Recently several websites such as YouTube, Google Video, iFilm, and Veoh have started offering free video hosting, without much questions asked. (The great video collections on the Internet Archive and the Open Video Project are different, they take licenses far more seriously.) Of those four, iFilm has by far the most annoying commercials, Veoh requires you to install their software and basically runs a peer-to-peer file sharing network in the background. Only Google and Veoh let you directly download and save the videos, but as always you can circumvent the restrictions of iFilm and YouTube and download directly from them.
Right now these sites seem like a video version of early Napster, combined with lots of vanity stuff. There are many gems among tons of garbage, and I suggest you start downloading the good stuff now before it is too late. Earlier this month, NBC forced YouTube to take down a Saturday Night Live video, and I bet that this is only the beginning of legal battles to come. Following some earlier posts on this blog, I will give you a few of my personal favorites, after a short commercial break (1.2 MB Quicktime video).
In fact, most of the credit for this post goes to "Popefucker", a guy with a blog, great taste, and an amazing video collection. As of now, he has uploaded nearly 400 videos to Google Video. Here are some highlights with direct links and descriptions:
- Atari Teenage Riot - Live at the Berlin riots 1999 : My first encounter with Popefucker. ATR plays live at the traditional May Day (aka Labor Day) riots in Berlin, continuing to play and shouting "Fuck the Police" until the cops arrest them.
- Atari Teenage Riot - Revolution Action : Death to corporate zombies!
- Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot - Bonnie & Clyde : Very cool, with BB sporting a vintage rifle.
- Serge Gainsbourg - Qui est "in" qui est "out" : Young Serge and 12 bizarre dancing girls. Great, but unfortunately incomplete.
- Joy Division - She's Lost Control : Seems to be live on a TV show.
- Les Rita Mitsouko - Marcia Baile : Great 80s pop, nice goofy video.
- Pizzicato Five - Twiggy Twiggy : Great 90s pop, nice goofy video.
- George Brassens - Hécatombe : French anarchist troubadour sings with glee about a group of women beating up police, from his first record.
- Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien : No need for comment.
- Jacques Brel - Ne Me Quitte Pas : Heart-wrenching, you can feel the desperation.
- A Day with Thomas Edison, part 2 and part 5 : Here you can see the Wizard of Menlo Park himself. Modesty was not one of his inventions. (If you know where the other parts are, please leave a comment.)
- The Kiss : Very risque for 1896.
- Serpentine Dance : Wonderful 1894 dance video.
- Boxing Cats : The name says it all. Created in 1894.
- Gordon Sisters Boxing : Staged women's boxing, 1901, can also be found at the Open Video Project.
- Fantasmagorie : This is widely credited as the first animated film ever, created in 1908 by Émile Cohl in France. But what about Émile Reynaud's 1895 creation "Autour d'une cabine"? I am no film expert, but it looks animated to me.
- The Hasher's Delirium : Another one by Émile Cohl, from 1910.
- The Insect's Christmas : Wonderful Russian stop-motion animation by Ladislas Starevich, produced in 1911 using real dead insects.
- How a Mosquito Operates : Created by Winsor McCay in 1912, it shows the mosquito in all its cruelty, attacking a sleeping man.
- The Sinking of the Lusitania : Winsor McCay gets serious in this 1918 film.
- Felix the Cat - Felix in Hollywood (1923) and Felix the Cat - Monkeys with Magic (1924) : Yeah, you know Felix, don't you?
- Rhythm 21 : Classic abstract film by Hans Richter, from 1921.
- Ghosts Before Breakfast : Another one by Hans Richter, from 1927. This one was destroyed by the Nazis as "degenerate art". It has lots of flying hats and guns.
- Emak Bakia (Leave me alone) : Mixture of abstract and realistic shots by Man Ray, from 1926.
- L'étoile de mer (The Starfish) : A surrealistic romantic masterpiece by Man Ray, from 1928, starring his wife Kiki and Robert Desnos, who wrote the poem on which the film is based.
- Les Mystères Du Château Du Dé : Another Man Ray film, from 1929. The camerawork in this one is decades ahead of its time, some parts of it could be in a modern music video.
- Rainbow Dance : Created by Len Lye in 1936, with swinging music.
- Trade Tattoo : Also by Len Lye, from 1937.
- Atom Bomb : Nuclear testing newsreel from the 50s, can also be found on the Internet Archive.
- Duck and Cover : Legendary Bert the Turtle teaches civil defense, also available on the Internet Archive.
- Staplerfahrer Klaus : German spoof of occupational safety films. It starts out normal and turns into something very different. I don't want to spoil the fun with any more information, but trust me, it is hilarious. Even if you don't know German. Be prepared for some violent content...
- Georgia Guidestones : Documentary about the American Stonehenge, built by Illuminati, Freemasons, the UN, and a guy named R. C. Christian. (Of course, the USA has more than one Stonehenge.)
OK, this is it for now. Well, nearly. As an encore, here is the bad weatherman. Sorry for that.