What would you watch? Our YouTube picks

imagesFOR OUR LATEST arts feature we decided to look at something different. You Tube has created a vast platform for many to become well known or even famous through various ‘cult followings’ – from cookery to makeup, general chatting (or venting in most cases), serial dramas and animation. And much more. Our Arts team have picked their favourite You Tube channels to give you an idea of the different things you can find on You Tube and why you should check them out…

Written by Mary Wright

The Vlogbrothers, real life brothers John and Hank Green (a New York Times best-selling author and an entrepreneur and musician) are currently hovering around the 1,795,000 subscriber mark having started their channel seven years ago in a bid to revolutionise the way they related to each other as brothers.

Starting on the 1st January, 2007 John and Hank ceased all textual communication for one year, communicating instead by video blogs they posted on YouTube every weekday. Fame arrived in the form of Hank uploading his song ‘Accio Deathly Hallows’, about the release of the final Harry Potter book which was featured on the YouTube front page.

After the year was up, they continued to make weekly videos, none of which can be over four minutes in length (except for educational videos), with punishments dished out by the viewers, or ‘Nerdfighters’, if they break this rule or do not post a video.

The Vlogbrothers have done a lot more than just videos over the years, and this list that follows is by no means exhaustive! With the help of ‘Nerdfighteria’ they have raised money to send aid planes to Haiti (with the Harry Potter Alliance) and also started a ‘Kiva.org’ lending team which has loaned over $3.6 million dollars to entrepreneurs in the developing world. They have also set up a YouTube channel, Crash Course, which posts high video quality educational videos on subjects from English Literature to Chemistry. There credits also include the organisation of three annual VidCon events (the largest in-person gathering of online video creators, viewers and representatives). They have also set up DTFBA.com, a site for YouTubers to sell their merchandise (complete with their own warehouse in Montana)

The videos the Vlogbrothers post are varied in topic but consistent in high quality.

Here are a few to introduce you to the Brothers Green and get you caught up on the Nerdfighteria in-jokes.

Good Bad Flicks
Written by Sam Halford

Good Bad Flicks is the channel I’ve recommended to my fellow critic friends or indeed anyone with a passion for cinema. Cecil takes an in-depth look at the more obscure, low-budgeted or movies that he feels have gained unfair criticism. With each analysis/review/commentary (call it what you will) injected with interesting trivia, humour and Cecil’s own opinion.

He examines the lesser-known movies, most notably 1980s American flicks and B-movies, as well as the more arcane horror films or ‘video nasties’ as they were labelled in Britain back in the Thatcher days. These are movies a lot of people would pass over without a second thought, yet what is shown through Cecil’s videos is that there are some diamonds in the rough within these genres, or at the very least some ‘they’re so bad they’re good’ movies.

I don’t always agree with his reviews or justification of some movies, particularly films he defends which have received strongly negative criticism. However, I don’t think anyone could say that he doesn’t explain his opinions fully or fail to execute them well. His justifications may be unique at times but certainly thought out, which is all I can ask from a critic.

Not every video he does is a review however, he’s made some parody award videos with the worst scenes from B-movies; some of the very worst of the worst, moments which transcend awfulness into pure entertainment. He has also done videos of a few games and other miscellaneous videos, along with a handy Netflix recommendation for movies or shows you may not have heard of. I’d advise any movie fanatic to have a look.

Purge Gamers
Written by Joe Michael Fairweather

I have played precisely 430 hours of the game DOTA 2 – a competitive real time strategy game where you control one “hero” in a team of five and play against another team of five – and if there was something that heightened my enjoyment of the game, it would be Purge Gamers. I have probably watched almost as many videos of his as matches of DOTA 2 I have played. So it is with great confidence that I believe his youtube channel is pretty great.

The basic idea of his channel is that Purge teaches you how to play DOTA 2 by showing through example. This amounts to him just posting games he has played onto Youtube, some with commentary and some without, with the assumption that the viewer would hopefully learn from them. Which, almost without exception, is usually the case.

This may sound hideously boring and it could be, but it isn’t thanks to Kevin ‘Purge’ Godec. He isn’t just an utterly brilliant DOTA 2 player, he has a dry wit and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the deeper workings of the game which he can explain eloquently and simply. This channel may only appeal to a very, very small minority of people but I heartily recommend it for anyone who wants to play DOTA 2 but finds it justifiably impenetrable.

Andrew Huang
Written by Alex Pike

Going by the alias of ‘songstowearpantsto’, Andrew Huang’s Youtube career began on eBay where he offered to sell personalised songs to the highest bidders. Since then he has continued to take song requests (through Youtube rather than eBay), although his horizons have broadened, and in the last couple of years he’s managed to follow his own creative drive just as much as he follows what his fans want.

His most recent release was the twee, piano-driven album Winter, released in February of this year. It’s the third in a series of four records, and follows a high standard of writing and recording quality. This is a common theme with Andrew’s work- what started as a small, half-serious Youtube project has grown into something bigger, that most full-time bands would be proud of. The most astounding thing is that it’s all done by him: the writing, recording, mixing and editing is all him. The same goes for his videos. A multi-talented multi-instrumentalist would be a huge understatement.

If Winter doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t let that stop you checking out his channel. Andrew is also a big producer of minimal dub-step, dance, rap and folk, but doesn’t let genre confine him. Though, the best thing about Andrew’s channel is that he loves putting in the work, and it really shows. Whether he’s covering Rihanna, recording a ‘double en-genre’ song challenge or even making an advert for a jeans company using 1000 pairs of jeans, you can’t help love what he’s doing with his videos.

Written by Laura Say

There’s one simple reason why I became addicted to Youtube – that’s TomSka. I started out on his channel by watching a couple of his stupid animations (called ASDF movies), full of comical shorts leading to addictive songs, which pretty much everyone around me knows now. I never stop singing them.

From that, I discovered his other sketches and songs, which cover every genre from the musical to the downright absurd. I’ve never seen such variety on one – well, two if you count his personal/vlog channel DarkSquidge – channel. The one video I can pin down as the moment I fell in love with Tom is a video he posted on the latter, My Friend Died, about the passing of Edd, creator of Eddsworld. It’s the one video I’ve cried at.

Recently though, he’s moved into doing more serious videos, with themes including rape & consent (after the recent Youtube… crisis for want of a better word), sex education, mental health, and he’s working with authorities and the community to create a fair, educational yet entertaining series of videos. Tom seems like on of the only Youtubers who truly interacts with his community; posting on Tumblr, replying a lot of the time, asking for ideas on Twitter, taking those ideas on board, and shows a physical reaction to those Turbofans (or indeed anti-turbofans) who comment.

It was really hard to pick one video, but I’ve gone with my favourites, his latest ASDF.

Dude Perfect
Written by Alasdair Park

YouTube is a useful educational resource used by millions to enrich their own lives through the uncovering of unique and unusual factoids. Right, that is that spiel to promote YouTube out of the way, as I feel all journalists reporting on the video-posting website are contractually obliged to mention otherwise the bigwigs will threaten to sue.

YouTube is the main distraction to my degree success, it’s just so damn addictive. Forget cigarettes or yum-yums, YouTube is my drug. Well, not YouTube as a whole, just one channel. Dude Perfect.

Dude Perfect is COOL, and yes, the capitals are deliberate. THE home of trick shots on the internet. From 100 feet shots off an Air traffic control tower, to 60 feet NFL Punts into Basketball hoops, to life-size Pringle shots, to canoeing down an elevator then shooting into a hoop, this channel has it all.

Before you poo-poo this, saying it’s just another example of “Lad Culture”. Firstly, watch the videos, they are simply a bit of fun that I am sure you would want to be involved in if you had the time to set up something similar. Dude Perfect has grown as a channel since it’s debut in 2009, now appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, going to the ESPY’s, getting use of The Fun Factory as a basis for their now longer and much better edited output of what you would have to describe as “Short Trick-Shot Films”.

To prove that these are not edited so much that you disbelieve the authenticity of the shots, everything is filmed from a number of angles. But, enough of being a pedantic. The reactions of the gang after successful shots are priceless and worth a Subscribe on their own. “We just ruined Yoga but that was Sick!!!” being my personal favourite during NFL Kicking Edition.

I’m out, so, in true Dude Perfect Style “Pound it…..Noggin”

Like, Subscribe, and Peace.