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.