Sunday, January 01, 2017

A Top Ten on the Growth and Diversity of the Web Doc


The web doc has had a long life already, and its emergence continues. The solo journalistic, artisanal, videographers I admired in my own early attempts are still going, although not always as solo, or churning them out as they used to. The genre still has that freedom to experiment space it always had as it did when the likes of Pierre Kattar and Travis Fox were breaking new ground. Here are trends and channels I find worth a watch, including AJ+ which keeps doing amazing work, such as the positive story below.

#1 The Positive Foreign Story



#2 The Strange Story in 60 seconds

Another channel doing always interesting, not falling into cliches, work is 60 seconds Docs. The more or less minute mini docs are usually out there but not forced, such as this one about a Grandma Gamer.



#3 Text Heavy Randomness

Text heavy is in, which allows for stories from around the world, where randomness abounds, a style at which Now This News excels.



#4 The Outsider's Intimate Story

In its catch-all Op Docs series, the New York Times invites different filmmakers to do work for its big audience, and some of the results can be stunning, such as this profile of a prep-chef from Ecuador in New York City who excels at running.



#5 Going Interactive on a Place

A popular genre is to go interactive, stories from different angles, on a particular place, such as this treatment of a bridge in Turkey.



#6 On The Fly Event MiniDoc

The Washington Post is also doing really good video work, and as the New York Times, has different video categories, including Originals, which produced this positive, on the fly event report, which is very standard fare, but still finds a way to be catchy and revealing.



#7 The Explainer Video

Vox is really good at explainer videos, and this one about bad doors is a masterpiece of blending current genres.



#8 The Listicle Video

No surprise that as Buzzfeed does good web listicles, it also does good web doc listicles, such as six foods you are eating wrong.



#9 The Short Investigation

Reflective of its print style, an Atlantic documentary is short, clean, and makes excellent points quickly, without too much flash, but with enough sizzle to keep the viewer engaged.



#10 The Advocacy NGO Call to Action

Human Rights Watch was early in on well-produced, polished web videos, and they've continued great work such as this important video exposing child labor on U.S. farms.


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