Video Essays

A picture of a video essay about dancing in movies. Click the image to view the video essay.

Much like photo essays and traditional essays, video essays tell a story or make a point. The difference is that video essays use video to present the information.

When you make a video essay, you can use video, pictures, text, music, and / or narration to create a video essay that is powerful and effective. If you think about, many music videos are actually video essays, so chances are, you know a lot more about video essays than you might think. And, because the creation of videos for YouTube has become so popular, many professors are assigning video essays as an alternative to traditional essays. The sample video essay linked at the right will give you a good idea about how videos and essay come together to create an argument in a video essay. Just click on the image to visit the link.

The process for creating a video essay isn’t that different from creating a traditional essay—at least in the beginning. However, you’ll be working with a lot more technology as you put a video essay together. Still, thanks to some excellent video editors, creating a video essay isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

The following steps will help you get going with your project:

  1. Develop a topic. Using traditional prewriting, work to narrow your topic into something specific. If you’re telling a story, think about good elements of narrative. If you’re making an argument in your video essay, think about the elements of effective argument. Once you have your topic and angle, you’re ready for the next step.
  2. Create an outline and a basic script for your video.
  3. Collect your images. You can use still images and / or video you film yourself, but you’ll need to plan for more pictures or footage than you’ll need in order to have plenty of good content to work with.
  4. Collect your voice files and / or music. Free Creative Commons music can be found at the Creative Commons Legal Music For Videos site.
  5. Upload your files into your video editing software and begin the process of creating your video essay. Windows Movie Maker and iMovie for Macs work well, and you can find other options for free movie-editing software on the web.
  6. Share your video essay. You can share your video essay with the world on your web page or on YouTube.

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