With online streaming of movies and shows gaining popularity, the internet has made itself a very viable option for major productions in recent years. While YouTube may have begun as a creative outlet for non-professionals, its insane success and popularity has made it a choice option for professionals seeking to join in this pioneering effort to bring big-screen quality into streaming video. Here’s my top 3 list of real productions that are available to watch in full at no cost on YouTube.
If you’ve not heard of FreddieW, welcome to the internet. Freddie Wong and his gang of full-time content creators impress millions week after week with their geeky plots and self-proclaimed “rad” effects, and their feature length film, Video Game Highschool, is everything you’d expect from a FreddieW movie. It’s full of nerdy humor, intense action, and guns as well as an all-star cast of YouTube favorites, but ultimately VGHS lacks universal appeal. If you’re a fan of video games and YouTube channels like FreddieW, iJustine, and EpicMealTime, VGHS is a great watch…but probably don’t bother recommending it to non-geeks.
Contrary to its title, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is not just for fans of the Halo series of video games, but really for anyone looking for some good military sci-fi. High profile actors like Daniel Cudmore and Anna Popplewell star in a feature-length film Following a young soldier on his difficult journey to becoming a veteran officer. The plot is intended to set the stage for Halo 4, but the great acting, sets, visuals, and direction make this a movie worth seeing if you have even just a superficial knowledge of the Halo universe, or no knowledge at all.
If you take time out of your day to spend on a YouTube-based series, make it H+. Not only does the show feature an ensemble cast of high profile actors and boast great visuals, but the story runs deep and wide and allows for you to delve into it through additional content on the H+ website as well as social networks, where clues and extra content spark interesting discussions and reveal more of what’s going on in the series. H+ will still be great after its first run, but the best experience is the interactivity offered by the show at the time of this posting. To say all this gives the show universal appeal is more literal than you might think. The series’ storyline spans the entire globe and more than a decade of time, but get your thinking caps on, because you won’t be receiving everything in order and instead the entire series is orchestrated to build up to a climax that just wouldn’t be the same if you knew what was going on from the beginning. I greatly applaud H+ for its depth and creative presentation, as it proves there is far more that can be done with major productions on the web than is possible in a traditional TV format.
The surface is only being scratched on what will become of television in the future, but whatever that future may be it’s clear the internet will play a big role in its development, and it will be thanks to the pioneering efforts of the best content creators of today. If you enjoy a good film, do yourself a favor and don’t dismiss the best the internet has to offer just because it’s on the internet.