Looking for something to watch tonight? Vimeo now provides premium on-demand video for sale and rent, offering a large catalogue of interesting content and providing content providers with another outlet for their wares.
Unlike Netflix and similar services, much of Vimeo’s content is available worldwide for one single price. And being Vimeo the service attracts some very talented filmmakers, and the catalogue is stuffed full of documentary films and exploratory pieces. Not only can you support filmmakers but also smaller streaming services like Vimeo itself.
Let’s take a look at what there is to offer.
How It Works
Vimeo allows content providers to offer their films for DRM-free download or for a limited time as a streaming rental. There are no pre-determined prices, though the average purchase comes in at just under $10 and $4 seems to be the sweet spot for most rentals. Because the filmmakers themselves are the ones authorising their films to be sold through the service, worldwide availability is commonplace.
You’ll need a Vimeo account as well as a payment method (credit card or PayPal) in order to rent from Vimeo. The service is accessible through a web browser, various mobile apps and a range of living room devices including Apple TV and Roku.
If you’ve used Vimeo in the past then you’ll know what to expect from the content. Comprising of mostly documentaries and non-fiction films, the service also offers some feature-length productions and artsy content in the form of animation and experimental films. Think of Vimeo On Demand as “longform premium Vimeo” and you’re half-way there.
Here’s a smattering of films from the many, many on offer.
Downside Up / T’es pa bien là? (for sale $9.00)
If you’ve never seen a European documentary featuring some snow sports prodigy effortlessly dominating a mountain somewhere in the Alps then Downside Up is a good place to start. Follow local skier Vivian Bruchez as he explores Chamonix and its peaks of more than 4000 metres in this half-hour long documentary. Yours to own for only $9.
Terms & Conditions May Apply (for sale $9.99, rent $3.99)
A film for anyone who has ever clicked I Agree without reading the prohibitively long and drawn-out blurb in a software or user licence, Terms & Conditions May Apply is a documentary for the Internet generation. It explores how the companies in control of our data continue to chip away at the foundations of basic privacy and civil liberties, while the rest of us sit idly by and click I Agree.
It’s Such A Beautiful Day (for sale $6.00, rent $2.00)
Master of hand-drawn animation, wielder of a warped mind and an inspiration to many aspiring animators, Don Hertzfeldt’s work has been treated with the respect and admiration it deserves for good reason. In 2012 the master himself seamlessly blended three of his films about a man named Bill (Everything will be OK, I Am So Proud of You and It’s Such a Beautiful Day) into one, and here it is for sale or rent.
Miss Representation (for sale $9.99, rent $3.99)
It’s no longer surprising to most that women are poorly represented by mainstream media, but what is surprising is society’s contentment with this fact. Miss Representation is a call to action in moving picture form. It shuns the mass-market norm of cosmetics over cognitive ability, featuring interviews from activists like Condoleezza Rice and Nancy Pelosi. Viewers in the US can find it here instead.
North of the Sun (for sale $10.00, rent $5.99)
If spending 9 months of cold Norwegian winter in an isolated bay on an island of Norways’ northern coast doesn’t appeal to you then you’ll think Inge Wegge (25) and Jørn Ranum (22) are mad, because that’s just what they did. Except they didn’t stop there, they also lived off (and built housing from) whatever washed up on shore, ate out of date food and they took their surfboards along for the trip.
Sharks in my Viewfinder (for sale $3.99, rent $7.99)
In the duration it takes to watch this film 11,000 sharks will have been killed worldwide. That’s a rate of 300,000 per day, or one hundred million every year. This widespread destruction is largely down to China’s shark fin trade, and it’s a good job there are filmmakers like young Hungarian underwater photographer Daniel Selmeczi making films like this with a view to putting a stop to the slaughter.
Vimeo has split up its entire catalogue of on-demand content by category, so it’s really easy to find what you want (though as already mentioned, there’s a strong bias toward documentary-type films). Just head over to the Vimeo On Demand website and browse away.
Did you enjoy any of these films? Have you rented from Vimeo before? Let us know what you think.