YouTube constantly sees through the rise and fall of trends over time. Some trends leave a longer lasting impression, while others fizz out quickly. Though this decade goes to gaming commentary channels hands down, the recent years have ushered in a major rise of a rather unforeseen genre of videos - video essays.
Video essay channels create scripted essays on diverse topics ranging from pop culture to even politics with visuals aiding the narration. The essays generally have a subjective or philosophical overtone and are often read out poetically. Unlike gaming or reaction channels, video essays need a lot of time to research and script.
Following is a list of video essay channels that provide us with unique insights
Nerdwriter1: The Nerdwriter is a weekly YouTube series that puts ideas into words in the form of 5 to 10 minute video essays. The essays delve into a wide array of topics from films and art to science and psychology. His “Understanding Art” is one of the most insightful playlists on YouTube.
Every Frame a Painting: One of the most popular film analysis channels on YouTube, Every Frame a Painting is dedicated to the analysis of how different film-structures (cinematography, background score, framing, etc.) convey varying emotions to connect with the audience. The videos are thought evoking and intrigue the audience to look deep within the movies.
Lessons from the Screenplay: The 7 to 16 minute video essays analyse screenplays to demonstrate how certain aspects of movie scripts can work really well in telling a story and conjure up the desired emotions through brilliant writing.
Fandor: Unlike the rest of the names on the list, Fandor hosts a large number of video essayists. Therefore, there are a good number of essays of different styles and on diverse topics. The diversity makes the channel pleasantly unpredictable.
Channel Chriswell: The video essays in this channel are generally longer ranging from 15 to 20 minutes. The essays delve into the art of cinema and cover a wide range of topics starting from the theme in movies of certain filmmakers to cinematic tools used to portray a story.
Now You See It: Similar to Every Frame a Painting in style and narratives, Now You See It covers broader themes in short simple videos around 5 to 7 minutes.
Kaptainkristian: Kaptainkristian traverses across different forms of entertainment - movies, music, cartoons, animated films, etc. The videos are around 5 to 7 minutes maximum.
Wisecrack: Wisecrack's video essays have a unique presentation. "Earthling Cinema" is a popular series where the narrator dresses as an “alien” and gives his take on cinemas and at time, TV shows. “8-bit philosophy” and “Deeper meaning in your favourite stuff” are present interesting perspectives as well.
The Royal Ocean Film Society: The Royal Ocean Film Society is a video essay series by Andrew Saladino devoted to the style, craft, and analysis of everything film. The channel has individual playlists breaking down the animations, direction style etc.
iamthatroby: The channel discusses movies and TV shows and dives deeper into the broader themes or philosophies behind them.
Honourable mentions: The Film Theorists (“Frame by Frame”), Patrick (H) Willems, Beyond the Frame, Art of the Film Score, Art Regard, Steven Benedict, Brows Held High.
Nafis Imtiaz Onish believes grinning is the answer to everything and avidly loves art, astronomy & all things nerdy. Send him Carl Sagan fan art at firstname.lastname@example.org