Using video for creative writing

I always carry a pocket camcorder with me. It enables me to take both photos and videos. I use the videos as a potential basis for creative writing.

I try to make the videos only about 30 seconds long, because I like the idea of being minimalist – as you may have gathered from my article about using Twitter.

For example, look at this video:

Post-shopping from Writers' Know-How on Vimeo.


Can you use that as a basis for a short story, or to at least get your creative juices flowing?

Why not create your own bank of videos? Here’s what you will need:

A device that can take video

Relax: you don't need one this sizeI prefer a pocket camcorder because it’s small, and will fit into my pocket, yet takes high definition video (not that you need that if you’re going to upload it to the web). A popular brand is the Flip video, but I prefer the Kodak Zi8. It has a range of options for video, a still photo facility, and a really easy-to-use programme for importing your efforts into your computer and uploading to YouTube, Vimeo and other sites. An alternative option is the Kodak Zx1, which I have reviewed.

An account with a video-hosting website

If you’d like to share your videos with the world, or embed them in your blog or website without using up a lot of your own space, sign up for an account with Youtube, Dailymotion, Blip, Vimeo or any one of a host of others (or, indeed, all of them). They’re free to use unless you’re an industrial strength customer. A limitation of Youtube is that videos may be no more than 10 minutes long. Another potential limitation is that Youtube is blocked in many schools, so if you’re thinking of making educational videos for youngsters that may be a consideration. But if it’s self-promotion you’re interested in, you can’t afford to ignore Youtube.

A video editor

If you’re a Windows user, I don’t think you can improve on Movie Maker, which is both simple to use and free.

But of all of these, the first one listed, a video-taking device, is the only essential one.

Oh yes: that and a creative imagination!