9 Dec 2010

When seeing is so much better than reading

I write. I am a writer. But I am also a writer who sometimes regrets not becoming a photographer and whose father works in TV. This has always given me comfort when faced with the stark realization that, when I worked at a newspaper, almost no one read my stories to the end. They looked at the pictures. They loved the ads. They might skim the headlines.
My beautiful kicker? Hmmm, maybe not.
Still, writing is important. But it is important to embrace the visual as well. My father keeps saying, "It's the video, stupid." as he wrote on the Huffington Post. And he is right. But there is more to this than just moving pictures. There are graphics. And graphics might even trump video.
Take this video (with written intro) from Streetfilms.org. Part of their "Fixing the Great Mistake" series, it highlights the work of Donald Appleyard, an American researcher who illustrated in San Francisco in 1981 how traffic kills neighborhoods.
You can say or write this. I like to say and write it, actually.
Traffic kills neighborhoods.
But it does not have the impact of Appleyard's graphics, which starkly illustrate how life on a high traffic street is significantly worse than life on a low traffic street.
To drive home the point, Streetfilms has done a brilliant job of using graphics to illustrate Appleyard's graphics. The end result? I now have a deep seated fear of traffic. Mission accomplished.

Another excellent example of the power of the cartoon. so to speak, is the recently cancelled Australian show The Hungry Beast. I love their clips on the Catholic Church, Google, the arms trade. This is their illustration of the mind-boggling entourage of U.S. President Barack Obama. You could write it out, but it would have half the power.

We're on this at JG Communication too, embracing graphics in our videos. We're on to a lot of stuff - video, audio, web design.
Oh, we write too.

Nathan Hegedus

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