The latest trend in online cinema has been what’s being referred to as “Social Cinema”. It refers to Instagram’s video uploads which are limited to 15 seconds. The most popular being a high budget TV-like series called “SHIELD 5” which involve episodes which are all 15 seconds long.
(Update – Instagram just announced they are increasing video length to 60 seconds within the next few months.)
Rather than complain about the new state of online cinema, a few have decided to dive in and subvert the trend.
Eli Elliott has been taking much of his previous work and giving it brand new life through 15 second Social Cinema films. He also has been creating new works under the tight structure that the time limit requires. The results are a flurry of new viewership and a recycling of older works no longer sustainable in the dying festival circuit, and viewed much less nowadays in the landfill which YouTube has become.
Ferguson Ulrich: Does Social Cinema make sense for an alternative film/video maker to partake in?
Eli Elliott: Yeah. You can complain about it and take the hoity-toity attitude just like everyone did when YouTube first came out. No one wanted to put their experimental films on YouTube because they thought they were “above it all.” Of course these same people now all have YouTube channels! It’s like where the fuck were all of you 10 years ago when the window was wide open to subvert this online platform with experimental/underground works? Their avant garde attitude wasn’t experimental film forward thinking at all as they didn’t understand the digital environment and how to swim within it to maintain vibrancy in alternative cinema/film/videomaking.
FU: Are there many Social Cinema experimental works on Instagram currently?
EE: Collapse Productions have also been uploading their previous works, along with creating new social cinema films and they are all killer. Some others here and there, but surprisingly very few are subverting it. But as like before, a windows opened and not many are paying attention to it let alone climbing through it. I make it a point to upload one freshly and usually carefully edited piece a day and Collapse has been doing the same.
FU: What’s it say that we are at a point where “Social Cinema” is actually a thing and that 15 second films are being created?
EE: Yeah it’s the digital environment and the massively sped up situation we exist in. Remember it was only 10 years ago when YouTube set their video upload limit at ten minutes. Part of their reasoning was that the attention span of the viewer was thought to be tapped out at the 10 minute mark. So now we have gone from a 10 minute attention span tap-out, to a 15-60 second attention span limit!!!
FU: So now the latest is that Instagram is pushing the limit to a whopping 60 seconds!
EE: Yeah just when I was getting better at forming 15 second films they’re jacking it up to 60 seconds! But the 15 seconds actually made sense as far as viewership went. They get viewed easily, everyone has 15 seconds. But 60 second films will inevitably be viewed much less, as now even that seems a struggle for many in this day and age of Social Media aka “Social MindNumbia”.
FU: What’s your Instagram handle and how do people find your pieces and Collapse’s works on Instagram.
EE: It’s elliott_eli and Collapse is collapse_productions. I also created the hashtag #SocialCinemaBrut to separate the typical Social Cinema stuff and establish a sort of outsider Art Brut section for the experimental video works, the weirder things, and alt pieces, etc.
Here’s some SocialCinemaBrut works from Elliott: