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VideoFest Goes Viral


by Stephen Becker 5 Nov 2009

Cheap video cameras and computer editing software have turned wannabe moviemakers into pop culture stars. KERA’s Stephen Becker reports on a program of YouTube videos at this year’s Dallas VideoFest, which begins today.

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Cheap video cameras and computer editing software have turned wannabe moviemakers into pop culture stars. Stephen Becker reports on a program of YouTube videos at this year’s Dallas VideoFest, which begins today.

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Every minute, 20 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube. Most of it you’d just assume skip. But how do you find the interesting stuff?

VideoFest director Bart Weiss decided that for this year’s festival, which begins today at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas, he wanted a program that would showcase the possibilities of online video.

WEISS: “On YouTube right now, there is the most amazing things in the universe that have ever been made, but you probably don’t know where to find them. The problem is there’s way too much. So having somebody give you an aesthetic overview really kind of helps.”

Weiss turned to a pair of University of Texas at Dallas PhD students to curate the program, which will screen on Sunday at noon.

There’s a good chance you’ll be among the millions who would recognize what they’ve chosen. Did you contribute to the more than 1.1 million hits for Grocery Store Musical?

And just a few bars of this song …

… should be enough to remind you of a guy named Matt dancing all around the world.

That video’s been viewed more than 24 million times.

The hourlong show pairs these viral videos with more newsy clips, like the disturbing on-the-ground footage from this summer’s Iranian election protests.

Mona Kasra worked with Kyle Kondas to select the clips. She says the program shows our still-growing infatuation with social media sites like YouTube. Everyday, people use the site to share their creations, comment on others and turn some videos into viral sensations.

KASRA: “We have more access to video technology through our mobile, through the Web cam, through all these cheap consumer products. So you have that video everywhere with you, and you capture the video and you upload it because you know the power of having this many people watching YouTube all the time.”

If the VideoFest program represents the current state of social media, what does the future hold? iPhones and Blackberries already allow us to update our Facebook statuses and send our tweets from anywhere.

Weiss and Kasra feel the next frontier is real-time video. They say that when video editing gets easier on cellphones, the lag time between shooting and sharing will be erased.

As that happens, social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter will become less wordy and more visual.

KASRA: “All those status updates that we are seeing, which are quite textual … more and more we might be able to do that through video, which makes it more intimate and more real.”

Maybe those videos will make it into next year’s program.

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  • Speaking of best of youtube. You should hear the first world”Top 40″ the best new music from youtube and myspace. This list, started here in Dallas is the first world music list – made possible by the net bringing music to all from everywhere.
    The internet is the world’s first worldwide JUKEBOX
    And this is the first worldwide best music list from that jukebox.
    “100 Plus Favorite Music from Youtube and Myspace”
    http://musea.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/100-plus-best-music-from-youtube-and-myspace/
    In a world of misses, here are 200+ hits!