Most every one has seen at least a few examples of amazing or wonderful things on video hosting sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Viddyou and so forth.  Some are more tolerant of transformative works than others, but for the most part, they all have lots of stuff that people have either made themselves or made something out of pieces of other things.


It has all become a part of our Internet Culture, from YouTube Poop to  small independent filmmakers posting their short film projects.  I shall not trouble you with YTP, but in the latter category, here’s one I just stumbled upon and utterly, completely love (a 2004 short film by Erez Tadmor & Guy Nattiv, called “Strangers”) :


[video: 425×344]


No dialogue at all,  but very dramatic and even a little action-y, too. It’s a complete story in pictures, and a powerfu, humorous one, at that. 


And they’re giving it away for free, in hopes that folks like us will find them and like them and share them, and maybe they’ll be able to make bigger films with higher budgets. There are a lot of great things out there for free. Some for film school projects, maybe, or some just done for the fun of it. Take this next one for example. Funny and a bit silly, a one-take, multi-webcam lip synch by… well, not sure of the exact origin, but I would LOVE to work with those people:


[video: 425×344]


Not a story at all, but it looks like fun, doesn’t it? This is an example of another way that free video hosting has made creators of us all. These people didn’t write their own song, or even do too much planning apparently, but they made something fun and interesting, and it was certainly edited well. 


Now that nearly everyone has access to video editing software, you can make some beautiful things out of what are, essentially found objects. Yes, often those objects are the product of someone else’s work, but who hasn’t boggled at the amount of work that goes into videos like the one done to the Nine Inch Nails song “Closer” mimicking the style of the original music video, but using footage from the Star Trek Original Series? (I’m not linking it here because I couldn’t find the original — it has been reposted by many people who didn’t actually do the work. If anyone knows who is originally responsible for that bit of cracktasticness, please let me know.)


We have shared a few fan vids here before, and I’m sure we will again, but that is not the only type of thing people create out of other people’s work. Kutiman took bits of people performing music, singing and rapping on YouTube, and mixed them into wonderful songs for his multi-track project called Thru You. Check it out (this one song is my favorite, called “I’m New”). I encourage you to watch at least two full minutes of it — it’s fascinating:


[video: 425×344]


That, my friends, took some doing. I mean, hard work, yes. But also vision.  A vision that could not have been realized without the contributions of all those other people, singing rapping and playing music in lonely rooms for a camera.  Isn’t that a brilliance all it’s own?


Here’s another one. Not so long ago, someone posted surveillance camera footage of a really, really drunk guy trying to buy more beer at a convenience store. People pointed an laughed, shared it with others, united in a bit of Schadenfreude. Then somebody made a “silent film” out of it:


[video: 425×344]


That made it funny even funnier, and removed the reality of it enough that even those who would be naturally resistant to the ROFL at someone else’s expense could show it to their kids as slapstick. It’s not great art, exactly, but it takes creativity and effort. Now, instead of being limited to seeing the things our friends and family make, we can see the things that EVERYONE makes, and judge for ourselves what has merit. Or shock value.


My over-arching point here is that people are awesome creatures. They make art out of everything, whether or not it brings them any personal gain. The internet may have brought us an explosion of the amusing equivalent of artistic “junk food”  (I can personally lose an hour on YouTube watching cats eat broccoli), but there is also some amazing stuff out there, that real people have done for fun, for the love of it, or for the chance to make something unique or beautiful and share it with the world.


And that rocks.