About VideoGraphs

What is a VideoGraph?

The word "Photograph" was coined in 1839 by Sir John Herschel and is based on the Greek "phos", meaning "light", and "graphê", meaning "drawing, writing", together meaning "drawing with light".  The first permanent photograph was made in 1822 by a French inventor, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, building on a discovery by Johann Heinrich Schultz (1724): that a silver and chalk mixture darkens under exposure to light. Niépce and Louis Daguerre refined this process into what became the famous daguerreotype.

Originally all photographs were monochromatic, or hand-painted in color. Although methods for developing color photos were available as early as 1861, they did not become widely available until the 1940s or 50s, and even so, until the 1960s most photographs were taken in black and white. Since then, color photography has dominated popular photography, although black and white is still used.  The web has been a popular medium for storing and sharing photos ever since the first photograph was published on the web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1992, an image of the CERN house band Les Horribles Cernettes. Today popular sites such as Flickr, Picasa and PhotoBucket are used by millions of people to share their still pictures.


Videography is the term used to define the process of capturing moving images on electronic media (e.g., videotape, direct to disk recording, or solid state storage like a tapeless camcorder, or even streaming media). The word combines "video" from Latin, meaning "I see" or "I apprehend", with the Greek terminal ending "graphy", meaning "to write".  It is the equivalent of cinematography in the world of film (Movies), but with images recorded on electronic media instead of film stock.  The advent of digital imaging in the late 20th century began to blur the distinction between videography and cinematography.

With the advent today of high resolution, sophisticated DSLR's that capture video as well as still photographs, the possibility opens up to combine the two story telling media, the still photograph and video, into something new and different - what we are calling theVideoGraph™.  Similar in nature to what Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck call a Cinemagraph, a VideoGraph goes further.  A Cinemagraph is an animated GIF, limited in both form and function to a 256 color low resolution Compuserve GIF format image.  VideoGraph Designer™ supports this Cinemagraph format, with the additional power of a Quicktime MOV format output files, where the available colors and resolution are both considerably higher.

A still Photograph tells the story of a single slice of time - what happened in a fraction of a second.  A video tells the full motion story of a thread in time, with a well defined beginning and ending.  A Cinemagraph or a Videograph tells the story of a "slice of time."  Each has it's place in Journalism, Commerce, Advertising, and Entertainment in today's online world.  Each also has it's strengths and it's inherent weaknesses as story telling tools.

Many stories require more than one single still frame to tell.  These subtle stories are equally difficult to tell using video, as the medium has simply too much - information overload.  Video is sensory chaos, artfully focused by a good director.  Until now, there have been no tools for the specific creation of Cinemagraphs or Videographs. Enter the VideoGraph, and VideoGraph Designer™.  With it's stationary elements and it's limited movements, a VideoGraph looping back upon itself can focus the viewer's attention to the subtle nuances the director intends.  Reinforcing the story by filling in the preceding or subsequent few seconds is a strength a VideoGraph brings that no other medium can provide.  VideoGraphs and Cinemagraphs are new emerging creative  media for the modern storytelling artist.  With them, storytellers can now tell the subtle side of the stories in life no other media can.

A well executed VideoGraph can be like an adrenaline shot of pure emotion.  The "critical emotion" that can not be expressed by only a single frame and is overwhelmed by full motion video.  The look in a loving pet's eyes.  The fleeting memories passing over a face.  A subtle breeze rocking a flower.  The blink of any eye.  Each of these can be an entire story in themselves.  The limitations in the telling only being a suitable media available to the artist in telling it.  Incorporating a few frames shot prior to or just after Bresson's "critical moment" single frame captures more than just the static image, but rather the atmosphere that makes that moment come alive - become more real - more a "slice of life."

- Chuck Jones, August 5, 2011


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