Monday, October 17, 2005

VideoString Treatment

Mass communication is evolving and expanding as new technologies and/or techniques become readily available. As video production becomes widely accessible, it is important to consider the possible changes that will allow us to make the most out of this new form of mass communication. This project will demonstrate, in a very literal way, some of the differences between written language and video by attempting to create video messages using written syntactical structure.

Superficially, this will be a tool that allows you to create a unique, short video message. On a deeper level, it will assist users in examining the implications of a shift to multisensory video communication. I propose to develop a limited “vocabulary" built out of a bank of short videos. Users will then effectively be able to write syntactical messages using video clips.

The Flash application will display a blank screen surrounded by a couple hundred small tiles with words on them. The tiles can be dragged and dropped onto the screen in an order determined by the user. Through this familiar interface, the user will feel comfortable creating a statement, or message, using a limited vocabulary.

Once they have constructed a satisfactory message, the user will have the option to play back their message. This will draw up the video clips associated with each English word and play them back in the order predetermined by the user. What results will often be somewhat absurd, and often incomprehensible. But the process will illustrate the fact that video can be used in ways that have remained largely unexplored at this point in our evolution.

Video communication typically manifests in one of a few traditional ways. It is common for a narrator to relate a story, either on screen as in a newscast or off-camera as in a nature documentary. It is also familiar for actors to step in, portraying scenes in a linear fashion. I’m interested in exploring how, in the hands of the public, video expression may break away from this model into something entirely unique. I am not proposing that video will literally be transformed into a multi-sensory syntactical vocabulary in the future, but I hope to illustrate the possibility of unexpected evolution in a poignant and entertaining fashion.

I believe that by illustrating how confusing and clunky it can be to approach new mediums through an old structure, I will force people to consider the difference between new and old methods for expression more dynamically than if I were to simply create some informative videos in a traditional fashion.

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