The Genres of YouTube Videos and the Rise of Machinima

As I continue my exploration of video as text via DS106, I was intrigued by a growing collaborative document that was started in a previous DS106 group that examined the various genres of videos on YouTube. Going through the list reminded me again of how vibrant and creative people are in making videos, and how ever-widening the scope has become.

A few stats from YouTube to consider:

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

Check out this word cloud that I created from the crowdsourced genre list:
YouTube Genres Wordcloud

And I added my own category at the end: Machinima, which is when folks take screenshot clips from favorite video games, and remix them into stories. It’s one of those video phenomenons that is huge in certain circles but often falls ways below our radar screens if you are not in the loop. In fact, it makes me wonder how many of our students are making these style of movies, publishing them to YouTube, without us (or their parents, probably) ever even knowing.

Check out a few examples:
The Awakening (via Sims)

A Child’s War (via Second Life)

In the Beginning: An Imagined Minecraft History (via Minecraft)

After spending some time yesterday examining scenes from Hollywood movies, I had a critical lens on as I watched these clips. Sure, the quality is not nearly the same. But the creativity and understanding of ideas around angles, composition and other elements of filmmaking are in there, and it makes me wonder how long it will be before a major production company takes the idea of Machinima and transforms it into a blockbuster (I think I saw previews of a tongue-in-cheek Lego game movie coming down the pike.)

Peace (in the game),


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