By BOLTON LANCASTER
Back in the 1960s, the French New Wave inspired a generation of young filmmakers to take video cameras, go outside, and shoot film. Cameras were becoming smaller and easier to handle as these film revolutionaries started moving away from the studio system.
While some of these motion pictures would go on to become very successful, these filmmakers faced a very difficult question: how would they get people to view their films?
Many movies that are made outside the studio system have shoestring budgets that frequently do not include advertising. Additionally, distribution is key in order to get films into the market place and gain recognition. For many of these filmmakers, their only hope was to convince a reluctant theater to show their picture.
Today, there are still millions of filmmakers who work outside the studio system. However, they have one key resource that the New Wave filmmakers do not: the Internet.
Journalists who make documentaries are now able to upload their movie on a number of different video streaming websites, such as YouTube, and distribute their work to display to the world. Digital technology and the advancement of the Internet have turned what was once a difficult issue for independent filmmakers into an easy solution.
YouTube is able to effectively distribute films simply due its large number of visitors. It ranks third most in terms of Internet traffic according to Alexa, a web information company that is a subsidiary of Amazon. YouTube trails only Google and Facebook in terms of Internet traffic. The specific search parameters used by YouTube allow for billions of visitors to find the exact video they are looking for, allowing for films to easily be discovered.
Documentaries have especially benefited with the introduction of online film distribution. Journalists are able to come up with a story idea, pick up a camera, shoot film, and find an audience. This has allowed for an influx of shared information from content providers and a well-informed public.
Video journalists are even able to make a profit from the films that they post online. Once a video reaches several thousand hits, advertisers will approach them and ask if they can put their content on the same page as the journalist’s video.
While finding a way to make a sound profit online is one of the great struggles in all modes of journalism, it at least provides some form of compensation for journalists who take this route.