Video taxonomy new term: Video Illustration

I’m reading an interesting book right now called Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages.

How we label and categorize things is important to how we understand our environment.

Nearly a year ago, Andy Dickinson did a post labeling three types of newspaper video: Disruptive, channel and multimedia. At the time, I suggested “attached video” was a better label than “disruptive,” being that disruption is a strategy not a category.

That post influenced a slide in my internal video training presentation. My three categories of video have been: Attached, story, and webcast.

Attached is that short video meant to embed on a story page. Story video is the full story, no text needed, and webcast is that sort of thing that usually has an anchor/host and covers more than one topic.

A couple of weeks ago, Victor DeRubeis left a comment on a post highlighting a couple of GateHouse Media videos.

Nice raw video, yes. But where’s the journalism? Where’s the editing? Where’s the context?

And somewhere, though I can’t find the comment now, somebody said of one of our videos that it was nothing more than a moving photo illustration.

That’s the comment that stuck in my head. It’s a V8-moment! The proper term is not “attached video.” It is a “video illustration.”

To me, these comments intended to be criticism are actually high praise. This is exactly what we’re after with quick-production, point-and-shoot video.

Story video may have its time and place, but unlike some, I don’t believe that is the sum and whole of what online video can or should be.

The point of quick-production, reporter-shot video should be to illustrate in a way that words alone cannot. Raw is good. Heavy editing is a waste of time. Context is a distraction. The point is not to capture the whole story. It is to illustrate a story.

That’s not to say that we’re doing all that well at that goal yet, but it’s still a style of newspaper video I believe in passionately. I believe we will learn. I believe we will get better. I’ve seen enough glimpses of how well this can work to believe that as quality and understanding (reporters developing the appropriate sense of when and how to use this type of video), it will prove a very useful tool both journalisticly and strategically.

UPDATE: Andy Dickinson does a nice job of responding to this post.  He clarifys, expands and explains what I’m trying to explain.

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