May 28, 2013 | City College
Vijay Nazareth’s AVbyte, produced with his brother, garners more than 100,000 daily views
When he graduates from The City College of New York May 31, Vijay Nazareth, who will receive a BFA in film and video production, summa cum laude, is one student who won’t be looking for a job. He and his brother, Antonius, are the proprietors of AVbyte, one of the most successful video channels on YouTube.
AVbyte – the name is an acronym for the brothers’ initials – boasts more than 170,000 subscribers and receives more than 100,000 views daily. A hit with teenage girls, its most popular video, “Hipster Disney Princess,” has received more than 5.1 million views to date. Other blockbusters include “Disney Princess Leia – Star Wars Disney Princess!” which has garnered more than 3.3 million views so far, and “Draw My Life – Kim Jong-un,” which has had nearly 1.5 million views.
In addition, it was one of 30 winners in YouTube’s “NextUp” award competition, selected from a field of some 10,000 channels. The award, which supports high-potential video makers, is “equivalent to winning the Oscar on YouTube,” says Vijay, the Class of 2013 Salutatorian.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, AVbyte broadcasts new musicals produced by the siblings. “We produce them at the weekend,” Vijay explains. “Antonius writes the music and I shoot the video, edit and do the postproduction.”
The product is a combination of Vijay’s technical skills, which were honed at City College, and both brothers’ musical talents. They grew up in a musical household. Their father is a noted conductor and composer; their mother an opera singer. Vijay, the older of the two, has been playing cello and piano since he was five.
Vijay entered CCNY well prepared to major in film. Before enrolling in 2011, he had mastered the basics of filmmaking, co-founded his own film company and produced two shorts. He also interned with television and production companies in New York City and Europe.
However, he was unsure what kinds of films he wanted to make. “Then, I saw a Gene Kelly musical and it clicked, and I said, ‘why not make musicals?'” he recalls.
While the musicals have earned the brothers some celebrity status and helped Vijay establish a reputation as a talented filmmaker, his success is not limited to YouTube. Last year, “Future Advice,” his entry in the Garden State Film Festival, won for best short film. He hopes to branch into other film genres in the future.
To further his knowledge, he has also embarked on a theatrical career and has appeared in numerous productions. As he puts it, “as a filmmaker you must understand the craft.”
His mentor, Herman Lew, CCNY associate professor and BFA Film and Video Program director, gives him top marks as a student. “Vijay is a smart, intelligent student who demonstrates great ability in regards to both the art and craft of filmmaking,” he said.