Sunday, February 28, 2010

Video on the Internet

Audio-visual narrative will always be around, even if movies evolve into video games. People like to watch. There are basically two kinds of narrative. One is documentary style, with subjects acknowledging the camera, sometimes speaking at the camera to the audience. The other is fiction.

There are many filmmakers on YouTube whose only way to tape video is with a webcam. Webcams aren't very versatile, so they limit the filmmaker to a couple options for content, the most popular option being the filmmaker sits in front of the cam and reviews a movie, speaks about socialism, offers commentary on current events, or some other subjective topic. The more webcam videos are posted to YouTube, the more people will watch them, and the more popular webcam videos will become. YouTube attracts new users every day. New users don't know what YouTube channels to subscribe to so they usually subscribe to net pundits with similar tastes in movies or similar beliefs on political topics. Fictional narrative is harder to attract viewers than talking heads. Maybe that was the same with TV (I speak in the past tense because I believe TV is dead). If I flip through the channels right now, I'll see more talking heads or documentary style programming than sitcoms, dramas, films, plays, or any other form of fiction.

A friend of mine recently said, "YouTube is in its infancy." When Marissa and I started posting videos to YouTube three years ago, there was barely anybody on the site. It was hardly the massive social network that it is. Now YouTube feels like what MySpace used to be. Maybe that's why MySpace seems so dead. Everybody moved to YouTube.

Whether YouTube is the site we'll use throughout the future, or if there will be a new one, we'll all be here. A Google search turns up comments. It's not hard to find you once you've made a mark on the net.

Popular sites like YouTube and Facebook will evolve as our televisions and computers integrate. We'll be able to surf the net with a remote control and order every movie on demand, through iTunes, or through some kind of provider that will surface in the future. Major media corporations will still distribute and spotlight entertainment, but creators of content will be scattered across the world, no longer centralized in Hollywood, and there will be more content creators, so the days of a movie star's twenty million dollar paycheck can (hopefully) be over. We can integrate our computers with our televisions now but the technology is expensive, high end. The rich get the toys first and then it trickles down to the lower income brackets just like Reaganomics hehe.

In an article in The Guardian, Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader makes my point better than I can:

"Movies were the artform of the 20th century. The traditional concept of movies, a projected image in a dark room of viewers, feels increasingly old. I don't know what the future of audio-visual entertainment will be, but I don't think it will be what we used to call movies. Narrative will mutate and endure. Audio-visual entertainment is changing and narrative will change with it."

Here's the link to Schrader excellent article -