A Visual Society

March 21, 2010

“The Video Explosion” written by Charles Leyton captures the evolution of news as it quickly advanced in 2008. He sticks a video link from an article from WashingtonPost.com in the first paragraph of his article as an example. It’s a video, which shows blurry footage of a “one time child prodigy” violinist playing to a crowd of people in a train stop during an early morning rush to work. I don’t think it’s a pressing argument for the “The Video Explosion.” The video is blurry and we can’t see clearly what is occurring. However, we can hear what the musician is playing, which is the argument Leyton later makes when describing the article describing the social experiment pointing out the ignorance of the majority of passerby that morning to such talent. Leyton’s article would have been better with a greater example of a video bringing an article to a whole new level in terms of the understanding of readers.

I feel like now, more so than in 2008, it’s not surprising to find a plain video link on news sites and blogs. It’s simply the way of the media world now. Go to any blog and there will be a plain entry with one sentence urging you to click on a video that will take up 4 minutes of your time at most. Nowadays, we expect so much out of our multimedia. If it takes more than 4 seconds to buffer, we give up. There should be clear audio, exemplary photos, streaming video, or else it’s not good enough. This is something Leyton acknowledges that is even more pressing a point two years later.

It’s an expensive mode of expression when you consider the standard equipment needed to produce short news footage, but sometimes it’s the most adequate form of communication.

Take this brilliant mini doc on MediaStorm [through Washingtonpost.com] for an example. Filmmakers have captured the travesties that took place in Rwanda in 1994 in a mere 14-minute movie. Watching personal accounts of the women in their own words has a direct force that you wouldn’t get with print or pictures without the said accounts. Their words hit you in the gut with a heavy dose of rawness–it’s unbelievable that this happened and still allowed to happen. Because these women are recounting tragic moments, they can include hard-hitting details that would seen inappropriate in print. This video seems to account for all the moments the audience would have to pause or need a couple seconds to take in what is said.

It’s video journalism at it’s best. It is effective as it leaves the person watching breathless with a head full of facts and an urge to do something about it.



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