There’s a new medium afoot: dynamic text. A few months ago a short history of the web called The Machine is Us/ing Us spread virally. It was narrated entirely with dynamic text.
Now E.O.Wilson’s TED grant “wish”, called the Encyclopedia of Life, has an introductory video using the same technique:
This mode of presentation is effective because it so closely approximates modern modes of composition.
When we sit in front of a computer and write, the pacing and development of thought is made manifest. Traditional static text (e.g. subtitles) lack any dramatic or narrative rhythm. Dynamic text leverages the traditional benefits of novels–the ability to get inside your head, to render scenes with your imagination–but retains all the pace-setting characteristics of time-based media.