TurnHere, a website with short films about places people like to visit, officially launched last week. It’s a good idea that holds up pretty well in practice too. It offers video peeks into a specific neighborhood or way of looking at a city, for instance San Francisco’s Chinatown or pizza in New York City. Most of the shorts run about four minutes and they’re all shot by professional filmmakers (read: people who know how to hold a camera steady and edit in a way that doesn’t induce viewer motion sickness). There are films about a variety of destinations in the U.S. and around the world, but the three main destinations right now are Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. It’s not comprehensive, but that’s not really the point.
Scattered around are sponsored shorts by local merchants. These are shorter, usually about a minute long. Assuming I’d be annoyed by what was essentially an ad, I was going to skip these, but in the interest of research I watched a few. It turns out they were actually somewhat helpful and interesting, because I got to see the insides of places and get a little background that helped me to decide whether or not I’d consider eating or shopping there.