A video essay is a piece of video content that, much like a written essay, advances an argument. Video essays take advantage of the structure and language of film to advance their arguments. While the medium has its roots in academia, it has grown dramatically in popularity with the advent of the internet and video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. While most of such videos are intended for entertainment, some argue that they can have an academic purpose as well. In the classroom, video essays have many educational applications including conversation openers, active viewing opportunities, copyright lessons, and assessment opportunities.
Frequently cited examples of video essayists and series include Every Frame a Painting, a series on the grammar of film editing by Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos and Lindsay Ellis, an American media critic, film critic, YouTuber, and author once formerly known as The Nostalgia Chick. Websites like StudioBinder, MUBI,and Fandor also have contributing writers providing their own video essays. 
Some have argued that essays from YouTube personalities, while well produced, can be gussied up opinion pieces and the analysis of said vids can be taken as fact by the viewer thanks to their convincing academic deliveries. 
- Bernstein, Paula. "What is a Video Essay? Creators Grapple with a Definition | Filmmaker Magazine". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
- ""On the Origin of the Video Essay" by John Bresland | Blackbird v9n1 | #gallery". www.blackbird.vcu.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
- "Why and How to Use YouTube Video Essays in Your Classroom". Common Sense Education. 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
- "Why and How to Use YouTube Video Essays in Your Classroom". Common Sense Education. 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
- Kaye, Jeremy (2016-01-17). "5 filmmakers that have mastered the art of the Video Essay". Medium. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
- Liptak, Andrew (2016-08-01). "This filmmaker deep-dives into what makes your favorite cartoons tick". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
- The 17 Best Video Essays of 2017 - Film School Rejects
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- The best video essays of 2017|Sight & Sound|BFI
- Here's a video essay about why video essays are bad|AV Club