Digital Video in Research: The challenges of designing academic video

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    Is video becoming “the new black” in academia, if so, what are the challenges? The integration of video in research methodology (for collection, analysis) is well-known, but the use of “academic video” for dissemination is relatively new (Eriksson and Sørensen). The focus of this paper is academic video, or short video essays produced for the explicit purpose of communicating research processes, topics, and research-based knowledge (see the journal of academic videos: Video is increasingly used in popular showcases for video online, such as YouTube and Vimeo, as well as for TED Talks, podcasting and e-learning projects hosted by universities, museums and other institutions. These new audiovisual digital storytelling practices are considered “video” texts in this paper. The increasing adaptation of video for academic purposes reflects overarching changes in digital media and society. However, if researchers want to harness the potentials of video, it is necessary to consider the challenges.

    This paper explores my own experience with academic video based on designing an academic video (2012) about a seminar on “cross-media storytelling” held at my university (2011). In the video, I appear (along with other researchers) and two Danish film directors, and excerpts from their film. My challenges included how to edit the academic video and organize the collaborative effort. I consider video editing as a semiotic, transformative process of “reassembling” voices. In the discussion, I review academic video in terms of relevance and implications for research practice.

    The theoretical background is social constructivist, combining social semiotics (Kress, van Leeuwen, McCloud), visual anthropology (Banks, Pink) and dialogic theory (Bakhtin). The Bakhtinian notion of “voices” is used to explore the interplay of differences in language as well as discourse, ideology, narrative themes and authorship (Phillips). The phenomenon of academic video refers to various research traditions, such as anthropological, auto-ethnographic (practice-based) and co-creative methodological approaches involving researchers and researcher participants.

    The general challenges of designing academic video include negotiating copyrights, gaining mastery of video editing, and considering online distribution (e.g. maintaining some control). A progression toward researchers designing video also begs questions of our media literacy pertaining to authoring multimodal texts (visual, verbal, audial, etc.) in research practice and the status of multimodal texts in academia.
    The implications of academic video extend to wider issues of how researchers harness opportunities to author different types of texts, and distribute publications online through new digital media platforms, including blogs, open-access research databases etc. It involves a critical (re)examination of our authorial voice as researchers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationECREA 2012 Conference Proceedings
    PublisherECREA: European Communication Research and Education Association
    Publication date2012
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    Event4th European Communication Conference - Istanbul, Turkey
    Duration: 24 Oct 201227 Oct 2012


    Conference4th European Communication Conference
    Internet address


    • Methodology
    • academic Video
    • semiotics
    • dialogic turn in research communication
    • audiovisual
    • Virtual

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