This weekend, RiffTrax presented its fans with a new gift: RiffTrax DIY. Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett have recorded hundreds of sound clips that you can drag and drop to any time index in any video, using their Web-based editing tool. This free product creates the potential for fans to apply the style and wit of Mike, Kevin, and Bill to design MST3K-style parodies of any practically video in existence! Budding artists have already used it to riff on everything from Batman & Robin to Sailor Moon. (Me, I just used it to mock my brother) Any riff made through September 6th is also eligible for fantastic prizes!
The genius of the tool is that it can import any YouTube video. In fact, this is required to use RiffTrax DIY, as stated in their FAQ: "RiffTrax DIY does not store or host any videos. All videos are provided courtesy of other websites. If you wish to Riff your own video, you need to host it on YouTube and come back to RiffTrax DIY with the URL." Apparently, what RiffTrax does is save your custom audio overlays and play them with someone else's video track — just like a real RiffTrax! And completely free of copyright infringement, too. The downside is that the site currently does not check to see if a video has any riffs enabled before saving it to the DIY directory, creating the potential for the site to become cluttered with YouTubers looking for a new distribution channel.
The site is currently in beta. The designers are aware of bugs such as the longer riffs cutting off during preview; also, I hope in later versions, watching your own movies when logged in as yourself will not count toward its number of views. More sound effects are also coming, which is great: even the hundreds currently available don't take long to hear.
Features still to come include the ability to upload your own audio riffs, and to export your final product. I question the value of either of these options. First, anyone who can record and upload their own audio probably has the hardware and software to be doing their own editing, without the need for RiffTrax DIY. Second, YouTube doesn't allow video exportation; why should RiffTrax? Not only that, but I'm such a fan of RiffTrax that I want people to have to go to this site to watch these riffs. The traffic is well-deserved!
So go ahead and get riffing — and reply here with your favorites!