Journaling a life in Pittsburgh on YouTube

Written by Ethan Magoc on .

Hey Pittsburghers, remember when you were 23, remember what Pittsburgh looked like when you were 23? 

Jesse Compton will be able to tell you by linking you to his YouTube channel, where he has been creating and posting a series of videos he calls “Cinema Journals.” They are sequences of video vignettes with gentle music on the background. Call them modern reincarnations of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, these monthly video journals capturing moments of Compton's life in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Compton is from Indiana, Pa., and initially attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a psychology major.


But within the past two years, after purchasing a DSLR camera that also shoots video, he started thinking that psychology wasn’t for him. He quit IUP and came to Pittsburgh with a friend who needed a roommate.

They live near the South Side, but Mr. Compton’s videos feature a much wider view of Pittsburgh. A couple silhouetted against PNC Park became the first public frame of his Cinema Journals.

(The first three uploaded videos, he said, were too embarrassing as initial efforts and are hidden from public view.)

“I just started when I actually moved to Pittsburgh maybe six months ago,” he said. “Mount Washington is probably my favorite so far.”

He gathers about an hour’s worth of footage and edits it to three or five minutes using Sony Vegas software. Mr. Compton plans to continue shooting and uploading, though not as frequently. He eventually wants to pursue film school.


The videos, featuring Mr. Compton’s friends, his niece and his niece’s dog, Diva, are just a hobby for now.


But the central character is often Pittsburgh.

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