The self-portrait video is a small and relatively unknown genre of the Youtube/Vimeo universe. These videos attempt to show some aspect of the videographer’s life – usually for college admissions, job applications, or experimentation. It is also common for college classes to assign the “self-portrait” video as an assignment. To that end, typical producers are students making video personal statements for college, jobs, or amateur film makers who wanted to do something interesting and unusual. Their audience can range anywhere from admissions counselors to classmates and the greater Youtube universe. They’re usually don’t become as well known and popular as other videos that have gone viral but they serve their purpose, whether it is to fulfill a class assignment or show a side of themselves for an application.
Because the concept of a “self-portrait” is so widely open to interpretation by the videographer there are no hard or fast rules about the genre. The video can be a collage of video shots, experimental, stop-motion, etc. Virtually any film technique can be used. There can be a strong narrative, or not. However, here are some of the common characteristics you’ll find with the self-portrait video.
- Typically lower quality/handheld (although not always)
- Typically music soundtrack and not as much dialogue
- Lots of cuts going on in the video
- Very personal in nature
- Typically quite short
Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f07ZMYQHZwo (The length may also have to do with the fact that this is a stop-motion video, which is more time-consuming to make.)
- Usually “artsy” or experimental
The self-portrait video is really a chance for the videographer to be creative, to create poetry with their camera. Since there are no industry standards, every decision you make about a shot really matters and the music you choose, as well as the cuts you make are all significant.