MIGHT, but you're not.
4. Self-promotion. Thankfully, I haven't had many people do it, but asking me to subscribe to you won't make me subscribe to you. I subscribe to channels I like to watch. Now if you share one of your videos and compare it to mine, then that's ok.
5. Stopping fights in comment threads. If you post comments like "Can we stop now?" or "Stop the drama!" in the comments, hoping that a fight or string of complaints will stop, it doesn't work. It only litters the thread with more pointless comments that serve no purpose. It's my channel. If I have a problem with it, I will take care of it. I've seen this elsewhere, especially on Facebook. Doing so only litters the thread with useless comments and gets you involved in the fight. Let the admin or thread starter deal with it. (this can include comments like "What does this have to do with (insert topic here)?")
11 tips for advanced Elevator Enthusiasts:
1. Sample at least two elevators in a bank. It is possible one elevator rides differently than the other. Often times, switching cabs is the most difficult aspect of filming elevators as it is the most vulnerable, meaning it draws suspicion from security because most people don't turn right around and get back on an elevator. This is a skill of an advanced enthusiast.
HOW TO: On a regular bank, select a floor on the car you are leaving, exit the car, wait for the doors to close before calling another one. On a Destination Dispatch bank, exit the car, select a floor on the panel. If you get a different car, take it, otherwise wait for the car you exited before selecting another floor.
2. Stop doubting yourself. If you are confident, cool, and look like you know what you are doing, most security guards will leave you alone. I've stressed this elsewhere, but it is true and bears repeating. Warming up by filming an easy to film elevator helps tremendously.
3. You can't please everybody. While all of us have room for improvement, not everybody likes everything one or many elevator enthusiasts do. You have your channel, and you are free to not do something if you don't like it.
4. Learn how to comment on others' videos. Going along with my previous point, if there is something you absolutely can't stand and you have to tell someone that they are doing something you don't like, DO NOT let them know you don't like it just because you don't! If you want to suggest a change, explain to them why you don't like it and convince them to change it. I may make a post dedicated to this idea later.
5. Get to know other enthusiasts in your area. They can be handy resources for finding elevators when you are looking for them. Also, they are filming elevators you can potentially ride, so pay attention to details to make your filming experience easier.
6. Meet up! For whatever reason, collaboration is encouraged on youtube because it boosts viewership. Also, you can attract viewers from both channels and promote each other!
7. Talk less. While (almost) everyone wants to comment on what they are experiencing, don't talk constantly. I know you're excited, but even though viewers aren't physically riding it, many of my viewers want to experience the elevator as is.
8. Plan ahead on allowing adequate time to get a good elevator video. Nobody like to watch an elevator video that was filmed in a rush. Take your time to show off everything and stay calm. If you find a vintage elevator, surely you want to spend more time riding it!
9. Learn how to predict an elevator's next move. Some elevators have arrows that change direction when it has to take another call, and turn off when they don't. Other elevators have arrows that change direction regardless. Some elevators always chime when the doors open, others chime only when they have to take another call. Still others don't chime at all when arriving at a destination. If an elevator has to take another call, that means you will likely make a stop during the video.
This is why it is important to...
10. Study up! For the previous reasons, and knowing more about elevators makes you smarter (it's obvious, but many don't seem to think so). Once you have mastered recognizing brands, start studying fixtures. Watch a lot of other people's elevator videos to recognize patterns among elevators and make observations in your videos. Everybody has more to learn.
11. Have fun. This is always the most important piece of advice. Elevator enthusiasm on youtube will never be a sustainable source of income, so if you don't enjoy doing it, don't do it! I do what I do because I enjoy it!
Because the information on this famous elevator is hard to find, I thought I'd gather it all here.
From Creighton's campus map & interactive guide.
"Creighton Hall was the first campus building constructed in 1877. Many departments reside here including the Presidents Office. Today 36 Jesuits live in the top floor of Creighton Hall, which students can only see if personally invited by a Jesuit. To get to the Jesuit residences in Creighton Hall you must have a key, which only the Jesuits have, to open and operate the Golden Elevator, the elevator which goes to the top floor."
On page 7 of this article:
"Recently a student giving a tour to prospective families made the statement, “The ‘golden elevator’ in Creighton Hall is the oldest working elevator west of the Missouri River.” While the elevator to the Jesuit Quarters in Creighton Hall is probably one of the oldest working passenger elevators west of the Missouri River, this claim is probably not factual. One consideration is the many industrial/mining elevators still in service that may be older. Even though the student’s claim cannot be proven, there are many stories that have circulated over the years regarding the Jesuit Elevator. One of those was reported in The Creightonian on November 4, 1983. It seems that three administrators were trapped between the third and fourth floor for 35 minutes on October 19, 1983. They were rescued by an O’Keefe repairman after a passerby heard their cries for help and called campus-security. The elevator did not have a key to open it, as most do, and had to be hand-cranked to the closest floor so the men could crawl out. To make matters worse, the alarm on the elevator was not working. According to one of our building engineers who has been employed at CU for many years, being trapped in the Jesuit Elevator was not uncommon. There have even been rumors of the elevator being haunted, which of course has never been confirmed. "
In case you found this post first, here's my attempt to ride it:
So far, it's been a great year for elevator filming, but not so great for elevators! Pretty much all of what I speculated on in my 2014 review has happened. The Nebraska History Museum's elevators were modded, Biochemistry Hall was torn down, and Love Library North's elevators got modernized. What I didn't expect to happen was Manter Hall's elevators getting modernized. I've reached both 100,000 and 200,000 views this year, and according to socialblade.com, I should reach 300,000 by July of next year. It also seems like my channel is hitting peaks and valleys of popularity too, but still keeps growing exponentially, and i like that. I got to film elevators on UNO's, Creighton's, Concordia's, and Midland University's campuses! I even ventured out west of Lincoln to film some elevators (just to York, NE, not to North Platte, Kearney, Norfolk, or Grand Island yet!). Hopefully, I find more in western Nebraska.
I did get one quite unexpected meet up in Omaha this year. I was surprised to find out that ElevatorNut13 had ties to Nebraska, and that probed a meet up! Since he was in Gretna, I figured that Oak view mall retakes were a good place to start. I even got to show the elevator at Sears, Crossroads mall to someone. Between Vator Hunters and ElevatorNut13, only one bank of elevators was filmed at both meet ups, the Doubletree by Hilton in Downtown Omaha.
Also, I kind of quit with vending machines because their popularity is quite annoying and stealing views away from elevators.
You might also notice two "busts" in the stats. Neither of those have been uploaded yet.
Most popular elevator video uploaded this year:
Most popular vending machine video uploaded this year:
Videos uploaded (Published date from 1/1/2015 to 12/1/2015): 138
Elevator videos: 132
Vending machine videos: 1
Miscellaneous videos: 4
Star City Elevator videos (counted in elevator videos): 1
New trailers: 1
Requests taken: 3
Requests rejected: 2
New cameras: 0
Meet ups: 1
Looking ahead: The good
(1) I have almost 100 videos in my backlog, which could last up to a year if I stretched them out. But it's still more than I ever have.
Looking ahead: The bad
(1) Filming elevators is getting increasingly dangerous. I have heard of businesses hunting out elevator filmers over incidents of drama, illegal activity, and short-changing sellers on E-bay (I don't have an E-Bay account!). Also, UNL is not the campus it was five years ago. Filming elevators on campus is becoming increasingly dangerous. With a lot happening on the national stage, security is being stepped up and UNL Police is cracking down on photographers, which I will rant about later. Thankfully, I won't have to put up with it for much longer, but others will have to.
Looking Ahead, The ugly
(1) My time at UNL is almost over, and I will be heading out into the real world in 2016. I will be student teaching starting in January, and my filming ability may be limited. Office buildings will be out of the question. College campuses are almost out of the question, but I will have the summer. Long story short, drastic changes will be happening, and my elevator filming future is uncertain. I don't want to quit, but I won't go down without a fight!
11 Tips for beginner Elevator Enthusiasts:
I'm never sure where my time on elevator filming is, but some drastic changes could come 2016 regarding on where I go and what I film (and how often I film). But I think it's time for me to pass on some tips for starting a channel.
One of the biggest mistakes new elevator filmers make is that they shoot too high too soon. The biggest pieces of advice I would offer are:
1. Do not expect to be Dieselducy right away. That will never happen anyway.
2. Do not expect to get the attention of Dieselducy right away either. Find a smaller elevator enthusiast (less than 300 subscribers) and get their attention first. They are most likely to be the most interested in your content because they were in your shoes at one time recently.
3. DO NOT ask people to subscribe to you or watch your videos! Anyone who built their channel without begging or advertising vehemently hates it when people beg for subscribers and views! The best thing you can do is link a similar elevator you filmed in the comments section of the video and compare them.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice! Do what you can to make the best possible elevator video. Start in an empty parking garage on a weekend, and run through the process step by step.
5. Elevator photography is as much an art as it is a science. Try different things, and don't be afraid of mistakes.
6. Be yourself. It is ok to copy another elevator filmer at first, but you'll eventually want to stray off on your own path, because your channel should reflect you in some way. Everyone's different and can bring different ideas to elevator enthusiasm.
7. Be open to criticism. This should go without saying. This includes not disabling comments.
8. Just make content. Generally, it is better to start out posting 5 or 6 videos right away so people don't have to make a judgement call of your channel based on one video.
9. Be your own boss. I generally don't accept requests unless I ask for help finding elevators (you can read more here). You should prepare to deal with requests. Some enthusiasts love taking requests, but others like me hate them (you don't call your favorite TV station and tell them which episode to play next, do you?). There are ups and downs to both options.
10. Define what you want to do. The concept of a "variety channel" was popularized by Dieselducy and at one time claimed that it's the reason his channel is the most popular, and that "elevators" is a very limited audience. That never settled well with me. It's better to have a primary interest, which is about 85-95% of your videos, and a secondary interest, for the other 5-15%. Also, add all your secondary interest videos into a unique playlist for those interested in your secondary interest!
11. Have fun. If you don't enjoy what you do, don't do it! I don't film elevators for the money or the views/subscribers, I do it because I enjoy it! If I wanted to make money or do YouTube for the views, I would film myself screaming profanities at video games.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Most of the details are specific to me, and may not represent all elevator enthusiasts. However, I think all elevator enthusiasts would agree in general that they want you to know these things.
1. We're not a threat
Most security guards and building owners are under the false impression that allowing photography of a non-tourist facility compromises security. Popular Mechanics proved in 2010 that third party cameras actually enhance the security of the facility. Now if we're physically interfering with normal operations or police operations, then you can be concerned.
2. We're all different
Just like any enthusiast group, we have issues with the ways others do things. Since there is a large age range for elevator enthusiasts, some may be more or less experienced than others. Just because one enthusiast comes in to a facility and does something he shouldn't doesn't mean that the next enthusiast will.
3. We have a respect for the handicapped others don't
While I don't have any disability, many of us do. Autism is the most common among elevator enthusiasts, primarily Asperger's syndrome. Also, those in wheelchairs can greatly benefit from our videos.
4. We love to talk to people
Sometimes being antisocial is part of elevator enthusiasm, since we try to film at times in which we can disturb the fewest number of people. But if you ask what we're doing out of interest and not out of suspicion, we'll open up about it.
5. If you have a problem about one of our videos, take it directly to us
Every now and then, we'll find an elevator that is not so stellar, or has some problem with it. If you own the elevator in question, the best thing you can do is fix it and invite us back. Now if something in the video is questionable, see #9.
6. We respect private property, but we want you to know what we do.
But a lot of places do not explicitly state photography is banned, which leads to mixed signals. We'll stop if you want us to stop, but we want to make our case too.
PS. Non-residential buildings on public universities are not private property, unless it's designated as a restricted area.
7. We have opinions about elevator companies
Almost all elevator enthusiasts have strong preferences for older elevators, because they have "character" to them (i.e. distinguishable personalities). Most modern elevators, regardless of brand, are generic. At the same time, many older elevators set the standard for quality because they have withstood the test of time, and most modern elevators can't always live up to that. Some elevator companies do it better than others though. It seems like a taboo topic that shouldn't be. I notice trends among companies and any bashing I do is well-deserved.
8. But that doesn't mean we're biased
We'll try to show every elevator we can in a good light as much as we can. Modernizations are hard. While it replaces old, aging parts with newer ones and makes elevators last longer, it tends to take the character and historical aspect away from the elevator.
9. We don't mess around
We've ratted out our own on illegal actions (e.g. using elevator keys without permission or authorization, minors under 18 operating freight elevators, tampering with emergency equipment...etc). Feel free to call us out, but be professional about it. Older elevator enthusiasts (over 18) are generally more trustworthy.
And the most important one is...
10. We're normal people
We have social lives outside of elevators. However, they are a passion of ours, so expect to hear some about it. Sometimes, we prefer to be quiet, and we hate to see people we know personally when filming elevators. See #2, as everyone has different tastes and preferences. I keep my personal life and my elevator filming separate.
For those of you wondering what I put after the shot date in my videos, here they are:
Elevator's accessibility status:
R.I.P Confirmed - The elevator is no longer available for riding as shown in the video. Reasons can include, but are not limited to: The elevator has since been modernized, the building has been closed to the public, the building has been demolished, or the elevator has been permanently decommissioned.
R.I.P. Pending - There is a very likely possibility that the elevator will no longer be available in the near future as is now. Any R.I.P Pending status expires at the end of the predicted R.I.P. year.
R.I.P Not confirmed - The elevator's R.I.P Pending status has expired and is still available to ride as shown. This comes about due to things like a change of plans, word that the elevator will not be modernized, a project that may affect an elevator is finished, and the elevator hasn't changed...etc.
R.I.P Busted - An elevator with an R.I.P. Confirmed status becomes accessible again as is shown in the video. This rarely happens, since most changes in accessibility status are permanent.
Featuring - Another elevator enthusiast or person is featured in the video.
Featured in - The elevator video was featured in exterior media, whether by another enthusiast, a local newspaper, or a TV station.
Requested by - Someone else suggested I check these particular elevators out.
From my old account - The video was uploaded to filmer394 at some time. This is most videos uploaded before June of 2013.
These pictures don't look entirely too convincing that some old and well-running elevators are going to last much longer:
Also, Biochemistry Hall, home of a well-known original Kimball Bros. elevator, is gone. The building has been demolished and construction on its replacement is underway.
An article from UNL's newsroom mentioned that Manter Hall is undergoing a massive renovation of its first floor, and elevator work is included in the plans.
UPDATE 10/21/2015: Right elevator modded, left elevator mod in progress.
I have already released the video about the Central City Garage's elevators and that they got modernized.
I mentioned in my 2014 review the Nebraska History Museum, which is going under a massive renovation now, which started too soon as I have not filmed the elevators there. They are Dover bottom-drive traction elevators with Armor fixtures and insane classic leveling. It is scheduled to be finished in 2016. Odds are the elevators are...history.
I also got the opportunity to travel to Omaha and film elevators on both UNO's and Creighton's campuses, and almost EVERYTHING was a slap-on mod!
Now I don't entirely like the fact that elevator enthusiasts on the East coast upload almost only vintage elevators, and occasional new ones. On the plus side though, this goes to show that the economy is picking up on my side (west) of the Mississippi river, and there is a trend among building owners to upgrade and make buildings look less dated. It's also possible that parts for older elevators suddenly became unavailable. But whatever the reason, there are still vintage elevators that exist. I have been fortunate enough to find a couple old elevators in good condition, as well as a few that have been restored, rather than modernized. But in some cases, it's best to have a well-running modded elevator than a crappy vintage one. Most vintage elevators will last longer than many modern elevators will, and that's always good news for this who can't afford a mod. Also, we've had a couple restorations too, one of which will be out before the end of the year.
Finally, do not lose hope on vintage elevators if you have a hard time finding them. They hide very well, and come up in the least expected of places (e.g. Quality Inn Airport). And think about this: In 10-20 years, Dover Impulse will be a vintage elevator fixture!