Intelligent Video: The Top Cultural & Educational Video Sites

Looking for great cultural and educational video? Then you’ve come to the right place. Below, we have compiled a list of 46 sites that feature intelligent videos. This list was produced with the help of our faithful readers, and it will grow over time. If you find it useful, please share it as widely as you can. And if we’re missing good sites, please list them in the comments below.

ABC Documentaries: This site pulls together some of the best documentaries aired on ABC television in Australia.

Academic Earth: Some call this “the Hulu for education.” The idea is to take academic videos from top-notch universities and let users watch them with a very user-friendly interface. Though a young site, many users are giving it high marks.

Arkive.org: The site gathers together “the very best films and photographs of the world’s species into one centralised digital library, to create a unique audio-visual record of life on Earth.” A great site for naturalists and nature lovers.

Australian Screen Archive: The Australian National Film and Sound Archive provides free and worldwide access to over 1,000 film and television titles – a treasury of down-under video 100 years in the making.

Babelgum: Babelgum’s goal is to act as an international ‘glue’, bringing a huge range of professional and semi-professional content to a global audience – like a modern-day Tower of Babel. They’re also making an effort to get their content to smartphones. They have an iPhone app now, and apps for other phones on the horizon.

BestOnlineDocumentaries: As one reader describes it, “This site is a bit out of date and some of the links are broken, but it’s still a great compilation of online documentaries.” For more documentaries, you should also see Snagfilms mentioned below.

BigIdeas: This show, which comes out of Canada, “offers a variety of thought-provoking topics which range across politics, culture, economics, art history, science…. The program has introduced Ontario viewers to the impressive brainpower of people like Niall Ferguson on American empire, Daniel Libeskind on architecture, Robert Fisk on the Middle East, George Steiner on the demise of literacy, Camille Paglia on aesthetic education, Tariq Ramadan on being a Western Muslim, Noam Chomsky on U.S. politics, Leon Kass on dying, Janice Stein on accountability and governance.”

BigThink: “Offers high quality video interviews and insight from the world’s most influential experts in business, entertainment, education, religion and media.” BigThink was founded partly with the help of Larry Summers, formerly the president of Harvard, now Obama’s right hand economic man.

Bloggingheads.TV: We had several readers highly recommend bloggingheads.tv. Here is how bloggingheads has been described elsewhere: “a political, world events, philosophy, and science video blog discussion site in which the participants take part in an active back and forth conversation via webcam which is then broadcast online to viewers.”

Channel N: Get brain & behavior videos with Sandra Kiume. Part of PsychCentral.

CultureCatch: CultureCatch.com has over 160 half-hour interviews with today’s seminal artists in film, theater, music and literature. Here you’ll find in-depth interviews with smart culture individuals dissecting art, comedy, fashion, film, music, politics, television, theater, even cooking.

Edutopia Video: Offers inspiration and information for what works in education. Edutopia is run by The George Lucas Educational Foundation.

Europa Film Treasures: Thanks to Europa Film Treasures, you can spend hours looking back through an archive of European film. Theses films range from “comedy to science fiction, from westerns to animation, from erotic to ethnological movies.” Highly recommended by our readers.

Explore.org: A non-profit that showcases the good works of non-profits internationally. Lots of great educational topics from Tiananmen Square to Jerusalem to Orcas. The site itself hosts tons of film and photographs.

Folkstreams: A collection of short films and mini-documentaries on American roots culture, including music, folkart and traditional customs.

Fora.TV: A large site that gathers video from live events, lectures, and debates taking place at the world’s top universities, think tanks and conferences.

Forum Network: PBS and NPR have jointly launched the Forum Network where you will find free lectures online. I expect this to be a rich resource as time goes by.

Free Documentaries Online: The name says it all.

Global Oneness Project: Global Oneness produces documentary films and interviews that are exploring our modern day struggles within the ecological, economical, and social systems and how these battles aren’t isolated but part of a interdependent whole. Features over 200 short films and interviews.

Hulu’s News & Information Channel: Within this channel, you’ll find some intelligent programs. It includes documentaries and biographies, science programs, news, and more. In the past, we pulled together a list of high-quality feature films available on Hulu. Catch it here. And know that Hulu unfortunately limits this programming to a US audience — a policy that really needs to change.

Intelligent Channel: A new destination for intelligent conversations & documentaries – with leaders from the worlds of entertainment and education.

Intelligent Life on YouTube: Yours truly created a handy list of the intelligent video collections available on YouTube. Have a look and also see the list of our favorite individual YouTube videos.

Internet Archive – Feature Films: This archive of feature films contains some important classics from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s. We’ve featured ten good ones in a previous post.

Learner.org: Annenberg Media presents an impressive video collection that will appeal to lifelong learners and teachers. It includes a lot of high quality programming on American history, world literature and music, science and much more. Thanks Julie for the tip.

LinkTV: “Global and national news, uncompromising documentaries, diverse cultural programs, connecting you to the world.”

Living Room Candidate: Television ads have changed our political system, and this site maintains more than 300 commercials from every presidential election since 1952.

Long Now Seminars: Stewart Brand’s Long Now Foundation presents monthly talks that provide a counterpoint to today’s “faster/cheaper” mind set and promote “slower/better” thinking. Theses talks given by prominent thinkers are hosted by FORA.TV.

MeaningofLife.TV: Sponsored by Slate, this site brings you “cosmic thinkers” on camera. Here, you’ll find talks by Karen Armstrong, Freeman Dyson, Stephen Pinker and others.

MITWorld: MIT World “hosts lots of inspiring talks by some of the most innovative thinkers and doers in town.” – Tony

NFB.ca: NFB.ca is a web site where you can watch films produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Offers access to 100s of documentaries, animated films and trailers. You can also access this collection via a free iPhone app.

One World TV: A unique public platform for filmmakers, video journalists, NGOs and just about anyone with an interest in video and a concern for a better world.

Open Book TV: Open Book focuses on the writers and other storytellers living and working in a different spot on the planet each week.

PBS Video: Everyone knows that PBS regularly produces intelligent video. You can watch a good number of their original programs here.

PeoplesArchive: “Dedicated to collecting for posterity the stories of the great thinkers, creators, and achievers of our time.”

Pop!Tech Pop!Casts Videos: Kind of like TED, Pop!Tech features “a community of remarkable people, and an ongoing conversation about science, technology and the future of ideas.” Scroll down to the find their videos.

Psychlectures.com: Reader says: “Although this website doesn’t host video, it brings together all sorts of media (including courses) on the topic of psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry, for those interested.”

Ri Channel: Created by the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the site features Ri-produced material, past Christmas Lectures as well as the best science videos from across the web.

RSA: Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) features some terrific intellectual videos, including some great videos set to animation.

Science Network: As the title suggests, lots of good science here. You can start with this popular program, Beyond Belief, which we previously mentioned on this blog.

SnagFilms: SnagFilms “finds the world’s most compelling documentaries, whether from established heavyweights or first-time filmmakers, and makes them available to a wide audience.” You can watch full-length documentary films for free. Currently includes over 550 films. And, as one reader notes, “The best part … is you can give back to the charitable foundations behind each one of the documentaries.”

Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive: This online catalog “provides access to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive. The Archive serves as a comprehensive informational and archival resource worldwide for moving image materials pertaining to the Holocaust and related aspects of World War II. “

Teaching Channel: Teaching Channel is a video showcase — on the Internet and TV — of inspiring and effective teaching practices in America’s schools.

TED Talks: Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world. The talks largely come from the big annual TED conference. And, hands down, this site is the most frequently recommended by our readers. You can find a handy spreadsheet listing every TED video here.

UbuWeb: Since 1996 this site has hosted a vast archive of online avant-garde media. You’ll find a large mp3 sound archive, alongside an extensive film/video collection that features work by such artists as Andy Warhol, Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg and many others.

UCTV: Launched in January 2000, University of California Television (UCTV) is a non-commercial channel featuring 24/7 programming from throughout the University of California, the nation’s premier research university made up of ten campuses, three national labs and affiliated institutions.

UWTV: UWTV is an award-winning television channel brought to you by the University of Washington. Offers original, non-commercial educational programming — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A unique educational resource, UWTV provides its audience with direct access to world-renowned scientists and researchers whose insights and discoveries are changing our world.

VideoActive: Video Active presents a vast collection of television programmes and stills from audiovisual archives across Europe. It also provides articles and comparative analysis on European TV history.

VideoLectures.Net: Based in Eastern Europe, this site provides free access to high quality video lectures presented by distinguished scholars from many fields of science.

YouTube hosts a number of intelligent properties worth giving your time to. Some key properties are:

  • YouTube Edu: Finally, YouTube gave us an easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff. Now you can easily watch videos from hundreds of universities worldwide. Includes a large number of free courses. More info here.
  • YouTube Screening Room: The Screening Room presents high quality, independent films to YouTube users and promises to roll out four new films every two weeks. More info here.
  • @Google Talks: Some of the world’s leading thinkers and political players make a point of speaking at Google. You can catch them all here.
  • Intelligent Video Collections: Over time we have created a long list of the smarter video collections available on YouTube. It now features close to 100 video channels. Have a look and let us know what we’re missing.

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