Here at Mashable, we’re big fans of web video, and we’re not alone. People spend more and more time online watching (and many times, rewatching) video content, both user-generated and commercial.
Even five years ago, during the early days of startups like YouTube and Blip.tv, sifting through content to find the best the web had to offer could be difficult. After all, with 24 hours of video uploaded every minute just to YouTube, there’s a lot of content out there.
In today’s landscape, where we have not only a plethora of user-generated content, but also mounds of new and catalog content from commercial publishers, finding the best in online video can take a lot of time and effort. After all, for every “David After Dentist,” there are a thousand other videos of children that are neither as cute nor as doped up on novocaine.
Fortunately, more and more sites and services are stepping up to help sift through the vast, expansive wasteland of online video. Here are five of our favorite sites for not just finding the goods, but also making it easy to share and exchange videos with friends and family members.
When ShortForm soft-launched this June, we liked the human and software aggregated approach to finding video and putting it into auto-play channels. The site has lots of pre-configured channels in categories like “Super Cute” or “Facebook Hits” that pull in content that is popular on a certain service or all feature things of a similar genre.
Last week, ShortForm re-launched with a hot new redesign that makes it easier than ever to create your own curated video channels. You easily link your Facebook and YouTube accounts to ShortForm and pull in your favorite YouTube videos, as well as Facebook videos you or your friends have “liked.” That makes creating custom channels super easy.
What we appreciate about ShortForm — especially with the new UI — is that it’s easy to just sit back and watch video, one right after the other, and to skip through to various channels and videos. While much of ShortForm’s content is sourced from YouTube, the browsing experience is, in many respects, superior to YouTube. Creating your own channels is also easier and more attractive than doing so in YouTube.
Because you can subscribe to channels curated by ShortForm employees and regular users, there’s plenty of content to find and discover.
Created by the same people who brought you Uncrate, Devour is a hand-curated collection of quality web video. Every weekday, Devour team members scour the web and post the most awesome clips.
You can browse via channels — stuff like “Art & Design,” “Animals” and “Movies” — you can search, or you can just click aimlessly on the homepage.
What we love about Devour is that the site is super clean. Most of the video is in HD and you can safely view Devour on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. The sources for Devour come from across the web, but you’ll see a lot of content from Vimeo and other less viral video sites.
MovieClips.com is pretty rare in the online video world: It’s a place where you can find completely legal, licensed movie clips from thousands of top Hollywood films. Even better, you can watch these clips from anywhere in the world and you can embed them into your own blog.
What makes MovieClips a great place to find online video, however, is that the team of editors has started to create top 10 lists and mashups based on certain topics. This is a great way to get bite-sized chunks of content in a specific area.
Beyond just the mashups and lists, each clip at MovieClips.com is tagged with all kind of data — like the actor, the director, the year, props used in a scene, genre, lines of dialog, etc. When you view a clip or view a collection of clips from a film, you can explore more clips that are related, directly or indirectly, with what you are watching.
This is a great way to discover content and either be reminded of a great movie or get interested in one you might want to watch later.
We once described Redux as a time-wasters dream. This is still pretty true. The site, which turns status updates, RSS feeds and shared links into an ongoing stream of entertaining content, isn’t just for video, but video is where Redux really shines.
Like ShortForm, you can create and curate your own video channels on Redux. You can also join other channels and add content to them. These channels can then be played in TV Mode, where you get an endless stream of video from selected or randomized channels, presented in a very Leanback-esque manner.
The user- and employee-generated channels are pretty great; you can find some really cool and funny stuff this way. What makes Redux special is that it can also scan the links that your friends share on Facebook or Twitter and suck out the videos from those links so that you can view them easily. This is a great time saver because, instead of having to manually click each link to see what content is embedded inside, you can just eyeball content and decide what to watch. For the adventurous, you can even be delivered a stream of videos shared by your friends.
Redux also has its own Boxee app, which makes it possible to view content on your television.
StumbleUpon is a great way to discover new and interesting websites and articles, but did you also know it’s a way to find great web video? Last month, StumbleUpon beefed up its video discovery service, adding in recommendations from your friends, instead of just the most popular or highest-rated content across the site.
Additionally, StumbleUpon now aggregates content from not just video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo, but also more commercial content like Hulu, CollegeHumor and TED.Video is presented in a very clean, full-browser presentation. You can thumb-up or thumb-down content, switch to specific types of channels and even leave your own comments or recommendations. Plus, if you use the StumbleUpon add-ons, you can thumb-up your own favorite videos as you discover them across the web.