Monthly Archives: April 2018

How we curate videos

The Beginnings

TikiKiti started out with just a couple of friends talking their passion: music videos. We all have lots of experience in film — we’ve been making films and teaching filmmaking for years. 

We discovered that some, if not most, of the best video on YouTube were done by independent producers making fan-made videos (this is our primary focus and tend to stay away from the professional production and the official videos). As we shared more videos we found others who enjoyed these videos as much as we did. The next thing we knew, we had started a YouTube channel to showcase these videos.

As TikiKiti grew it became clear we needed some criteria for the ratings we were giving. This was how we developed the different categories and the ratings scale that we use today.

The Categories

When a video is put into the judging queue we break them down into categories and genres. This allows us to rate them easily. We review approximately 250 videos a day. So breaking them into categories helps the process go more quickly. 

Of the 250 videos we see every day, 20 to 30 are queued up for the judges to watch and analyze. If you’re wondering, we usually have around 4 — these are musicians, film makers, media journalists, and combinations thereof. 


The video categories

Narrative: The Narrative is the basic story-telling type of video. Although many producers tell a story with their videos, it is the style we use to categorize them.  Performance, abstract and vérité videos can also have elements of a narrative. What separates them is that the story predominates.

Abstract: This is very much what the title suggests; a series of visuals put together in an abstract way to illustrate the music. The abstract video can also have elements of a narrative or a performance video. Again, it is the predominate motif that defines the video.

Performance: The Performance video is a dance video, or a band playing, or someone lip-syncing. Mostly, it is the performance that defines the videos style. What separates a performance from a dance-cover is the production quality and editing. 

Dance Covers: This is pretty much what it says. Unlike a Performance video a dance cover is usually an individual or troop performing, minimal production and editing. We do not rate the production quality and editing of dance covers.

Mashups: The mashup is a video set to music and made up of clips from a variety of existing videos — often referred to as found-video. Some mashups includes hundreds of edits. The better ones can be very complex. A narrative can be created in a mashup with the right source material and editing. We usually do not rate these for production quality because the visuals are not original.

Vérité: The vérité video is often called a “day-in-the-life” video. This includes videos from someone’s vacation or just videotaping the day and putting it to music. Still, the better vérité videos include elements of a narrative, and rely much on quality editing techniques.

We also include Animé (AMV) and Machinima in our video queue but we neither rate them nor comment on them. We just like following them because we like them and enjoy how the technology that makes them as improved.  We plan to rate these in the future.


The Rating Scale

Ratings are continually evolving. Currently we rate each video on three criteria: Production, Creativity & Performance, and Editing. Additionally, we break down each category in a series of attributes. These attributes are what we look for when we watch and rate a video. We give each video a score based on the quality of each of these attributes. The following are the attributes we use.

1) Production:

  • camera moves
  • cinematography
  • lighting
  • production design
  • special photographic effects
  • use of locations
  • use of sets

2) Creativity & Performance:

  • acting
  • costumes & backup
  • creative dance moves
  • dancing
  • lip sync
  • lyrical interpretation
  • music interpretation
  • overall creativity
  • use of abstract imagery

3)  Editing:

  • color time/editing
  • creative editing
  • cutting to beat & motion
  • fast-paced cutting
  • image-replacement editing
  • post-production effects

We enjoy sharing our results with the producers of the videos we rate. We comment on those videos and include the attributes you see above. We have developed a complex system that allows us to manage all of the videos we see, rate, and comment on. Time permitting, we make more original and personal comments. 

We also have what is called the “Editor’s Choice.” This selects the best videos we see every month and groups them for an additional revue at the end of each month. From these we select the top five videos for recognition. The best video from each month will be awarded a Barclay. You can view award candidates here:

As always, we welcome feedback. Evolving our rating system is helped by your feedback.

The TikiKiti Awards: Round 1

It’s awards season at TikiKiti and we spent our spring break wading through thousands of indie music videos that found their way to us (a combination of whizzy algorithms and occasional dedication). The goal here is to recognize and encourage video artists and establish a site where new works can be displayed and discussed.

Our panel of judges has deliberated heatedly and at length over creativity, editing, and overall production quality, and reached their decision.

Five (six) artists will be honored, and these high scorers will receive an enviable trophy or gift card as tokens of our esteem and appreciation.  More about the awards. 

Without further ado, here are the Top Five videos (six actually; there was a three-way tie for fourth place) for January 2018. We’re a few months behind, but we’re aiming to get up to date in a quick-bunny hurry.

Superb work, people! Take a bow and a victory lap.

1. Producer: Ch4rlie97
Artist: Caravan Palance
Song: Lone Digger
Category: Narrative

A strong narrative concept, supple camera, and unexpected editing choices made the exhilarating “Lone Digger” the top vote-getter this month. Kudos Ch4rlie97.

2. Producer: MangoWatch
Artist: Michael Jackson
Song: Blood on the Dance Floor
Category: Performance

The commitment and choreography are first-rate. The attention to detail, the costumes, and performance really bowled us over. Paging Doctor MangoWatch!

3. Producer: Utkarsh Chaturvedi
Artist: Massive Attack
Song: Teardrop
Category: Abstract

Visually arresting from open to close. The pace and variety of imagery is spellbinding. Well done, Mr. Chaturvedi et. al.

4. Producer: VelvetAnt Films
Artist: Dezlooca
Song: Cannibal Lectures
Category: Mashup

Video artist Chad Shepp continues to astound us with his arsenal of found footage and editing finesse.

4. Producer: Alfredo Fortunato Films
Artist: Demi Lovato
Song: Sorry Not Sorry
Category: Performance

Spirit, swagger, and genuine joy are abundant in this high-energy entry from Alfredo Fortunato Films.

4. Producer: Sebastian Linares
Artist: Bruno Mars + Cardi B
Song: Finesse
Category: Performance

These guys are having fun but their dedication to the choreography and the project itself is 100 percent. We salute you, Sebastian!