The Vlogger Evolution

The biggest suggested change to our channel page in the comments of the last update was including a playlist of just tutorials. Over the years I’ve dropped some knowledge on my version of how to put a web series together and we’ve done more than a few on visual effects tutorials. However, since the updates are very vlog-style and I didn’t realize until tragically recently that you need to frontload the relevant information of the video, I went through every video in the tutorial playlist and added a clickable annotation at the beginning that takes you directly to the main topic, wherever in the video it may be. It works perfectly on the YouTube page, simply skipping ahead immediately. Unfortunately, with embedded videos, the annotation takes you to YouTube before skipping ahead, sometimes playing an ad before the jump, slowing the transition down. Here’s an example if you want to check it out, a great VFX tutorial by our VFX Coordinator Ryan that’s frontloaded with a bunch of stuff that someone looking for a tutorial wouldn’t want to sit through. Clicking on the annotation skips the first 52 seconds and takes you to the VFX end zone:

The programmable time annotations are a huge development. Absolutely awesome, says I.

The title of this post, however, refers to something I’ve been seeing a lot lately. A whole bunch of folks who started off as vloggers and really dedicated themselves to it are opening up the content they’re producing and moving into more traditionally-flavored videos. Vloggers like charlieissocoollike and nanalew are migrating into producing legit-looking narrative short films. Guys like the vlogbrothers now have side channels with bite-sized science and trivia shows. My buddy Craig has created a new kind of web series called The Good Stuff, mixing factual videos, fictional videos, and audience-submitted compilation videos all around a specific theme for one playlist. Several others are moving into documentary and a few of them are focusing their stories (and lenses, he he) on YouTube and popular YouTubers, examining the phenomenon in a feature length space.

I think the change is fueled by two things. One: A certain amount of funding is being offered to talented YouTubians should they want to develop more traditional media-oriented content. YouTube really wants to be the new TV, but people don’t actually use it like they use TV yet, so everything is getting jumbled up right now as they try to standardize content, simplify delivery, and attract established industry celebrities to offer exclusive stuff on the site. They want people on YouTube longer and vlogging is a very quick dine-and-dash medium of entertainment, so they’re trying to encourage people to build up series and linear, longer form storytelling. I want to point out that this is largely speculation on my part, but it seems like what I’ve been seeing.

Two: Most people who are big on YouTube now were mainly influenced by traditional media. They love movies. They love TV. They started vlogging because it was fun and they’re talented, but after a while they’re going to be drawn to the kind of entertainment that always called to them in the first place. I just think it’s kind of cool that the first wave all seems to be transitioning at once right now. The next wave of vloggers may just want to stay vloggers since they were weaned on vlogging as a standalone medium of entertainment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see everybody from the first wave doing films and series.

Another funny aspect to this is that people like me, who only started YouTube as a way to present and promote our more traditionally formatted content picked up vlogging as a way to endear ourselves to the medium. Look at Felicia Day and the Guild. That was straight-up series until they went viral with “Do You Want to Date my Avatar?” Now she’s the presiding queen of Geek and Sundry, a YouTube-based network that specializes in internet-sized entertainments and vlogs, one little branch of which is The Guild.

I mean wow, right?

Thanks for reading.



3 Responses to “The Vlogger Evolution”

  1. Hey Jake,

    About a week ago I rewatched “A History of Violence”, which I really like – the story is not really original, but it really is an emotional piece of work. The thing is I don’t really understand anything about film and as I was watching it, I wondered “What would Jake Jarvi say about this?”

    And as I obviously didn’t know, I redirect the question to you 😉

    What I found really impressive was the first 2 shots, that take several minutes each – they just blow my mind! I think they are part of the reason I enjoy it so much, it’s just such a calm, sober, dry movie – such a nice change from the usual.

    Kind Regards

    • Thanks for reaching out, dude. I haven’t seen A History of Violence, but I like some of Cronenberg’s stuff so I should probably check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

      Some of the long shots I recommend though are the prom introduction from De Palma’s version of Carrie, the whole Hitchcock movie Rope (especially when the housemaid takes it upon herself to clear the table), and the battlefield exploration in Atonement.

      • Hey, thanks for the answer! I’ll have to check those out then – maybe I’ll find out, if it really is that kind of filmmaking that speaks to me, or if it is something else.

        Let me know what you think, if you ever do watch A History of Violence 😀

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