Online video has been around forever (at least measured in web years), and I’ve been hearing about videoblogging for some time. But I’m still amazed at how quickly the new generation of online video sharing services have emerged and become entrenched in our media mindscape. Employing some of the doo-dads that made sites like Flickr work (free hosting, easy embed code for reuse), sites that were only ideas a year ago are now seemingly indispensible.
It’s thrilling enough to see people digitizing their cultural artifacts (copyright law be damned) and throwing stuff out there that would otherwise never see the light of day. But what’s more compelling is the new wave of small-scale filmakers using the medium to make stuff that is often unpolished, but also fresh and very inventive.
Up until now, my favorite example of grassroots videomaking was this extraordinarily strange piece on YouTube, Valentine for Perfect Strangers:
But last night, my friend Rob turned me on to this Google Video piece, which took me back to a trip I’ve taken what seems like hundreds of times, in various states of derangement, between Regina and my old hometown of Saskatoon. It’s a simple video technique, but the effect is stunning:
Does anybody recognise that song that’s playing? Update: “Jerk It Out” by the Caesars (Thanks Scott!)
And I won’t even go into the phenomenon that is Yacht Rock — though I will say that the first four episodes are the best comedy I’ve seen all year. Yacht Rock deserves a post all its own, though I should not be surprised to see that the Wikipedia entry already captures the phenomenon rather well.
Gardner offers up a thoughtful post on how YouTube is changing the game in the classroom:
The larger point is that we’re witnessing not just the now-routine Internet phenomenon of major new resources, but also massively and unpredictably scaled repositories of public domain materials that are vital information resources for ourselves and our students. As the information abundance spreads, and if we are brave and curious enough to embrace it, we will find our own serendipity fields dramatically expanded. And we will find our students bringing archival gems into the classroom, casually and crucially. At that point, the professor’s role as advanced learner, one who models the “ah, what do we have here?” that’s the result and nursery of a good education, will be explicit and essential as never before.
Bring it on.