"I'm not shooting in 4K yet," says vlogger iJustine as she checks out the latest technology from Intel, GoPro and more.
It’s 9:30 in the morning and the show floor is already packed on day two of CES as attendees try to catch a glimpse of the latest technological fads. But Justine Ezarik and Joey Graceffa have no problem making their way around the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The YouTube stars are the official Entertainment Matters ambassadors for CES, and booth tours at Intel and GoPro are part of their official duties during the first week of January. Entertainment Matters, which launched in 2011, is a CES programming track that features panels and keynotes focused on the technologies and topics on the minds of Hollywood execs.
I catch up with them on their hour-and-a-half long walk around the show floor just as Graceffa is sitting down to demo a car racing game that uses Intel’s RealSense technology. The game has three cameras that track where Graceffa is looking on the screen and reacts by shifting the game viewpoint. “That was scary,” he exclaims after his demo has ended. Once Ezarik takes a turn in the driver’s seat they’re whisked to the next station where Intel technology is used to brew a perfect cup of tea.
Ezarik, known on YouTube as iJustine, is a veteran of CES. The vlogger isn’t shy about her love of technology, making her an obvious ambassador for the annual electronics convention. Ezarik’s pal Graceffa, with whom she shares a manager, is attending his first CES and his enthusiasm is apparent. “I feel like we’re in the future now,” he tells me at the end of the tour. “It’s the future I always imagined, coming true. It’s really exciting.”
Last year Nick Cannon served as the Hollywood ambassador for CES, but with Ezarik and Graceffa the Consumer Technology Association is reaching out to a young generation of tech lovers who spend their time watching YouTube videos. The vloggers have a combined 8.1 million subscribers and 1.1 billion total views.
After the Intel booth, the pair make their way across the Convention Center to Ericsson, where they learn about the company’s efforts to build smart cities and homes. Among the gadgets on display is a connected scooter. Then they’re off to GoPro, where Ezarik tries out some of the camera company’s virtual reality videos.
Ezarik and Graceffa are multitasking during the entire tour, frequently talking into handheld cameras for videos that they will later post to their YouTube pages. They have also been tweeting, instagramming and snapchatting about their CES experiences. “I’ve been here in the past with different projects or companies,” says Ezarik. “So being here with CES, on behalf of CES, is pretty much a dream come true.”
After leaving GoPro, she becomes distracted by Nikon’s Helix project, a dome with cameras situated throughout that can take a 360-degree picture. Screens outside the dome show attendees striking poses and Ezarik catches Graceffa’s attention to point it out. “That would be so cool,” she says. “It’d be a good shot.”
After a quick word with the person manning the booth, they breeze to the front of the line and snap several photos, including one of them in the air jumping Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style.
At the Occipital booth, where the company is showing off its latest in augmented reality technology, a man approaches Graceffa and asks to take a video for his son. “Hi Ben, it’s so nice to meet you,” Graceffa smiles into the camera.
Over the course of three days Graceffa and Ezarik make several appearances, pose for photo ops and speak on numerous panels. But even when their careers take them away from posting videos, it’s always at the back of their minds. “We saw a steady camera that would be perfect for blogging,” says Graceffa. “I’ll probably go home and order that.”
Ezarik notes that she’s been checking out the 4K and Ultra HD technologies. “We need to up our quality and our production value so that we can get ready for the future of how people want to be consuming content,” she says. “I’m not ready. I’m not shooting in 4K yet.”