SXSW REPORT — One of the things I kept hearing in the panels about the convergence of online video and offline video at the South by Southwest conference in Austin is that creating media for tiny web windows and mobile device screens is different than creating content for big television and movie screens. I decided to see for myself by checking out a screening of web video clips at the Dobie Theater in Austin put on by the team from The Daily Reel.
The Daily Reel’s mission is to find and highlight the best work being done online. For instance, Cube, a hilarious parody of old-school video game advertisements. “We’re all about promoting the filmmakers,” said Alex Delyle, managing editor of the site.
A lot of the work on display, such as the poignant Kiwi!, reminded me of the kind of short-form content I’m familiar with from art students, film festivals and director spec reels — basically, pre-web forums for filmmakers to promote their work and talents.
There was a lot of animation, which it’s easy to forget has been doing well online for some time amidst all the YouTube hype (see our coverage of AniBOOM, JibJab). “What online video has done for animation, and what it continues to do, is amazing,” Delyle pointed out.
The Daily Reel also cultivates relationships with individual filmmakers, and that paid off with an ‘exclusive’ short, Bodega, from Casimir Nozkowski, Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam.
After watching 13 shorts, if there was a serious problem translating web video onto the big screen, I wasn’t seeing it. After all, from the small viewfinder on a video camera to the four-by-three inch Final Cut Pro window, it’s pretty rare for filmmakers to see their work larger than life until it’s all done. When asked if that was by design, Delyle admitted, “We selected stuff based on what we would think work.”
I think that ultimately, more screening like this and the upcoming Pixelodeon will help break down some of the barriers, either real or perceived, between the big screen and the little screen, filmmaking and online video. It also proves that the web is a valuable tool for emerging talent to get the word out about their work.