Film is more than just sitting in an uncomfortable seat for two hours, as you try to escape the harsh realities of life by drowning yourself in a sea of computer generated imagery, explosions, and car chases. Film extends past those two hours. Good films will make you think, better films will make you talk, which is why I find film analysis so fascinating.
In the past five years, I’ve shifted from viewing films as a means of entertainment and instead, studying what they do, what message they’re trying to deliver, and why they are the way they are. Critic mode is always on when I’m watching a movie, which used to be distracting, but now I’ve come to enjoy it. It makes the experience more interesting and I actually feel like I’m getting more value when buying a DVD, or going to the cinema.
And so after I see a film, more often than not I find myself clicking on the YouTube search bar, typing [Film Name] Review, and submitting hours of my time into hearing what other people have to say about the film, professional film critic or not.
Even more commonly now, I’m trawling through YouTube videos to find film analysis. Not on anything particular, just something that delves deeper than an opinion of a film. These videos teach me about filmmaking, but more importantly they help me appreciate certain films, and cinema in general. So, here’s a few channels that I think fulfil that last point.
The one you’ve probably heard about or seen before, but for good reason. Described simply as a channel ‘dedicated to the analysis of film form’, Tony Zhou is probably one of, if not the best, film analysts on YouTube. The uploads aren’t as frequent as other channels, but nevertheless, the content itself is just as good as the films he analyses.
Nerdwriter uploads much more frequently than Every Frame A Painting, and isn’t always strictly related to film. Evan Paschak looks towards ideas more than anything else. If you haven’t watched any of his work before, go correct that right now.
Lewis Bond says that art has moulded him into who he is today, and hopes he and art can do the same for you. His videos are, on average, longer than the videos from the channels I’ve mentioned so far. Uploads aren’t as frequent as Nerdwriter, but provide so much detail into aspects of cinema that you don’t want to miss them.
A fairly new channel, that aims to upload every few weeks. Lessons from the Screenplay is run by Michael Tucker, who believes that ‘examining the techniques used to tell great stories makes your own writing better and you appreciation for the stories deeper’. I’m always anticipating his next upload.
Wisecrack has a video series called ‘Earthling Cinema’, where films are analysed by Gary Wormuloid. It’s quite shallow in comparison to the previous channels, but you might still learn a thing or two. Their other film series, ‘Wisecrack Edition’, delves very deeply into specific films.
Choice videos: The Brilliant Deception of Inception – Wisecrack Edition, Hidden Meaning in The Incredibles – Earthling Cinema, The Philosophy of Rick and Morty – Wisecrack Edition, The Philosophy of The Joker – Wisecrack Edition.
Mostly review-like videos and sometimes deeper, thoughtful breakdowns on film. The channel isn’t obnoxious like CinemaSins, and the ‘Quickie’ review series are quite good.
A channel that explains the history of cinema. John P. Hess explores the inception and development of things like aspect ratios, green screens and so on.
Choice videos: Hollywood’s History of Faking It | The Evolution of Greenscreen Compositing, The Changing Shape of Cinema: The History of Aspect Ratio, The History and Science of Color Temperature, The History of Hollywood Censorship and the Ratings System.
Vasai Nedomansky is a film editor living in Los Angeles. His work includes Sharknado 2, An American Carol and That Which I Love Destroys Me. His company Vashi Visuals has assisted with big Hollywood films like Deadpool and Gone Girl. On his Vimeo page, Vashi has a few uploads, showcasing certain film and editing techniques. A great insight into film from someone who works in the industry.
Considered one of the first online film essayist, Kevin has been doing these videos for almost a decade, and while they’re not the most visually interesting videos, his views and points are insightful and original. He doesn’t necessarily praise every film that he discusses, which makes his videos different from the other channels.
Kristian Williams creates videos on his ‘favourite shit’, which has includes figures of pop culture, but also specific films, shows and companies.
Midnight’s Edge doesn’t have much in the way of film analysis like the other channels, but instead have great video series on the politics and drama of Hollywood and its companies. Very insightful and explains a lot of the behind the scenes that can be hard to understand.
Choice videos: Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four: The Controversies Behind The Movie, Ghostbusters reboot: How Sony hijacked Ghostbusters 3, Spider-Man Cinematic Saga Part 1: The Untold Story Behind The Movies, Ghostbusters: Sony Hits Back at Fan Backlash.