How We Created A Viral YouTube Series & Gained 300k Subscribers

Catching up with Eline Vera
Eline Vera – winner of the first ever VoiceCouncil Singing Competition – has fun playing with sound.

When Eline won our competition back in March 2015, her company ‘House of Halo’ was already doing pretty well on YouTube: it had around 30k subscribers and 8 million total views. It has since soared to over 350k subscribers and 53 million total views.

We reached out to Eline to find out the secret behind her viral success.

Your most successful series is your #withoutmusic parody videos. Could you tell us about it?

Recording 'squeaky shoe' sounds

Recording ‘squeaky shoe’ sounds (Source: YouTube)

True, the #withoutmusic series is the most popular one! Making these videos is very time consuming, but lots of fun!

What do you do?

Basically, we remove the original audio from the clip and record all the sounds that would have been there on set if there was no music playing. That means footsteps, cloth movement, voices and any other sounds we can think of (watch their video: “Behind the Sounds”). Our goal with these videos is to make them as awkward and weird as possible. For some videos this works better than for others!

What was the inspiration for the #withoutmusic series?

House of Halo's first #WITHOUTMUSIC video, which went viral and kickstarted their success

The very first video we uploaded to our YouTube channel (#WITHOUTMUSIC / Happy – Pharrell Williams) went viral. We created this video because we wanted to introduce the new House of Halo website we had created (which we were very happy about, hence the choice of this music video).

Was there anything you did to help it get so many views?

The first month, our friends and family saw the video and all thought it was really funny. We suspected the video might have some viral potential, so we sent it to a big Dutch blog. They picked it up and from there and the video got a million views within a week. We had no idea what was happening, but of course we thought it was really cool! It motivated us to start making a video every week.

What’s involved in making each video?

The process of making these videos is different for every single one of them. For instance, videos like Big Girls Don’t Cry #withoutmusic and Wrecking Ball #withoutmusic are fairly easy to create, because not a lot is happening. For others like our Uptown Funk or Grease parody, a lot of work goes into finding the right sounds and recording the footsteps and vocals.

What is something odd you did to create a sound?

One time we needed the sound of footsteps on a car, so we got a huge refrigerator into the studio. Dancing on the refrigerator gave us the exact sound we needed!

How much work does this career of yours realistically take?

Eline's winning entry, 'Chandelier', in VoiceCouncil's Singing Competition from Winter 2014

Eline’s winning entry, ‘Chandelier’, in VoiceCouncil’s Singing Competition from Winter 2014

We’re combining YouTube with our other work – music composition and sound design for commercials and animations – so we’re not working on our YouTube channel full time yet, although that’s something we definitely want to grow towards. Right now, we work on our channel two days a week.

It sounds like you have fun with this.

But let me tell you, it’s very addictive – especially after uploading a new video on Monday. It’s hard not to stare at my phone all night to see how the video is doing and what our subscribers are saying about it. The interaction with people that watch our videos is the best thing about YouTube. You get immediate feedback. Do they like it? Do they find it funny? What kind of video do they want to see next?

How valuable is viewer feedback on your videos and what effect have they had on future videos?

We love the feedback we get from the viewers! We’re asking for it too, because we know it will help grow our channel even more if we listen to what our audience wants to see. This is especially true when it comes to the #withoutmusic parodies we make. People want their favorite music videos to get the #withoutmusic treatment, so we have an enormous list to choose from by now!

Favorite completed project to date and why?

It was awesome that we got to do so in one of the most creative cities of the world

It was awesome that we got to do so in one of the most creative cities of the world

At the end of each year, we make a video with a Christmas or New Year’s theme. My favorite video to work on was definitely the #SOUNDSLIKE / Christmas. For this video, we went to the YouTube studios in Berlin, with a suitcase totally filled with Christmas decorations. Besides the fact that we got to break stuff for this video (which was a lot of fun!), it was awesome that we got to do so in one of the most creative cities of the world.

Would you have any advice for yourself a year ago when you were just starting out?

Don’t get discouraged if not every video goes viral

Definitely! Don’t get discouraged if not every video goes viral. That may sound weird, but when we were just starting out, we thought every video should go viral to maintain success on YouTube. Actually, it’s about so much more than that. Consistency is key when building a channel on YouTube.

Tell us more – what are your top tips for building a successful YouTube channel?
Besides putting our heart and soul into each video, we have a consistent uploading schedule of one video every Monday. YouTube works with a complex algorithm that will push your videos more if you’re sticking to a set time of upload. We’re letting that work to our advantage.

The quality of your content is very important as well, but creating a good video doesn’t automatically mean it will go viral. In the end, building an audience that you connect with is very important to stay successful. That’s why we are trying to make our channel more personal by showing our faces more.

How are you going to keep growing your channel?

The House of Halo Studio

The House of Halo Studio

When it comes to our YouTube channel, we have a goal of reaching half a million subscribers this year. For that to happen, we need to create a lot more content!

Our channel is all about entertainment, but we’ve noticed our audience is also really interested in how we make these videos. We want to start making more ‘Behind the Sounds’ videos, in which we explain with what gear we work and how we do our recordings.

Right now, we’re also working on expanding our team, so there will be more variety in the kind of videos we upload. The channel is now very focused on Sound Design, but we would love to make more music and cover our favorite songs in a creative way. We’re excited about the future of our channel, it’s a playground we never want to stop playing in!

Eline Vera

Eline Vera is from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She owns a company, with Erik van der Ven, called ‘House of Halo’ which focuses on making music and sound design for commercials. In March 2014, they also started a YouTube channel to have a little fun with their passion for music and sound. Their channel currently has over 344k subscribers and 53M views.

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