Found content

January 16th, 2008

Sometimes content just happens. Found content is something you can go out and find and turn into useable media without much modification. Web cams are a form of found content. You can sit at home and look at theme parks, weather conditions, and hotspots and ask yourself why you’re being such a shut in.

Storm videos and police chase videos are based on content that happened to be captured at the moment. Those things are generally kind of hard to plan for unless you’re a criminal or own a weather machine.

A very popular form of found content among small children is video of animals just running around doing animal stuff without any narration. Little boys can watch videos of construction equipment over and over again. Slightly older boys will watch street-racing videos as well.

To create media based around found content, look around at what’s available and consider who would want to watch it. Videos of aquariums were popular for a while as people discovered they looked cool on big screen televisions. Not exactly “found”, but Finding Nemo including a loop of a computer generated undersea environments as an extra on their DVD.

Generally, found content is created by putting your camera in one place and letting it run. Or you find some event and follow it. Events could be either natural or man-made. The found content used in children’s videos can come from petting zoos or construction sites. Besides animals and tractors, there might be dozens of other forms of found content that small children would find captivating.

The 9/11 Commission Report reached best-seller status even though the company printing it didn’t have a copyright on it. The website The Smoking Gun has a created a brand by putting cout documents of sensational cases online.

Here are some questions to ask that might lead to a source of found content:

What are different people interested in?
What events occur all the time that people want to watch?

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