The internet has been a boon for film geeks. Now, not only can we look up multiple film reviews and analyses with just one click of a mouse, but also videos elaborating how our favourite films were made and how we could emulate our favourite auteurs. One particular trend to have blown up in the past few years has been that of the video essay. YouTubers like Nerdwriter1 and Lessons from the Screenplay, known for their videos that delve greatly into the making of films, bring fresh perspectives to understanding cinema. We list seven such YouTube channels that every film buff and aspiring filmmaker should know:
Now You See It
As its description states, Now You See It is like a college film analysis class minus the lecture halls, essay assignments, and student loan debts. Exploring thematic techniques and tropes in film from the different uses of chess to improvisation in acting, it manages to be educating as well as thoroughly entertaining. Check out this video on physical injuries in film:
Cineflix’s video listicles are some of the most famous on YouTube. While some might view the channel as unabashedly mainstream, it does make for easy and fun viewing. Topics range from something as specific as a list on the best movie props to something as broad as a list on the top ‘personal movies’. We would recommend the ‘What’s the Difference?’ series in which they compile all the difference between an adapted film and its source material.
For some of the more technical aspects of filmmaking, look no further. Filmmaker IQ is a one stop shop for everything you need to know from the history of camera lenses to the introduction and evolution of colour in movies. Once in a while, they do videos on things truly offbeat and mind-boggling. Have you wondered whether our pets watch TV the same way we do? Or what economic role popcorn plays in the exhibition of films? They have the answers.
Leon Thomas’ Renegade Cut is an educational web series about philosophies espoused by individual films. The channel does socio-political dissections of films and critically looks at the ideologies they portray and sometimes propagate. From the subject of non-human animal ethics in Okja to the use of marxist theory in Metropolis, this channel picks issues from across the spectrum. Even though it is one of the lesser-known channels to be featured on this list, it is definitely one of the more cerebral.
Another famous video essayist, YouTuber Lewis Bond is known for his insightful observations into the individual styles of greats like Ozu, Stanley Kubrick, Andrei Tarkovsky and Denis Villeneuve. What started off as a small review channel soon turned into one of the crowd-favourite spots for in-depth film reading. Sample this 20-minute video on David Lynch’s cinema.
Hosted by filmmaker Ryan Connolly, this channel contains pretty much all the knowledge you need to make your own film. From directing to editing to designing your movie poster, this DIY channel is a must follow for any aspiring filmmakers. Connolly’s style is clear and breezy and there’s much to learn as he punctuates the instructional videos with instances from his own filmmaking experience.
Not sure what the ending of No Country For Old Men meant? Or what the different houses in the Game of Thrones world symbolise? This channel will allay all of your doubts. They also have well-thought out character studies from some of our most beloved TV shows and movies. Our personal favourite is the ‘You Know It’s…’ series in which they study a filmmaker’s style and then list tropes that are visible throughout their body of work.