I can’t begin to count how many minutes of my life I’ve lost to the videos below, and now, nice person that I am, I’m unloading them onto you. But you’ll thank me! Because these aren’t your run-of-the-mill, brain-deadening viral uploads from some dude in Romania who’s probably torturing his cat. They are the most intriguing, inspiring, impeccably designed videos we could find, covering everything from the history of typography to the discovery of a world-changing supermaterial. Here, the best videos of 2013:
A newly released interview with Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs exhibits rare modesty in this clip, taken in 1994 and released to the public for the first time in June.
The most terrifying computer models you’ve ever seen
In Parametric Expression, by artist Mike Pelletier, nude, hairless computer models repeat common facial expressions over and over again. Seems harmless enough. SO WHY DO I FEEL LIKE THEY’RE ABOUT TO RIP OFF MY HEAD.
Scientists accidentally discover a world-changing supermaterial
UCLA scientists Ric Kaner and Maher El-Kady were looking for a more efficient way to manufacture graphene, when, by accident, they discovered another supermaterial: a graphene supercapacitor that charges more quickly and more powerfully than conventional batteries. The scientists are profiled here.
The history of typography
In The History of Typography, Ben Barrett-Forrest traces the evolution of typography through stop-motion animation. Read about how he did it.
Where do packages go?
A hidden camera captures a package’s journey from the post office to its final destination in this clever documentary, by Ruben van der Vleuten.
Danielle: how a girl ages into an old woman
Anthony Cerniello, a commercial video editor in Los Angeles, shows how a young girl might age into an old woman, by blending together photographs of her and her extended family. Read more about the incredible process here.
A tour of the world’s tallest slum
The news site Vocativ gets a rare look inside La Torre de David, an unfinished, 45-story slum in Caracas, Venezuela.
A music video for type lovers
Cauboyz, a pair of French designers, made a flashing wall of type for the music video “Dream,” by the French band Husbands. Dreamy!
A hypnotic video of the beach
This is a five-minute video of a beach, and you’ll watch the whole thing. That’s because Los Angeles artist Xárene Eskandar slices up different moments in time, then pastes them together into a single frame, “allowing viewers to perceive multiple times within a single viewpoint,” she says.
How Steve Sasson invented the digital camera
Photographer David Friedman interviews Steven Sasson, inventor of the digital camera, in Kodak’s Rochester, New York, headquarters, and gets a peek at Sasson’s first working camera.
A 1,000 mph train ride through Tokyo
Strap a time-lapse camera to the front of an automated Yurikamome train, and you get this. Amazing.
Who invented the red party cup?
The answer is more complex than you’d think, as our own John Pavlus finds out in the great short documentary I, Party Cup.
Why music makes you happy
Why are catchy songs so addictive? This excellent animation by AsapScience explains.
Apple on its design process
Apple played a poetic video illustrating the thought process behind its product development at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Leave it to Apple to make something as boring as a design statement look gorgeous.
A tour of a handmade amusement park
In Ai Pioppi, filmmakers Coleman Guyon and Luiz Romero visit an amusement park in the woods of northern Italy, hand-built by an eccentric 76-year-old inventor named Bruno.
A kinetic sculpture balanced atop a single feather
Maedir Eugster, the so-called “balance master” at Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque, builds a giant kinetic sculpture on top of a feather. What’s more incredible: that or his harem pants?
A puppet horror film
Operator, by filmmaker Sam Barnett, tells the story of a guy who gets attacked by a biomechanical parasite. It’s hands-down one of the creepiest horror films we saw in 2013, and it was made with puppets! Read more about it here.
How we measure the universe
How do astronomers measure the distance between Earth and the stars? The Royal Observatory Greenwich created this fun, accessible animation to explain.
How Google reveals our deepest fears
Life Through Google’s Eyes, a short film by Marius Budin, has a simple conceit: to record what autofills when you punch “I’m [X] and” into Google. The results are downright terrifying.
Water frozen in mid-air
In a mind-bending experiment, YouTube sensation Brusspup makes water freeze in mid-air. Read about how he did it.
A peek at Massimo Vignelli’s design process
Pentagram’s Michael Bierut made this terrific video, documenting how graphic design god Massimo Vignelli creates a book, page by page.
When robots make art
What happens when you ask a robot to help you write a film? So. Much. Comedy.
What did we miss? Sound off in the comments.