The best and worst thing about the Internet is that it lets anyone speak to the whole world about anything. So, now you have the Prime Minister tweeting out his opinion and you can respond to it. To facilitate this process different types of communication platforms have emerged and this opened up new ways for people to express themselves. The ‘Video Essay’ is one such communication tool that is gaining a foothold on the Net.
As all of us know, an essay is a piece of writing that describes, clarifies, argues and analyses a specific subject. The unique nature of this form of writing is that one has to follow some kind of structure-like introduction, body, conclusion, etc. An essay should be short, interesting and get to the point. With the availability of different types of writing platforms on the Web (like blogs, serious FB postings etc), the Internet makes us more productive as writers. Anyone can write an essay on the topic of her choosing and showcase it to the public without any interventions from media gatekeepers. If the readers like the topic and your presentation, your point of view will get elevated- the only thing that matters is your ability to get reader’s attention. Media gatekeepers, no longer have the power to marginalise new ideas or different points of view. Now, the Net has spawned a totally different form of the essay called the video essay.
A video essay is basically an essay with narration and video attached to it. Of course, on the Net, this form of communication (the video essay) has been around for many years. Unlike a traditional film with a dramatic art, video essays explore or meditate just on a theme. It uses audio-visual elements like news articles, pictures, movie clips, interviews and music to present an idea or argument in a way that a written essay never could. By combining words with visuals, new insights/emotions/meanings to an argument could emerge. The argument in the video generally represents a single point of view.
Video essays aim to provide answers and thus empowers you with insights. However, video essays are not tutorials. Good video essays work when they cover interesting themes and are well told and provide value to their audience. Most of us are audiovisual learners and video essays play to this fact.
A plethora of video essay channels is available on YouTube and other online video hosting platforms. The Nerdwriter is a widely successful YouTube channel with more than a million subscriber base. It is a weekly show of video essays about a wide range of topics (art, culture, politics, science and so on). Evan Puschak, the man behind ‘The Nerdwriter’, is possibly one of the most famous video essayists on YouTube. He has been making elegant and inspiring videos for years now. Linguistic analysis on how Donald Trump answers questions , ‘How stories control our economic reality’, ‘Counting, Explained’ are some of the video essays you can find on this channel.
The video essay channel CGP Grey, which tries to explain difficult topics in a simple/comprehensible way, is another one worth a look. If you are a movie lover and wish to know how the art of movie making evolved from the silent movies of the early 1900s to the blockbusters of today, take a look at the channel ‘One Hundred Years of Cinema’.
Video Captioning Service
Thanks to the proliferation of camera-enabled devices, video production is no more a specialist’s task. To enhance its reach and popularity, it is always good to caption your videos. Video subtitles are so important that people with hearing disabilities or people who cannot follow your accent can still follow along with the video. Adding captions can really increase user engagement and it may even improve its search engine ranking. This is the context in which the free, open-source, online application Amara, which lets you caption, translate and subtitle videos, gains attention.
To get started with the service, create an account and log-in to it. Now to add subtitles to a video, capture its link, and paste it into the input box provided by the service.
When you click on the ‘Begin’ button, the video that you chose will pop-up. Let us now add our caption to the video. Click on the area that says ‘Contribute’ and then select the ‘add a new language option’, select the language of the video and the language in which you wish to add subtitles.
This step will take you to the text editor screen with a few instructions that tell you how to proceed with the subtitling task. To play or pause the video, simply press the <Tab> key and if you miss something and wish to go back you can use <shift> <tab>.
The captioning task involves three steps: typing, syncing and review. Now, to start the captioning process, play the video, listen to the audio, and type what you hear. If you get behind or could not capture certain parts, pause the video (by pressing the <Tab> again). Whenever you get to a certain line length, the text in the right column turns red.
Once you are done, hit the button ‘Yes, start syncing’ to begin syncing what you have typed.