The Art of Tribute Montage

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The great thing about the rise of streaming services is that media is available to anyone at anytime. Media content can be personalised for anyone, meaning that everyone has effectively split off into their own little bubbles to consume their media. You ever scroll through Netflix and see hundreds upon hundreds of shows that you’ve never watched nor are willing to watch, but you click on them and- oh, they have three seasons? Wow, who is watching this stuff?

People. People out there who live in their respective little bubbles watch this little show that you’ve never heard of, nor are willing to watch.

Some may complain about how this gradual separation of media consumption has lead to the supposed death of the monoculture, such as Wisecrack in their video on Inglorious Basterds. I personally don’t believe that the internet age has lead to the destruction of this monoculture, in fact I believe that there is no such thing as a monoculture. But that’s a subject for another article.

With this content being readily available, alongside the easy access to non linear editing systems, art and the production of art has been passed both to the artist and the consumer. The artist may produce the initial content, such as the film or TV series. But the consumer will regurgitate that material in the form of memes or gifs, all of which can be approved by other consumers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.

The internet has allowed for the consumer to become both artist and critic, with an active community that will debate or elevate discussion on the topic. Most consumers will view or share this consumer content, fewer would actually create it- because it’s quite a lot of effort and honestly? People are doing this for free, in their spare time, just so they can share some content with the internet.

It’s a strange phenomenon of consumerism, but what I find most interesting is the rise of video editors who produce a new brand of content; the Tribute Montage.

There are two different types of consumer content I’ve noticed in regards to montage, there is comedic montage and tribute montage. Comedic montage takes the initial content, such as a scene from a film or TV series, and compiles them together with other scenes that share a comedic similarity with one another.

A simple example being “funniest moments in Game of Thrones” but a more complex example would be “Tyrion and Jaime being a Brotherly Duo“. Although they are both technically montages, the latter is deemed more complicated. It’s subject matter is more precise, it’s theme is more well categorised and overall it is better produced.

The comedic montage, as its name implies, is consumer content designed with the intent to make other consumers laugh. Whether it be with an appreciative montage of funny scenes such as “Steve Rogers being an Old Man” to satirical content such as “Game of Thrones Season 8- But it’s Devoid of Logic“. Like I’ve said before, the consumer has become both artist and critic.

Tribute montage on the other hand is a very different art form. It’s very serious, delves into melancholy and intimate character moments. This kind of content will take key moments from a story, such as dialogue, important scenes- both character defining and aesthetically pleasing. This montage will act as a tribute for the character or characters. It will follow some kind of narrative, with information being overlaid alongside some music to help with the pacing.

This content acts as a show of appreciation for the initial content, hence why it’s referred to as a tribute montage. The best montages have a select time frame, such as three or four minutes. It touches upon character defining moments, never goes off topic and ensures that the pacing is steady. A tribute is only as good as the editor. Most tributes are too long, too disorderly, has bad sound mixing, poor video quality- the list goes on. But those that are good and well produced are truly breathtaking.

These video editors are in their own ways true artists. With the Garo Studios producing beautiful content, such as his recent tribute to the show Lucifer. Or with Slyfer2812, with his work on Marvel. Their content goes to show the absolute power of editing in how it effects a viewers emotions. The only question I have is whether or not the power of these tributes lie in the context of the initial content, that the viewers are already aware of, or just the quality of the finished tribute video. Would someone who has never seen an X-Men movie be moved by a Logan tribute? That remains to be seen.

We live in an age where we can be in constant contact with our media. We consume it and can choose to discuss it with others. The production of content in the form of video essays, memes, posts on social media is an active participation in the market of this media. Even if the fans hate a show, the fact that they’re even actively discussing it means that it is successful. In the age of the internet, indifference is the only meaningful criticism.

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