What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Telling a Story Using Moving Images

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of telling stories using moving images?

The overall objective and purpose of telling a story is to engage with the audience to convey the meaning of a plot and create a human connection on an emotional level (Batty p292). Stories can be told in a variety of ways, and the method by which a story/narrative is told determines the way in which we connect and interact with it emotionally. Each mode of story telling is capable of presenting the same story in different ways. Humans are capable of both understanding and interpreting the different content and style associated with different modes of story telling.

For the purpose of this essay I contend that a moving image is one that is viewed upon a screen. This may include images such as photography, video or animation, which can be used to create films (long, short or continuous) or computer games. Methods of telling stories, which do not use moving images, consist of watching plays in the theatre, reading books or listening to oral/ accounts. Filmmaking is the most common way of telling a story through moving image and is a language through which meaning; ideas and messages can be communicated.

A story can be told for the first time through using moving images, or a story can be re told as an adaptation through using moving images when it has previously been told in a book or a play. It can also be a true story that people will know from history or news media. The ability to compare and contrast stories that have been told before make the advantages and disadvantages of using moving images more obvious and clear to understand.

It can be argued that there is not a right or wrong way to tell a story, merely a different way, as both types of mode (image or no image) present opportunities which the other is less able to provide.

I will start by considering story telling through moving images per se and then go on to discuss story telling through moving images where the story has been told before through another medium. I will also consider methods of story telling that use moving images in new and unconventional ways.

Images are a very powerful medium that have the ability to communicate emotion without the use of words. Although most films are accompanied with dialogue, if this were to be removed, the construction and juxtaposition of a series of images would still be able to convey a message.

When we are told and listen to a story or read a text we use our imagination to bring the story to life and create an image of our own visual representation of the events described. It can be argued that when we do this our own interpretation might not be the correct one, as the author had intended, and the meaning of the story could be misconstrued. This theory is supported by Cattryse who believes that ‘different people may “read” texts in different ways” (2010 p93), not the way that the originator of the story had intended them to be understood. Therefore telling a story using moving images portrays the content of the story visually,meaning that there is less room for misinterpretation by individuals as everyone viewing the story is put on a level playing field as they are all witnessing the same images instead of creating their own. An advantage of a moving image then is that the story and action can beportrayed more faithfully to the story teller’s wishes.

Telling a story using moving images means that not only canthe images themselves be portrayed as a clear story, but the way the images are presented on screen can convey a deeper meaning or understanding and enhance what is shown on screen. Ganz states that ‘film is dependent on many kinds of movement’ (p228). One such movement is the movement of the camera itself, not just what it shows mise en scene. The movement of the camera has its own filmic language and semiotics. The director of a film is virtually compelled to move the camera, and use different angles and...
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