China's funniest home videos
Only a year ago, Zhao Feiyun was an unknown
college student studying in Canada. Today the 22-year-old is an online star,
thanks to her vlog or video-blog, which has attracted more than three million
Cheap digital cameras and free editing software and video-hosting services
have helped create a vlog boom, catapulting bloggers, such as Zhao, to
Zhao's vlog "dodolook" is one of the most frequently searched terms on the
yahoo China website. As a result of her popularity, Zhao was signed to represent
the mop website, a popular interactive website based in China.
The young woman from Guilin, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, made
her first two videos for a contest on a website based in Taiwan Province, hoping
to win the US$5,000 prize. Soon she had accumulated a large fan base, both in
Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.
The warm feedback encouraged Zhao to continue updating her video-blog. Most
of the clips were shot in her girlish bedroom, though the content of the videos
In some videos Zhao lip-syncs, in others she shares her personal hobbies and
interests. In the "Ms Mei" series, dodolook's most viewed video, Zhao plays a
schoolteacher named Ms Mei, and wears different costuming herself in various
hats and accessories.
Compared with the versatile dodolook site, the Back Dormitory Boys, also vlog
icons in China, have a more specific appeal funny lip-sync videos. Wei Wei and
Huang Yixin, both art students at the Guangzhou Arts Institute, made their first
lip-sync videos last summer while searching for ways to relive their boredom in
their school dormitory. In their first video, Wei and Huang sing along to the
Backstreet Boys hit "As Long As You Love Me."
Chinese 'Backstreet Boys'
Wearing matching basketball shirts, the two boys sit next to each other in
front of a web cam. In the background, one of their roommates is seen playing a
computer game. From this video the Back Dormitory Boys made their name, as well
as win over innumerable fans.
White-collar office workers and college students went crazy over the boys'
interpretations of pop hits, which the Back Dormitory Boys uploaded to Google
Video. Even US actor Edward Norton is a fan.
At the Shanghai Film Festival in June, a reporter asked Norton his views on
Chinese film. Surprisingly, Norton replied that he liked the Back Dormitory
In April, Taihe Rye, a Beijing-based media company, signed Wei and Huang to
lip-sing for a stage performance and a television commercial for Pepsi Cola, one
of China's largest advertisers.
Video blogging combines two of the hottest Internet trends: video and
YouTube, the most popular user-generated video site, had more than 16 million
visitors from the United States in July alone and streams more than 100 million
videos a day.
One of the reasons for the medium's popularity is that young people, the
majority of Internet users, find videos to be more expressive than text or
pictures. Moreover, videos can break down geographic and language barriers.
"This is the charm of the video. Its images and voices have downplayed the
barriers among viewers in every corner of the world," said Lin Jiashu, a pod
caster based in Beijing known as "Flypig," who has a weekly podcast website
New technology has facilitated the production of vlogs. "Making videos is so
easy nowadays," Lin said. Cellphones and digital cameras, in addition to video
cameras, can all record video clips. Software like Apple iMovie and Microsoft
Movie Maker help users edit videos. Faster broadband speed allows videos to
stream more quickly and smoothly than before. For most video-bloggers, vlogging
signifies a new way to express themselves and share their experiences and ideas.
But as dodolook said in a television interview last month, it's also "just for
Huang Yixin, right, a former college student
from south China who last year found worldwide web notoriety alongside his
roomate Wei Wei, not in picture, with their low-quality, high-hilarity
lipsynching clips, grimaces at a statue in the likeness of himself as he gets
ready to perform one of their famous numbers during a recording session in
Beijing, China Dec. 12, 2006. Their mock music videos draw millions of Internet
viewers and thousands of fawning reviews by fans who declare them hilarious,
talented, cute, and hot. They posted their first 'performance,' a 4.5 minute
clip of lipsynching to the Backstreet Boys hit 'I Want It That Way,' to their
college intranet in March 2005. It quickly migrated to big sites like YouTube
and Google Video and fast became one of the most watched and highest rated
amateur clips online. [AP]