One of the most impressive benefits of the real-time Web is its ability to allow people to instantly collaborate on massive global projects from the comfort of their own home. Between editing articles on Wikipedia and helping rescuers locate evidence of a downed aircraft in dense woodland areas, there is no shortage of ways to collaborate on the Web. It is in this spirit of crowdsourcing that YouTube is launching a new project, “Life in a Day,” which it hopes will tell the story of a single day on Earth.
Working with sponsor LG Electronics and film directors Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald, YouTube is asking users to take a moment out their days on July 24th to document something that shows their perspective of the world on that day. “You can film the ordinary — a sunrise, the commute to work, a neighborhood soccer match, or the extraordinary — a baby’s first steps, your reaction to the passing of a loved one, or even a marriage,” says YouTube’s product marketing manager, Tim Partridge.
The bits and pieces submitted from around the world will then be collected and built into a feature-length documentary film that will debut at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Anyone whose footage makes it into the film will be credited as a co-director and could also be one of 20 people selected to attend the premier.
This project has enormous potential to create something truly amazing, in my opinion. YouTube is by far the largest resource for sharing and viewing video on the Web, and big name directors Scott and Macdonald should have no problem creating a compelling story from the plethora of submissions they are likely to receive.
Other projects in the past have leveraged the YouTube community to create collaborative media projects. Composer Eric Whitacre assembled a virtual “YouTube Choir” by taking submissions from users singing the various voices of a few of his choral pieces. The success of YouTube’s “Life in a Day” project could be big win for crowdsourcing and the real-time Web, placing it front-and-center in the spotlight and encouraging its further evolution as a platform for multimedia collaboration.