YouTube Is Changing How We Think About Video

from the it's-not-just-for-presenting-a-story dept

Whenever we talk about changes impacting the movie industry or the television industry, there's always someone who chimes in with claims about "how will we be able to make $200 million movies any more?" Of course, that question has a few false premises hidden in there -- such as the idea that movies have to cost $200 million to make. But perhaps an even bigger question is why movies need to exist at all. A few months back we were discussing how popular artforms change over time. Epic poems, stained glass, mosaics, book illumination, fresco painting, tapestry and plenty of other forms of culture were quite popular at one time or another, but eventually times changed and they went out of fashion.

I'm reminded of that discussion in reading Clive Thompson's latest piece about how the rise of the ability for anyone to create and distribute videos on YouTube and other video sites is leading to the creation of video content that just can't be classified in the traditional manner. He talks about a video collage of thousands of people making videos of themselves holding up their hands with short sayings written on their palms. Is it a movie? Is it a documentary? Does it matter?

The people who believe that TV shows and movies and such forms of broadcast content are the be-all, end-all of creative cultural content still don't recognize the true power of the internet as a communications platform, that allows individuals to interact and communicate in ways that simply weren't possible before. The official sites like Hulu may get lots of attention, but they're just about taking content from the TV and movie world and moving it to the web. The power of YouTube is that it enables something entirely new and different to emerge and to thrive. In the history of disruptive innovations, merely taking a product from one medium and moving it to another usually doesn't get very far. It's the projects that really embrace the new possibilities that are only possible via that new medium that really make an impact.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Jospeh Durnal, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    I like movies

    I happen to like movies. I like going to the movies, maybe because when we go to the movies we aren't constantly interrupted by the children :)

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Re: I like movies

    Gee, that's nice.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 7:26pm

    Until Youtube or some other tech replaces movies, the blockbuster movie provides a decent argument for copyright rules. Currently, there's no model in place to profit off of such a movie without copyright.

    Technology should eventually drive movie production costs down, but that's still far in the future.

    The problem is most people love the Dark Knight or Iron Man and won't support revising copyright if this sort of movie is going to disappear.

    Remember, youtube still isn't profitable. At some point, moviemaking will be forced to change too, but I think that music will have to abandon copyright first, explore some business models before movies can risk it.

     

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  4.  
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    eleete, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 7:29pm

    Higher Thoughts

    Give what you create. That is the only way to fortify the public domain. He who ignites his torch by mine, gathers light without darkening me. Stand on the shoulders of giants. Yearn to create more, to innovate away from government. To make it on your own. The Platform (internet) is there, Communicate, All of YOU ! ! How much is a single song worth to you ? $150,000 or $1.50 ? How much for a two hour Video ? Which would You Rather pay ? What should the toll be ? For how long ? What ELSE could that cash go toward ? Why are You not paid on the same scale? Why do you compromise when They are servants to You ? Nothing is lost when a copy of a recording is made. Nothing is stolen or lost on the impact of the creation. Humanity experiences that. Why should courts regulate humanity ? Or creation. Why?

    Why can I not create at the same time and date another is ? Why do they win the race ? After all, I've created ? Why can't I observe Life in full motion and record it without regard ? If we regard ourselves as so holy as to cherish Free Speech. Why not Free Thought? We are all capturing moments on memory are we not ? Why should one capture be regarded as different than another ? Share and share alike. If we are to be so social with our monetary assets, why not our thoughts ? Our Memories ?

     

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  5.  
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    Nathania, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 7:42pm

    It's only changing how a few stalwarts think about video.

    The very fact that YouTube is so popular, meant that it filled a void that people were waiting for, even if they didn't realize it.

    For the great majority, hundreds of millions, it wasn't a big change in thought - it was the easy embrace of a format that was finally more accessible to them.

     

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  6.  
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    james (profile), Jan 8th, 2009 @ 8:15pm

    to #3

    "Technology should eventually drive movie production costs down, but that's still far in the future."

    I disagree. Movie production has gone on for over a century now. The "cost" to make a film has risen over the years, not because of technology, but because of the price of technology. Movies made in the 1920's and 30's were big budget at the time, yet even in today's money, it would have been an almost indie budget. In some situations, the technology really isn't all that different now as it was then. Far into the future? no, because far into the future there will be new technology applied, with new technological costs, that will make movie budgets of today pale in comparison.

    Youtube gives an avenue of distribution where there was very little before. Theatrical movies like "Cloverfield" is a good example of a "youtube-esque" movie branching off into the old mainstream, while giving hope to a new model.

     

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  7.  
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    illegalprelude, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 11:51pm

    soo...in 10 years, i gotta pay to go to the theaters to watch YouTube videos....or vise versa, i wont pay, ill just watch YouTube quality videos on a big ass screen...eeeerrrrrr

    I see the point we are trying to make here and that everything changes and with that, why shouldnt $200 million movies, but there is a reason those movies cost that much and that millions watch and rewatch them. Many videos on youtube are 3min entertaining, but none are Epic/Scary/Comedy Genius etc.

    That to is like saying comic strips would eventually outtake books because anybody can make them for a low cost. Yea, their funny for little bits and time, but they will never give you what a book gives.

     

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  8.  
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    Mojo Bone, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 12:23am

    All punditry aside, how much did movies change after television came along? Drive-ins and double features vanished, along with shorts, newsreels and cartoon featurettes, but feature length movies themselves changed hardly at all. This is not to say that movie theaters today aren't facing a serious challenge from the affordable home entertainment components available nowadays, but I think the $200 million dollar movie is probably safe. They're already building more expensive cameras to stay ahead of consumer grade digital video. Then again, they may eventually be eclipsed by $250 million video games...

     

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  9.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 9th, 2009 @ 12:54am

    Re:

    Currently, there's no model in place to profit off of such a movie without copyright.

    Totally untrue. Just because you can't think of one doesn't mean one doesn't exist. In fact, we've discussed plenty of models that don't rely on copyright.

    Hell, the entire movie industry itself never *really* depended on copyright. It's never been about selling content, it's been about selling *seats*.

    Technology should eventually drive movie production costs down, but that's still far in the future.

    Also, totally untrue. As we've discussed, movie makers have been able to make much cheaper movies these days. The only thing keeping blockbuster movies expensive have been star contracts. Even worse, studies have shown that those star names do little to help a movie succeed.

    The problem is most people love the Dark Knight or Iron Man and won't support revising copyright if this sort of movie is going to disappear.

    Again, there is nothing to suggest what you say is true.

     

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  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 9th, 2009 @ 1:21am

    Re:

    Exactly. The things that disappeared when TV arrived were things that TV did better or more comfortably. The theatrical movie industry survived by offering things that you couldn't get at home (for example: Cinemascope, Technicolor, 3D, then later bigger screens and louder soundtracks).

    Genres of movies also changed with the times - "kitchen sink" dramas were popular during the post war years, but were replaced by TV soap operas, while blockbusters have tended to be the big, loud movies that are best experienced in a theater.

    For all the whining, there's a market for a lot of movies right now. Those that are best experienced in a theater will continue to do well there. The only question is quality - and budget is no guarantee of quality. If the studios make a bunch of $250 million movies that completely suck while $2 million internet premieres are the most entertaining 90 minutes you can have, the theatrical market will suffer. If the crop of blockbusters for the next few years are as good as this year's, there's no need for them to worry.

     

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  11.  
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    Tackett, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Two Different Topics

    I don't know if it's correct to lump movies and TV together. They happen to use similar technology, but i think they serve a different purpose, and follow different evolution lines.
    I think movies tend to be bigger (epic?) stories. They tend to be social activities, and they tend to be an event or activity. Or you plan to rent a DVD for the night, or watch one you have. Movies are more evolved from plays and operas.
    TV tends to have shorter stories, less social, and done to fill time. Sure, you can watch a TV broadcast with others, and you can run home to catch your favorite show, but in general TV is time filler when you might not have anything else to do. I think TV evolves from radio and talking with people who live near you on a casual basis.
    With this in mind, I think the internet poses a more immediate threat to television. I hardly watch TV anymore, only if it's something I know I can't find on the internet. I'm more likely to watch YouTube, podcasts, or even TV shows over the internet. I prefer this because I can do it on my schedule, and select what I want to see. And I can do it in short spurts, stop when I want to, and restart again.
    However, movies tend to be different. It still takes a while to download, I don't like to be interrupted while watching them, and the presentation on a laptop or iPod still lacks the kick of a movie theater.
    This may not stay this way, technology is evolving. In my opinion that seems to be the current state of things.

     

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  12.  
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    Robert S. Robbins, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Production Values

    YouTube content creators need to add more explosions, car chases, kung fu fights, and gorgeous models to their videos. Some CGI wouldn't hurt either.

     

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  13.  
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    alexi tribeca, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Intellectual property

    I would still like an adequate explanation as to how one can own a series of sounds or sequence of photons. I can understand playing to see a live performance but once that moment is passed it is as if you could continue to collect for memories.

     

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  14.  
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    Brad, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 11:03pm

    Totally different markets

    Sorry, but I just don't see Youtube vidoes replacing well written, well produced content. The budgets for movies and TV may well go down over time (and you're right Hulu is just a new distribution channel), but at the end of the day, I don't think youtube is the earth shattering cultural phenomenon that some pundits like to say. Most people don't put in the time, effort, or enlightenment required to produce great art, and those that do should be rewarded. Whether that will be movies, tv, or some shorter form or interactive content remains to be seen.

    And boy, if youtube is our century's epic poems, stained glass, mosaics, etc. then I can only pity our cultural bankruptcy.

     

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  15.  
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    Rose, Jan 10th, 2009 @ 9:00am

    p2sp for youtube

    Bywifi (Video Downloader) is a free program for p2p accelerating, downloading and transcoding video stream from all video websites, such as Youtube, Dailymotion, Metacafe, MySpace, Yahoo, etc. Our website is http://www.bywifi.com/ . The program has some features:

    1. P2P Accelerating´╝ÜWith P2SP (peer-to-server-and-peer), it speeds up downloading of video streaming. Its better algorithms have accelerated video downloading by more than 3--5 times.
    2. Downloading: With automatically flash stream detection, video contents on many websites can be downloaded easily and free.
    3. Transcoding: Videos can be transcoded into many formats supporting any mobile phones and PDAs, such as Nokia, iPhone, SamSung, iPad, iPod, and PSP.

    Would you please try it and recommend it in your blog?

    Thanks,
    Rose

     

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