Aspects of Video

I have always been a fan of watching videos to learn more about different concepts, however, I would not consider myself to be an expert in making them. Actually, I would consider myself far from capable when it comes to bringing together audio, video, and pictures. I know I used to make fun music videos with my friends when I was in middle school, but I just cannot seem to remember how to use all of those special effects that I used to get so excited over. My lack of skills with using iMovie and editing nicely made me nervous to dive into this project, but I also knew it would be fun and interesting to take on the assignment using a different approach than usual.

There are so many aspects of a video that just cannot be depicted in written text. Yes, there are some texts that draw emotion out of the readers and may allow you to connect on a personal level, but that is never a guarantee with written text. The nice thing about a video is that the creator can demonstrate all of the emotions and scenes in the exact way they are envisioning it. In my video about what motivates students here at the University of Delaware, I was able to get direct quotes from my peers and have them each narrate a small portion of the video. I think by recording their voices, I was able to get a relatable and personal message across to all students and get them to take a break from their busy lives for just a minute to think more about their own meaning and why they are here at this school.

I really like that there are so many different methods of creating a video, which was demonstrated through the variety of concept videos in the class. I loved how Elyssa’s video served as a timeline to show personal memories from the same day every year, as well as a clip from the present. This was something that simply could not be done in only written text, because showing actual footage was the best way to convey her thoughts. Mackenzie took a different approach by interviewing students to give different opinions that we probably would have never heard if it were not for this project. I did not know much about the job of an RA before watching her video, so I found it to be a unique way of educating the class on the job. Although Amanda’s approach was quite different from these two since she did not include footage of people or any interviews, she definitely related to the audience through explaining her concept. Anyone can look up the meaning of subtweeting, but hearing a person thoroughly explain it in relatable terms makes it so much more meaningful.

As great as video can be for getting a point across, there are also some downfalls that do not necessarily occur in written text. For example, there are always the technical difficulties that may come about in any sort of media. And once you are online viewing the video, it is so easy to find yourself clicking the next link to a related topic and not finishing watching the original video. Overall, video is a great way to express ideas in creative ways that are catered toward your audience.

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.

Written word vs. moving images

When we were told we would be creating a video, I automatically knew it would take more time and thought than just writing down my thoughts. I had to reflect on what is a part of my life that I would like to share with others.

Each classmate’s topic may have been selected because the student came across the idea, felt it was what the assignment required or was an idea they could relate to. By having a connection to the piece, it will most likely be a stronger final product. The personal element was shown in Elyssa and Isabella’s videos because they shared something they enjoy. This can’t always be shown through text because the viewer can’t visualize the emotions that the author is feeling.

With these emotions, comes tone. The tone of a piece can create a humorous video like Will’s or more serious like Jessica’s. Their ideas were both able to be conveyed to the viewer but with images and video the tone couldn’t be interpreted differently by various audiences. If these pieces were only written the message of humor is more easily lost. Seriousness can be conveyed through text but with the help of the images, the point was stronger.

In these pieces, still and moving images were typically accompanied by an audio file. This audio is the written text and description of the topic. These videos and other videos don’t typically have the script also written on the screen. With the combination of words and images, it may be hard to separate the two. If the text was presented on the screen like Peter’s was vs. how many of the others were, it is hard to focus on both elements at one time. The audio may distract from the video or the images become attached to the audio. I find myself associating the images with the audio and not being able to isolate them.

Each video has its affordances and constraints, but finding the right medium to use digitally to portray the desired message is the skill we are trying to acquire.

The Options Video Expressions Bring To The Table

The medium of film and video is an extraordinary one. Since its inception over a century ago it has dazzled and wowed viewers with each and every improvement and advancement made, from color, to sound, to computer generated effects, to motion capture technology. And with each new and exciting step the world of video making makes, new and exciting forms of expression continue to grow and present new opportunity for illustration. Conversely, we are writing the same exact way people have been writing since Charles Dickens and far earlier than him. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is clear that there are only certain ways to express ones self through writing, which is fine. But video and film just opens so many different doors, a number of which are growing by the day.

Many of these forms of expression could be seen in the Concept in 60 videos created for class. One of these ways is emotion. There is a certain flare and excitement that can be seen but not necessarily read. Personally, having been on both the viewing and creative end of it, feel that is evident in my Concept in 60. In my video I show my love and excitement surrounding film and, specifically, the Star Wars films. While I could write how much I love the movies, I instead bring out some of my Star Wars merchandise and paraphernalia, which is a clear and vivid expression of my feelings. If I wrote down all the reasons I love movies and wrote about the collectibles I own it would not be nearly as impactful at showing my emotions as the visual media is.

Splintering off of the idea of emotion is personal connection. There are situations where writing can get an idea across, but the reader on their own with just words does not feel the overall impact intended. I look at a video like Mackenzie’s “What is an RA?” where she reads a written passage explaining this idea while also including pictures of herself and others that coincide with the words being spoken, and I feel that extra charge of personal connectivity. As the old mantra goes, “seeing is believing”, and by seeing what Mackenzie is referring to directly makes the whole message all the more real and impactful. Those same words she spoke could have been posted just as these ones are, and they still would have been great, but the pictures along with it takes the message to the next level.

Another way that video is a helpful medium is in its ability to illustrate abstract concepts. Here, I think of Graham’s video, which is of the same footage being edited and contributed to in different ways to give off notable different feelings or ideas. This concept just flat out could not be done justice through writing, as it is all about the abstract concept of point of view and interpretation. Videos like this allow for indulgence in ways that were never considered before films inception.

All these forms of video making are not to discount writing as a worthy and powerful art form, because it certainly is one. But there is something about the freedom and unique options present in video format that makes it such an expressive and wonderful way to say whatever is on a persons mind.

Choose Your Medium Wisely

We use language and communication to express ideas. When interacting with others, context of the interaction determines the medium and method of communication. When I meet someone for the first time in the flesh, I don’t write out a greeting on a piece of paper and then hand it to the confused and concerned looking recipient. So when I consider whether video or written text is more appropriate, I consider how the affordances and constraints of each impact my ability to communicate effectively.

In some situations, written text is clearly appropriate such as in a formal communication with a business colleague. Video is strictly necessary for television shows: reading the script would not be as effective as watching. So which aspects of these two mediums determine their value?

Time

Written correspondence allows the reader to absorb information by choice: the reader can choose which words to read and the pace to read them. Video forces reader attention more strictly than writing. If I don’t have the option to pause the video, I am forced to take in information at a set pace which I might find too fast or too slow. But even having control of the video cannot be enough. Amanda makes sure that each paper she shows in her video has enough screen time to be read. But video can sometimes convey information to rapidly causing confusion or too slowly, causing boredom. Writing can have this issue as well, but it is easier to slow or hasten our consumption of writing than it is for video.

Expression

Video impacts a greater number of senses as it is both visual and auditory. The nature of the visuals is also different as instead of imagining what a character in a story looks like, I can see them clearly on my screen. If I write the lyrics to a song I will have no idea what the cadence, pronunciation, background music, or feel of the song is. If I watch a music video, I can perfectly understand all of these aspects. Video can clearly establish tone to the audience whereas writing can be more subjective. James’ video simply wouldn’t work in a written format as he uses visual comedy that only video can convey his message effectively to the audience. Sure he could write out a step by step guide, but that wouldn’t have the same emotional impact on the audience as say a shot of him eating Pringles while holding a heap of snacks. Video can create deeper expression through greater sensory communication.

Specificity and Imagination

If I look at a video of the Grand Canyon with someone, I have shared that sight with them. If I read the same novel as someone else, it is more likely that we will have differing conceptions of characters’ appearances or the way events in the book unfolded. Imagination in the reader leads to differing understanding: what the writer meant may not always get to the reader. A ‘how to’ explanation in written form is less specific than a video in that it can be more widely interpreted. I can imagine the physical process of how to get dressed in the morning based on a written explanation. But when I watch Isabella’s video on how she chooses what to wear, I can see the exact process she is describing and my impact as the audience in changing or altering her message through my imagination lessens. Video often offers greater specificity of information while writing leads to deeper imaginative process.

Choosing the medium varies by context. Writing is more useful in some circumstances, while in other cases video is the superior modality. Understanding the technical limitations and affordances of each medium helps us to decide the best way to communicate effectively.

 

 

 

To Use Video, or Not to Use Video?

When working with video, there were a couple things I realized I could do with it that I couldn’t do with written text. The first thing, and the most obvious, is that you can speak and use sound. This helps the viewers understand the tone, mood, and message more clearly than if they were reading the same dialogue as written text. For example, humor can be hard to pick up on when you’re reading, but it something very obvious when used in video (whether from an actor or voiceover). James and Alex both used humor in their videos, and it was easy to pick up on and enjoy. However, if I was reading what they were saying, I’m not sure if I would have had the same reaction. Another thing you can do with video is include pictures/images to support your point. While you can have pictures in text, the effect in a video is different. Showing pictures with a voiceover attached or having them pop up in the corner while an actor is speaking creates a different reaction than putting a picture next to the text in a written work. Visually seeing an image and hearing dialogue helps portray the feelings and emotions the creator of the video wants you to feel or understand. In Jessica’s video, pictures, along with video clips, are used to help viewers understand the power and relevance behind the concept she is speaking about. This covers an area that cannot be achieved in a written work.

While there are a lot of aspects of working with video that can support your point, there are also some that make it more difficult. Personally, I had a hard time conveying my message in video format, especially with a time constraint. I find it a lot easier to write about my thoughts rather than speak about them. I feel that there is a lot more power behind my written words than there is behind my spoken ones. It is also easier to edit when you write something. Every time I messed something up while creating my voiceover, I had to go back and start all over again. Additionally, editing the video drove me crazy. If being a digital native means I’m supposed to be good at this sort of stuff, I am definitely not a digital native. Editing took me a long time to complete, and when I finished I was still not satisfied with it. Video editing is a tough skill to perfect. Since I don’t have that skill, I feel like it took away from my concept because the video was not as great as it could have been.