YouTube captures "Life In A Day" on earth

A year ago on July 24, 2010, more than 80,000 people around the world took part in an unprecedented project -- recording scenes from their lives that day and uploading the videos to YouTube.

Now, the result is a riveting new documentary called "Life In A Day."

"Life in a Day" director and Academy award winner Kevin MacDonald tells "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge that while the project unexpectedly received an incredible response, he had to take a different approach to his work this time around.

"It was a nerve-racking experience because normally, as a director, you are used to trying to control everything. You know, your actress' hair color, you know, every word in the script, and this I had no control at all. I just asked people, 'film your day, film what's interesting to you, and answer three simple questions -- What do you love? What do you fear? What do you have in your pocket?'" he explained.

So how did the idea of "Life In A Day" come about?

MacDonald said, "Well, it came about because Ridley Scott, the producer and myself, were discussing what one can do with YouTube. YouTube wants to celebrate their fifth birthday. How do you use this incredible tool of YouTube to make a new kind of documentary that, I guess, reflects what's going on everywhere in the world in one short period? It's an eye on the the last five, six or seven years ago you couldn't have made a film like this," he pointed out.

In order to get footage from all around the world, MacDonald sent cameras to some impoverished countries.

"We sent out about 500 cameras. We went to a camera shop in London and asked how many cameras can we get for $80, 0000. We sent them to Southeast Asia and we got some clips from really far-flung places," he added. "There's a boy in Peru who shines shoes for a living. There's Masai warriors in Kenya. There's women in Angola beating their kasava in the morning."

According to MacDonald there was 4,500 hours of footage, or 80,000 videos from 192 countries (except for North Korea and maybe the Solomon Islands.) "If I watched them all myself, I would be halfway through now. It would take two years on to watch," he said.

MacDonald had a multi-lingual team made up of 25 assistants who sat for two and a half months, 12 hours a day, watching every video.

"Life In A Day" really tells a story, MacDonald stresses.

"That's the thing that people find difficult to understand about this film is that it's a movie, and it gives you the same kind of movie experiences and the emotions that you're used to. You will laugh and cry. You get really connected to a few of the characters in this," he said.

The videos were all shot on one particular day, July 24th, 2010, so is there a meaning behind why MacDonald and Scott chose this day?

"No. There was very little thought. Well, the thought was it's after the world football cup, soccer cup, as you call it here, and I thought, well, during that nobody, except in America, will take part. They'll be interested in soccer. And then we wanted to do it before the big holidays in August. The big thing was should we do it on a week day or on a weekend. We went for a weekend because we thought more people would take part, and we were right."

"Life In A Day" opens in theaters this Friday.