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The Rise of The Video Essay

If you haven’t seen any of Tony Zhou’s Every Frame A Painting videos on Youtube, then I’m going to have to ask you to leave and try one of his videos. Be sure to come back here – or not. If you like films or you are a student of film then believe me, you need to see it.

Anyway, what I would like to bring your attention to today is the rise of one of the best internet phenomena we are having at this day and age- the rise of the video essay.

Video essays, which usually only last 10 minutes or less, are videos discussing different kinds of stuff – mostly about pop culture or sometimes controversial subjects. They can talk about anime or philosophy, or films or artistic styles. Video essays should not be confused with reviews (although arguably some of them can be considered essays).

Video essays often feature a voice over or a ‘host’ who continuously talks about the chosen subject while images and audio fast cuts – texts, memes, videos or other multimedia objects.

The well done video essay on the internet can illuminate topics comprehensively in just a matter of minutes and delivered them with brevity.

In this video from Tony Zhou’s Every Frame A Painting, he breaks down the structure of some of the best fight scenes in Jackie Chan’s movies and tells the viewers what makes them so effective.

Jackie Chan – How to Do Action Comedy

What makes this particular video so satisfying to watch is how Tony Zhou makes people warm up to his subject while patiently discussing technical details about video editing. The viewer becomes more appreciative of the subject by the end of the video.

This I think is one of the characteristic of a good essay, video or not. The possibilities of this new literary form are yet to be explored by some but there is already a lot of very interesting output out there.

You can check out three of my favorite Youtube Channels to know more!

The PBS Idea Channel

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Here’s an idea: a PBS show that examines the connections between pop culture, technology and art. 

Every Frame a Painting

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Every Film A Painting is dedicated to the analysis of film form. Pictures and sounds all the way, baby.

Wisecrack

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We’re wisecrack – a collective of comedians, academics, filmmakers and and artists who ae super curious about the world around us. Our channel explores ultra-cool topics in unusual (and hopefully super entertaining) ways.

This is The Manila Reader – I’m a ‘cross media’ writer/producer meaning I’m that animal that jumps from one platform to another. I’m a producer for tv in morning, a social media denizen in all the in-betweens and a reader by night – by midnight to be more precise. I live in Manila, Philippines!

Well, what do you think?

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