We love sending video clips to each other. Links to YouTube videos of cute animals, spectacular accidents, inspiring speeches, nostalgic memories, and music videos fly back and forth through our email inboxes all day long. We gather around each others desks and call family members to our laptops to spend a few minutes watching a cool clip we just found.
It occurred to me that finding and sharing these videos is, or can be, an art form: creating curated mixes of many shorter video clips is, to me, analogous to the existing form of the DJ mix tape (or, in today’s digital terms, a playlist).
I have friends who are video artists, combining original video work with found-video editing and collecting techniques. Some even use the term “VJ” to describe the curation and mixing of the videos together, more in the Christian Marclay or DJ Shadow sense than in the MTV sense.
Before digital video became as easy as it is today, and before YouTube made finding millions of source videos possible to anyone with a web browser, creating curating video mixes was solely the purview of these dedicated video artists, who had both expensive video editing equipment and mountains of space-consuming video tapes that they’d painstakingly collected over many years.
But now that the web has rendered both of those constraints moot, I’m surprised that I’ve not seen an easy way for web users to grab a bunch of video clips and create a single sharable curated playlist out of them. Sure you could download videos and use a desktop editor to string them together into a new piece (and, in fact, I’d love to see this sort of art form emerge, too), but a more democratic and reasonable way to do this would be for YouTube to allow users to create mixes on their own.
You would begin by filling out a form with a string of interesting video URLs. Click submit, and then YouTube collects those videos into a single page and a single video player, perhaps with credits or annotations appearing in a subtitle form between the clips. You could then send this new video mix as a single URL to your friends.
So here’s my first mix, minus the single unified player part. Ideally there would be single video player here, and all I would have done to create it was enter these six URLs into a form. For now, just play them one at a time, scrolling down the screen.
This space intentionally left blank!