Audio is to Books as Video is to Car Crashes

A conversation at last night’s PodcastMN meet-up got me thinking about the difference between audio and video.

As I see it, the goal of writing is to use the fewest words possible to illustrate the most to the reader. Density. In fact, I’m pretty sure the job of an editor is just that. In the end, chances are, the voice in your head reading this is different than the one in my head. That’s just the start. The specifics of the tiny, upstairs room I’m writing this in, with its plastic-coverd north-facing window, wall-long bookshelf, and boxes of unwanted cables is probably more comfortable in your head than in reality.

That’s the cool part.

The funniest sketch I’ve heard on Teknikal Diffikulties was a visual gag. Cayenne Chris gave just enough – then let us listeners build out the rest.

Unlike audio and text, video is a finished, self-contained product. Leaving little to the imagination. As such, it’s more expensive on all counts. From production, delivery, and most importantly – audience attention. Video demands 100% of the audience’s attention. Like a car crash on the freeway.

We all stare.

One Reply to “Audio is to Books as Video is to Car Crashes”

  1. What’s funny is that video often doesn’t actually do much with the visual portion. I do almost all of my TV and home-theater-movie-watching with a laptop on my lap. I can really tell a difference when a show or movie really embraces visual storytelling because I can’t just listen and get it all. Shows and movies that don’t embrace visual storytelling can be listened to and you really don’t miss much.

    As a result, I’ve noticed that I only tend to really get engrossed in video content that’s both well written (dialogue and plotwise), but also actually uses the medium to *do* something with it.

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