Expression in Text vs Expression in Video

I know I am not speaking for myself when I say that I’ve always been more attracted to video and visuals than reading text. It is in the way us digital natives are wired – to want to learn and engage in something visual. When I am confronted with text such as an article or reading a textbook for a class I catch myself skimming through and only reading things that seem important like titles or captions to pictures.

Therefore, I really enjoyed the assignment of Concept in 60 because the visual and audio components added so much more depth to a concept that would have been harder to describe via text.

On the other hand, when it comes to reading and writing the mind has a lot more room for imagination which is sometimes hard for an author who wants to portray a specific idea. Whereas in video there isn’t a lot left for the imagination. For example, if Ashley’s video had not incorporated herself drawing with her explanation of what art meant to her – the viewer would not have known what type of art or expression of art she was particularly immersed in.

Video can express an idea or story with just images and music because that creates tone. Text can also express a certain idea or certain idea with the use of tone but it takes a lot more work for the reader and the writer. An example of these affordances of video is Graham’s video which relies solely on the use of music and filters instead of explaining his concept with audio. The viewer still grasps what Graham is portraying because of the tone he creates with music and his own expressions.

Another example of a video that would not have relayed the same message if it had been solely confined to text is Sam’s video on “How to make an entrance.” The humor within this video would not have been interpreted the same way through description within text because everything from the music to his own facial expressions and body language altogether in the moment came together to create a humorous tone for the viewer.

Sometimes text is easier because it comes to you just as your thoughts are flowing but this may be a constraint when you have a particular message in mind. It can be easy for text to paint a picture with description but if that picture is already given to the viewer there is no room for misinterpretation.


Author: Isabella D

I am a senior at the University of Delaware, studying English, Advertising and French.

3 thoughts on “Expression in Text vs Expression in Video”

  1. Overall I am more comfortable with video more than text as well, you can say so much more. There’s an immediacy with visuals that text doesn’t have. I mean there’s the obvious that over text, an idea had to be interpreted or considered after you read in order to make sense of it. With a visual, you can look at a picture and know immediately what it is trying to get across. I thought Ashley’s project could only be done by video too-it was all about her art, so the play-by-play was all it needed to get her point across.


  2. I agree with your point that when reading, it takes more effort for the reader to understand a concept. With video, the viewer can easily see what is going on and does not have to interpret the video in a certain way. Instead, the ideas are already interpreted for them. Moreover I also feel that with text, although we have to do more to understand what we’re reading, we become more creative because we are forming our own visuals in our head.


  3. Isabella, I think you make an important point in observing that while video can be a richer medium than print, it also often feels more directive. Nice piece! ~Joe


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