10 Obscure Youtube Channels
You ever pop through the suggested content on youtube and just think…who watches this stuff?
Well, I do. I watch a lot of it.
More than you would ever expect a 23-year-old dude with some modicum of self-respect to watch.
I can’t help myself. It’s addicting falling through these little rabbit holes of niche. To take glimpses into obscure communities and witness their passion for things I would have never known about without the internet.
The entertainment landscape is now completely customizable. It allows even the most specific of content to find its audience, and in my opinion that’s good news, both for consumers and creators alike.
So these are my top 10 favorite youtube channels you’ve (probably) never heard of. They have less than 1 million subscribers at the point of me writing this and I’ve never talked about any of them before. Hope you enjoy.
10. Dancing Bacons – 564,784 subscribers
Dancing Bacons is what I like to call a silent travel vlogger; someone with a pretty decent camera who will go out and document street food experiences in countries all over the world. No commentary. No music. No nothing.
There are tons of channels like this.
I know because I subscribe to a lot of them: Aden Films if you want the most variety, Soon Films if you’re a weeb, Travel Thirsty if you want to be astonished by view count, etc. etc. They feel like an open window to another culture. The silence of the filmography heightening the sense that you’re truly walking through the streets of Italy.
Anyway, what makes Dancing Bacons different is their commitment to documenting vending machines. Anything that can come out of a box, does. Raw coconuts, fresh salmon, I highly suggest checking out the automatic ramen machine in the random Singapore 7/11. Good stuff.
9. Baumgartner Restoration – 896,935 subscribers
Baumgartner Restoration is the most relaxing channel I subscribe to. Think Bob Ross but with an even higher skill set.
Julian Baumgartner can teach you just the right solvent for animal fat glue, how to properly reconstruct a frame from the 19th century, and the perfect fabric to reseal a canvas that’s older than 99% of the living population. When will any of that information be useful to me? Who knows! But it’s oddly satisfying to watch and the perfect thing to fall asleep to.
8. Summoning Salt – 520,394 subscribers
Video game content has always been a bastion of the internet landscape, but much like I mentioned with my line rider blog, what we have with Summoning Salt is a subset of a subset of video game culture.
In this case, Summoning Salt takes us into the world of Speed Running. A place where fans do their darndest to beat video games as fast as possible: exploiting glitches, tricking computers, and sometimes, being super-duper lucky. Want to know the importance of stage 4-2 in Super Mario Bros for the NES? Want to know what a 3-time Weathertenko Choco Mountain Run looks like in Mario Kart 64? Have you ever been curious about the fastest Super Metroid, Portal, or Sonic the Hedgehog 2 time?
This is the channel for you my dorky friend.
7. Anthill Art – 476,710 subscribers
On this channel, some guy takes molten aluminum, pours it down inactive ant hills, and then cleans everything up so you can check out the complex tunnel structure. Nothing else to it. Nothing else needed.
6. Middle 8 – 190,294 subscribers
I like music. I like it a lot. That being said, I’m fairly uneducated when it comes to the bands I like. I know them more for the art they make than the artists they are. But Middle 8 makes me want to change that. Competent analysis, detailed history, and a solid sense of storytelling, these video essays are on another level.
Some highlights on the channel? I’m glad you asked. Check out this beauty on how the White Stripes song Seven Nation Army became a stadium chant. Or if you were as obsessed with the Artic Monkeys as I was in high school, check out this video documenting their rise to fame in the US.
5. oceanexplorergov – 80,084 subscribers
Want to watch a new aquatic species be discovered in real time?
Yeah. Me too.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency within the US Chamber of Commerce who, in part, researches the ocean through systematic exploration. They also have a pretty kickin’ youtube channel where they live stream deep sea dives of the ocean floor, most of which, has never been seen by human eyes.
Scientists, submarine pilots, and other academics chime in with commentary so even the most Isaac-y people out there can enjoy the thrill of discovery. Streaming times can sometimes feel a bit all over the place because, ya know, they research all over the world… but there are also TONS of highlights to check out.
4. Syrmor – 570,177 subscribers
This next channel needs a bit more context so bear with me.
Virtual Reality is no longer the stuff of crappy 90s movies. With the help of devices like the Oculus Rift anyone with an internet connection and some free space can simulate entire worlds in a flash. The primary use for this technology (as of now) is gaming. Stuff like Beat Saber and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes have entertained tech enthusiasts for years. But no game proves the future merits of VR quite like VR Chat.
So, what’s that?
Well, VR Chat is exactly what it sounds like. A chatroom that you participate in through virtual reality.
It’s Skype, meets AIM, meets Ready Player One.
The game allows you to create everything from the ground up (the world, your avatar, everything) and then share that with other players so they can have fun with your creations. As a result, you can pretty much be and go anywhere you can imagine. All while interacting with people from all over the world in the same room.
Want to have a chat with a Korean man who’s pretending to be a bird? You can do that.
Are you a Brazilian girl looking to pursue a career in the tech field? Here’s a way to network.
Wanna annoy people as a creepy looking Knuckles by speaking with a terrible Ugandan accent? Go for it.
Syrmor will film it all.
In surreal documentary/interview-ish style videos, Syrmor shows that VR Chat is this microcosm of the real world where people make friends, play games, and even attend religious services. Watch an eggplant man talk about Bulgarian Alcoholism, a Dragon Ball Z character will help you get through your divorce, Kermit the Frog opens up about being bullied. It’s all so…human. There’s good and bad and funny.
In a Syrmor video the lines between our world and the virtual become incredibly blurred, and weirdly, it gives me hope.
3. Kento Bento – 598,844 subscribers
Kento Bento describes his content as “Asian-y” but I don’t know if that really describes the true nature of the channel. If anything, Kento Bento showcases just how unique and interesting the countries of Asia are, and dispels commonly held western stereotypes in the process, like things falling under the umbrella of “Asian-y”.
That being said, it’s a little hard to describe exactly what Kento Bento makes. Want to learn about the greatest bank heists in Japan? There’s a video for that. How do people escape from North Korea? Boom. Bideo. The history of McDonald’s eastern expansion? Yeah. Why not?
It’s a range so wild you really can only describe it as Asian-y because that’s all it has in common.
Regardless, I love this channel. Everything that comes from it is informative while still being entertaining and well produced.
2. East Point Pictures – 35,794 subscribers
East Point Pictures made me a sports fan.
Actually, let me backup.
East Point Pictures showed me that competitive Super Smash Bros Melee was an actual sport…and then made me fall in love with it.
The Smash Bros documentary is this perfect storm of 2014 youtube, early 2000s nostalgia, and that oh so familiar flavor of sports magic. I didn’t want to throw in yet another video game adjacent thing on this list but the series is too good to leave out.
All your favorite sport stories are here to be told in a completely new way: the rookie verses the veteran, the tactician verses the wild card, the corporate man verses the love of the game, etc. etc. By the time I finished the series I felt like I really understood why people were so obsessed with a game released over 2 decades ago…and I became a little obsessed myself.
The channel’s DIY approach excellently reflects the subject matter of the Smash scene and you can tell each video was crafted with admiration and respect.
1. Chris and Jack - 92,500 subscribers
By far the funniest sketch channel I’ve ever watched on youtube, Chris and Jack blend their goofball energy with high concepts and blow me away every time. It’s Portlandia if Fred Armisen was an even bigger nerd. I mean, polished, innovative, professional, I can’t believe I get to watch it for free. Their subscriber count is a criminal crime.
In a lot of ways, the channel feels like classic youtube.
When I was familiarizing myself on the platform back in 2011 sketch comedy was THE THING people did (even if they shouldn’t have). Jacksfilms, Corridor Digital, Freddie Wong, NigaHiga, Smosh, Shane Dawson, Rhett and Link, heck, Comedy Central basically owned the site around that period. I can’t tell you how many times I threw Key and Peele in the search bar as an impressionable youth.
Since then, these channels have changed their content in order to make more money off the platform. The simple fact is, polished, innovative, professional, sketch is just not what youtube values these days. They want consistency. Daily uploads and daily viewership. It’s part of the reason late night shows have been doing so well.
But on Chris and Jack the old youtube still lives and it lives better than ever! The jokes are fresh, the chemistry is real, and there’s never a dull moment. PLUS! Chris is a juggler and Jack voiced Sokka on Avatar the Last Airbender! How can you not be watching this right now?
I suggest starting with If Scrooge Slept In, The Moments Between the Montage, or Body Swap. If you find yourself a fan consider donating to their next slate of projects on Kickstarter.
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