You got films on YouTube?

Earlier this year, we at TVE Asia Pacific decided to place all our short video films on YouTube.

We are always willing to try out new ways of reaching out to the various – and increasingly fragmented – publics. Any new media format or platform that comes into the public domain is to be explored and exploited to peddle our content.

With this in mind, we launched the TVEAPFilms channel on YouTube in February 2007. We have so far placed three distinctive TV series on this channel:

Digits4Change, which explores how information and communications technologies (ICTs) are changing lives and livelihoods across Asia (6 x 5 min stories)

The Greenbelt Reports, where we revisited tsunami-affected countries in South and Southeast Asia, investigating how communities co-exist with coastal greenbelts of coral reefs, mangroves and sand dunes (12 x 5 min stories)

Living Labs, our latest series which was released this month, which profiles global action research efforts to grow more food with less water (8 x 5 min stories)

Since then, attending film festivals in Singapore and Washington DC, I realised that many documentary film-makers aren’t yet convinced about this new outlet.

‘You got your films on YouTube?’ one film-maker asked me somewhat incredulously. ‘How can you be sure someone will not download and manipulate it?’

Well, we can’t be sure. But that doesn’t prevent us from engaging this new platform. We’re willing to take these risks.

Another colleague asked: ‘But isn’t that a place for all those ameteurs?’ Perhaps. But in this digital age, the division between so-called amateurs and professionals is blurring.

Some film-makers have started placing trailers for their longer films on YouTube. Since we produce a fair number of short, self-contained films — all of which come under the YouTube’s upper limit of 10 mins — we are able to place our entire films online.

And unlike broadcast television and even passive webcasts, YouTube allows our online viewers to comment on films, and if they feel so moved, even to rank them.

At TVE Asia Pacific, we want our moving images to move people…so they join the conversation. In that sense, YouTube is a good platform to be on, and a good community to be part of.

Do visit TVEAPFilms channel on YouTube. Tell us what you think – whatever you think.

Author: Nalaka Gunawardene

A science writer by training, I've worked as a journalist and communication specialist across Asia for 30+ years. During this time, I have variously been a news reporter, feature writer, radio presenter, TV quizmaster, documentary film producer, foreign correspondent and journalist trainer. I continue to juggle some of these roles, while also blogging and tweeting and column writing.

One thought on “You got films on YouTube?”

  1. One of the reasons we don’t use YouTube ourselves is that we find their licensing policy far too much in favour of YouTube than filmmakers. In addition, one can be easily lost on YouTube where as on EnageMedia, you are in the company of like minded filmmakers.

    Yes, it is good to explore these other avenues to be sure… if anything, to populate them with alternative views and ideas!


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