YouTube cinema and the role of the platform in the production and presentation of films | opinions

An astronaut stands in the cabin of his spacecraft, looking out into the vast universe that appears strewn with stars. His spacecraft is moving and a satellite appears in front of it as if he is steering a naval ship. As he closes his front window through a metal fence and begins the countdown to landing, the vehicle shakes violently. Then the hands of a second man appear, to whom the astronaut salutes, then another door to the vehicle appears, which is opened to show a third astronaut in a different outfit who takes the person whose only hands we see on a tour of the spacecraft. A white shimmer is emitted from the third astronaut’s mechanical sterilization process, before he details his craft in “In Space with Marquee Blair” from this year’s YouTube original.

The series presents a science fiction series in the form of a comedy, starring the young Markie Blair, an influential content maker in the United States who owns a YouTube channel, and hails from the city of Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands under the American sovereignty. The series is one of the original works that the YouTube platform presents to its audience this year. The platform also offers other works targeting a wide audience, including various artistic templates, such as science fiction series, talk shows and films. It differs from the content that subscribers upload to their own channels that it is produced and sponsored by YouTube itself.

So far, there are no indications of an original Arabic production offered by the YouTube platform, but the surprising thing is that YouTube embarked on a joint project several years ago with Google to preserve the Arab cinematic heritage of films, and it currently offers more than 1,500 films through a special platform on YouTube called “YouTube Films”. In the arabic language

Previously, YouTube tried to make this service among the advantages of the monthly or annual subscription service known as YouTube Premium, in which it exempts subscribers from the appearance of ads among other advantages, but the platform made these original works available to the public for free with ads in them. Thus, it offers a different type of film material that competes with other platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others, but on a different ground. It wants to take the audience to another creative space in which the quality of production declines compared to these platforms to the detriment of ethical, social and humanitarian issues. For example, the series “Terms and Conditions” presents the voices of several young people in Britain and Ireland, who are exploring themselves through music after two major events, Britain’s exit from the European Union and the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of this production policy, YouTube produces other original parallel works directed mainly at families and children. She produced the series “Enough” during the general lockdown that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. The series shows the adventures of a group of bored and isolated teenagers. The teens try to solve a mystery about a neighbor, but they are all put in danger because of it. The series relies mainly on dialogues between characters over the Internet, as is the case with the Zoom application, to give the impression of the form of communication that prevailed at that time.

Original YouTube production in Arabic

So far, there are no indications of an original Arabic production offered by the YouTube platform, but the surprising thing is that YouTube embarked on a joint project several years ago with Google to preserve the Arab cinematic heritage of films, and it is currently presenting more than 1500 films through a special platform on YouTube called “YouTube Films.” ” In the arabic language. The value offered by this platform is that it divided films by genre such as drama, action and comedy, by main actor, and according to directors. It also allocated a special space for films divided according to the writer, but it seems that this last section was not completed because it includes only two writers, Naguib Mahfouz and Abu Al-Saud Al-Ebiari. The same applies to the classification of films in terms of years, as the channel only provides a division of films of the fifties and eighties.

The biggest advantage offered by this platform is that it has high quality movies and YouTube owns the rights to broadcast them. Which means that it will not be erased over time like many movies that are uploaded to private YouTube channels and are automatically removed for violating the rules of public broadcasting, and considering them a kind of piracy and infringement of the intellectual property rights of producers and distributors.

The only negative thing about this initiative is that it did not come from the official and unofficial Arab institutions that were entrusted with taking such initiatives to preserve the cinematic heritage and ensure that the Arab audience accessed it anytime and anywhere. Also, the platform that was launched several years ago does not have a high viewership compared to other films on YouTube. This may be due to insufficient publicity. Of course, there will be no blame on YouTube and Google for the lack of advertising, it is enough for them to take the initiative in the project from the start.

These projects, initiatives, and others indicate the weak Arab interaction with the capabilities of the YouTube platform, which is constantly evolving and changing. The Arab public still treats YouTube as a platform for publishing clips or as an intermediary platform between it and content makers or satellite channels. Recently, the possibility of making money by creating YouTube channels and benefiting from advertisements was discovered, so many people began to create channels and provide different materials in the hope of profit by increasing the number of subscribers. However, the platform has many possibilities that the Arab public has not yet discovered.

The rapid development in the mechanisms and techniques of visual broadcasting and viewing of film materials over the Internet requires a strong follow-up, whether from the public or governmental and non-governmental agencies to interact with it. The importance of these platforms is growing day by day, and the motivation for publishing visual materials, which has evolved from displaying a group of videos to producing special content by influencers, and reached the use of satellite channels for it as a platform for them, extended and included the historical documentation of cinematic heritage and will be extended for other purposes in the future.