Pathos Visual Argument

You will compose a short video made of two to five (no more) images and one to three text slides that make a very specific visual argument set to background music using Windows MovieMaker or apple iMovie (or some other you are already familiar with), and you will offer an explication of this argument’s pathetic appeals in an accompanying 2-3 page analysis. An example of what you’ll be doing:

Here are some other examples from another assignment, all on YouTube. Note that some use video, some use too many images or too much text. Stick to your assignment instructions, but these might be inspirational:


Another–though it does use a video clip in there, as well as images

Another from same assignment

Another approach


Part I: Preparation. Begin by writing a sentence or two that articulates the single claim for your video—the video itself should then unpack an argument supporting that claim; that is: it should connect the claim to the audiences’ presuppositions (what they already believe or know or feel). Remember, once again, a claim isn’t simply a topic but a position that you want to advocate, the truth of which your visual argument will try to demonstrate. Once you know the claim you want to make, contemplate the most moving way to make it visually.

Part II: The Video. Once you have a handle on the specific claim you want to make and the emotional appeals that will best motivate a response, gather/create and carefully organize two to five images (may use brief captions) and two or four text slides (titles, credits, etc.) that will work together to make that claim visually in an emotionally powerful way.

The best way to figure out how to use iMovie or Movie Maker is to use them, play with them for a while. Grab some images from wherever, add them to the program, and try things out.

Once you have a sense of what you want to create, add your actual images to Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie, and compose a video using MovieMaker tools (tutorial) or iMovie tools (tutorial). The steps:

  1. You may take your own photos or find images from a public images site—either way, you must give photo credit at the end of your written analysis or else at the end of your video (as credits or a text slide). Photo Credits should list the name of the photographer (if you can find it, even if it’s you) and where others can find this image. If the images are part of a private collection (yours or someone else’s), write “private collection.” If they are from a public site, give the URL and the date accessed. Simply listing it like this, for each image, is fine: Image 1: name of photographer (if available).
  2. You should add music for effect, and you may do that in MovieMaker or iMovie, or (if you don’t mind fewer choices) you may wait and do it in YouTube’s video editor. If you add your own music, it must be YouTube compliant: which means it has to be open access. Here is one public domain music site.
  3. Once you’re happy with your composition, publish it on YouTube (or your box account as a .wmv) and copy the URL it generates. If you use box, you’ll need to upload the video, click the Share link, click Embed, choose size Large, select “Preview this embed,” and when it opens, select the URL. Paste that URL at the top of your self-evaluation.


Part III: The self-analysis. Write a 2-3 page double-spaced analysis of your visual argument in which you

  • state your claim
  • explain the ways in which each of your images advance that claim, functioning both as evidence and as pathemata
  • describe the specific emotion/s the presentation as a whole is designed to provoke, the behavior or attitude you want your audience to adopt (your purpose), and the interpretation that connects the emotion to the behavior.
  • If you didn’t do it at the end of the video, end your self-analysis with Photo Credits as explained above.

Here is an example of a self-analysis (Self-Analysis Example-VisArg2) written for the first example above. And here (Visual Argument-Katherine Swope) is a student example from my 2013 course.

Upload your self-analysis (with URL link at top) to the Visual Argument assignment on Canvas for peer review by November 5 at 11 am.