In the two years or so that I've been writing this column, this is by far the highest number of videos I've ever crammed inside it. I don't know if that means there's more great video than ever out there, or if it's a sign that my preoccupation with video has turned into an obsession--or both--but either way, you fans of video should have plenty to keep yourselves busy with this morning.
One of the more popular ways for singers and musicians to get notice on YouTube is cover songs. Typically, the amateur artist adds in their own twist or wrinkle to the song to make it their own, but draws views from the built-in popularity the song already had. This week, I saw a cover performance that managed to amuse, impress, and frighten me all at once: The Mini Band, a mix of 8-10 year olds, covering Enter Sandman by Metallica:
A couple of weeks ago, we saw viral successes from a guy that sounded remarkably like Freddie Mercury as well as another guy that sounded just like Eddie Veder. This week, it's Kurt Cobain's turn to get the "eerily accurate impression" treatment:
Of course, some cover song videos aren't intended to sound just like the original, but rather aim to put their own spin on things. Like Boyce Avenue & Tyler Ward, who joined up to cover Coldplay's Fix You, which already 2 million have watched in just four days:
You've probably heard the Party Rock Anthem--it's the song in the background on the latest Kia hamsters commercial. But you likely haven't ever heard it performed by a university marching band... complete with funky choreography:
Here's a great medley of nonsense song lyrics called History of Lyrics That Aren't Lyrics:
Nothing's more rare in the world of music than a converted motorcycle carrying three teenagers as they rock own driving down the interstate:
Some moments we see on video transcend cultural and language boundaries, and speak straight to the masses. Sometimes this is because there's a basic emotion conveyed in the clip that is universal. Other times, it's because the subject material truly is known throughout the globe... like Star Wars. Here's a father doing something really adorable--he films his son, watching Empire Strikes Back, first learning that Darth Vader is his father. Possibly the cutest video of the week:
Sometimes it's the simplest, most basic moments that viewers connect to, like this clip of a puppeteer convincing a little girl his dog is real:
Kids play all the time, and it's not often remarkable enough to deserve to be filmed. But when it is, even a simple childlike reaction to a game can go viral by bringing smiles to the faces of viewers, especially if it involves something called a popsicle-stick bomb:
We've had a few "real life angry birds" video hits, and several "trick shots" viral sensations... so this week, it's only natural that we have the combination of the two formats:
Remembering Steve Jobs
As the world begins to mourn Steve Jobs and reflect on the huge impact he had on our culture, I thought it might be a nice idea to find a handful of the best Jobs-related online videos to help remind us what made him so unique.
Here's Steve introducing the very first iPhone:
Steve Jobs & Bill Gates once shared the stage together at an All Things Digital conference, and it's every bit as interesting as you might expect:
Of course, who could forget the iconic "1984" commercial, which was almost as revolutionary in the advertising world as the Macintosh Computer it announced was in the technology world:
I know I'm in the minority on this--at least, depending on the company I'm keeping at the time of the debate--but I love branded online video. There's a real sense of a pioneer attitude with branded online video, as all brands know they want to engage viewers by entertaining them, but they each have their own idea on how to best accomplish that. It's nothing but a win for viewers, who get treated to some innovative, hilarious, and way-outside-the-box video content on an almost-ongoing basis.
Rhett & Link scored a huge hit this week with Caption FAIL 2--a follow-up to their previous Caption Fail video. They take a script, perform it, and then pull the auto-transcript from YouTube--which is very often wrong--then they perform the skit again with the new (wrong) script. So on and so forth. It's pretty hilarious stuff.
And yes, in case you're curious, Rhett & Link now count as a brand in my book. They've hit viral gold too many times to count, and they star in their own TV show on IFC (which produces its own viral video hits). Here's Caption FAIL 2:
It's been a while since Epic Meal Time was featured in this column, and they sure have continued to grow their audience and score consistent viral hits. Like this week's Spam Fries Four Loko episode, which gained over a million viewers in just three days:
Short Films & Art
I'm growing kind of obsessed with stop-motion short films, particularly of the action variety. It just boggles my mind the patience and talent and technical ability some of this filmmakers possess. Like Oliver Trudeau, who made "Ninja", which entertained me greatly:
Here's a bit of an art project you might like. It's called Reverse Graffiti, and it mostly involves using a pressure washer on very dirty concrete to create art by cleaning. Check it out:
I also really enjoyed "Living Lebowski, Dude". It's part documentary short film, part tribute, part party video filmed during this year's Lebowski Fest in Kentucky:
Finally, if there's one thing the Internet has taught me, it's that art can be made out of anything. Including salt:
The animated short film, Parigot, by French filmmaker, Loic Bramoulle, is fantastic and insanely detailed:
Here are a few more, for the video junkies among us:
- Nobody does fan appreciation better than FreddieW and company.
- Even though I embedded it in an article earlier this week, I still really love this video compressing the recent Apple iPhone 4S presentation down to 90 seconds ("Squirrel!").
- Love this King of Legoland short film--lots of motion and color.
- Here's another movie supercut--the Hold On edition.
- Formula for a great video: interview people about hockey, then animate over top of the video. It's a thousand times more interesting than that description made it sound.