January 10, 2012
…or so said the article announcing Walrus TV.
The Walrus is a prominent Canadian cultural magazine: think Harper’s or The Atlantic. The launch arrives with the heady proclamation that it “represents a first: no other magazine has brought its stories to a new audience via documentaries.” (I’m not sure how this differs: it’s The Atlantic’s video channel.)
Unfortunately YouTube already has a Walrus TV, an unrelated venture, featured also on the Upper Playground, “a leader in the contemporary art movement… committed to representing progressive urban lifestyles.” In other words, a clothing company.
The Canadian Walrus TV faces the routine cross-media challenge: How do you make compelling video out of compelling text?
A man sitting in a chair wearing a suit reads an excerpt from a book that was the basis for an article in a magazine. He is purported to be the author. Tense music conveys some tension.
It’s a long-standing challenge: creating compelling documentaries, even short ones. The National Film Board of Canada has done some excellent work here. Its complete library is now available for streaming online.