In the breakneck pace of digital culture today, our attention span has been whittled down to the length of a two-second GIF. Deciding to click play on a longer video often seems like too much of a commitment. But sometimes, you have to devote your full attention to a video, because it’s just too damned good, whether it’s a visual explanation of a woolly scientific concept, a history of video-game graphics, or plain old eye candy. What follows are the videos we couldn’t take our eyeballs off of in 2014.
David Lynch directs a commercial for Christian Louboutin nail polish
We’re a big fan of David Lynch doing anything, but especially things that make no sense even for the notoriously strange director. Designing women’s yoga pants? Why not? Making an ad for high-fashion polish? But of course. Though it may be no Eraserhead, this commercial is delightfully Lynchian.
A time-lapse video of the construction on Ground Zero since 9/11
A lot has happened at the site of the old World Trade Center since the attacks of 9/11, and EarthCam has had its livestream focused on it nearly the whole time. See how much the historic spot has transformed since 2004 in this amazing time lapse.
Watch a bunch of spice bags explode awesomely
Let’s face it: everyone loves to watch shit explode. This slo-mo video of giant bags of spices exploding is particularly satisfying, as the bags shoot plumes of intense color in all directions to the sounds an original score.
A supercut of Wes Anderson’s symmetry obsession
The Grand Budapest Hotel was one of the best movies of 2014 and it’s sure to scoop up quite a few awards in the coming months. To celebrate, check out this wonderful supercut of the director’s frequent use of symmetry in his detail-obsessed productions.
An animated exploration of the modern masterpieces of architecture
See architectural masterpieces like Le Corbusier’s Ville Savoy, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater rendered in colorful 2-D animations which slowly build themselves as the video progresses.
A series exploring the history of video game graphics
This wonderful five-part series traces the evolution of video-game graphics from their inception to what they have become today. The narration is clear enough for even n00bs to understand, and the many examples may acquaint you with historical games you’ve never heard of.
A game designer who has spent most of his life creating a game no one plays tells his story
Adam Butcher spent 13 years creating a game that was entirely ignored by the gaming community upon its completion. In this hilarious and moving short film, Butcher tells his cautionary tale.
Learn the basics of animation
Two of the first animators for Disney in the 1930s created 12 principles of creating realistic-looking animated movement. This video breaks down the laws, which differ greatly from those that govern the real world.
Why movie posters today all look the same
Cecil Trachenburg of Good Bad Flicks enlightens us to the strategies used to make the repetitive, badly designed movie posters we see today. Highlights include the “one man standing in front of the apocalypse” and “white people almost kissing.”
Co.Design writer creates an epic Taco Bell menu item
Our own Mark Wilson braved the Taco Bell test kitchen to bring his vision of a taco piñata to life. Warning: this will make you hungry.
This floating black orb is following you
A black sphere hovers above the ground, recording and playing back the noises in its surroundings in an installation by Francesco Tacchini. Spoiler alert: the ball was filled with helium. Still, this is one seriously ominous art piece.
Show your kids why design matters
Get ’em while they’re young: this video made in an initiative by the Dublin City Council explains, in terms kids can understand, why design matters. It’s a simple, but beautiful animation.
Learn the history of physics in four minutes
A BBC Science video teaches you everything you forgot (or never learned) from your high school physics class, in adorably quirky animation.
Watch someone sculpt a spider with Oculus Rift
We think of Oculus Rift as a platform to view others’ work, but it may also open up a whole new world for design. This video is an example of that potential, using a program that lets this artist “sculpt” a spider out of a red blob in midair.
Watch this amazing Burning Man time lapse from the safety of your home
If you didn’t go to Burning Man this year, we don’t blame you. Putting up with floods, dust and ultra-rich Silicon Valley CEOs there to disrupt their consciousness doesn’t sound like our idea of a great time either. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to experience the beauty of the art many people take to the festival, as well as the sheer wonder of watching this temporary city build and destroy itself over the course of five days.
Time-lapse video of flowers looking magical
There are few things as amazing as watching a time-lapse video of nature. It makes us realize that plants, landscapes, and bodies of water are as alive as we are. They just move slower. This video in particular makes the natural rhythms of flowers look like something out of a sci-fi film.
24 hours of flight paths over Europe
This video gorgeously visualizes a day of flights across Europe, in the form of shimmering blue lines, like an “enchanted celestial spider web spreading.”
Watch a simple piece of Ikea furniture destroy a new relationship
Buzzfeed decided to test what we’ve always suspected: Ikea ruins lives. Well, at least lives of young lovers who need to build basic furniture. They paired up a couple of 10 years with one that had just begun their relationship to build the same Ikea table, and let us watch what went down.
Adidas and Patagonia work on the next fashion breakthrough
Watch Adidas, Patagonia and others working towards the future of fashion, from Lady Gaga’s 3-D printed dress to clothing made by microbes.
We explore Mattel’s new hardcore nerf guns
Mattel spent the past two years developing Boom Co., a line of blasters with ammo that can stick to pretty much anything. Here’s the proof!