6 Great YouTube Channels About Film
YouTube is a surprisingly great way to enter into the wider film landscape. There’s hundreds of video essays out there that dissect all your favorite movies, but sometimes the tough part can be finding the right one. Some channels are too pretentious, some channels don’t know what they’re talking about, and some channels just aren’t to your individual preferences. Here’s 6 great YouTube Channels about film, that each offer something different.
I’m sure we all have experienced the much maligned YouTube account that only posts Top 10 videos, or just consists of complaining uber-nerds. Cinefix is the antithesis to those channels. Yes, they have Top 10 videos and nerds complaining to each other, but it all comes off as much more knowledgeable than other channels. Cinefix makes videos for both the general public and those more interested in film theory. The intention of their Top 10’s is not to rank, but to show off how effective film can be - how staging, coloring, lighting, character subjectivity and so much more can lift a movie into greatness. It’s those little things that Cinefix cares about - not those awful Top 10 Superhero Movies OF ALL TIME videos that are a dime a dozen on the Tube.
In addition to the analytical videos, they have more accessible videos. There’s trivia videos, parody trailers, and community round tables. The round tables do not exist to pander to the superhero/action audience, but rather to talk in depth about films they like, and explain why. Sometimes they disagree, but the discussions are always enlightening and show you how to more critically interpret a film, finding flaws in films you love and finding greatness in films you don’t.
Every Frame A Painting
Every Frame A Painting is created and presented by a man named Tony Zhou. He is a professional video editor and that is reflected in the subject of his videos. Every Frame has a specific focus on the way editing can influence a film. It is not the central topic in every one of his videos, a standout is an analysis on why Jackie Chan’s flavor of action-comedy is so unique and successful, but the focus on editing is what makes this channel stand out. Tony’s videos are often straightforward and not overly concerned with metaphorical language, but rather how editing can reinforce and deepen a film’s overall story and character arcs.
This was the very first film-related, non-review focused YouTube channel I subscribed to and it changed my life. No longer was film just something that can be cool to watch when I was bored. No, rather, this channel showed me the lengths that a filmmaker can go to in order to enhance a story, and what role the technical side of film (lighting, editing, etc) can play when determining how a story is told.
Lessons From The Screenplay
This channel has a specific focus on writing, to a greater extent than Every Frame’s focus on editing. Every single video looks at a segment of one screenplay, and analyzes how a screenplay is interpreted onto film, going so far as to locate a single line and see how that one line of dialogue can makes its way from page to screen. Michael Tucker, the creator of Lessons From, has a very articulate style that is very similar to Every Frame’s. They are very much companion pieces in my mind, with Every Frame looking at the technics/directing of a film while Lessons From appreciates the thematic messaging/writing of film. With both of these channels, one can gain a well-rounded understanding of film theory that extends past the basic articulates.
While Lessons From does often talk about dialogue and what separates effective dialogue from boring dialogue, what I take away from this channel is Michael’s firm understanding of story structure. Dialogue is a tricky beast, but in my mind, getting the structure of a story is far more important than making sure character’s are all whip-smart talkers. One only needs to look as far as Star Wars to see that a strong narrative with a compelling and well-paced structure can often overcome some clunky and awkward dialogue.
The Royal Ocean Film Society
Andrew Saladino has a somewhat unique take on the video essay. Rather than focusing on one specific element, such as editing or writing, he chooses to track one motif throughout the entire language of cinema. That may sound too complex for a 20 minute YouTube video, but trust me, it works. He has done videos on what makes images last, what to take away from small-budget features, and even made a short video on what makes legendary directors. Royal Ocean distills the messages of its videos and presents them in easy to digest ways, without ever taking the audience’s intelligence for granted.
One of my favorite videos by Royal Ocean is an 11-minute tribute to Jacques Tati. That was a name I never even knew existed before seeing the video pop up in my new videos feed. The entire video is a review, and somewhat of an obituary, to the French Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Tati, and how he was able to somehow further revolutionize the art of physical comedy. The great thing about Royal Ocean is its ability to transmit and explore films and filmmakers that many people may not have heard about. This helps further the corners of my view of cinema, and enriches my ability to not only view themes within one film, but be able to relate one film to another.
Now You See It
Now You See It’s reach goes beyond the screen and into the audience’s perception. The channel focuses on how a person is affected by techniques used in film. Creator Jack Nugent has produced videos based on the psychology of horror, swearing, chess, and even how a character’s choice of milk as a beverage can affect the audience’s mind and emotions. The video I’ve selected as a first foray into the channel is an argument for the short take, somewhat of a counter-point to Every Frame’s case for long, unbroken takes. While Every Frame speaks more about the possibilities of long takes in a technical sense, Now You See It’s argument is more focused on how the short take in possibilities for editing, and how the human mind associated certain emotions or trends with certain types of editing.
I find Now You See It valuable not for the film lover in me, but the film-maker. If you’re a film-maker who wants to be able to channel certain emotions or motifs into the hearts and minds of the audience, this is the channel to check out.
Beyond The Frame
Despite Beyond The Frame’s channel being around a year old, it is very much still in its infancy. The channel went through a supercut phase, then a Top 10 phase, back to supercuts, and now is in its video essay mode. All of Luis Azevedo’s videos have high production quality and are clearly made with passion, however two of his videos really stand out.
The first one is a tribute to two filmmakers: Wes Anderson and Roy Andersson - two of the most eclectic directors in modern cinema. The second poses an interesting question: what role will smartphones (and technology, to a lesser extent) play in the future of cinema? The first video is a great tribute and retrospective to the Anders(s)on’s careers, but the second video blows nearly every other film video essay out of the water. Instead of retreading themes in a film, or technical precision in a scene, that have already been analyzed tens of times, Luis asks a question and does his best to answer it. I feel as though many cinephiles are only able to find greatness and innovation in the past, but Luis looks to the future, and wonders how we can adapt our real-life to cinema. His ‘smartphones’ video essay is one of the most unique and original YouTube videos I have ever seen. This is definitely a channel to watch out for.
And there you have it. There’s obviously many more channels to be discovered, but these are just a few of my favorites. All of these channels are great individually, but the real treasure is combining the knowledge that each of these channels bring. Be sure to check out at least one video from each, and try to pick a few that cater to your individual needs.
Did we miss a great channel? Let us know by leaving a comment.