Product Review: Viddsee.
Viddsee is a short film platform with tall aspirations and a comprehensive library of quality films.
Looking for some interesting new short film to review, I happened across Viddsee. It feels like an opportune moment to have discovered this movie streaming platform out of Southeast Asia, as they are expanding into the realm of original content creation in 2018. What started as a labor of love for two filmmakers seems to have reached critical mass, and I’ve been impressed so far with the quality of the offerings Viddsee has put together.
Viddsee was founded in 2013 by Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan, for the purpose of facilitating exposure for fellow short film makers. From their about section:
“We started Viddsee based on our own experience as ﬁlmmakers: trying to get our ﬁlms out to a larger audience in a rich and diverse content Internet ecosystem.
We realised that we were not alone: how can our stories find its own voice among the noise?
As technology is a big part of our DNA, we embarked on this journey to enable the process of discovery for this generation of audiences: for local and regional films to be consumed locally, and to create a gateway for great short films for a global audience.”
The platform has grown to include hundreds of films, primarily from Southeast Asia but also from around the world. Featuring live action, animation and documentary shorts, it spans every conceivable genre of subject matter from horror to comedy, drama to romance. Viddsee takes submissions directly, and has partnered with several juried film festivals including the Chaktomuk Film Festival, the Asian Peace Film Festival, and several film schools such as the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Besides these many venues, in 2018 Viddsee began releasing original content under the Viddsee Studios program.
Viddsee is a web based streaming platform that is available in English, Chinese and Indonesian language options. The content is also available on Ios and Android platforms through a web app that can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple App Store. The platform encourages enrollment, which allows users to curate their own playlists, get recommendations and submit comments to the community. There is no fee for members and I have not come across any content that is gated off for members only.
I looked at both the Android app and the web site, and I would say that I prefer the experience on the web (and not just for the bigger screen.) The app allows downloading of the films so you can enjoy them when out of Wi-Fi, and I would suggest that. I experienced several incidents when pausing the video and coming back to my device a few minutes later, mostly with the app stuck trying to reload where I was in the film. I didn’t come across the same issue on the web site.
Free, baby, free. There’s no cost to sign up and no cost to access Viddsee’s content.
The catalog is where Viddsee really shines. As I said earlier, there is a ton of movies in every possible genre and length, from 2-minute animated shorts to 25-minute live-action family dramas. The site is excellently indexed from top to bottom. The bar at the top has all of the films separated by a comprehensive list of genres and interests, and includes links to the main categories: popular, new, curated collections, and serial content. As you scroll down the homepage, you get the offerings divided in several other, cool ways: film of the day, fan favorites, channels such as the submissions from individual film festivals and film schools, and thematic playlists arranged by the staff.
There is so much compelling content on Viddsee that I quickly overlooked a few technical shortcomings. The site is ambitious yet approachable, making the daunting number of films fun to stumble through. You can find a film on the front page that catches your interest and then link-walk through a dozen other films tangentially related to that one. Since the offerings are short, you’re not out a ton of time and the whole experience is more rewarding than spending a similar amount of your viewing day on YouTube.
If you just wanted a hotbed of short films, Viddsee delivers. But it also offers more: there is an active community where fans and filmmakers come together for AMA’s and other offerings, and being a member gives you access to curating and sharing your own playlists for others. Jian and Tan really found the sweet spot between a professional streaming platform and a fan-driven communal gathering place. I’ve been really impressed with the films on offer, and I look forward to covering their upcoming original content.