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10,000 Staff Picks: our greatest hits from then and now

Ian Durkin
December 28, 2015 by Ian Durkin Staff

In 10 days, precisely 10,000 videos will have donned a Vimeo Staff Pick laurel. With this monumental event in mind, we have been considering which videos constitute the “greatest hits” from our archive of Picks. But to do so, we first had to decide what a hit really means in the Vimeo community. Because honestly, basing it solely upon plays just didn’t feel right. So we traveled way back to November 17, 2005 to the birth of the “Like,” not only on Vimeo but on the Internet as well.

The idea of the Like was simple and in harmony with Vimeo’s ideals: a binary system in which a user could support fellow filmmakers with a little click of good will. With a Like, only the opportunity for encouragement is allowed as there is no option to dislike. Through this, not only did positivity spread throughout the Vimeo community, but users were able to paint a picture of their tastes and personalities — both through films they themselves created and through the films that they truly enjoyed watching.

Since 2005, Likes have continued to be a defining characteristic of Vimeo’s creative and supportive ecosystem. So, when considering what denotes a hit in our eyes, we decided that it had to be true to Vimeo’s core: with that little trip down memory lane in mind, here are the top 10 most liked Vimeo Staff Picks of all time.

“The Mountain” from TSO Photography

There is something at the essence of a time-lapse video that continues to amaze Vimeo creators and viewers. Perhaps it is the god-like ability to compress Earth’s celestial orbit around the sun. Or, the ability to to unlock a view with a camera that the human eye itself cannot expose. Or maybe it is simply the power to capture and share a particularly striking landscape with other parts of the world. Regardless, time-lapse videos have been a mainstay on Vimeo for many years, so it comes as no surprise to see a shining example at the top of our list, with 99,474 likes to date.

Through its exceptional craft in movement, composition, and colors, “The Mountain” is an understandable favorite. The video also stands apart because of its meditative approach, one that provides the viewer space to consider the wonder that our planet has to offer.

“MOVE” from Rick Mereki

The films that grace Staff Picks are often impressive, but the most impactful ones can also galvanize viewers to create something themselves. “MOVE” did just that by taking a concept that was brilliantly fun and simple in design, and then executing it in a visually compelling and near-perfect way. Creator Rick Mereki delights the viewer, sparking a sense of wanderlust within them to travel the world. But beyond that, he inspires them to pack a camera and document their own adventures with a fresh approach.

“The Third & The Seventh” from Alex Roman

Alex Roman shook the animation and cinematography worlds with his piece “The Third & The Seventh.” By tiptoeing the line between realism and surrealism, Roman created an architectural world with unparalleled CG craft and then investigated it from the perspective of a photographer. Through this vantage, his piece was able to resonate with animators, cinematographers, and creators.

Each image that is created highlights a curiosity in shape, composition, and light. As the camera moves with precision through buildings in Roman’s world, new lines come into focus and colors paint a scene that constitute the makings of any Vimeo creator’s dreams. Specifically, 49,000 of them, who have since liked the video.

“Earth” from Michael König

Michael König is a genuine hero for coming up with the idea of stitching together photographs taken from the International Space Station into a single time-lapse piece. The result of his ingenuity is a mesmerizing voyage over our home planet, offering us a small glimpse of the overview effect: a sense of awe and understanding of the interconnection of life itself. We see the night fall and then the day break. Lightning storms travel from region to region. Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis dance along the atmosphere. Suddenly, the world doesn’t seem so large, and we move our mouse to that little heart shaped icon and click it. Because we know we want to visit this film, these images, and that feeling again.

“The Making of Hero” from Miguel Endara

“The Making of Hero” is a personal short documenting a project by artist Miguel Endara, in which he drew a portrait of his dad composed entirely out of 3.2 million ink dots. Yes, you read that right. Miguel literally made over 3 million tiny dots and somehow the result is an amazing image of his father. It’s the type of video that has a fantastic hook, but also some really strong documentation and an awesome final product, which is a big part of why it’s racked up over 41,000 likes since December 2011.

“Darkside of the Lens” from Astray Films

This video is a poetic ode to the often unnoticed, uncelebrated profession of the surf photographer. “Darkside of the Lens” struck a chord within the Vimeo community as an homage to hard work behind the lens and a lifestyle dedicated to passion. On a universal level, the film’s raw and unapologetic message calls us to live life on our own terms, be it in the cold waters of Ireland or anywhere else. This is a rally cry for the underdog, with beautiful cinematography and a score that wells up a sense of pride at wielding a camera. Astray Films blew down the door with this one and in 2012 they took home a slew of festival awards, including Best Action Sports at the Vimeo Festival, and have amassed an impressive 40,000 likes.

“Address is Approximate” from sharp & jenkins

When night falls, a desk toy takes a joy ride and sees the world through the brilliance of stop-motion animation and Google Maps. As the toy car and its passenger travel across the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond, sharp & jenkins nail the perfect intersection of creativity, humor, accessibility, and new technology — all while a toy compatriot clicks the mouse to navigate his journey. The entire piece is animated in camera and is done so with flawless design, lighting, and movement.

Various office lights flick on, mimicking the different onscreen scenarios of tunnels and sunsets. Office plants whiz by the foreground as Google Street View displays a dense forest on the monitor. Fresh approaches and inventive adaptations of existing techniques that delight the Vimeo community, and sharp & jenkins remind us how awesome it is to create joyous pieces of work just for the heck of it.

“The Aurora” from TSO Photography

Like most, I have never seen an Aurora Borealis in person. And yet, I am able to plop down in front of a computer, click play, and understand what it is like to witness such an amazing display of natural light. TSO Photography is the only duplicate creator on this list, and it is a result of their ability to expertly capture and share beautiful moments from their part of world. What a cool, globalized age we live in, when anyone can log into a community and watch and share moments from their own backyard. Be it fantastic arrays of light caused by electrons colliding with Earth’s atmosphere, or the not-so-obvious beauties in a city. The Vimeo community has proven many times over that life is worth sharing and when you do, people will watch and cherish it.

“Wanderers - a short film by Eric Wernquist” from Erik Wernquist

“Wanderers” is a glimpse into the future. This short imagines a time when exploration has gone beyond sending out rovers and Earth itself, and instead envisions a time when humans themselves are stepping out into the unknowns of space and our Solar System. Erik Wernquist  realizes this dream with incredible CG animation, building upon a strong vocabulary of science-fiction imagery and lending his own voice to the genre.

“Splitscreen: A Love Story” from James W Griffiths

The charming short film “Splitscreen: A Love Story” follows two distant lovers’ travels across the world to find one another, and depicts each of their points of view, split in the middle. The similarities between their lives mirror each others’ in every way until they reunite. Not only does it warm the heart, but the fact that it was shot on a cell phone reminds us that you don’t need the most expensive camera or a massive budget to create an effective and compelling film. All you need is imagination and a great idea.

Well, there you have it: the top ten most liked Staff Picks. I hope it was fun to look back on some past favorites and that you were able to discover something new that you may have missed. Keep an eye out for future posts celebrating the 10,000 Staff Pick in the days to come!

22 Comments

PAELLA PRODUCTIONS Plus

It is the best possible award for a video technician or a production company to be chosen in this selected group.
Good luck to all!

Steve Austin

Great list and great job everyone! Maybe consider future lists not simply on total Likes but sort by % of Likes / Plays, to even things out a bit. Time & shares will naturally give older videos much higher Like counts.

Jason Sondhi Alum

That's an interesting idea Steve, thanks for suggesting it. It's fun going through memory lane, would love more excuses to share seminal videos.

NIC PRO

needs more timelapses in top 10

Really Dim Plus

This is a great Guideline to show where Women dont have enough Talent...Thanks Vimeo

Really Dim Plus

Hello Meghan
I don't understand your response...i don't believe that women should be in a different category...i was talking about the all male "greatest hits" / LOVE

doc martin

how sad, you "judges" all chose "clever" camerawork, large-scapes and effects for poetics; the vimeo movies i gasp at, cherish, download and teach creativitiy with are those astute observers of HUMAN-landscape films--those that capture the UNseen. silly techiekids, please check them out: Abita, A Family Portrait, And Then We Were Jumping, Hug, 366 Days, Keep the Change, Oh Willy, On Melancholy, People of Nowhere, The Gap, The Wound, They Crawl Amongst Us, and the ultimately brilliant Warm Snow; these are my recommendations for those who seek insight into the human condition with some fine emotional dpi--for these masterpieces, we thank ye, oh Vimeo!

PAVZO

Great work guys!

I am approaching 20 000 picks in my fashion channel soon. You should pay a visit sometime!
Cheers and have an Amazing New 2016!

PAVZO FASHION CHANNEL

Jason Sondhi Alum

Congrats PAVZO, I'm well-aware, your channel is an inspiration =)

Studio EG Plus

I live in the trip video "staff pick". I always find great inspiration in your selection, it is a great tool for filmmakers. Hope you can enjoy and select also our works vimeo.com/studioeg
Ema

Eric Brozell

They were all wonderful! They truly turned my day around.

Ian Durkin Staff

Glad to hear that, Eric. They regularly do the same for me.

Make it Move Plus

Do you have geographical data on where Staff Picks come from? I live in a small city in the UK of 140,000 people and I'm aware of 7 Staff Picks that stem from directors / production teams that have a link here which seems quite impressive. Am wondering where the highest density of Staff Picks is?

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