Occasionally, Jelle Bakker orchestrates a moment that mimics human behavior, Mr. Woods said.
Once, a marble streaked across the track, delaying an event, before it was escorted off the premises. Another time, a fight broke out in the audience among rival fans.
The marbles’ teams have home tracks. There are referees and a stadium of fans — all marbles. When the races begin, gravity pulls each glass ball, 16 millimeters wide, down a winding track to the soundtrack of a cheering crowd.
Time Check, an all-male a cappella group at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has even recorded chants for each of the marble teams.
The team behind Jelle’s Marble Runs has since expanded to 15 people. In addition to the Bakker brothers in the Netherlands and Mr. Woods in the United States, there’s a composer in Greece, a graphic designer in Belgium, a manager in Germany and others in charge of frame-by-frame analyses.
“We had no expectations when we started filming marble runs,” Dion Bakker said. “We thought we would stop eventually, but it was a big success.”
Jelle’s Marble Runs turns a profit through sponsorships, partnerships and ads, and now showcases several categories of events.
The Marble Rally is a basic race downhill: first to the bottom wins. Then there’s Marbula One, a multi-lap race inspired by the real-world Grand Prix. Marbula E, a collaboration with British-based Formula E racing team Envision Virgin Racing, is a new addition to the channel’s lineup.