Interview with Hookgrip and How They Used Slow Motion Video to Build a Following

Building a business is a tedious thing as most of us know.  Everyone uses a different approach and some of us fail and some of us succeed, it's the nature of the beast.  In my free time I do some Olympic lifting and I found myself searching for new and better techniques online.  What I ended up with is not only finding some great videos for my Olympic lifting, but also a different way of building a business.

Olympic lifting is a sport that happens very quickly. A lifter can go from start to finish in a matter of seconds. In addition to being fast, It’s also one of the most complex weight lifting activities you can do. Hookgrip has used this to their advantage.  By using slow motion video, they have been able to show Olympic lifting in a new light and at the same time, build a pretty massive following.

When I talked to Hookgrip’s owner, Nat Arem, about the videos, he told me he started recording the videos because it’s hard for beginners to see the movement as it happens very quickly. It makes a world of difference being able to view these lifts from start to finish in a slowed down manner. Because these video had the potential to be very helpful, Arem also saw a great opportunity to use these videos for marketing purposes.

At the time Arem started, not many (or anyone?) was doing this and sharing it across the social platforms. Because these lifts are so complex, seeing them in slow motion is very interesting for beginners as well as professionals, so Arem saw an opportunity to showcase something not everyone has seen. It’s now taken off and Hookgrip currently has 167K followers on Instagram and an active Facebook community to match. All the videos are shot on either the Sony FS700, or when traveling light is a priority, he will use the Sony A7s. Below is the owner's favorite video and I used my favorite video as the lead.

I know not everyone is into Olympic lifting, but it’s interesting to see how people outside of the industry are using these technologies to grow their business and social footprints. Arem told me that everything he has learned came from either Youtube or learning as he went. He is interested in the art of video and post production and he has learned a lot, but the main point for him is pushing out content that is not super common.

Have you done anything to grow your business that was more about content and less about perfection? Share your thoughts to the comments.   

Jason Vinson's picture

Jason Vinson is a wedding and portrait photographer for Vinson Images based out of Bentonville, Arkansas. Ranked one of the Top 100 Wedding photographers in the World, he has a passion for educating and sharing his craft.

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Preparing for the new 24-70/2.8E VR? :)

I like Hookgrip, but I wish they could get some good lighting in the arenas to kill the flicker.

ya I agree. But not sure lighting is a possibility since most of these are at competitions.

It doesn't work that way lol.

I mean, I realize that. I shoot olympic lifting regularly, the lighting is always terrible.

Really interesting to look at. A mix of tight shots of her expressions and muscles would make it so much better.

it would be cool to see some different angles of the same lifts that could be linked together instead of the entire video being the same angle. not sure if that would be possible to set something like that up though since most of these are at actual competitions.

There is a specific reason it is captured that way.

I know the specifics of the angle that's chosen. I was more talking for a video that was more about the production and details of the lift rather then being able to see the entire lift for technique reasons. It would be cool to see I think.

I imagine it's like other high level sports venues in that photographers are assigned locations. Hookgrip as you have already noted, positions themselves to get the technique. I don't know that they have a handheld guy or an overhead. That would create a different product and I'm not sure how much of a purpose it would serve since the majority of their followers are aspiring Oly lifters who are trying to refine their lifting and keep up with what the greats are doing.

Great case study! I would have never imagined that adding slow motion video to this would help it so much. Of course, the music helps immeasurably (another example of how a soundtrack can make or break a production). But this is/was the ticket! Nice job by Hookgrip. Great call-out.

The music is definitely perfect for these.

I started following Hookgrip maybe a year go I think. I dabbled in Olympic lifting a little because I like the elegance of the Snatch lift. I'm more of a powerlifter though. Our gym takes Olympic lifting very seriously. I would always hear the term "sweeping the knees back" to get the bar past them but could never figure what the coaches meant. The pulling yourself under the bar was lost on me too along with coaches telling me I was pulling with my arms too soon and to be more patient. Watching the slo-mo on Hookgrip made it come together. I can see the knee positioning, how the path of the bar follows a straight line, how after it passes the knees some lifters make contact with their hips after they fully extend...etc. It's a good supplement to other video tools being used. It was such a simple concept and took off like crazy.