Video Essay Guide

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Video Essay Guide: The audio-visual essay for social work students


What is a video essay?




How to create a video essay

Video editing software

Articles and web resources


What is a Video Essay?

A video essay (also known as audiovisual essay) is the basic equivalent to a written essay, except that it is produced into a visual format i.e. a video. The term video essay as it is still evolving and derives from film studies. ‘From the screen studies perspective, it is a video that analyses specific topics or themes relating to film and television and is relevant as it comments on film in its own language.

This guide refers to the video essay from the context of the academic audiovisual essay as a multimodal form that combines written, audio and visual modes to communicate an idea. As a structure, the video essay is thesis-driven, and uses images with text so that the audience can read and interpret the idea or argument in a multimodal way.

In educational settings, the term video essay is used broadly for teacher/student-learner generated video and as a vehicle to transmediate between written-text to digital forms. Through the video essay form, students are able to achieve learning outcomes in a new way as a multimodal experience while engaging with the subject, task or assessment through expression and creation of self-knowledge.’



Audiovisual essay (see Video essay)

Multimodal Literacy: “Focuses on the design of discourse by investigating the contributions of specific semiotic resources (e.g. language, words, gesture, images) co-deployed across various modalities (e.g. visual, aural, somatic), as well as their interaction and integration in constructing a coherent text.” See:

Semiotics: the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.

Video Essay (or audiovisual essay): is the basic equivalent to a written essay, but presented in a visual format such as a video which usually contains a combination of video, still images, music, voice recording and text. Visual Representation: used for meaning-making involves the viewer seeing the whole picture all at once. It is used as a design element and is the representation of space in time. Visual meaning is growing in significance in today’s society and is increasingly used for communication. The use of screens sees the modes of text and visual meaning come together.


What you will need:

Written component (Essay)·



Images (stills)·

Videos (motion)·

Sound (music, voice recording, sound effects)·

Video camera or phone camera and/ or utilise existing videos from YouTube·

etc. or rip DVD movies

Microphone (if you are recording voice or interviews)·


Watch: Video tutorial Story boarding:

Storyboard template

Free downloads –

How to Create a Video Essay

How to Create Video Essays – Video Essay Warriors·

On Making Video Essays – Patrick (H) Willems·

Equipment for Video Essay Channels – Video Essay Warriors·

Video editing software


Windows Movie Maker

Movie Maker Tutorial:


iMovie Basics: Video editing tutorial for beginners:

Adobe Premiere Pro (CC) – a little more professional – Free 7 Day Trial. After it is a monthly subscription.

Articles and web resources
  1. How to do a Video Essay – Edith Cowan University:

  1. What is a mode?
  1. What is multimodality?
  2. FILM STUDIES IN MOTION: Audiovisual Essay to Academic Research Video
  3. Has the Video Essay Arrived? (2017)
  4. HOW-TO VIDEO ESSAYS by Greer Fyfe and Miriam Ross
  5. How to Make Video Essays: Resources for Teachers and Students
  6. An Introduction to the Video Essay Suite
  7. Multimodal Composition in Kairos: A Rhizomatic Retrospective
  8. On the Origin of the Video Essay
  9. Reframe: Resources & How To Guides
  10. Resources for Teachers
  11. Teaching the Scholarly Video
  12. Teaching While Learning: What I Learned When I Asked My Students to Make Video Essays
  1. The Video Essay: The Future of Academic Film and Television Criticism?
  2. [in]transition – Resources
  3. The Video Essay As Art (Conor Bateman)


Kress, G. (2009). Multimodality:A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication.

Tascón, S. (2019). Visual communication for social work practice: power, culture, analysis. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge.

Also read: Visio Assignment 1

Last Updated on September 9, 2020 by Essay Pro