The YouTube Life In A Day experiment appears to have gone very well, at least in terms of participation. You might remember the project, in which the video site partnered with Hollywood directors Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald to create a documentary film out of user-generated footage from YouTube.
They specifically asked people to film themselves doing what they do in an average day: shaving, brushing teeth, running errands, etc. The plan was to cull the best bits of the submitted footage and piece together a glimpse into the average day of an average person.
Well, they'll have plenty of footage to choose from, as it was announced last night that over 80,000 videos were uploaded and tagged "#lifeinaday.” That's an awful lot of videos. If you assume an average of three minutes in length—and yes, that's a pretty big assumption, but let's go with it for argument's sake—then that's 240,000 minutes of footage. Which is 4,000 hours.
You would think that with that much footage to work with, Scott and McDonald will be able to put something compelling together. However, we can't know for sure until we see it. We don't have any idea what kind of videos were contributed—were they interesting and artistic, or were they strange… odd… or inappropriate?
It's also interesting that this was reported in a Tweet. Twitter is apparently now a place where gigantic web companies make announcements—heck, this PC Mag story uses that Tweet as its only source. Don't get me wrong, I recognize Twitter's power… it's immediate where other news sources are much slower. And the Tweet from YouTube is official. But haven't we seen enough Twitter accounts hacked in recent months to maybe be wary of making Twitter our only source? Also, what's to stop a company from using Twitter as a press release, but then claiming it was hacked if the release isn't received well? But I digress…
The YouTube Life In A Day channel has almost 19,000,000 views, which indicates a pretty impressive level of interest in the community—having a respected director like Ridley Scott involved can't hurt. I'm pretty intrigued about it myself, though I admit that's the video marketing side of me more than the film buff side of me. I'm interested in it as an experiment with online video. Because if it's even mildly compelling in any way, then it could lead to all kinds of cool collaborative, crowdsourced film projects down the line.