Behind the scenes

As mentioned previously, there is a bit more to some Vines than just recording and editing together 6 seconds of video. ‘Vine magic’, as you can see in these videos by Zach King and Alan Chapman, has become a popular mini-genre on the platform. But how does King turn a computer mouse into a real one? How does Alan ‘heal’ a dying plant? Happily, the first of these two Viners has also started to produce ‘behind the scenes’ clips explaining how he does it.

Zach King 2 is the aforementioned Viners ‘explanation channel’, in which he sometimes goes behind the scenes and lets you know how he made those videos.

Explaining Vine magic


Level Pre-intermediate +
Type of student Teenagers, Young adults, Adults
Language Emergent language*
Skills Speaking

*whatever comes up


  • Ask your students about the last time they went to the cinema. They could discuss this in pairs or small groups. In particular, ask them to think about any snacks they had while they were at the cinema.
  • This will provide the opportunity for impromptu language work on past tenses (‘I went to see X-Men’ ‘I was at the cinema last week’), present forms for habits and preferences (‘I only go to the cinema about once a month’ ‘I like action films’ ‘I like comedy, but find rom-coms really dull’), used to for comparison (‘I used to go to the cinema a lot as a child, but now it’s so expensive’), and so on.
  • If your students haven’t already come up with the word, pay hangman with popcorn.

Main stage and first video stage

  • Ask your students what they would do with a big bag of popcorn. They will probably say they would eat it, but encourage more interesting ideas. You could use the opportunity to work on the conditional structure If I had a big bag of popcorn, I would… with your students adding an infinitive and finishing the sentence with their ideas.
  • Play this video and show them what Zach King did with a big bag of popcorn:
  • Ask your students to guess how he managed to make the video.
  • Get students to work on this in pairs or small groups and prepare a short presentation about their ideas.
  • Monitor as your students are preparing what they’re going to say and provide any support necessary.
  • Ask your students to share their ideas with the whole class and vote on the best, most likely idea (or alternatively, the most imaginative).

Second video stage

  • Watch Zach King’s explanation video and ask your students to write down how he did it.
  • Allow them as many views as they need to get all their ideas on paper. You could do this by leaving the Vine video looping, so it will keep on repeating itself.
  • Get students to compare what they have written and come up with a version that they whole class is happy with.
  • Example explanation: He threw the popcorn in the air, then made a cut. Then he filmed another video with popcorn on string, and stayed very still while someone moves the camera.

Follow up

  • Ask your students to watch more Vines from Zach King’s main channel and Zach King 2 to find more explanations.

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