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.