Two takes on a parade

Last week I attended a training session about shooting news videos with the iPhone. I was told to keep videos short, clean and efficient and to lead with the most interesting content. But I began to wonder: If rules are meant to be broken, can nontraditional news videos work, too?

Take, for example, this video from the Guardian about China’s 2009 national day parade, which alternates gorgeous timelapse and slow-motion shots. It’s over 3 minutes long, there’s no narration, and there’s no reporter doing a standup. Viewers are left to make their own interpretations about the content — and, of course, there’s also a full article for anyone who wants more information.

Compare that to this traditional news/history report on the 1984 national day parade:

This second video is more efficient and provides much more information about the parade, but I think the Guardian’s video should also be considered a form of news reporting. Now that all media outlets are adding video to their websites (the New York Times is doing it especially well), maybe it’s time to experiment with new types of online video reporting beyond what you would expect to see on the nightly TV news. What do you think of these two videos?


3 thoughts on “Two takes on a parade

  1. I kind of like the timelapse on the Guardian better. It combines the aesthetic of a music video with a kind of ironic nationalist braggadocio — and yet gives a real feeling about being there. I learned about as much from each of them, in different ways. The 2009 parade one also made me wish I was in China — such an experience! The other seemed like information. Had less presence. I think it depends on what youʻre trying to get across, donʻt you?

    • I agree — I love the Guardian timelapse piece because it immerses the viewer in the experience. I wonder, though, whether this kind of video could be considered more biased because it basically conveys what the Chinese government wanted the event to convey. There’s no commentary, research or analysis. I’m still working through my thoughts on this, but do you think the second one is more objective?

      • I wonder if journalism needs to immerse in order to be more than opinion/entertainment? I mostly wrote criticism, so it was opinion-based, but I also did features, which were all about immersion, detail, richness of reading and learning. What do you think about immersion and detail as good journalism.

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