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. 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BestOn­line­Doc­u­men­taries: As one read­er describes it, “This site is a bit out of date and some of the links are bro­ken, but it’s still a great com­pi­la­tion of online doc­u­men­taries.”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 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: 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. 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. 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 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. 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.
Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.