The Soothing, Digital Rooms of YouTube

This picture: you’re in Hogwarts library. It rains outside, fires all over the room, and sometimes offscreen, scramble on the parchment. You can periodically watch a book drifting through the air or stapleders roaming on their own. Or maybe, you will feel very relaxed, you will stop sleeping.

Welcome to the world of so-called ambient video, a genre of YouTube video that relaxes the audience with animated visuals to make the audience feel immersed in specific locations, such as Jazz Bar in Paris Or a The bog Trilling populated with wildlife.

They are part of a long tradition of audio-visual products and programming designed to create a space that looks a little more relaxed, a little nicer.

Consider a black and white view of one Cracking yule log New York television channel WPIX made its debut on Christmas Eve in 1966 – the granddaddy of many digital yule logs available today – or the rise of white-noise machines that fill a room with the sound of crashing waves, crickering. Or the sound of falling rain.

But recently, this style of video has attracted new fans who want to move beyond the same four walls they’ve been staring at for the better part of a year.

“I have received comments that emphasize how useful these videos were to him,” said 33-year-old ambient producer Melinda Cesico of Budapest, who operates the YouTube channel. Miraculous forest. “I have a metro environment where one person said – from New York, I think – that they were not able to take the metro in a year and it was good for them to listen to this environment because they like to take the metro and They remember it. “

Lindsay Elizabeth, a freelance copywriter from Central Florida, made headlines last year in ambient style as she wanted to relive the experience of working in coffee shops. 31-year-old Ms. Elizabeth remembers the precious conversations she had with strangers, and in small moments she appeared as a witness, as she played on the other side of the window while working at a Starbucks .

In ambient style, he said: “It gives you at least a small piece of what we’re missing.”

Shelly is a close cousin of the ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) video to provoke Pleasant brain sensation Some people experience this when they hear such as hair brushing, nail tapping and soft whispering.

“Harry Potter” has become a major theme in the video ambient genre. Hogwarts settings create an attractive balance to be comfortable and study friendly, and they certainly have transportability.

“This is not something you can do in real life. It’s a fantasy, so I wanted to imagine where people could actually spend time in their favorite novels, “says Claire, a popular video producer who runs a popular YouTube channel ASMR Rooms And many that are Harry Potter themed. (The New York Times has allowed Claire to be identified only by her first name due to past Internet harassment.)

“If you go back to my first video, I literally slapped a fireplace in Hogwarts’ Common Room, and it was what it was,” Claire said.

Since she uploaded that video in 2015, her fantasy-based ambient work has become much more elaborate. She records audio at home and in the wild as much as possible – when she walks out, she captures the sound of pages or bird songs and rain in a blink of an eye – and is building a library of original sounds , So that he does not get a license from a stock catalog.

She hires artists for her videos to draw indoor scenes that she re-animates, and once hires a voice actress with an actress to mimic Emma Watson Hermione read a script as Granger. (Recently she saw people talking about “shifting” in the comments section of her Hogwarts Express video. The word gaining traction on Ticktock means trying to get yourself into a different reality – Often the world of “Harry Potter” According to ID magazine.)

For all types of style, ambient videos are designed for maximum sweetness, with lots of masculine lighting, Snapping flareThe sand Dream rain on the window.

For Sam Ali, a 27-year-old who lives in Ottawa, ambient video is an important tool for managing the level of anxiety that has been “through the roof” since last March. A book blogger, Ms. Ali likes to throw on an atmosphere video while she is settling down to read – a cafe playing soft jazz, perhaps, or the Hufflepuff common room.

“I leave all my thoughts outside my bedroom door, turn on my ASMR room, reach for bed and study, and get completely lost in a different world,” she said.

Helle Brett Klassen, a doctoral student at Aarhus University in Denmark who researches digital media, including ASMR, classifies ambient video as “self-healing media”. (Also included in the category is a playlist of soothing sounds and meditation apps like Headspace and Callum.)

“As soon as you have entered this universe, you don’t need to consider it any more. There are no sudden sounds. Ms. Claussen said that to be a part of it, you don’t have to have a narrative. “You know what’s going to happen, and it’s predictable in a very safe and pleasing way.”

Ambient videos provide a respite from “Redundancy“The Internet, she said – a break from the constant bombardment of advertisements and emails and the self-inflicted burden of dozens of open browser tabs. (Hypermedia as an act of viewing, consuming, or interacting with multiple forms of media at once Can be defined in.) Paradoxically, a person would have to wake up via YouTube’s buffet video just to explore an atmosphere video that would shut the world down.

“I think it’s quite interesting, the same medium that can make you anxious and stressed, the same can bring you back and save you from the same feeling,” Ms. Clausen said.

Budapest’s ambient producer, Ms. Cesico, said she began watching the ambient video in 2013, when she was having “a very bad time mentally” and was struggling with anxiety.

“I saw them many times in the background, and I used them to shut everything around me and get myself into a quiet place, as well as to meditate.”

She made her own Ambience Channel in late 2013, hoping that she would be able to give others the same peace that she had received. His early videos, many of which he removed from his channel, had “more generic” themes such as ocean and forest settings, but as the years passed he pushed himself to create more representative videos of his taste. .

An admirer of Guillermo del Toro and Tim Burton, Ms. Cesico aims to create places that are “slightly better than reality”, where magic and monsters exist in daily life. Her Aesthetic Towards Horror: In December, she wrote a “Halloween Christmas” Video. his subway station The video shows tentacles emanating from within a garbage can.

“Even if they are less popular – because I think they are a little weird, so I feel like fewer people see them or find them too – I would like fewer people to recognize them Find, yes, this is my video, “she said.

Ms. Cicico was working as a medical translator when she first started making videos to create the atmosphere, and as her YouTube work gained traction, she began getting commissions for visual effects and audio mixing gigs Gaya – enough that it eventually became his full-time job. Today, about half of her income comes from her ambient video, she said, which she works on for six hours a day. A video may have to work all week.

Over time, Ms. Cicico’s videos have gained a more professional look, and she has developed tricks to maximize them soothingly. Occasionally, she catches the motion on a real-life green screen – shooting her pets or water droplets on a glass pane – but those elements can move very quickly, in a way soothing scenes. Against whom he tries to make.

Now she wants to work digitally so that she can give her video a slow-motion effect that does not exist in the real world. “Real life is very fast,” he said.

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