Digital Books: More About Video Use

I was looking for one specific clip on YouTube for this post, but I couldn’t find it. I expect it was DMCAed away. And since I lack video editing software (not to mention the necessary PC horsepower), I couldn’t re-create the clip for this.

Nonetheless, I found one sorta kinda clip as a substitute. And tripped across another clip I didn’t expect.

So as not to clog the loading of this page for people with weak PCs (that would primarily be me), I’m placing these after the break.

This first one is the sorta kinda clip. I had in mind one that had a single character delivering an interior soliloquy. Instead, this voice over with extensive action will have to substitute. Like last time, imagine this as the opening to a digital book — or even to a chapter in a digital book:

This second clip was serendipitous. It reminded me most of all of the framing provided by the theme visuals to the TV series Miami Vice (pop over to YouTube to see that).

This video could be used in two ways:

1) It could be a capsule summary of a prior book in a series

2) It could actually substitute for a chapter in a book. Pay attention to all of the action that takes place in it and imagine having to write out all that in a detailed yet engaging manner.

I know there will be writers out there who will strenuously object to these examples — some with utter disgust and contempt.

Well then, think of these as fodder for the writers who are coming up after you.

One other thing: these clips explicitly show actors in them. That’s not really recommended for video in digital books. Characters in video are best shot with their faces unshown (and there are more creative ways than just hiding faces in shadows — ask any experienced filmmaker). This would enable easy dubbing — if dialogue is used — into other languages for international editions and also not implant character images in a reader’s mind. (That especially is a no-no. For if a book is licensed for movie or TV, people will expect to see the face or faces from the digital book video.)

One Response to Digital Books: More About Video Use

  1. laura says:

    I’m pleased that you’re doing these posts on using video in digital books.

    I think your examples are good, but I’ve yet to be impressed with any such digital book I’ve seen so far.

    My main complaints about video are:

    1) it’s annoying if it also has sound. I can read a book in a noisy place or without disturbing anyone when I’m around others. I can’t say the same for a video unless sound is not essential;

    2) I find it much less absorbing than text, and I can’t easily control the pace of the action as I can when I read.

    Now, as you show here it is true that video can convey a wealth of details that would be difficult to convey in a captivating way in writing. (I still haven’t gotten over the trauma of the turtle crossing the road in The Grapes of Wrath, which I had to read in school–and that was years ago).

    I’m not saying that I don’t believe that it can work, because I am convinced that it can. I’m just trying to analyze my own reactions to better understand the value of text vs. audio/video in digital media.

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