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Academic Minute

Dr. Kim Middleton, College of Saint Rose - YouTube and Video Remixes


Albany, NY – In today's Academic Minute, Dr. Kim Middleton of the College of Saint Rose explains how budding filmmakers are using YouTube as a place to develop their creativity.

Kim Middleton is professor and English Department Chair at the College of Saint Rose where she teaches courses on contemporary literature, popular culture, and American studies. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

About Dr. Middleton

Dr. Kim Middleton - YouTube and Video Remixes

Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has attracted literally hundreds of millions of viewers. According to the site's latest statistics, more than 3 billion videos are viewed each day. Many of us visit YouTube to watch the latest viral video of a double rainbow enthusiast, or a squirrel on water skis, or citizen journalists' footage of revolution. But the popularity of these videos, not to mention our own viewing habits, can obscure the sophisticated creative output of small communities of users who explore the site's potential for cultural participation by selecting, recirculating, and remixing footage from popular film and television.

My research focuses on a subset of video remix, wherein the creator gathers clips and scenes from his or her favorite television show or movie, and rearranges them to tell a different story. The resulting video might change the original relationships among characters, shift their motivations and goals, or construct entirely new contexts and plots for them altogether. Because the video maker must work with existing footage, he or she makes use of an array of complicated visual and audio editing techniques---like match cuts, voiceovers, or parallel editing---that we recognize from a vocabulary of narrative film by directors from D.W. Griffith to Steven Spielberg.

Like the modernist authors who rewrote ancient myths, these video makers are rewriting popular myths to reveal new ways of seeing the implications of these stories. YouTube becomes a place to introduce their work to knowledgeable communities, and to critique and develop interpretative positions. For some of us, YouTube is just an archive of debased culture where we go to view, but for others, it's a vibrant academy for amateur filmmakers and cultural critics to utilize the new vernacular of video to comment on the world around them.

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