I’m going to cheat a little bit and post two examples. But they’re both fairly short (and you don’t have to watch them in their entirety to get the point). More importantly, they both show the power of video essays in very different ways. Here’s the first one:
As you’ll see in the info section, this video was created by a college student for a class project. And while this video is certainly not perfect (I find the choice of soundtrack to be absolutely awful), I do think it interestingly shows how a digital medium (YouTube) can be used to explore itself.
The videographer used YouTube to create his driving question (why do people use youtube?), to collect data (through sending out a survey request), to compile that data (through creating the video itself), and to present the final project (through hosting the video on youtube). It seems to me that this multi-layered use of a single medium is something that is distinctly digital. That is, it is something that really could not be accomplished in other mediums.
And that’s what I find most interesting about the possibilities of digital writing—not only does it allow us to transform “traditional” texts into something else, but it opens up whole new areas of research and production that were heretofore unavailable.
The second video is something I just came across on Facebook earlier today (and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you have seen it already as well). Here it is:
While this video is different from the one we watched above in many ways—perhaps most obviously in its production quality—it is similar in that it is using digital mediums to make an argument that would otherwise not be possible (or at least not nearly as effective).
This video not only relies on the visual footage itself to make much of its argument—both through the people walking past their relatives and through their later reactions to watching themselves—but it seems to me that it is also relying on social media in order to spread its message. Through creating a short, relatable video with a clear message, this video just begs to be shared with others (which, according to my Facebook page, it is accomplishing).
Taken together, these two videos all show the possibilities for collaboration that come through digital mediums. Both of these videos use interviews as their primary source of content—yet they are also both edited to reflect the overarching argument of the videographer. It seems to me that this type of interweaving of different voices is one that is not fully possible in static print texts, and it is one that I find to be very successful in crafting an argument.