Video Killed the Essay Star

Examples of using audiovisual composition (read: video) around the web:

– Matt Zoller Seitz: Videos on Wes Anderson. He created an entire collection of videos on the Anderson films which complement his book, The Wes Anderson Collection

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION CHAPTER 7: MOONRISE KINGDOM from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

– To see an example of using video to advance a comparative study, look at New York/New York which examines NYC from the point of view of two contemporaneous films, Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters (1986) and Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver (1976):

New York / New York from Reverse Shot on Vimeo.

– Supercuts are probably the most common form of video essay though we may not think of it as one. You can find great examples of supercuts at supercut.org. Here’s an example  from Audiovisualcy on “Breaking the 4th Wall”:

Breaking the 4th Wall Movie Supercut from Leigh Singer on Vimeo.

– Here’s another from Audiovisualcy, which defines itself as “an online forum for video essays about films and moving image texts, film and moving image studies, and film theory.” This is an example on the use of the golden ratio and tracking shots in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (2007):

There Will Be Blood / Through Numbers from Ali Shirazi on Vimeo.

– You can also see examples of trailer mashups at Mashable, but here I’ll give you a mashup of Madonna’s Vogue and the film 300 (2006). For a more comprehensive list of creative works like this, visit the Museum of the Moving Image “Cut Up” exhibit page which has links to a couple of works they showcased just last year, from Brokeback to the Future (2006) to Star Wars: Chewbacca Supercut (2011)

– Feminist Frequency has an ongoing web-series that looks at issues of female representation in media. Here is her video tackling the Bechdel Test on the Oscar films of 2011. (In case you don’t know, in order to pass the Bechdel test a film just needs to fulfill these three, very simple, criteria: A movie has to have at least two women in it who have names, who talk to each other, about something besides a man.) Watch to see how many do:

– Improv Everywhere has an ongoing series called “Movies in Real Life.” It’s precisely what its title suggests; their actors improvise film scenes in real life venues (you can watch Spartacus grab his Starbucks drink, Harry Potter look for platform 9¾ at NY Penn Station, or twenty women recreate the famous When Harry Met Sally scene at Katz). See their take on Jurassic Park (1993):

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