An Expanding List of Video Essays to Nourish Your Film Brain
Nowadays, education in film doesn’t have to cost you or your parent's life savings. With the democratisation of learning through the internet, it’s now possible to sit at home in front of your computer and soak up as many lessons as you please through a near-boundless free selection of essays, reviews and articles.
One of the greatest modern inventions for film buffs to enjoy has got to be the incredible proliferation of video essays. Costless, detailed and endlessly educational, video essays on a range of cinematic subjects pepper the internet - so does a lot of time wasting and smut but we’ll ignore that for now.
While there’s no substitution for sitting down to learn cinema through watching the films themselves, video essays provide valuable context for budding filmmakers. From detailed analyses of single films to supercuts drawing attention to visual conventions across film history - there is a wealth of lessons to be learned out there, all you need to know is where to find them…
That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a little list of SYNC.SW’s favourite video essay channels, predominantly tackling film theory and history. Technical and practical filmmaking advice deserves a list of its own in future, but for now, let's learn cinema!
We have 100% missed out some brilliant and important video, so please do send us your favourites so that we can add to this ever-expanding list.
Such is the ultra-nerdy detail of these videos, anybody remotely interested in cinema can glean some useful knowledge of the way cinema is built from the ground up, from its first stages: the screenplay.
Detailed, personal and at times poetic essays, analyses and musings on a wonderful mix of films and filmic subjects.
A big one! Coming at their essays from a unadulterated visual angle, this channel dissects the techniques, effects and meanings utilised by some of your favourite filmmakers.
Mixed in with some other non-film related content, this channel has some incredibly well-considered essays in a vlog format.
A veritable well of knowledge basing each essay on an interesting question. The bio states “This channel is devoted to understanding filmmaking through watching, researching, and analyzing movies.” - which sums it up nicely.
Not uploaded a video for a while but these eclectic essays are true Youtube gems. Interesting takes on a wealth of films, and not just your usuals.
Hasn’t posted for a while, but this guy makes a strong argument for video essays being an artform in itself. His supercuts are masterful, drawing together visual patterns over cinema’s history. He has since gone onto become a filmmaker in his own right, with the critically acclaimed 'Columbus' premiering at Sundance in 2017.
Super geeky and analytical excavations of films, leaning heavily on theories about the conceptual, subliminal and symbolic elements of films. If you embrace over-analyzation then this is the channel for you.
Not as popular as it should be. Very smart deconstructions of both arthouse and mainstream films.
The video essay goliath. This channel analyses numerous peices of culture in general, with videos like ‘How Donald Trump Answers A Question’ - so we reconmend them in general for their entertaining approach. Their film content is fantastically flashy, well-made and watchable.
A wonderful channel devoted to looking deeper into the story, style & symbolism of popular cinema. A real sense of visual curation makes this Vimeo the perfect home for this set of pithy essays.
Exhaustive multi-part profiles on powerhouse film directors, who you feel you have a degree in after watching each series.