These are fleeting moments
January 16, 2017 11:30 PM   Subscribe

Astronaut shows videos from Youtube with zero views. Beautiful and surprisingly refreshing.
posted by Foci for Analysis (68 comments total) 106 users marked this as a favorite
 
Very hypnotizing, and the astronaut metaphor works well since it's jumping all over the globe. Like channel surfing with even less predictability.
posted by lisa g at 12:05 AM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


Wow.
posted by brambleboy at 12:26 AM on January 17, 2017


Made me feel giddy, in a good way. Thank you.
posted by valetta at 12:34 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is fantastic, and as lisa g said very hypnotic. I'm listening to some streaming gamelan inspired music on Q2 while watching and it ties all of the various clips together making it all seem even more connected, this view of all these little largely unremarkable moments that, together, become a cohesive view of human interests.

Individually, most of these videos would be without much interest, but seeing just a few moments of each as they flow from one to the next makes them all seem more touching and, in a way, real. The mix of elements, from the significant, weddings, crimes, war, or family connection, to capturing performance, sports, music, speeches, dance, to spectacle whether big as with fireworks or light shows or small, as with watching animals or machinery, to attempts at personal connection through people addressing the camera in hopes of reaching an audience, all work off each other cumulatively to become really touching in the breadth of human concerns shown and how fleeting it all seems.

Each video takes you somewhere new, to a situation that seems both familiar in what one might understand as happening, yet maintaining distance by never revealing any context. For me at least, it's that combination of distance and brevity with the scope and personal interests being shown that make it feel more powerful than any of it possibly could on its own. It's facilitating the creation of connections between it all where one may not have seen any before. Excellent implementation of concept by whoever made this.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:55 AM on January 17, 2017 [10 favorites]


Is there no way to get to the source when a video is playing? I've been clicking around to no avail.
posted by eamondaly at 1:01 AM on January 17, 2017


You can press "space" to switch to soundtrack mode. It makes the whole experience more fluid and even more hypnotic.
posted by rocketbadger at 1:02 AM on January 17, 2017


Right click on the video, you get a menu.
posted by hippybear at 1:04 AM on January 17, 2017


Not working on my phone.
posted by esto-again at 1:05 AM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


The hipsters behind this look-at-my-fancy-TLD version seems to think they invented this, but this was thing a couple of years back, see e.g. The Sad, Weird World of Unseen YouTube Videos for some media coverage. Popular implementations include PetitTube (previously; site seems to be broken at the moment) and Incognitube. And tools like this was probably how people discovered Webdriver Torso, international man of mystery.
posted by effbot at 1:46 AM on January 17, 2017 [15 favorites]


I'm not sure where you get the idea that they think they invented this. Is there something you have read about this project other than the text on the screen at the beginning of the feed that has led you to believe this is their attitude toward this?

This is a new implementation of an idea that has been around for a while. I like how it works. I'm glad this was posted.
posted by hippybear at 1:50 AM on January 17, 2017 [19 favorites]


I love that it's a reference to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_effect
posted by weewooweewoo at 2:07 AM on January 17, 2017


The difference here is that the videos aren't played in full. That we only see snippets of the events being filmed keeps the viewer from being able to completely process the events before they move on to some other little piece of action somewhere else. That flow is what provides both the sense of connection between the pieces and maintains interest long after trying to sit through some of the full videos would have provided. This method makes the viewer more of a part of the process, rather than just allowing them to sit back and be "entertained" by the work of others presented as a more complete point of view. Ingcognitotube, for example, just pulled up an eleven minute interview style video in Spanish, which I don't speak, so while seeing some of that for a few moments sparks interest in trying to figure out what is going on and the viewpoint being presented, eleven minutes of that exhausts that interest as the context becomes clear and the video then must maintain interest on its own merits for it to be satisfying.

That Astronaut pulls up predominantly amateur videos, with sometimes blatantly amateurish production, works as a mark in its favor as that only adds to the effect of the base humanity it is really exhibiting as opposed to the video itself, which what watching the full versions provides. In other words, Astronaut isn't "about" the videos, it makes use of them for a larger effect, where platforms showing the full videos are more about what is being shown and its lack of viewership.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:43 AM on January 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


I am a fan of bopping about in the tippiest ends of the long tail.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:09 AM on January 17, 2017 [8 favorites]


what is the clickable circle for on bottom of screen?
posted by james33 at 3:13 AM on January 17, 2017


never mind, my pea sized brain just figured it out.
/gosh I'm dense sometimes
posted by james33 at 3:19 AM on January 17, 2017


best of the web
posted by Sebmojo at 3:41 AM on January 17, 2017


Lived right up to its name until I had to watch about 20 seconds of cock fighting with no ability to flag for it.

This has potential to inadvertently let us watch 'The Den' unfold accidentally.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:57 AM on January 17, 2017


This is so very good.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:08 AM on January 17, 2017


Cock fighting x2... on a positive note, that means that few people watch it. Unfortunately the videos appear about every 13 minutes... the bad news is that means one may get to watch 110 cock fighting videos a day.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:11 AM on January 17, 2017


I can't wait for the first MeFite to report that he/she saw one of their own videos.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:07 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what the animated image *behind* the videos is?

I mean is it an actual animated astronauts view? I'm much more interested in that video than the snippets from youtube, and would very much like to know the source.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:27 AM on January 17, 2017


Does anyone know what the animated image *behind* the videos is?

I don't know which video it is exactly, but there's plenty of footage from the International Space Station on Youtube. It could be this one.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:43 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I believe the video is from NASA, and taken from the International Space Station. I think these are the source videos (click the map).

As a side note, when I worked on my (self-link) Underviewed project, I wasn't aware of Petit Tube until some time later. A dev I later met online came up with a Zero Views app, and so I think the concept of "low view count videos" is not a new one - and it comes down to the implementation.

And I really dig how Astronaut is implemented. A big part of my love for videos like this is the serendipity of the discovery process, and catching glimpses of these rarely seen moments. I think they've done a great job of capturing that.

Regarding the cock fighting videos - yeah, there is some (self-link) dark stuff when you're dealing with low view counts. I don't know a good way of avoiding that unless you really curate everything before showing it. Flagging helps, but it's an after-the-fact solution.
posted by avoision at 5:55 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is similar to the fun of doing google image searches for filenames like "img_0528".
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:42 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Even better with the sound turned off.
posted by slogger at 6:45 AM on January 17, 2017


Astronaut shows videos from Youtube with zero views.

Astronaughts.
posted by The Bellman at 6:56 AM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


The idea may not be new but the implementation is great. I think it's key that it presents short snippets, not whole videos. I'm also guessing they start playback some ways into the video a la the Wadsworth Constant; the video is generally interesting right at the start. Honestly it feels to me like videos are often cut to perfectly frame a moment, but I'm sure that's personal viewer bias.

I'm torn about the lack of other UI elements. It bugs me that there's no simple way to learn more about a video (hippybear's right cilck suggestion is not working for me in Chrome). OTOH I've now accepted that the videos are here and gone and that frees me from the burden of getting too invested in any video. Now I'm a little irritated by the "press the button to keep watching" option, it's the one UI element and I'm wondering if it'd be cleaner without.

Exterminate all rational thought.
posted by Nelson at 6:56 AM on January 17, 2017


I love this. The only problem is that sometimes I want the story behind a video... who are these people? Why did they decide to post this? But I guess knowing more context would ruin the random, just-a-momentary-glimpse feeling of the whole thing.
posted by aka burlap at 6:56 AM on January 17, 2017


Oh! I just read the description that says "They were uploaded in the last week and have titles like DSC 1234 and IMG 4321." That means the sample is biased heavily to hand-held camera video. That probably explains the thematic consistency.
posted by Nelson at 6:59 AM on January 17, 2017


It doesn't work on my Samsung tablet properly. The videos work when the title overlay displays but stop when I click OK. 🙁
posted by fiercekitten at 7:55 AM on January 17, 2017


I watched this with the sound turned off on my PC and Aerith's Theme playing in my headphones. For whatever reason, I started crying.

It's easy to forget how weird and wonderful life is outside my head. This is a beautiful reminder.
posted by Tevin at 8:24 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Earth's a big blue marble
when you see it from out there.
The sun and moon declare,
our beauty's very rare.
posted by Naberius at 9:02 AM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's like a never-ending version of Life In A Day
posted by steamynachos at 9:34 AM on January 17, 2017


(hippybear's right cilck suggestion is not working for me in Chrome)

Works for me in Chrome Version 55.0.2883.95 (64-bit) in macOS 10.12.1. And in Safari 10.0.1.

posted by hippybear at 9:49 AM on January 17, 2017


I swear I recognized a few of the kids in a school video that popped up. That would be a pretty big coincidence.
posted by slogger at 9:51 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not the biggest fan of the movie, but watching this reminded me of the opening moments of Love, Actually. I didn't stumble across any awfulness like cockfighting but I did see dozens or hundreds of happy people, smiling at each other, caring for each other, and celebrating each other. There are a lot of bright moments in this world.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:09 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Aerith's Theme
Too soon :-(
posted by comealongpole at 10:25 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


This seems cool and I'm looking forward to watching it when I get home!
Does this mean that no one else will see the videos I see (that is via this site)? Because once I watch a clip, that means that the video no longer has zero views.

If this is not the case, and other people would be able to see the videos as well, I wouldn't mind a flag button of sorts, so that we can notify of any problematic posts.

but maybe that's the point - seeing humanity in all its wonder and disappointment.
posted by bitteroldman at 10:32 AM on January 17, 2017


I don't know that any of the clips are shown long enough to bump up their view counts. You literally have to watch a video to the last second for it to flip a view count (or I think this is true), and this is 3-5 second clips of videos, I don't think any of them are shown in full.
posted by hippybear at 10:34 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is neat.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:07 AM on January 17, 2017


This is fantastic. As a YouTube creator myself, I always love seeing videos that get no traction.

I don't know that any of the clips are shown long enough to bump up their view counts. You literally have to watch a video to the last second for it to flip a view count (or I think this is true), and this is 3-5 second clips of videos, I don't think any of them are shown in full.

No, view counts are counted as soon as a new user plays the video. I'm not sure how this application, with auto-start, would affect views, but you don't have to stay until the end for a view to be counted. Watch time is a different metric (and arguably a more important one to the YouTube algorithm).
posted by xingcat at 11:11 AM on January 17, 2017


The surprise to me -- which is obviously not a surprise, given a second's thought -- is how few of them are in English. (Most of the ones that are have begun with some variation on "Hi guys!"). The future makes the world seem both larger and smaller every day.
posted by rollick at 11:16 AM on January 17, 2017


(By the way, all the videos appear in your YouTube history if you have an account. Looking forward to my next week of recommendations).
posted by rollick at 11:18 AM on January 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Man this is genuinely beautiful. The space bar trick to give it a soundtrack really drives it home. I have to stop watching because I am at work and it's making me teary-eyed.
posted by missjenny at 11:47 AM on January 17, 2017


I am a fan of bopping about in the tippiest ends of the long tail.

Tippity BOP!1
  1. Sorry. That's probably only going to funny to you if you've been here since 2001.2
  2. Actually, it still probably won't be funny.

posted by webmutant at 11:53 AM on January 17, 2017


Not sure if something changed, or I just missed it previously... but if you click the YouTube logo now, it takes you to the original video on YouTube. The titles, being generic, will provide little help - but you get some additional context with the uploader's username, the date posted, and sometimes even a description.
posted by avoision at 11:57 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


AHH the first video for me was baby ducklings being taught how to go through a tabletop obstacle course! How does this not have more views?
posted by ananci at 12:07 PM on January 17, 2017


I'm also guessing they start playback some ways into the video a la the Wadsworth Constant; the video is generally interesting right at the start.

Gahhh there are SO many videos where the first few seconds are the person setting up the webcam/phone, and then readjusting it to point to where they want. The last few seconds of the video are a closeup of their face/arm/hand as they lean forward to shut off the phone/webcam
posted by AFABulous at 12:39 PM on January 17, 2017


So many musical performances! This was delightful, thank you. :)
posted by Feyala at 12:42 PM on January 17, 2017


I'm getting lots of hunting cam clips of wildlife mixed in. Makes the astronaut metaphor even better.
posted by dripdripdrop at 12:48 PM on January 17, 2017


Is there no way to get to the source when a video is playing? I've been clicking around to no avail.

If you hover in the lower-right corner as a clip plays, the YouTube logo will brighten from gray to white. Clicking on that should take you to the source video.
posted by lisa g at 12:58 PM on January 17, 2017


Does anyone know what the music is when the site is in soundtrack mode?
posted by houlihan at 1:11 PM on January 17, 2017


The only problem is that sometimes I want the story behind a video... who are these people?

WHY WERE YOU POURING A SHOT OF SUGAR? WHY WAS EVERYONE SO AWED? ITS SUGAR. IN A SHOTGLASS. I WILL NEVER FIND OUT...

And off to a clip of someone shooting a talking head segment whose pan matched the next drift video. I felt like I was the alien who received the Voyager Disk or something: "This is humanity...? WHAT THE FUCK, HUMANS?!?"
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:18 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh lord it puts them all in your YouTube history in case you want to roll back and view some (or make your YouTube history impossible to navigate)
posted by AaronRaphael at 1:31 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is so simple yet really, really powerful in a sort of life-afirming isn't-humanity-beautiful kind of way. Thanks for sharing it!
posted by leo_r at 1:45 PM on January 17, 2017


Oh lord it puts them all in your YouTube history in case you want to roll back and view some

YOU MEAN THE ANSWER TO SUGAR SHOT IS AT HAND??! THE FUCK IT IS, ITS ONLY JOINED WITH CANNED POWDER MYSTERY!! The only description is 説明 which Google says is "description."
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:39 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeeesh. I got one that was people running and screaming on a dark street. No information from the video itself.

I did get a handful of mic checks as people were starting to play a song or whatever. Plus a cute little girl talking about her peppa pig t-shirt. :)

Overall, though, this is pretty cool.
posted by hot_monster at 2:42 PM on January 17, 2017


Sites like this remind me how awesome the web is.
posted by twistedonion at 4:02 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


A nude woman twirling upside down from a sling while performing fellatio, right after a cock-fighting video? HM. Otherwise, it's definitely very cool.
posted by maxwelton at 5:14 PM on January 17, 2017


MeFi fav Jon Bois covered this genre briefly.
posted by creade at 5:46 PM on January 17, 2017


Sounds SO awesome, but can anyone help out? I cannot seem to access the content via Chrome or Firefox... This sort of thing is JUST up my alley, so the fact that I can't see the awesome is distracting me in the extreme!
posted by foodbedgospel at 6:19 PM on January 17, 2017


Soundtrack mode song is Debussy's Clair de Lune
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 6:28 PM on January 17, 2017


I'm like 75% sure I almost saw a mohel perform a circumcision on here but other than that, pretty sweet!
posted by Gymnopedist at 6:42 PM on January 17, 2017


I really liked this video of a sheepish English teacher discussing his plans to make Thailand the #1 country for bacon products for some reason.
posted by whir at 9:52 PM on January 17, 2017


That's a really cool, simple project. Nicely done!
posted by ph00dz at 10:16 PM on January 17, 2017


If you're logged into Youtube the videos will show up in your watched history. You know, in case you want to watch the whole clip.
posted by dominik at 11:52 PM on January 17, 2017


Thank you DeepSeaHaggis!
posted by houlihan at 1:44 AM on January 18, 2017


Thanks to Astronaut, I have now discovered the video I will watch on repeat until the end of days: a koi fish swimming in a blue plastic tub to a dope ambient electronic track.
posted by nerdfish at 2:42 AM on January 19, 2017


« Older Dick Gautier, 1931-2017   |   it tickles Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments