One of NMR’s New Year’s goals is to give a little more love to Vimeo. They’ve always been good to us — making us chicken soup when we’re sick, singing to soothe us during thunderstorms, and yet, we sometimes treat them like the red-headed stepchild of online video. It’s not that we don’t like them, it’s just that there’s so much going on … we sometimes forget their birthday. But as our way of making amends (Vimeo, baby, we really love you … we just get so crazy when you look at other new media sites), we thought we would post the “best of the best” list from their Vimeo blog. The staff of Vimeo whittled down their favorite videos from the 1,500 on their favorite video list and served them up like a fine Christmas ham. Now we get to turn around and act like it was our list the whole time (don’t you dare say a damn word, Vimeo … [NMR holds up a burning hot poker in a menacing manner]).
As fair warning I have to say that I just wrote the intro and then pretty much cut-and-pasted the descriptions of the videos directly from Vimeo. Technically, all the Vimeo people should get co-writer credit on this article, but they’re not the ones holding the burning hot poker are they?
Enjoy the list, and be sure to tune into Vimeo now and all our great Vimeo content in 2014. In no particular order, here’s the best of what Vimeo had to offer in 2013:
Jeffrey Wright’s excitable demeanor and crazy experiments teach children about the universe, but one lesson in particular teaches them the true meaning of life — when he opens up about his son. Zack Conkle, a photojournalist and former student of Wright, crafts a beautiful documentary about his mentor in two movements: the first makes you love what Mr. Wright does, the second makes you admire who he is.
One of our personal highlights of 2013 was screening Staff Picks at the Vimeo Theatre at SXSW. We already loved this video, but watching it on the big screen, with an audience, blew us far, far away. The sheer amount of work involved. The amazing attention to detail. Even watching on a mobile screen, you can feel the colossal amount of energy that was expended, but seeing the pen strokes coloring in the white board tipped us over the edge.
You may have already seen this video, and we’ve certainly lost count of how many times we’ve watched it. But find the biggest screen you can, turn up the volume, and watch it again. You won’t regret it.
Once in a while we’re faced with a life or death situation, or at least what feels like one. Martin Rosete’s short, “Voice Over,” is a harrowing testament to our tendency to overestimate the obstacles we face, reminding us that a leap of faith often pays off. Nominated for a Goya Award, the film won us over with its remarkable ability to blend suspense, comedy, and romance, and with high production values to boot. It’s the definition of a crowd-pleaser.
The charming personality and honesty of “The Scared Is Scared” brings us in close. A story narrated by a child and acted out by adults, it feels as fun and comfortingly familiar as our favorite bedtime story. By listening in on their conversation, we get to know the narrator, Asa Baker-Rouse, and the filmmaker, Bianca Giaever. They invite us into their secret, half-imaginary world, which is pleasure enough, but we also benefit from a child’s advice, which is perfectly suited to combat any adult insecurity.
Using a poignant poem written and performed by Shane Koyczan as inspiration, Canadian design firm Giant Ant organized a massive Internet collaboration uniting animators the world over as part of the global campaign against bullying. These volunteers each brought their distinct vision to 20 seconds of footage, and the resulting compilation is a wild, cutting-edge collection of styles that are brought together by a strong message — a fitting metaphor for the diversity of individual experiences confronting bullying.
James W. Griffiths was already a known entity on Vimeo when “Room 8” first appeared, so our expectations were high. Commissioned by Bombay Sapphire for its celebrated Imagination Series, “Room 8” is the story of a prisoner who discovers the metaphysical peculiarities of the prison in which he’s confined. It’s clever and darkly comic, with welcome echoes of The Twilight Zone.
With its long, ambiguous build-up in outer space, the opening to this video kills us. The music is bumpin’, the handclaps are going, we’re ready to go, but to where? Then BOOM! The video’s concept kicks in and it’s grins from ear to ear. We don’t believe in guilty pleasures, but this vid is pretty sinful, and when it finishes we’re ready to press play and indulge again. Ohji definitely knows how to treat us right.
The first time watching “Box” is a struggle. Not tedious by any means, but the viewer must juggle pure enjoyment with logistical questions and thoughts about the potential implications. The production house Bot & Dolly introduced us to robot camera systems that can move objects with remarkable precision, and we watched in awe. Flat, projected-on objects move around a room while a man interacts with them, seemingly in total control. It is rare to come across a video that introduces a technique that is completely new to the film industry, and to see it at the grandiose scale of “Box” is unforgettable. We can hardly wait for the follow up.
And guess what? There are a few others we haven’t shown you! So jump over there and check ‘em out.
Before you do that though, here’s some other Vimeo content from the NMR vaults: