|See also:||meta, metavid, YouTube|
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A video essay is a piece of video content that advances an argument. In fannish terms, this usually means it's a meta essay narrated over clips of the subject matter, sometimes with pauses to watch a scene before it's discussed, if the subject matter is also a video.
Video essays arose out of academic circles and are popular on sites like YouTube and Vimeo, and many video essays aren't fannish in nature, as one could write a video essay about pretty much anything you could write a regular essay about. Even video essays that are fannish in nature may be produced by people who don't consider themselves fans, or who don't consider themselves in fandom. Video essays are often, but not always, critical of their subject matter, often analyzing why something didn't work, why a series failed, or otherwise identifying problems with a canon, and these video essays often make their intent very clear in their titles.
This is a relatively new format because it's only recently that individuals have had access to produce their own video essays from start to finish, including easy access to editing software, a place to easily upload and share them, and the technology to watch the video essays from nearly anywhere.
Supercuts and overlap with other fannish video practices
A supercut is a compilation of clips from one or more source, lacking narration but sometimes overlayed with music, that emphasises a particular aspect of the source material. For example, how many times a work is said in a series or how many times a particular camera angle is used.
There may be some overlap between supercuts, metavids, although the three almost certainly developed independently from each other and metavids appear to always include songs with pointed lyrics, since they're a type of songvid, while supercuts with music seem to usually be instrumental.
For example, the 2009 metavid It Depends on What You Pay contains clips of Dollhouse matched up with a song that uses the word "rape" a lot, so that the song directly comments on the footage. In comparison, the 2012 supercut Breaking Bad // POV uses an instrumental over POV shots from Breaking Bad, presumably so that the focus is completely on the camera work and not on any lyrics. "It Depends On What You Make" and many other metavids predate the popularity of the video essay and grew out of the practice of using songvids to comment on fandom, but the exact relationship between metavids and supercuts/video essays seems to be up for debate.
- The Conflict and Compromise of Uchiha Sasuke by Craftsdwarf (on YouTube)
- Hope and Hypocrisy in Naruto by Mathwiz (In Defense of Talk no Jutsu, The Contradictions of Madara Uchiha, Final Thoughts)
- Bloodborne Is Genius, And Here's Why 
- Anita Sarkeesian's Damsel in Distress (Video essays) series   
- Fallout 3 Is Garbage, And Here's Why