Video: Worth a Billion Words?

You have probably heard the phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words, but have you ever thought about what that means for video? If that logic really holds true then one minute of video shot at 24 frames per second is worth 1,440,000 words, that’s 1.4 BILLION words (if you were having trouble counting those zeroes.) Now I don’t mean this post to be about discrediting the importance of photos, but rather to say that there is a reason we use video so much in communication, particularly news.

This post was inspired by some of the events on campus this weekend with the news coverage that ACU received because of the Brantlys. There were cameras and satellite trucks everywhere to cover these events as they unfolded and it made me think about why video was such an important medium. Why was video chosen to show this story?

I would argue that video is used because it is such a powerful way to tell a story. With images and audio you can communicate something as if it were live, as if you were there. You can transport someone to a different time or place with the use of video. However with the power of teleportation essentially in our pocket and the ability to document something for the sake of history comes great responsibility. With this power we can tell stories in a way that verbal communication never could. To reinforce the earlier analogy, the average person speaks 150 words per minute (remember video was 1.4 billion per minute). While this isn’t all that scientific and really is just a figure of speech I think it helps to show the impact that can be had when using video.


2 thoughts on “Video: Worth a Billion Words?

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Brance! I’ve been trying to think of a way to adequately describe the importance of video lately and I think you did so, very well. I loved that analogy of 1.4 billion words for just a short video.
    I think video is very important! And just like you, I’ve gotten to experience that a lot this weekend, with the Brantly story and with Homecoming.
    Oftentimes, I see the underlying importance of video through new stations that send out videographers for even the smallest of stories. Videos often speak louder and in some senses more thoroughly than still images and words.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Love this blog. I found it was a really interesting perspective to explain why a video can be so much more informative than to a written article. Many news stations are going in this direction for their websites, as we are now seeing a lot more video- and a lot less text. I think your article accompanies this reality very well.


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