History of Amateur Disaster Footage

The history of amateur disaster footage evolved alongside the history of video recording in general. As camcorders became less expensive and more portable, non-professional producers were able to record their lives. It is hard to know from where this genre of online video directly came. One could argue that ultimately these disturbing clips came from cave paintings of unsuccessful and violent clashes between tribes. The urge to record trauma comes from the basic human instinct to study catastrophe to learn from mankind’s mistakes.

One of the earliest known and certainly most infamous video clips is called the Zapruder film. Abraham Zapruder, a private citizen, captured the John F. Kennedy assassination on his personal camcorder. This first-hand footage can be seen all over YouTube, accompanied by a plethora of analyses and conspiracy theories. Before its dispersion on the web, stills from the Zapruder film were published in newspapers and magazines.

A new form of amateur disaster footage bloomed with the development of social media and camera phones. It became much easier for civilians to produce their own content and to share it with the world. The violence in the Middle East was a showcase of the ability of the general public to create this eye-catching footage. Instead of relying on newspaper, magazine, and television companies to publish the stills and footage, the audience can view the disaster straight from the original source.

Amateur disaster footage is not new to the history of media. However, with the rise of web video, the footage has become more raw and honest to the event details. These horrific videos have satisfied the human desire for images of tragedy.

More R&B Music Video History

In the 1950s and ‘60s, the videos have an unseen voice introducing the majority of them, and then show a live performance with very few cuts, if any at all. Some are in color, such as Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” video from the 1950s, while others are in black and white, like Ray Charles’ 1960s “What I’d Say.” The lyrics of these songs were slower than contemporary R&B music, and more about romantic love than sexual love.

In the ‘70s the color of the videos got a lot more vibrant, for example in The Jackson 5’s “I want You Back.” However, the videos were still completely performance-based and had few cuts. The lyrics were still predominantly about women, but about love instead of sex.

In the ‘80s, the videos were still performance based and set on a single stage. However, the songs got a little more provocative and these backgrounds a little more complex, with more cuts. For example, Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” music video has bright flashing lights that flash with the beat, and have more cuts in the video including a split screen in which he is shown twice on the same screen. His lyrics proclaim that “I’m going to rock with you all night.”

In the 1990s, music videos started portraying Contemporary R&B music. The videography became much more advanced, with many cuts and vibrant, clear colors. The videos were no longer completely performance based, but instead contained shots portraying multiple scenes that were cut to throughout the videos in order to tell a visual story or create a theme. For example, one of the most popular R&B songs from the 1990s was “No Diggity”  by BLACKstreet feat. Dr. Dre. There are people in the video, predominantly women wearing scant outfits, who are not the artists performing; instead they are used as sex symbols to set the scene. The cuts in this video match the beat of the music, and the video cuts to many scenes that vary in location, color scheme, and people. The lyrics of this song are also very sexual, matching the women portrayed in the video. The women are also dancing very sexually and provocatively (their knee pads are a nice touch). This style of contemporary music video continued into the 2000’s, with more complex storylines and dance based videos like Usher’s “Yeah!”  music video that mixes dancing with showing scenes of Usher with a girl throughout the video. As videography has continued to become more advanced, music videos made in the past few years have even more interesting and complex ideas, some of which involve special effects such as Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” music video that involves lots of cool colors, shadows, and added images like lips that give the video a less realistic, more artistic flair that matches the lyrics and beat of the song.

History of Extreme Sports Videos

Truth of life: there are some people in this world that live for pushing the limit; it’s just how they’re made up. According to Wikipedia, in the 1970’s, David Kirke, Chris Baker, Ed Hulton and Alan Weston founded the Dangerous Sports Club of Oxford University. Whether intentional or not, the foundation of the club paved the way for extreme sports and its filming. At the time, Kirke and his comrades couldn’t have known the historical implication of their actions, but almost thirty-five years after their (and the) first filming of modern day bungee jumping on 1 April 1979, from the Clifton Suspension Bridge of Bristol, England. The group went on to further their accomplishments by filming there next stunt jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, as well.




The filmed stunt was such a success that the group was eventually made a TV appearance on That’s Incredible. Eventually, however, extreme sports video would hit its peak with the introduction of the X Games in 1995. Originally called the Extreme Games, the X Games were the first televised program for extreme sport competitions. Audiences around the world were able to see the best extreme sports athlete compete all against one another. The show was a hit. Year after year its popularity grew, as more people around the globe began to have access to this gold mine:




The invention of the internet and eventually Youtube, allowed for even further progression of extreme sports filmography. With this new access at the everyone’s fingertip, all of the self-proclaimed extreme sports athletes could post their home videos of their feats. Furthermore, trailers and documentaries from directors such as James Marsh, Mike Christie, and Jacques Russo could be watched at home. In 2012, a film called Last Paradise, was released. This film documents the history of extreme sports, and walks the viewer through the beginnings of many of the original extreme sports.




Extreme sports video continue to flourish as long as people continue to reach and past whatever limits have been set in their respective sports. Five or so years ago, Travis Pastrana pulled off the first ever double backflip. The camera zooms in on Pastrana mid flip and all you see is the crowd in the background in awe, and as he completes his first flip you some how realize that he’s actually gonna do it. Once he lands the camera captures the absolute mayhem that is going on I the crowd. The awe is in the stunt, no doubt, but the video and different angles the stunt was captured had unmistakable amplifying features.


Vlog on Extreme Sports

According to Wikipedia, extreme sports “are certain activities perceived as having a high level of inherent danger. These activities often involve speed, height, a high level of physical exertion, and highly specialized gear.” The beauty in the sport is that these athletes that participate in the various sports that fall under the umbrella of extreme sports find ways every year to go faster, higher, farther, and constantly test perceived ‘limits’. For years the X Games have been the face of extreme sports on television. The games have been able to capture and share said instances where special athletes obliterate all notions of a possible limit of what can be done. Bob Burnquist’s 2001 Vert Run in the X Games is a prime example:




The intriguing aspect of extreme sports is position the nature of the sport puts the film crew. In some films the camera crew can or needs to film from afar so there isn’t any apparent danger to whoever is filming. But, in other instances the film crew is the athlete or, if there is a crew they are right along side of the athlete, keeping up.






Some of the most successful extreme sports videos are skiing and snowboarding. The reason for this is because a lot of the time, these videos use a combination of up close and long range shots. By in large, however, cameras are set up at specific angles shooting a jump or set of stairs where athletes can perform their tricks.



Another interesting aspect of extreme sports video is the use of our groth technologically. When you start to get into the surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding films the diversity of shots and visual effects are highlighted and often raise the level of the tricks themselves. I was reading an article a couple months back on a Nike idea to film a skateboard film that allows the viewer to see a 360 degree view form the skaters perspective. Naturally, if you can see 360 degrees you can see other skaters doing tricks behind and in front of the central skater, whose perspective the video is being shot from. The results were pretty rough, but I don’t doubt that Nike will continue to progress and innovate is the world of sports and sports footage:


The demographics of who watches extreme sports videos is pretty telling. According to the Extreme Sorts Network, the most view extreme sports program was the 2008 Winter X-Games 12. Only 6% of those viewers were teens, while nearly half of the US considers themselves extreme sports fans and watch videos regularly. I was impressed that the number of X Games viewers has held an upward trend every year, and the program continually sets viewership records. This data supports the notion that each year action/extreme sports are becoming more and more popular, and the videos are helping to continue this trend.

My criteria for extreme sports are as follows:


  1. Audio

Finding the appropriate audio for an extreme sports video is key. And some times the appropriate audio is a lack of audio, or music, or commentators. But the point is the audio must match. Watching a skate video without any noise in the back ruin the film, but you put a song in the background and you’ve got a great video

  1.  Must Portray the Level of Danger Involved

It’s not a coincidence that in a ski film if the athlete is doing some huge jump, most likely, the camera is capturing the entire take off and landing from a far. That’s the only way to show the epic-ness of the feat. If you film up close, sure you can still tell that the jump is a big one, but the effect isn’t the same.


  1.  Variation

People need to see variation in these videos. The shots can’t be the same, the angles, the types of tricks, the speed of the footage, all of these things need to be variable but also maintain balance and somehow flow.


History of Flash mob and their Videos

The history of flash mobs is quite interesting, especially since it was not started to be a youtube video phenomenon. The first time anything similar to a flash mob was even thought of and described came from a novella, written in 1973, “Flash Crowd” by science fiction writer Larry Niven. In the story, people swarm a highly broadcasted event, using teleportation, and create riots. These groups usually, purposefully, intensify the situation  that is currently happening  in order to exploit that particular instance, and create mass confusion. The crowds of tele-porters become known as “flash crowds”. This idea sounds eerily similar to what modern flash mobs have become, except they use regular modes of transportation to cause the confusion and event.

The first time that an actual flash mob took place occurred in 2003, as a result of Harper’s Magazine senior editor Bill Wasik. It began with Bill creating an email account named themobproject@yahoo.com and emailing fifty of his friends, as well as himself, inviting them to gather together at a public location with the hopes of confusing others. When later interviewed he said his main purpose for creating these mobs was to poke fun at the ever growing hipster culture and explore the ideas surrounding conformity and people’s need to be apart of “the next big thing”. He was later quoted as saying, “the mobs started as a kind of playful social experiment meant to encourage spontaneity and big gatherings to temporarily take over commercial and public areas simply to show that they could”.

The first mob he tried to organize failed, as the store being targeted discovered the plot. The first flash mob occurred on June 3, 2003 in New York City. To avoid discovery, like the first attempt, Bill emailed everyone to meet at four separate Manhattan bars, creating staging areas where participants were subsequently emailed the location right before the actual event was the take place. The first flash mob occurred in a Macy’s Department Store on the ninth floor rug department, the mob consisted of over 130 people. Together they all sat staring and gathered around an expensive rug. Whenever the group was questioned they were to respond that they were looking for a “love rug” for the warehouse, on the outskirts of New York City, where they all lived together and that when a purchase decision needed to be made they always did it together as one large group. The next part occurred with over 200 people gathering in the lobby and mezzanine level of the Hyatt hotel and participated in fifteen seconds of synchronized applause. The last flash mob occurred at a Soho shoe store where a mob of people entered pretending to be tourists on a bus trip.

The first flash mob where people gathered around a rug on the ninth floor of the Macy's Department Store

The first flash mob where people gathered around a rug on the ninth floor of the Macy’s Department Store

After the success of this first mob, major news outlets began to cover the new phenomenon. They found that the success of the event lied with the internets role in organizing the events as well as the participants fun in being apart of the mob. Soon after these first flash mobs, others in major cities around the United States and the World began occurring. Wasik eventually ended the organizing of flash mobs in New York City at the height of their popularity instead of them dying out because of the lack of participation. However, flash mobs have remained popular throughout the world. Instead of being national news events, however, they are now mostly web video phenomenon’s. The videos of these events posted onto video viewing websites has kept this public “performance art” of sorts alive.

History of the Internet Cooking Show

As with many things in life, it all began with an omelet. It was 1962, and a women trying to market her new cookbook demonstrated proper omelet cooking technique on a local Boston television station. Viewers were enthralled, and demanded that women be given her own show. The book was entitled The French Chef, and the women was Julia Child. Hers was by no means the very first cooking show, but it was the first to be successful with a national audience. Cooking shows would continue to rise in popularity until the introduction of The Food Network in 1993, which featured such well known chefs as Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and Rachael Ray in addition to signing on Julia Child. These cooking celebrities set the stage for their internet followers by creating the formulaic style evident in so many videos.

But when did the crossover to the internet begin? Pirated clips of televised cooking shows surely have existed since the internet has been fast enough to make video sharing practical, but this material was not created specifically for the internet. The actual first internet cooking show hides somewhere in the vastness of the internet, obscured by over a decade of web-page buildup. However, in April of 2005, a mere two months after the introduction of youtube, a video entitled Flambe Disaster which featured a man pouring liquor onto an open flame appeared on the internet. The video was uploaded onto youtube by a user named Tunafat, but the original no longer exists, and all backstory is lost. As this is clearly a failed attempt at demonstrating proper flambe technique, I feel as though it qualifies as one of the earliest examples of internet cooking. However, it is not a true cooking show, and it is not clear whether or not video was originally intended for the internet. It is not until 2007 that the first mention of a cooking show comes up in youtube’s search feature.

The series is entitled “Great Depression Cooking”, and stars a 91 year old women who cooks food from the Great Depression while rambling about how hard things used to be. The series was created and produced by her great grandson, Christopher Cannucciari. The videos are closer to televised cooking shows in that they have a longer set introduction sequence with a theme song. However, much like current internet cooking shows, the chief interest is in the host, not in actual cooking. Clara, the 91 year old women, is hardly a distinguished chef and actual displays many incorrect cooking techniques. Throughout the video, Clara tells stories about things like how her neighbors let bootleggers use their garage to make whiskey.

Truly, this is the heart of the internet cooking show. People don’t produce an internet cooking show for fame or money, but because they feel they have an interesting story to tell, and because they want to share the culinary part of their lives with other people. In this respect, cooking shows have not changed much at all since Julia Child introduced America to the quiche.


History of Comedic Vlogging

Vlogging, which is short for “video blogging,” is a form of web video that developed out of the blogosphere.  People have been keeping written internet diares, called blogs, for decades.  As videos became easier to create and share on the internet, a new form of blog evolved, and the “vlog” was born.

The first true vlog was created by Adam Kontras in 2000 when he posted a video of himself to his blog, talking about his move to California to pursue show business.  From then on, he continued to post video diaries that recorded his progress, and now has the longest-running vlog in history.  In 2004, Steve Garfield (another founding vlog father) declared it “the year of the video blog.”  With the founding of YouTube in 2005, vlogging saw a sharp increase in popularity.  Now vlogging is so widespread that many companies it as a form of marketing.

Comedic vlogging is a form of vlogging that focuses on the humorous side of life.  Many consider a man called Ze Frank to be father of the comedic vlog.  The videos on his personal website became wildly popular in the early 2000s, and he now has a huge following on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.  He makes frequent vlog posts in which he looks directly at the camera and talks about things like envy and dealing with rejection, speaking from his humorous outlook on life.

I would consider stand-up comedians to be precursors to the modern vlogger.  Their live comedy routines are often quite similar in content to a comedic vlogger’s online “routine,” however the method and performance of delivery are very different in nature.  Many online vloggers would do very well as stand-up comedians.   Vloggers are the stand-up comedians of the internet.

History of Self-Portrait Video

The idea of the self-portrait dates all the way back through history as human beings attempted to conceptualize and locate themselves in the world. Since the 15th century, artists have tried to explore the artist’s own psyche. Some artists use realistic representation while some artists chose to use a distorted version of themselves. However, there was one artist – whom I will focus on here, who revolutionized the idea of self-portrait. This artist was Van Gogh.

Since Van Gogh, there have been numerous other artists who have followed in his footsteps. Still others used completely abstract shapes to depict themselves – for example, Jackson Pollack and March Rothko. Many of these different types are artistic representation are also evident in video forms of self-portraits.

Since the advent of technology, the photographic self-portrait has been very common. In 1840, Hippolyte Bayard portrayed himself as a suicide victim in a photograph entitled Self Portrait as a Drowned Man which sparked a whole movement in self-portrait photography.

A landmark film in the self-portrait video genre is The Beaches of Agnès, a cinematic self-portrait of French filmmaker Agnès Varda. Varda was part of the French New Wave film and won the 2009 César for best documentary. Since then, the genre of the self-portrait has been used extensively as prompts and assignments for teachers and students.

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.








History of Educational Vlogs

To understand the origin of educational vlogs, it is first important to note that the true meaning of “vlog” stems from the contraction of video and blog. Thus, in order to trace the history of vlogs, we must first look at how blogging came to be such a prominent pastime. Since the beginning of time, humans have found pride in writing things down. We record everything from accomplishments to food recipes, and the idea of journaling thoughts and ideas goes back hundreds (if not thousands) of years. Even the Bible is mainly just a recollection of events, told from the perspective of different witnesses. It’s only natural that in the shift to the digital age, we move our paper journals into digital formats, and eventually publish them online.

With the shift from personal diaries to blogs comes a huge lack of privacy and an assertion of vulnerability; it took a while for people to really get used to the idea of publishing their thoughts online. This shift from private to public journaling is said to have occurred on a very specific date: the earliest blogs claim that they originated during the events of 9/11. The news stories were so overwhelming that people began searching for explanations online, and thus started the idea of spreading information through more personal narratives. According to educause.edu, the genre of blogs was named by Jesse James Garrett, the editor of infosift, who compiled a list of websites that were link-based commentaries. And thus began the popular genre that remains incredibly prominent in this digital age.

The first official video blog created was made by in the year 2000 by a man named Adam Kontras, who wanted to journal his move to Los Angeles for his friends and family to see. Adam still uploads vlogs on a regular basis, and recently wrote about starring in a documentary about the history of vlogs because of his revolutionary video. Another key figure in the evolution of video blogging is Adrian Miles, who wrote his own short manifesto coining the term “vog” (later to be changed to vlog) and defining what the videos should consist of. This became the template for others to follow, and helped start the idea of vlogging before YouTube even came into existence.

Though vlogs existed before YouTube did, vlogging did not become popular until nearly 2006, when the world-changing video site came into picture. The site YouTube was founded in February of 2005 as a free video-sharing place, and encouraged people of all ages and backgrounds to publish videos for the public to view. People began to become entranced by the idea of digital videos as a means by which to spread ideas, and the genre of vlogs skyrocketed. Now, famous vloggers get millions a views a week and earn money from YouTube’s ads. Many popular vloggers turn down offers from big TV networks because the television salaries cannot compare to the money and freedom that YouTube has to offer. The success of vlogs and those who create them was unexpected, yet they continue to get more and more popular in our internet-obsessed world.

The history of the non-official political genre:

The history of the “Non-Official Political Ad” begins way before the Internet took over the social world.  Activism and unofficial political campaigns have existed for as long as there have been civilized citizens to “act” and campaign amongst.  I’m sure even in ancient civilizations there were individuals who “unofficially” lobbied for certain philosophers, theories, and/or spiritual beliefs.  In democratic societies all around the world, native citizens have expressed/created unofficial campaigning for issues ranging from traditional politics to radical change, so long as the society allows freedom of speech.  However, the first modern-age political campaign arguably was conspired during the First Party System—a period of time between 1792 and 1824 where America began its political party systems.

Less privileged or anti-establishment groups conventionally formulate mass campaigns as a way to proclaim a voice in a bustling society.  Most of these campaigns wind up resorting to lobbying—a radical movement seeking to influence public officials or politicians (New Oxford American Dictionary).  These radical movements are perhaps the first official, “non-official” political campaigns.

Now, to fully understand the history of the unofficial political ad, it is critical that we furthermore explore the history of the viral video.  The first viral video was of the famous “Dancing Baby” back in 1997 most remembered for its appearance in the hit television series Ally McBeal.  Since 1997, millions of individuals have filmed, edited, and produced several online videos that have made their way into your inbox and on your Facebook news feed.  In 2005, Youtube was founded, paving the way for independent video producers of all technical levels and abilities.

I bet you can remember the first viral political video!  Remember JibJab? If you guessed Jib Jab’s “Founding Fathers,” you’re certainly correct!  The two Spiridellis brothers produced the first political viral video, where the video is (debatably) known as the first unofficial political video ever made.  The video is a parody on the Founding Father’s of our nation:  http://www.jibjab.com/originals/founding_fathers

The brothers’ next unofficial political masterpiece was “Capitol III,” the rap battle between Al Gore and George W. Bush:  http://www.jibjab.com/originals/capitol_ill

And of course!  How could you forget about the 2004 election?  I believe this viral to be one of the greatest unofficial political campaigns in the history of unofficial political campaigns: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8Q-sRdV7SY

Although these videos above are not exactly serious non-official political advertising, they are indeed brilliant viral parodies of serious political candidates whom advertised serious official political campaigns.

Through these hilariously entertaining digital shorts, the producers were able to convey the message that these political elections were, quite simply, a joke—especially the 2004 election between Kerry and Bush, and the foolish things each candidate attackingly said about the other: hence the title “this land is my land!”

* To clarify something I said in my previous post—when I used the word “corruption” I meant that these unofficial political advertisements objective (I believe) it to capture the viewer to ultimately manipulate/persuade them to believe and vote a certain way.  I do believe “official” political campaigns—seldom—try to produce the same effect, however, I believe “official” political advertising is more fair and less attacking than unofficial political ads.



More about the difference between official and unofficial to come!  Plus more examples throughout further posts- Keep reading!


Information received from:




History of Time Lapse photography

The history of Time-Lapse videos can be traced back to as long ago as the late 1800s. The first ever use of the Time lapse technique in a feature film was in Geothes Milies’ motion picture Carrefour De L’Opera (1897). Jean Comandon in collaboration with Pathe Freres also pioneered the study of biological phenomenon through Time lapse photography in 1909. F. Percy Smith in 1910, and Roman Vishniac from 1915 to 1918, also used the same technique to further study slow biological processes. In the 1920s, Time-lapse photography was further established through a series of feature films called Bergfilms by Arnold Fanck, including The Holy Mountain (1926) (The Holy Mountain [Full Movie]). From 1929 to 1931, R. R. Rife demonstrated high magnification time lapse cine- microscopy, thus astonishing journalists from all over the world.

However, when it comes to popularizing this genre of video, Dr, John Ott is the man to be credited. His entire life’s work was put together in DVD film called Exploring the Spectrum in 2008.

Exploring the Spectrum

Ott was a banker by profession, with a unique hobby of photographing subjects, mostly plants, using the time lapse technique. He started buying and building more and more time lapse equipment, eventually building an entire greenhouse of plants, who were constantly being monitored by cameras following their growth. He even built self-designed motors to control the movement of the cameras according to the growth of the plants. He used the gadgets to produce time lapse videos of his entire green house, creating a “virtual symphony of time lapse movements”. In the late 1950s, Ott’s work was featured in the TV show, You Asked For It.

Ott discovered how factors  such as the amount of water fed, or the color-temperature of the lights in the studio could affect the movement of the plants. He made discoveries of how some colors would cause a plant to flower, while others would cause it to bear fruits. He even figured out how simply by varying the color temperature of the light source, the sex of the plant could be changed.

Ott used his findings and the time lapse technique to produce choreographed animations of his plants “dancing” in a synchronized manner with pre-recorded sound tracks playing in the background.

Classic documentaries such as Disney’s Secrets of Life (1956) featured Ott’s time-lapse videos of flowers blooming, thus popularizing the modern use of time lapse photography on TV and films. He wrote books such as My Ivory Cellar (1958) and Health and Light (1979) where he spoke all about the history of his time lapse adventures.

The Oxford Scientific Film Institute in Oxford, UK has also been a major developer and refiner of the time lapse technique. They specialize in time-lapse and slow motion filming and even developed camera systems that can reach and navigate through places that were almost impossible to reach before. Their works have been appearing in Movies and TV documentaries for decades.

In 1983, the feature film Koyaanisqatsi used a lot of time lapse photography, including clouds, crowds, and cities. Years later, Ron Fricke, the cinematographer of Koyaanisqatsi, produced a called “Chronos“, a solo project that he shot on IMAX cameras, which even today is often played on Discovery HD.

Innumerable other films, advertisements, TV shows and presentations have used the time-lapse technique throughout history.Nate North’s film Silicon Valley Timelapse is perhaps the most recent film made completely using the time lapse technique.

Silicon Valley Time-lapse


History of R&B Music Videos

Rhythm and Blues music, commonly referred to as R&B, rose in popularity in the late 1940s after World War II. R&B replaced the term “race music” as a less offensive marketing term to describe this genre of music, which was originally created solely for African American audiences. Originally, R&B was a combination of jazz, gospel, and blues, focusing on “boogie” rythms, with famous artists like Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.

Traditional R&B music mainly used brass instruments and woodwinds, drums, piano, and vocals. These were also the instruments commonly used in jazz bands; however R&B used steady beats that produced a heavier sound. The lyrics of R&B songs focused on things such as racial issues and segregation, love, relationships, and dancing. During the fifties, the lyrics of R&B music became very sexually aggressive, and R&B music became associated with provocative dancing. Artists like Muddy Waters exemplified this in songs like “I Just Want To Make Love To You.” R&B included steady rhythms and numerous instruments, with catchy and interesting arrangements and musical styles that were meant to encourage dancing.

As decades passed, R&B became known as soul music. It also defeated race boundaries: people who were not African American began making and listening to R&B music, for example contemporary R&B artists like Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake. Contemporary R&B music mainly uses pop beats, giving it a very different sound than older R&B music that used gospel and jazz sounds; however, some aspects of these genres are sometimes used in contemporary R&B music as well. Contemporary R&B grew out of the 1970s funk style of music, becoming popular in the 1980s.

Music videos rose in popularity in the 1980s with Music Television, commonly called MTV. The original purpose of MTV was to play music videos that were guided by VJs, on air hosts who give information on the bands and artists. The television channel’s target audience is adolescents and young adults. MTV started playing more R&B music videos in the early 1990s, featuring R&B bands like Tony Toni Tone and Boyz II Men. Starting in late 1997 MTV started focusing more airtime on pop and hip hop/R&B music. Examples of popular R&B music videos featuring female artists and bands include Brandy and Destiny’s Child. By 2000, MTV had much success featuring a top ten countdown program that featured the top ten music videos from the pop, rock, hip hop, and R&B genres. This program maintains its popularity today, with the R&B nomination for the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards being Drake and Rihanna’s “I’ll Take Care of You.”

History of Lip Reading

Dubbing, also known as rerecording, was first used in films to fill in blank audio, or for translating purposes.  The genre of dubbing over footage for the purpose of creating something new was born from this practice of dubbing for the sake of editing.  The name of the first feature length film that was dubbed for the purpose of creating something new, in other words not for editing, is escaping me now, but I vividly recall watching it as a child and recognizing its creativity and uniqueness.  Before the web, plenty of films were dubbed for editing purposes, and almost any film can found dubbed in another language, so the history of dubbing is vast, but the history of clip dubbing is more specific.

The first online dubbed video I can find comes from the YouTube account dayjoborchestra, and it was uploaded in 2006.  The video is a dub of news footage with several different characters.  The creators were clearly not going for accuracy with their dalogue, but instead were trying to be vulgar in order to give off the essence of humor, which they also failed to.  Clearly this video is an early attempt at clip dubbing, a genre that has now been nearly perfected by BLR.

I would surmise that the target audience for dubbed videos was originally young people, due to the vulgarity and lack of editing in early videos.  Young people, when browsing through online videos, are generally more likely to watch a vulgar, less-than-perfect than an older person.  However, no that BLR has become the main provider of dubbed videos, I would say the target audience has shifted to just about anybody looking for a funny video.  BLR has upped the quality of video and really opened the genre to the general public.

There are three main clip dubbers online:  Bad Lip Reading, dayjoborchestra, and jaboodydubs.  Of the three of them, BLR is the most recent on the scene, and clearly the most creative and original of the three.  As well, BLR has the best quality video and audio, and it is clear the BLR puts more effort and thought into their videos than djo or jd.  BLR is also still producing videos, their most recent video having been uploaded on January 15th