Mash-Ups & The Future

As the club scene has evolved, so too has the DJ’s role as a performer. The DJ has been a proponent of new art form: the digital mash-up, combining not only spoken word, poems, and music tracks, but now visuals are included as well, opening up the club scene to audio AND video mash-ups. The 21st century is a place that is constantly publishing new media on a day to day, second to second basis. The world is moving so fast now, so speed becomes important, to keep up to date on issues.

Recently, a group called Eclectic Method has become very popular. They call themselves video DJs, or audio-video remixers and they bring audio/video mixers,  DVD turntables, and a library of video clips to their DJ booths. There they can move and transition tracks from one sequence to the next. The videos they show connect the clubbers to one another, with immersive, digital engagement and improvised social commentary. Since we live in a society that is so quickly updated with news events, reports of natural disasters and crimes, the members of Eclectic Method have to constantly keep up with daily happenings so they can reach their audience effectively with the most new and relevant video material. Ten or twenty years ago, mash-up groups like Eclectic Method didn’t exist because the laws on digital piracy were so strict. But now the people that were once suing Eclectic Method are probably looking at them in admiration for their ability to form unique works of art by combining musical pieces from some of the top musicians and pop stars in the country. EM uses such a wide variety of film and incorporates it together in a visual appealing way. Some videos mimic a band performing in front of a group of people, only it is just a video of a person playing the guitar. What is also cool, is that EM mixes and plays the audio/video live, based on what the crowd is feeling that night. Again, EM has to always be on their toes.

EM is able to make comments about culture and what is happening in the world in a different way than traditional art does. One thing they do that is particularly interesting and new-age, is creating “supergroups” out of famous pop stars, presidents and characters on TV. Overall, EM sums up their practice as “it’s about communicating something to people that they wouldn’t necessarily have got, had they listened to it or watched it on their own.”

Here is a short documentary highlighting Eclectic Method:

Here is another example of their audio/video mash-ups about, what else, but the future:

Here is another audio mash-up with video clips meshed within it. I think this video is an example of the future of DJ-ing in the club/at school dances, giving people something to watch besides each other while they dance.

I think mashups may just blow up in the future! They could get really big. I expect this hyper-infused culture to grow and involve into something far more connected than people can anticipate now. I expect 3D animation to be available on Youtube, Vimeo and other online video networks. Perhaps, mash-ups will incorporate 3D animation! I also think more films like “Avatar” will be made, and with technology improving, maybe ordinary people in the future will be able to create their own Avatars and animated creatures to include in their mash-ups. On that note, since technology is improving so fast, I think more and more unprofessionals will be producing “professional” looking short videos to put on the web, simply because they will become easier to make with the new software that will come out in the future.

One can compare mash-ups to the web and how articles and free music sites are connected to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, broadcasting what you are looking at on the internet for all to see. Nowadays, with virtually any information one would ever want to know is available and easily “googled” on the internet. The world is becoming a highly co-depenent society, where people rely on  other people’s work to get inspiration and ideas, in order for artists to make new works of art. Nowadays, everything is a Remix. I believe this will only continue and get more prominent in the media as we get older.

With mash-ups, everything that was once separated into genres and outlets to view media, can be brought together via the internet. So now there is so much media convergence. I anticipate that this will continue in the future. In this world everything is quickly becoming one, and since all things are being available at one time via the internet and specific sites like Youtube, the world is steadily approaching this oneness.

In the future, just as they are now, mash-ups are a great way to fuse all aspects of society, and they are important because they bring issues together under one roof, that may need to be considered as a whole if we are to make the world a better place in the future. So I think that mash-ups have become “meta” or self-referential, and in fact some of them are the very definition of self-referential because they are made to comment on a issue in the media or critique a flawed character that has become popular on T.V. Video mash-ups have the ability to comment on other people’s posts, vlogs, films, and television shows, which can give the creators power in a way.

Mash-ups have always done a great job of mixing genres, like the old films with new television shows. I think mash-ups will continue to blend the unusual video clips and audio together into one short film, because then the mash-up can highlight larger issues, that perhaps the one film, by itself, cannot.

I don’t think people will every get bored with this genre. There is always new material to blend together with the editing software that is available. Mash-ups definitely have a future and they may in fact set the trend for other videos/films in the future. I think mash-ups, like any other web genre will have to evolve to stay interesting to the general public, but since so many video/audio sources are available to the general public for free now, it is uttterly impossible for the genre to die. When commenting on the latest popular Youtube video, and biggest Blockbuster film is a part of the publics daily conversations, online and face-to-face, I have no doubt that internet users will continue to use other people’s work to comment on any issue, funny instance at hand. Perhaps the genre will progress and soon Sundance Film Festival will have a mash-up category to show to the world. I do believe that more and more people are interested in making mash-ups, simply because using other people’s material is useful for educational purposes, but it also brings back the history of visual media. I think people’s fascination of the past has something to do with mash-ups being more popular for sure.

Ultimately though, the ability to blend multiple sources of art into one new work, will always be a talent and a skill, no matter if the correct software is available to all people. People will continuously work to improve their editing skill with the mash-up genre, and I think this is a vitally important part of what it means to be a part of the film and video producing world.

The mash-up assignment, similar to the one we did in class, will be so common that middle schoolers will be required to make their own video by using other people’s ‘stuff.’ They won’t even have to worry about taking out a camera! I still consider the mash-up as one of the most beautiful and yet complicated processes to making video, because one needs to smoothly incorporate your own work and perspective with that of another human beings. The connection between the two is the most amazing thing. I do not think this genre is going away anytime soon.

History of the Video Mash-up

A mash-up transforms original video content in order to state something new, or comment on something the mash-up creator feels is important. Most mash-up’s are movie trailer parody’s meant to make-fun of one or two movies. One of the most famous first mash-up’s on the internet was “Terminator vs. Robocop,” a worldwide hit on the internet in 2007. A French internet user named AMDS FILMS created the piece and the first episode received over 30 million views. After all those hits on the internet, AMDS FILMS was put on a contract to make more films with major American studios.

Robocop vs. Terminator

The history of the video mash-up really started when Youtube enabled film junkies to watch many different video clips all simultaneously, thereby enabling the creation of mash-ups in a very succinct and timely manner. All the video content one could ever think of, was now available at the click of a mouse. People began ripping video from Youtube very easily and using pieces of the videos in their own work. This act is legal only when someone uses small parts of the clips to create something that is innovative and different from the original project.

After individual Youtube users started to create video mash-ups, this genre’s popularity rose and soon companies and television stations wanted to join in on the fun, via the internet. Comedy Central, for example now has a whole page dedicated to the video mash-up’s they create. I am guessing their marketing department creates these videos in order to raise the television stations popularity and video presence on the web. More and more of society is looking exclusively to the web for their television shows and movies. Some don’t even turn on the T.V. or see a need to own one anymore. So creating mash-ups is a way for Comedy Central to target an audience who is used to short clips on the web. Here is one of Comedy Central’s more famous clips:

Word Mash-up S.W.A.T. – o -TUNE

MTV is another television station that has taken advantage of the popularity of the mash-up and made it their own. MTV used this genre of web video to highlight their events. The mash-ups almost became like a tribute to their televised events, like the VMA’s, and only included the most interesting clips, mashed together. Here is an example of two clips:

But mash-up’s didn’t start exclusively after the creation of Youtube. If we look back even before Youtube, or the internet, one can relate the video mash-up in the 21st century to French impressionism and German abstract film. Some of the famous French Impressionists during 1919-1929 were Abel Gance and Jean Renoir (son), who were fascinated by pictorial images and the investigation of psychology of the characters. While German abstract film had no story at all and highlighted famous directors such as Vassilij Kandiskij. These creators has an influence on those later creative minds who decided to take a risk and make video mash-ups of other people’s work later in the 2000’s.

I don’t think video mash-ups would have existed without the history and “invention” of the audio mash-up. One of the first audio mash-up’s is considered Buchanan & Goodman – The Flying Saucer. And the video attached was made as a video mash-up to complement this first audio mash-up.

The Flying Saucer

“Swing the Mood” is another song mash-up by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers. The whole album was a cut and paste record which brought a bunch of early rock and roll records and put them together  with Glen Miller’s “In the Mood.” The song was produced by a DJ team of Andy and John Pickles.

Swing in the Mood

Similarly, the internet has also fueled the popularity of the audio mash-up and in 2001 DJ’s began making their own mash-ups and this practice grew in popularity as it gained momentum in club/dance arena. There are also a number of bands that are featured in mash-ups like U2 and Coldplay.

Finally, even major television shows are based on creating mash-up songs and performing them in the form of a narrative show every week. One of the more famous shows is Glee and many will recognize the originality/familiarity in almost all of their songs. You can’t help but bob your head to the tune.

One example of this is Halo

Overall though, the video mash-up is a category all its own, and it combines all aspects of adaptation with its fusion of audio, video and art.








Movie Mash-up

A movie or film mash-up is a combination of multiple sources of video, sound and art from different pre-existing sources, mainly including footage from movies. Sometimes the video and music have no obvious relation to one another, but thanks to the producer/editor they are brought together seamlessly into one derivative work.

Some mash-up’s are parody’s to make fun of movie trailers, while others are serious conglomerations of all the best scenes in popular movies of the last decade.

When Youtube was created, it enabled viewers to watch many different sources of video and audio all at the same time, under the same website. A term known as “Supercuts” came about thanks to the popularity of video mash-up’s. A “Supercut” is a mix of different clips from various television shows, movies, and web videos that are all grouped together under one common theme. Usually the theme is centered around a common phrase or word that is said multiple times in many different sources of video. However, Supercuts do not necessarily have to be phrases, they can be specific emotions, or even specific actions from one person/character. One example of this is the Supercut of “Walt freaking out”: Walt Freaking Out

However, most Supercuts focus on one specific phrase and bring media together that all include that phrase within their videos. One common phrase is, “There’s no time to explain!”: “There’s no time to explain!”

Supercuts have also been made around the common theme of a person’s “last words”: Last Words

However, some editors get more creative when splicing up other peoples movies and television shows, so they decide to create their own trailers and visual works of art. Some might make it only visually appealing with one soundtrack, and others may keep the dialogue and transform the clips into a new narrative. The more popular movie mash-up’s include some of the best and well-known blockbuster hits from year to year in an “Ultimate 2012 movie mash-up” :2012

Others were made from earlier years such as 2009 with Cinema 2009

Sometimes, these videos seek to condense all of the story-lines into one short video. While some, just try and focus on similar themes within the movies, like kissing, bombs, fighting, the world ending, etc. Often times new music is used or music from another source is incorporated to help with the flow of all the different images flashing on the screen one after another.

Creation of these mash-ups has raised speculations on the definition of copyright and intellectual property. Just as music remixes were once looked down upon as “copying” or even “stealing,” video mash-ups can be seen as copying as well. Producers can illegally download movies and take clips for their own video mash-ups all the time. The very definition of a mash-up is the reuse of existing material that has already been made. So is this ethically right? Haven’t all the great creators of our time at one point copied others in order to learn? The question is still a debate today.

This whole concept of the mash-up represents a new phase in digital viewing. Viewers once needed high-tech knowledge and equipment to take video content and “mash-it-up”. But now, with the onset of JPEG files, MPEG video and Redbook audio, making mash-up video is no longer reserved to the professional editor in the film industry. The everyday curious Youtube user or consumer can make their own fairly easily.

So because of this, the typical producer of a movie mash-up can be virtually anyone who is curious about editing or wants to make people laugh (for example) by combining two distinct movies together. Producers see their audience as anyone who is interested in the different ways to edit video together, but also their audience is anyone interested in grouping movies under common themes, or mixing genres to create parodies.  Some mash-ups are created to inspire people with: Inspirational Speech

Either way, the web video genre is used for both film addicts to help themselves learn how to edit, or just someone wanting to group a bunch of films together under a common theme in a short video. The key is pretty much anyone can remix or mash-up video/audio and distribute it globally in a matter of minutes thanks to internet sites such as Vimeo and Youtube. There is no need for expensive tools, a distributor, or even skills for that matter. All that must be included are different video from different sources. I imagine in the future mash-ups will get even more elaborate on the web, but it will become easier for video enthusiasts to create these videos on their own from home.