Finding Found Footage
January 11, 2007 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Looking for examples of two types of found footage film/ compilation video.

I'm teaching a class in this subject, and need as many ideas as possible for media to include in the following two categories:

1. Music videos, commercials or other pop culture media which uses archival footage (see Michael Jackson's Man In The Mirror video for example) for referential but not strictly documentary purposes. I am not looking for recommendations to full length features like Baraka or traditional historical documentaries that rely on such imagery, like Ken Burns' Baseball. Think kitschy black and white era stuff used for "silly" effects.

2. Internet based mash-ups and cut-ups. Anything that was published online that is a collage of previously produced video (or digital media) work. Of special interest: media of this type that is produced with an ideological purpose, not purely for humor. I have few ideas for this, but one example would be this one. I hope to discover that this is a flourishing area, that media sharing technology has enabled political dissection and dissemination of dominant media.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm. I think Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" video had archival footage.

For question number two, if I understand correctly, try the series TV Carnage.
posted by loiseau at 10:22 AM on January 11, 2007

Oh, I apologise; I wasn't considering the Internet-based part, which TV Carnage is not.
posted by loiseau at 10:23 AM on January 11, 2007

Well, the Bush video is by Rx, and he has a good few more tracks and videos.

(self-link: this is something I made a few years ago, but it's pretty only-comedy.)
posted by zusty at 10:31 AM on January 11, 2007

Response by poster: loiseau: Don't apologize. Peripheral suggestions are most welcome! I hadn't heard of TV Carnage, I'll check it out!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:31 AM on January 11, 2007

I'm not sure if these meet your criteria, because in all of these examples, someone is interacting with or reacting to the archival footage - is that something that you're after?

- I have to mention Forrest Gump even though you said no full length - you could pull the one well-known part where Forrest meets Elvis, LBJ, etc.

- The Saturday TV Funhouse cartoons by Robert Smigel on SNL do a lot of audio mash-ups of bits and pieces taken from famous interviews and speeches.

- The music video for Unforgettable, where Natalie Cole sings with her father.

- The commercials for Dirt Devil featuring Fred Astaire dancing with a vacuum cleaner (in the original he's dancing with a hat rack I believe).

I know of more, but like I said, I'm not sure if this is along the lines of what you're after.
posted by iconomy at 11:23 AM on January 11, 2007

You may want to check out the 1995 movie Spin by Brian Springer [google video] assembled out of "off-air" satellite feeds to show how spin-doctors worked. If I remember correctly, it was distributed mostly over the Internet, and a couple years after it was made.

Googling for more info about Spin, I found this page which might help you too.
posted by jacobm at 11:25 AM on January 11, 2007

Oh, I should say that both of those above were intended for your #2. For your #1, have you seen the old Steve Martin movie Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, a noir spoof that intercuts scenes from actual film noir?
posted by jacobm at 11:28 AM on January 11, 2007

Does Illegal Art have anything you're looking for? Some of the work there, such as Tribulation 99 and Fensler's G.I. Joe parody PSAs, are collaged from found film and video but predate web video. Most of them have political and social topics.
posted by ardgedee at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2007

For category 1 how about Renegades of Funk by Rage Against the Machine?
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 12:11 PM on January 11, 2007

Response by poster: jacobm and ardgedee: I know all those already, and have a few in the syllabus, so you're right on. I am looking for more grass-roots, contemporary stuff. New, amateur work representative of the "youtube" generation.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:16 PM on January 11, 2007

An Edie Sedgewick collage set to Velvet Underground on YouTube.
posted by iconomy at 12:35 PM on January 11, 2007

There is quite a lot of this sort of thing (#2) in the Moving Images section of, if you care to poke around. Particularly look for remixes of their Ephemeral films, and Open Source Movies. I came across numerous examples when browsing around a couple of years ago, but wouldn't know the proper search terms to track them down at this moment. As far as 'ideological' goes, I seem to recall there were a lot of anti-war movies.
posted by MetaMonkey at 12:43 PM on January 11, 2007

Again, another full-length feature, but Woody Allen's Zelig might work for category 1.

For category 2, how about TV Sheriff? It's mainly live performance, but there's a lot of stuff online too. Plus the pink gorilla cracks me up.
posted by hydrophonic at 1:39 PM on January 11, 2007

found footage videos get posted often to antville (it was even suggested as a category at the recent awards).

no simple tag love offered there, so browse through the posts, use your search-foo, and failing that, post a question - you're likely to be offered a fair amount of suggestions (such as this recent one).
posted by progosk at 2:16 PM on January 11, 2007

Dream On was an HBO series where black & white footage is used to show the main character's inner monologue/reactions.
posted by ODiV at 3:59 PM on January 11, 2007

The video for Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's Closer is an absolutely stunning example of the use of archival footage...

Most kitsch use of archival footage is just terrible -- I don't think anyone is going to recommend anything of value.

The work of Craig Baldwin (features) and Jay Rosenblatt (shorts) should be viewed by all students
posted by cinemafiend at 6:43 PM on January 11, 2007

Response by poster: cinemafiend: I already have stuff of value, though.

It's hard to come up with crap via academic research. Joseph Cornell to Michael Jackson is a lot of moves. I need things to exemplify not only the theories of William Wees regarding the appropriation modes of Found Footage, but a body of evidence to describe the particular flavor of referentiality utilized as simulacrum to eclipse representational meaning with photographic symbolism. In other words, kitsch.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:57 PM on January 11, 2007

I thought of Dream On too. But if I understand #1 correctly you should youtube some Queen videos. I dvr'ed a Headline Act on VH1C and noticed that most of the videos were chock full of (very interesting) found footage. Clips from Nosferatu and Metropolis, etc. I am not at home right now but I will try and check later. Under Pressure with Bowie was one.
posted by vronsky at 9:58 PM on January 11, 2007

Well youtube just shut down as I was looking for more.
posted by vronsky at 10:02 PM on January 11, 2007

Radio Gaga too!
posted by vronsky at 12:20 PM on January 13, 2007

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