Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

“Online video is not TV”

Posted in Broadcasting and Media, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on January 26, 2009

OK for many of you reading the title of this post the response will be ‘duh’.  And I think I’d already clocked there’s a big difference between TV video content and online content.

But until I watched a neat video by Visual Editor Robb Montgomery it had never been spelt out to me.

It’s a great video partly because it’s part-travelogue of one of my favourite cities, Paris, but mostly because Robb spells four narratives for online video – essentially four rules for Video Journalism:

01. the visual narrative: “the sequence of shots which tell a story

02. the audio narrative: “interviews, natural sound, scripted pieces

03. the graphics narrative: “titles and motion graphics

04. the social narrative: “the ability to comment, to rank, to group, to friend to embed, all the interactive part of video that makes the digial video experience so compelling.

Now the first three are hallmarks of television. When we learn the grammar of television, we learn to shoot sequences, to build sound and to add graphics.

But the fourth narrative, is really a fourth dimension which gives online video an awesome power – despite the “amateur” criticism so often labelled at it.  In fact Robb’s video is titled “audio is the most important multimedia to get right” Agreed: crappy sound is what gives much VJing it’s amateur title these days.

But Robb is  right: online video is not TV. It’s so much more than TV.As soon as we all realise that the faster it’s potential can be realised.

2 Responses

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  1. Robb Montgomery said, on January 27, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Thanks for the write up Adam.

    Yeah, that film is a multi-part message targeted for print editors – my brethren.

    A. They often don’t fully understand film production values (Sound is the first thing to invest in ) and

    B. tThey are still really struggling to find a way to incorporate the social narrative for the films they do post. Many are suffering as a result.

  2. adamwestbrook said, on January 27, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Hey Robb thanks for commenting. What you say is true in the UK. My local – the Hull Daily Mail has some very talented journos, who’ve had pioneering training in VJing. But the resulting videos still are barely watchable – sound being one of the key problems, story telling the second.

    That’s the difference with print and broadcast though I guess. My job, as a broadcast journalist, is to tell stories. With print – esp local – they’re seen as responsible for getting all the facts of the case down – for the historical record almost. BJs know how to shave a story down to tell the raw story.


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