Viewfinder: Visual Networking

I stumbled across an orphan entry on Wikipedia for Visual Networking. “Visual networking refers to an emerging class of user applications that combine digital video and social networking capabilities. It is based upon the premise that visual literacy, ‘the ability to interpret, negotiate and make meaning from information presented in the form of a moving image, is a powerful force in how humans communicate, entertain and learn.”

Cisco, the company that owns the Flip camcorder, has several catchy phrases on its website, including: The world is happening on the network. Video helps us collaborate to exchange ideas to drive innovation forward. Together is happening all over the world.

There is some debate about visual networking and how it relates to our world here at Videomaker. Certainly any activity which requires video equipment is relevant to our Videomaker community, but some feel that the video gear is just a means to an end. Storytelling seems to be the thing that most of us get excited about. Simple applications, like video voice mail or short video blogs, barely qualify as storytelling. But, if these applications include music, sound effects or B-roll, the storytelling capabilities of video are realized. These editing techniques are so basic that one might argue that they don’t qualify for the word techniques.

Video is being used more and more informally and this is fundamentally a good thing. Video-capable mobile phones are driving this informal use of video. Impulsively uploading short clips from a night on the town with friends can be an enjoyable experience. However, if we are too casual with the video medium too often, we risk denigrating the medium, like graffiti artists who never write love letters. There is a time and place for graffiti or a Post-it note, but we need to write love letters and short stories too. The latter requires more thought and skill. At Videomaker we want to challenge all to excel in video literacy.

Video has equivalents to grammar and spelling, which are required for anyone intending to be taken seriously in using the communications medium. Even the most casual use of video should conform to some type of style, even if it is the most basic style. In the world of written words there are many styles.

A writing style reveals the writer’s personality or voice, but it also shows how he or she sees the audience of the writing.¹ By changing a few words around we can apply this to video. Video style is the manner in which a videographer chooses to address an issue and an audience. A style reveals the videographer’s personality or voice, but it also shows how he or she sees the audience of the video. We should all embrace a video style each and every time we use video.

¹Writing Style

Matthew York is Videomaker‘s Publisher/Editor.

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