Every Frame a Painting

By Chin Wei Lien

I am a big fan of Tony Zhou’s videos on Every Frame a Painting. As a film editor himself, Tony is especially attuned to the way shots and scenes are spliced together, and his videos celebrate visual storytelling. A departure from my line of work as a writer, sure, but his film analyses just go to show that there is more than one way to tell a story. As writers, we sometimes work in a bubble — it’s just us and the computer. We sometimes feel the crushing responsibility to tell the stories by pounding on a keyboard when, in fact, there are other ways to help you get the message across as well.

Why It Works

I am no designer, so I am not able to tell you how design and/or photography go hand-in-hand with the editorial. All I know is that words are just words until the visuals come into play, whether they are visuals in the mind or visuals on the page. If you are a fan of films and film editing, this is the channel to follow. 


Legacy of Agent Orange
By Sarah Liu

This is one photojournalist’s retelling of the Agent Orange story, 40 years after the Vietnam War. 

I think the story offers new perspectives on this very potent, poisonous, and life-wrecking chemical. The horrors did not only manifest in history, but through generations till today. Or as the author more eloquently notes from his journey to Vietnam, “There is not much I can do about it with my pictures except to retell the story, despite all the raised eyebrows. The pictures I took are not about the before and after, they are all about now. As for how poorly we read history and stories from the past, I’m afraid that is about our future, too.” 

Why It Works

  • It’s visually compelling. The pictures wrote the story.  
  • It gives the underprivileged and suffering a voice, one that’s usually unheard or silenced. 
  • It revisits a difficult topic, and unveils what we don’t see every day and have perhaps forgotten. 
  • It involves the writer’s personal struggle with telling the story – and perhaps ours. When we read and find it a bitter pill to swallow, too. 
  • It’s a story about struggle, and about humans. It’s relatable. 

It’s honest, raw, and was told as it was seen.  


BBC’s Week In Pictures
By Novus Shadow Ops

I am a lazy newsreader. I will often skim over news that I don’t find relevant, which can make for a rather lopsided view of the world. It certainly doesn’t help to challenge my thinking beyond the known. The BBC news website has an antidote to this entitled “Week in Pictures”. Simple yet effective, this page rounds up images from around the world that best encapsulate recent events. Sometimes in small or funny ways, and sometimes more significantly.

Why it works

As a company we often preach that adding visuals to content is far more effective than text alone. This section appeals not only on a visual level, but with the brevity of its captions. They usually convey enough of the story for you understand the context without further addition; a notable skill. It takes less than five minutes to read, but the images can make a powerful impression, and often result in you hungrily seeking out more information.


Tame Impala’s album cover

By Daniel Seifert

The Down Under darlings of the music scene, Aussie psychedelic rockers Tame Impala recently released their album Currents. Feast your eyes on the cover as you feast your ears on their best new track, Let It Happen.

Why It Works

With a deliciously retro airbrushed look, the cover also mirrors Tame Impala’s bone-meltingly sweet sound. In a bite-sized interview, the artist Robert Beatty shares how the concept “was all based on vortex shedding and turbulent flow — basically the way a gas or liquid travels around an object.”

Sure, there’s a science-y bent to the image, but to me the straight lines melting into hot liquid goo perfectly encapsulate how Tame Impala’s tunes make me feel: like I’m slowly melting away in a hot cup of coffee.


The power of peace
By Alison Marshall

The day after the bombing of Bangkok’s Erawan shrine, I came across this image on Twitter and Facebook, attributed to Michael Massey. I have no idea whether it was a true event of the time or the past, or some skillful photo editing as I can’t find any reference made to it on news sites of the day, previously or since. But despite that, it has attracted thousands of likes on Facebook and has been shared the world over.  

Why It Works

Massey’s image is powerful in the extreme. The tarmac of the usually busy roads of central Bangkok is covered by hundreds of Buddhist monks, sitting in silence, their orange robes a beacon of hope in a tumultuous time for the Thai capital. Having stood at that intersection just a few weeks earlier, this image also clarified what might have been. The peaceful gathering of monks is in direct contrast to scenes of destruction at the same location, bringing home the terrible loss so many suffered.  


Pixar’s Inside Out
By Cherlin Chan

Even though it’s an animation for kids, as soon as I saw the trailer for this movie I was hooked. It is filled with emotional content, for me, and yes I teared up during the movie as I could relate to those feelings which I believe many would.

Why It Works

Compared to the other Pixar movies, which are much more surreal, Inside Out boasts more human content, as they brought the concept of a human mind to life. Frankly, it’s one of the most brilliant films I’ve ever seen. There are no tricky plots or convoluted metaphors you need to decipher, this is just simple storytelling in its purest form.


The Fallen of World War II infographic
By Will Chin

It’s strange for a writer like myself to recommend an infographic, because they don’t typically come with a lot of words — but, I digress: I do indeed type a lot.

Why It Works

When you are trying to illustrate the unimaginable scale of something, it is sometimes better to tell it through visuals — and Neil Halloran’s brilliant video on the casualties of World War II does exactly that. I mean, if I were to tell you that so-and-so million people died in the War, what does that really mean? It’s a big number, sure, but it doesn’t really tell us anything until the information is visualized with chilling simplicity. 

Novus Curates: Killer Content We Love - August 2015 Edition

BY Team Novus

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