Screen vs. Text

I’ve never much been one to make a lot of videos or share much on social media. So doing the Concept in 60 video was a little bit more work than I’m used to for sharing anything on an online medium. That being said, I did have a lot of fun doing it.

One of the things that using video allowed me to do was to be as creative as possible to appeal to as many senses as possible. My voiceover appealed to hearing, my video to sight, and perhaps the sense of touch as you pushed play and awaited the great cinematic experience of “How to Tip your Server Properly.” These are some things that cannot be done through writing text. We each read in our own  voice, so it’s harder as writer to convey tones, emotions, etc. as easily as it they are conveyed through video.

In “How to Properly Watch a Movie,” you could tell that he had a lot of fun making the 60 second video, and that made the video more enjoyable for me to watch. So the conveying of emotion was made easier in a short 60 second video, than it would have been if he’d simply written out his thoughts on how to watch a movie at home. I can’t say I would have laughed as much as I did had I read that on a piece of paper.

Amanda’s video took a more complex concept (subtweeting) and made it simpler through her explanation with her voice, and her use of time-lapsing so that key words could be emphasized with the creativeness of writing them on paper, yet keeping them on screen to be used like stills in a movie. This helped contribute to the creativeness of the concept video, and helped to simplify the complex phenomenon of subtweeting.

“How to get dressed in the morning” also utilized time-lapsing to speed up a process that can take about 10 or 15 minutes. This emphasizes another affordance of video that we cannot get in writing – the essence of time. Reading written text takes as long as the reader needs to, so it can take a lot longer than the writer might have expected. However, with a video, the time stamp is how long the video will take (save for any pausing or rewinding any comical parts of the video), and this affordance allows us to budget our time of how we take in these pieces that we can’t really do with written text. Maybe if you give yourself 15 minutes, and you skim, but then you’re not really taking in what you need to get from reading!

Overall, video affords us certain things that written text can’t and I think our Concept in 60 videos really emphasized a few key things as I wrote about. Great job on the videos everyone!

Behind the Screen or Camera?

Out of all of our assignments I have never been worried or nervous about one but when we received the video assignment, my anxiety latched on tight until it was finished. We all use our phones and other devices every day for almost everything we do, and it’s always with us when we’re not actually on it. I hardly ever take videos unless it’s on Snapchat or at a concert, so I was especially nervous when I found out we had to edit it. Long story short, it ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be and I picked up on some differences between video and text.

When writing in text it is difficult to get your exact emphasis, feelings, and tone into what you’re writing because there’s always the possibility someone isn’t going to read it in the same way you intended. With video, you can change your voice, use mannerisms, facial expressions, etc. to more specifically portray what you mean/want to say. However, along with using your face I can see the possibility of some people limiting themselves to what they post. I know when trying to think of an idea one of the questions in my head was, “what can I do that won’t look stupid or make me look stupid?” When you’re writing behind a screen I think it can be a little easier to express yourself and feelings in the sense that people aren’t actually watching your face.

But then there were the videos that people just did a voice over and didn’t have their face in it at all, which I honestly never thought about but was a good idea. For these videos instead of just writing about a point, you can share pictures, videos, etc. from other people so you’re not just saying but showing the point you are trying to make.  The combination of music, voice, and visuals forces you to view the information differently than when reading words inside your head. Overall, I think it depends on the topic and what the author is comfortable with doing in order to get the best post because they both have positive and negative qualities.

The Endless Possibilities of Video

I was very excited to express my thoughts on a concept through video. My original thought about using video was that it would allow me to express my ideas more clearly. I also thought it would be easier for me to get across what I was trying to convey. For the most part, those predictions were true. However, with only having 60 seconds to get my point across, I found it slightly harder for me to explain what I wanted to say. When I’m writing responses, I have more flexibility with my words, and I feel like I can describe more. In the video, I had to extremely condense what I wanted to say in order to fit the allotted time. I had to learn how to exchange the words I would usually want to say with photos and video.

Working with video shed light on many different ways to express an idea and get a point across. For example, James’ video, “How to Properly Watch a Movie at Home” and in Nicole’s video, “Procrastination” both take advantage of acting and voiceover to convey a certain message and tone for their video. Both videos were more humorous, and without the voiceover and acting, I don’t think that would have come across. Writing a response makes it harder to incorporate humor, but it was much more detectable in their videos.

Another way I think video can be easier to use than writing was exemplified in Amanda’s video about sub-tweeting. She combined writing on paper with a voiceover to further explain her ideas. I think those two things did a really good job at supplementing each other. The words that Amanda wrote focused the viewer on a specific idea while the voiceover further explained her thinking. I think videos do a good job at filling the “between the lines” space that is often left open to interpretation in writing. In many of the videos I noticed that the ideas could easily be expressed in writing as well, but video added an extra layer of explanation that is impossible to achieve with just the written word.

After creating a 60-second video, I definitely have a lot more appreciation for the film majors out there. My brother happens to be a film major and I always thought that he had it so easy, but in reality, writing, shooting, and editing a video is a huge process. People who make films have to stylistically decide what ideas they want to be vocalized and what they want to be supplemented by images and video. Even in my short video, a lot of thought went into the visuals and in what ways I wanted them to speak for themselves. I then had to decide what I should say in words and when I should be saying them. Overall, this project opened my eyes to the effort that goes into creating an impact through video, and the possibilities of working with video.

Screens or Pages

I have always cringed any time a teacher has asked for a video project in school. Taking videos of the things around me is entirely different from having to edit a video into a legitimate concept to present to an audience and it’s something that has always confused and terrified me. That being said, there are definitely some aspects about creating a film that made the goal of relaying my concept much easier than if I had been asked to simply write about it as video offers certain affordances that writing simply does not.

As anyone might guess, the ability to use visual and audio stimuli in videos can greatly enhance the quality of presenting a concept as well as the reception from the audience. When writing out a paper the only images you can use are through the descriptive language you put on the page, requiring the reader to imagine the concept being presented in front of them. This leaves room for all different kinds of interpretation, while when it comes to video, you can very clearly showcase and explain in your own words what you want to get across to the audience. This can be seen in several of the “How To” video’s such as with Alexandra’s “How to build a Cootie Catcher” or Jake and Sara’s “How to tip your waitress”. The simple style of going step by step through the process of the specific “How To” with a voice over explanation in the background really aids in the audience learning how to do what it is they are showing us to do.

There’s also a kind of connection between the creator of the film and the audience in these videos that is less prominent when reading their words on a page. In the videos by Ellie and Ashley, we never actually see the author but we can still hear their voice overlapping the images in front of us, and even though we cannot see them, there is still a part of them present in the film speaking directly to us. As a reader, we can only see the words the writer has left for us and try to decipher their own voice or intonations based off of what we read.

However, for video, there is this sense that it is not universally preferred as a medium for showcasing concepts and many people find it difficult to actually present their ideas this way. I noticed for this project that, despite how it takes less time to absorb the material out of watching a video than taking the time and energy to read a long article on the same material, it took me much longer to create the presentation for it. Certainly all of the Concept in 60 videos were well done and showcased their ideas nicely, I couldn’t help but hear how many people, myself included, had difficulty with the editing process, noticing how much simpler it would have been to just write it out instead of working with the online tools. Despite the fluidity that comes with a film presentation, there is twice the amount of effort behind even a 60 second video as there is with a written piece which can be daunting for future potential media users.

I also believe that when it comes to video, it is much easier to get distracted by other things. From a generation who tend to multitask and give only small bits of attention to any given piece, it’s easy to feel that because the text of the material is being verbally presented to us that there is no need to spend our whole attention on it. For example, when it comes to reading a book, most people will immerse themselves entirely to the contents, to be able to absorb all of the material it can require all of your attention. When it comes to watching videos online, some people may have several tabs open at once, merely listening to the audio of a video while scrolling through various other online mediums, thus missing any visual aids that accompany the concept and losing some of the meaning in it.

Overall, I think both methods of conveying ideas are entirely effective in their own ways, sometimes it may be more efficient to rely on visual and audio aids to get a point across, while other times it may be better to invite different interpretations to an idea.

I’m camera shy, and having the responsibility of entertaining someone with my voice and facial expressions leaves me flustered. So an assignment designed around video production was initially nerve racking for a few reasons. Of those reasons, I surmised that at the end of the day, I had no distinct talent to make a video or being the leading actor.

Then I remembered my videos from middle school, recalling how courageous a young Will was, stepping into the spotlight and sharing my thoughts on myriad of topics. For a few minutes, I went back to those videos and watched in agony as I stumbled my way through disjointed thoughts. At the the end of it all, I did come away with something about video production that I had forgotten about, something I tried to utilize in my video for this assignment. Whether the topic of discussion is serious or menial, video’s allow the creator to add a more observable flavor.

What I mean by that is this: In videos creation, there is very little defined for the user in terms of a checklist. A visual project, unlike a written document, rarely, if ever, follows a code of formatting. Of course the editing process weeds out the lesser of content, but for the most part, you are the only critic that’s needed to be kept in mind. Whether or not the viewer of your video appreciates your creative touch is unimportant. They don’t have a final say in the final product.

In writing, I often find that I have to cater to an unknown audience, as if my grammar and syntax have to be constantly monitored for error, as if my original thoughts aren’t quite good enough yet. Unlike the editing process for a video, which ends after the first go around (at least for the projects we completed), writing goes through multiple critiques, often spurred on by the writer them self. It may be the writing is more closely intertwined with the inner ruminations of the mind, more subservient to persistent critical thinking. Or rather, because a piece of writing exists only because of the thoughts we have, we may be more aware of the possible fallacies we have when we think.

That’s not to say that video production does not go through the same critical process. However, in my limited experience with the medium, I found it easier to scoff away a detail that didn’t hold a certain amount of continuity . It added flavor to my piece, something the audience could laugh at, or at the very least feel awkward enough after watching to laugh out of sheer pity.

Intention in both writing and video production are similar – they both serve the purpose of creating a piece of media for an audience’s entertainment, though I do find that writing and video differ in the kind of entertainment offered, generally speaking. On a whole, I feel as though video production is less academic than a written piece. In this project specifically, we only had a minute to spare, so of course we weren’t going to delve into a subject of grander purpose. But in my habitual watching of YouTube videos, I have consistently aligned my viewing tendencies with the click bait-y stuff the internet has to offer.

When I read online publications, my intention is to find something informative, something saturated in persuasive language and lyrical descriptions, usually of the day’s news or a topic of enhanced interest to me.

All of these thoughts are mine own, and just because I feel that writing has a greater maturity than video doesn’t mean I’m correct. In many cases I do find videos that stimulate my mind, ones that offer a dive into the subject matter with creative twists and beautiful visuals.

But the intention of a written piece is more aligned with this level of maturity and perspective.  More often than not, I find more delight in handing in a written assignment because I know how and why every word was chose, who careful I was in calculating my flow and formatting. I didn’t get the same rush from making the video.

Nevertheless, both the video project and the weekly writing we do are important to complete. Both will only benefit my creative processes and logical, systems-style thinking. In a way, I appreciate them both the same.

Video vs. Text

I don’t know about anyone else, but when we were first assigned to the assignment for Concept in 60, I was freaking out. I use my phone and computer all the time, but I had no idea how to create a video from scratch. I started out by brainstorming possible concepts to explore and what exactly I would need to film. It was exhausting. My creative juices were definitely dry. After filming and editing the video for 2 hours, it amazed me how much work I had put into only 60 seconds. Which lead me to ask to myself whether just writing about the concept would have been easier…

So what are the accordances and limitations of text and video?

Well for one, time. I’m not just talking about the time it takes you to write something compared to videoing it, I’m talking about how much context you can introduce with each medium. If you are planning to make a video, you have to make it long enough to get the information you want said, but short enough that it doesn’t bore your audience. With our specific assignment of only 60 seconds, I found it incredibly difficult to say everything I wanted to say. With written text, there is really no limit to how long your piece could be. In today’s digital age, many of us can express how we feel in only 140 characters. In comparison, your audience would still be invested in the piece even if it was longer than 2-3 pages.

Reading can sometimes be straining to the brain. It requires an “inner voice” that can distract us from the actual information. With video, the experience is more passive. It takes a lot less energy and effort on behalf of the person watching. In Ashley’s video of Art, I didn’t have to do any thinking. All I had to do was listen to her voice and I received everything she was saying. And her beautiful drawing time-lapse made me feel relaxed and at ease, allowing me to fully immerse what she was saying in the background.

Words and written text greatly allow the writer to describe in detail the specifics of a place, person, or feeling. The reader has the ability to imagine these things without the use of picture or sound. Text gives the reader more freedom to interpret what an author writes. However, in retrospect, the tone of an author’s text can sometimes be misconstrued. With video, this issue does not happen. Jame’s video, How to Properly Watch a Movie at Home,  could easily be written out as a “how to” article. However, the steps he describes would be taken in a more serious tone if they were just written. The video allows the audience to observe the humorous actions and body language of James, which lead them to receive the comedic tone of the piece.

Lastly, video gives the author more creative opportunities to express themselves. Through music, pictures, and video the writer can use multiple effects to engage the audience. In Will’s video, without the use of music, filters, and video I’m not quite sure how his story would be translated. It would be very difficult to describe his emotions and actions through text. Through these multiple effects, video content allows you to show viewers more dimensions of the same content. An example of this is shown in Mackenzie’s video, What is an Ra?. Not only did she vocally describe her role as an RA, but she used pictures and an interview with a student to explain who she is and what she does. Because of her pictures, viewers were more likely to connect with her personally and the topic she discussed. With only written text, readers may have a harder time relating to her.

Today, video is the fastest form of communicating topics and issues with people. They can be very useful compared to written text. However, I think the more effective use of each of these mediums depends on the situation and the environment they are being used in.

 

 

MP4 vs .docx

I work with video a lot. Like, a lot a lot. And video is especially good for two things: it’s raw, and it’s guided. When you watch film (sorry animation) you’re watching something that actually happened and listening to words that we actually said. You don’t need to use your own internal monologue and reading voice because someone else is doing it for you. This raw-ness helps convey something to the audience the written words cannot. (Note: I’m not talking about unrehearsed video. I’m comparing written text to acted out film). There’s an extra step that goes from hearing someone speak, to looking at the ” mark on a page and thinking “oh, ok, that means the following words are being said out-loud by the indicated character”. Another example in an essay rather than fiction would be quoting another work. On the page a quote from another text is just words in a quote. But on video, you can actually use another video, like Peter did by showing Filthy Frank. The only text equivalent would be cutting a page out of a book and taping it on your essay, I guess.

The guided-ness of video works both in the realm of humor, and subtlety. Take for example Sam’s video about making an entrance. It used timing as part of its humor. Timing is a key aspect to building up a punchline with anticipation and breaking the audience’s expectations. Humor like this cannot be done in written form because it relies on an actor or comedian’s performance. Reading is a personal experience where you read at your own pace, where as film is guided, and things happen exactly when the director wants them to.

I’m going to use James’ video to make a more abstract point about subtlety. I could go in depth on this but I’ll try to keep it simple: let’s say that in order for a story to make sense, let’s say for a twist ending, the audience has to know that there’s a gun in the house. But they can’t stop and think about the gun because then they might figure out the twist before it happens. In a film, the scene can be constructed so that two characters are talking and you happen to see a gun on the table. The viewer thinks nothing of it and are genuinely impressed by the twist in the end. A written piece can’t do this as well as film. It would have to stop the action or the dialogue in order to point out to the reader that there is a gun, which would stick out like a sore thumb and make the reader suspicious that it will be important later. James’ video utilizes Star Wars in this way. The video is about watching movies, and nothing in the narration mentions Star Wars, but the video shows James wearing a Jedi robe, holding a lightsaber, putting in a Star Wars Bluray, and so on. This conveys to us, without flat out telling us, that James has really good tastes in movies and that I’m jealous of his box set of the complete Star Wars saga on blueray. It also forms a running gag that could not be done in text without being interrupting.

So what can video do that text can’t? It can guide the audience along a set path, unlike text, which is dependent on the reader. It can show things actually happening instead of the audience having to translate words on a page to sounds or visuals in their head. It can do multiple things at once using visuals and sound, where as text can literally do things only one word at a time. But text has its advantages too. It’s a lot easier to write something than to film something. There is no bad acting when you’re reading dialogue in your head, and if you blink you wont’ miss something important. Things in videos can seem out of place, like the sound clashing with the visuals in a messy way that takes you out of the experiance. In text this can only really be done with typos, like when I misplaced the ‘ in “won’t” 3 lines up or spelt “experience” wrong in the last sentence, or said spelt instead of spelled in this one. Beyond that, there are no bad special effects or too-quiet dialogue in text. In short: video can do more but text is easier and harder to mess up.