A video essay is a piece of video content that, much like a written essay, advances an argument. Video essays take advantage of the structure and language of film to advance their arguments. While the medium has its roots in academia, it has grown dramatically in popularity with the advent of the internet and video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. While most of such videos are intended for entertainment, some argue that they can have an academic purpose as well. In the classroom, video essays have many educational applications including conversation openers, active viewing opportunities, copyright lessons, and assessment opportunities.
Frequently cited examples of video essayists and series include Every Frame a Painting, a series on the grammar of film editing by Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos, and Lindsay Ellis, an American media critic, film critic, YouTuber, and author formerly known as The Nostalgia Chick. Websites like StudioBinder, MUBI, and Fandor also have contributing writers providing their own video essays.
Some have argued that essays from YouTube personalities, while well produced, can be gussied up opinion pieces and the analysis of said videos can be taken as fact by the viewer thanks to their convincing academic deliveries.