Affordances and Constraints of using video vs. text

There are many differences between the two mediums of video and print. Making the Concept in 60 video really highlighted these affordances and constraints since we have been writing blog posts all semester and have been asked to jump into the new medium for this assignment. For the most part, relaying a concept in video format can be a lot easier since you can use different elements that you can’t in writing. The creator can speak instead of write, which makes their meaning and interpretation of what they are saying clear to the audience, which is done by tone of voice and where they place emphasis. With that being said, the use of audio is a great affordance in using videos. There can be sound effects and music which can bring out a certain mood of the viewer. Visuals are what makes a video really stand out. These can be used so the audience gets the rights images and scenery in their minds, while also bringing the whole story together. Videos tend to get a message across quicker than reading a chuck of text can, and can be more entertaining, both of which can keep the audience engaged in their work a lot longer than reading text does. Some constraints of using video vs text are that is does not leave much room for the viewer’s imagination, as everything is already laid out for the viewer. This does alter the viewer’s perception and experience of the text because it leaves less room for the viewer to really make it their own.

Graham’s video is almost a perfect example of the affordances of video that I just explained. While his video does not have any speaking, it really highlights what video can do to add effects. He uses various combos of different types of music with different filters/visual effects. Even though he is not doing anything in the video, you can still get a certain tone from it based on these effects. In text, you would have to write sentences in order to attempt for everyone to get the same intended vibes that can be effortlessly achieved through video.

Another example of great use of these affordances is Sam’s video about how to make a grand entrance. Trying to effectively turn this video into text and get the same message across is nearly impossible, or at least very difficult. Sam uses every affordance simultaneously throughout his whole video. His tone of voice and visuals form the actors clearly indicate humor, the grand entrances are nicely complimented by the sound effects, and reading the actors faces throughout the video really adds to the experience.

Will’s video is yet another great example. His video starts off with future him talking to present him. He is using a tone of voice that would be difficult to describe accurately and effectively through text, so the use of video really highlights the humor and tone of Will’s piece. The visuals and facial expressions seen that were added by the use of video makes the intended tones a lot more clear.


3 thoughts on “Affordances and Constraints of using video vs. text”

  1. Clarity and quickness seems to be the main benefit behind videos. The voice of the narrator, as well as background noises help to give meaning. I think that your examples for meaning and the ability to more easily establish context in videos were very good.


  2. With the many difference effects and affordances video has, I think it can be overwhelming for creators at times. I myself, found it took me so much more time to make my video creative. Whereas, with writing, once I start, I can’t stop. I don’t need to outline what I’m going to say and do as much as I do with video. I think my creative juices flow more easily with the written word.


  3. Nicole, This piece really set me to thinking—in part because it seems to me that your examples are interestingly different from your theory. You say that video makes things more clear, but what does Graham express so clearly in his video? That’s not a criticism, I love Graham’s piece, but in large part because I’m mot exactly sure what he wants me to take away from it. It seems subtle, like a lot of pieces of writing. I think I’d say the same about Sam’s and Will’s videos—that their humor makes their points more complicated than clear (which, again, I like in both). In any case, thanks for sparking these ruminations! ~Joe


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