Storytelling via multimedia

Someone is speaking but the image isn’t moving. The narration ceases and the image gains momentum and changes shape as a subject speaks to some unknown void. Several brief moments of visual stimulation in different and diverse forms–each form an  important contribution for telling a single story. Multimedia storytelling.

The theory and concept behind multimedia storytelling seems simple and yet it is more complex than I think we really give it credit for. An online syllabus from a multimedia storytelling class at Berkeley describes the anomaly of multimedia storytelling to include a combination of text, still photographs, video clips, audio, graphics and interactivity online in a nonlinear fashion.

I’m going to pause here for a moment (but never fear, for I shall return to the previous train of thought). Nonlinear? It is true that in traditional news media there is a linear quality to it–beginning, middle and end. But how is it that multimedia is nonlinear? I would think that even though it offers a different way to tell a story than traditional media, wouldn’t it still be linear in some fashion or another? Beginning, middle and end? I’m sure we will cover this to some extent but for now it is a perplexing concept to me.

Taking a step back: the components of multimedia storytelling. I had a great appreciation for Berkeley’s description of multimedia storytelling because it explained it to be pieces that are complimentary to the same story without being redundant and that different parts are told by using different media.

I think this is a great distinction because without it we can say that anything we see in the media could be considered “multimedia” but it’s not that simple. For example, a commercial on TV could be thought of as a piece of multimedia. In some circumstances, I would even buy that. But it is an incomplete example in many cases. Allow me to be more specific: If I truly wanted to make this blog a piece of multimedia, I might leave the first paragraph or two of what is now becoming a rather long blog and have that be the only textual component. Then, alone with that paragraph or two of text, I would have a video you could watch compiled of still images with a narrative audio overlay with video cutting in and out with “real time” audio within the video. At the end, maybe I would include a little applause audio clip to illustrate how proud I was of my video. And to top it all off, there would be a section for comments where you, your grandma and your great uncle Lester could tell me what a dork I am and give me a virtual smack in the face.

So though this blog isn’t entirely multimedia, it does include some of the components. And now, I would like to share with you an image I found when I googled “multimedia storytelling”:

I don't know how this is considered "multimedia storytelling" but there ya go.

I don't know how this is considered "multimedia storytelling" but there ya go.


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