YouTube Highlights: Every Frame a Painting – Tony Zhou

Every Frame a Painting - Tony Zhou
Image taken from

Over the last year or two I’ve been really heavily impressed, inspired and influenced by YouTube Content Creators so I want to set aside some time on this blog to share my appreciation of them, to let you know why I think they’re great and why they are worth your time watching. Next up, Every Frame a Painting.

Tony Zhou, a freelance filmmaker and editor, started Every Frame a Painting in 2014; a series of video essays dedicated to the analysis of film form and the impact that different editing techniques have on an audience. As a quick note, sometimes YouTube don’t like Tony’s fair use of movie footage for critique or education so they take his videos down. If you want the full experience, check out his Vimeo account.

I first came across his work on YouTube while watching Jackie Chan clips online and stumbled on his video, Jackie Chan – How to Do Action Comedy. I was hooked. What followed was an almighty binge-watch and a firm subscription.

Tony has a great manner in the videos, despite only being heard and not seen. He explains things in a very easy to understand way without being condescending or patronising. His videos have looked at a variety of techniques including camera movement, framing and composition, effectively displaying text messages in film, visual comedy and a lot more.

In fact, his video Edgar Wright – How to Do Visual Comedy really made me question major American comedies and their lack of imagination when it comes to filmmaking. They really are very by-the-numbers in the way they are shot, especially when compared to the likes of Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz.

The Spielberg Oner, video by Tony Zhou
I just know people are going to try and click this screenshot!

Tony’s knowledge of Asian cinema, and the great filmmakers who effectively break convention and set trends, is vast. As well as talking about directors you’ve probably heard of like Spielberg, Fincher, or Scorcese, you also find out about directors such as Satoshi Kon, Akira Kurosawa, and Lynne Ramsay.

Every Frame a Painting doesn’t have a consistent schedule, more you take it when you can, when Tony is free and able to make a video essay. This ensures that there isn’t just content for the sake of content, but is also frustrating for fans demanding more!

Check out all of his video essays, including the ultra-meta video essay on video essays! It’ll be an afternoon extremely well spent and aspiring editors and filmmakers will learn a Hell of a lot about the craft.

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