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Video essays and digital storytelling

A guide for creating video or multimedia projects for assignments.

How to use this guide

How to use this guide

This guide will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a video essay or digital story. The guide is laid out in the order you might approach your given assignment.  Tips, recommendations, and links to various tools are provided along the way.

You can work through each step by using the left navigation, or you can jump into the topic of your choosing.

What is a video/multimedia essay?

What is a video essay?

Video essays use audiovisual materials to present research or explore topics. Like written essays, they may contain an introduction, argument, supporting evidence, and conclusion.


Writing an essay, multi-media or otherwise, is about telling a story. Stories have a structure, and the academic structure for an essay is different than the structure for a novel or biography. Nonetheless, some of the same basic story structures apply.

Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and there has to be some kind of coherence or flow to their telling. In the case of telling a digital story, this linear structure can be stretched a little because of the options that multimedia affords. And, because the story is told "on camera", there is some work to be done prior to its telling. A video essay parallels what you would do in a written essay in regards to determining:

  1. what story you want to tell;
  2. how that story will be structured (what gets included);
  3. what order it goes in to build your argument or thesis; and
  4. because it is academic, how and where you need to support your story elements with reference to the academic literature (citations).

--Introduction courtesy of Dr. Robin Cox, Associate Professor, Royal Roads University