YouTube videos are starting to all look the same. Change and re-invention is due; motion graphics is the future.
Since YouTube was founded in 2005, the videos hosted on and created for it have undergone super fast change: From blurry Motorola captured happy slap snaps, to professionally scripted and edited high definition videos.
Yet where do content creators turn to next to differentiate themselves in a more and more competitive space, when everything is already high-definition, perfectly lit, well-scripted and professionally acted?
I believe it's motion graphics and history suggests why. A hundred years ago, between 1909 and 1912, two Italian Futurist painters faced a similar problem. Standing at the end of the chemical phase of the industrial revolution - the invention and global development of fertilisers, petroleum, natural gas, lubricating oils, asphalt, rayon and much more - Bruno Corra and Arnaldo Ginna wanted to create a new art for the Modern world, differentiating themselves. They wanted something that embraced speed and powerful movement. And although Post-Impressionists at the same time such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were trying to capture something similar, Corra and Ginna felt paintings did not convey what they were after.
Instead they turned to moving-pictures which at that time were thousands of black-and-white images stuck together on a roll of film and measured in terms of distance ("a 200m film"). To achieve their vision of exploding speed and change, they used their skills as painters to transform static motion pictures into a sea of colours: they hand-painted colour on top of black-and-white film. Michael Betancourt explains in The History of Motion Graphics, 'colored aniline dyes would be painted by hand onto black-and-white film'. This was the beginning of beautiful colour films as we know it.
Whenever a creative space becomes saturated, it bursts at the seams to find new technology, new techniques, new tools for re-invention. Think of when an underground music genre becomes mainstream. It immediately tries to re-invent itself.
Short films such as those you often find on YouTube are at a similar moment in time. To reject homogeneity and stagnation, Directors are looking to innovate and motion graphics is where they are turning. No longer the reserve of blockbuster movies or computer artists, motion graphics is being adopted as a way to differentiate. Examples of this can be found in fashion, a space always having to re-define, re-invent and re-make itself. Here, Chanel uses motion graphics to tell the story of how Gabrielle Chanel changed women's attitudes towards high jewelry:
It's different and it's engaging.
The video above by FullScream shows Stefano Gabbana, of Dolce&Gabbana, sketching his vision for Desire, a new perfume. He wanted to convey craftsmanship, elegance and beauty through an artistic video. Motion graphics allowed him to achieve that. The art form takes a shot of reality and allows the creator to bend what they see to their will.
Motion graphics does not simply make videos more dynamic - it utterly transforms the character and meaning of the work. This is a new form of media that conveys messages differently. As I wrote in The Future of Digital Content, motion graphics is like music. It's able to make you feel something, without saying anything. And it's here that the future of short films and videos on YouTube lies. Whether for artists seeking to explore new forms of expression, or for brands looking to position themselves in a deeper, more impactful way.