Sound and Vision in the Visual Arts Digital Upload

Just so we’re clear,


 “Only 5 minutes and no sound????”

A09)_Videos_ButtonVIDEOS: 5 minutes maximum

Yes, but you can do a lot in 5 minutes. You can actually do a lot in two minutes, so just think “less is more” when your students are wielding that camera. In fact don’t just think it, write in on a big board in the art room – LESS IS MORE!

As I’ve said a number of times, I’m an examiner, and I see uploaded video files. It’s not a hugely popular medium, so examiners are rarely inundated with videos, but there are more now than there were, say, five years ago.

But – I have to be honest – we don’t often see a video that knocks our socks off.

I hardly ever see a video that explores the visual potential of the medium, which is a little surprising considering the huge potential that there is.

When I do encounter successful videos, they are often outstanding. The students responsible have clearly understood the nature of the moving image and film and the work easily achieves the (old) descriptors.

For example there is evidence of excellent technical competence, confidence, inventiveness and an informed, reflective judgment that challenges and extends personal boundaries.

For this five minutes is more than enough

(**and 500MB)

And yes, these videos work visually – sound is irrelevant. Which leads me on to…

audio-152943_640 copyVIDEOS: No sound

Remember it’s a VISUAL arts course. I know that some contemporary artists include sound in their videos. Some contemporary artists use sound ONLY as a creative/expressive medium. And yes, many videos will make no sense if you remove the sound, sound is a critical component in the medium of film, etc etc.

But for the IB DP visual arts programme this issue is linked to fairness, accuracy and consistency in assessment. Problems encountered previously include multiple academic honesty issues: for example, students frequently using music in their videos without asking permission of the artist or even referencing the music.

Sometimes the video is more of a traditional ‘film’ and the sound track contains speech – in this case the question must be asked, why not take the IBDP film course?


Then there is consistency of assessment – how do you (teacher and examiner) accurately measure the influence or impact of the sound track? The assessment criteria deal with visual elements not audio.

How do you know that the examiner will have the same response to the sound track as you have?

If you think the video is a weak piece of visual work without sound – then make it a strong piece.

Forget the sound – or switch your student to the IBDP Film programme

*There is of course nothing to stop you having as much sound as you like in your students’ videos – apart from the ones you upload for the exhibition component. In fact you can even include sound in these as well – but it will be ignored by examiners – who will turn their speakers off.

Less is more!


Page 11 Visual Arts Guide (first examinations 2016):

Please note that any work selected for final assessment in the visual arts course must have been made or constructed by the student. … The same principle must be applied to the use of additional elements used to create an atmosphere or a specific experience for an audience (even though any audio component will not be assessed in this visual course). If the student uses music or sound effects, for instance, they must be copyright free with appropriate citations provided or have been created by the student.



Sound button

Video button

  • Jonathan Harvey
    March 8, 2016


    I am wondering if you can help as I am a teacher new to the IB. As you know the ‘planning and progress forms’ are new and from your blog have been able to complete them with now issues. My question is at what point and where do they get submitted/uploaded. I can see from the ecoursework upload all of the places for exhibition,CS and PP but not the form.

    It is unclear at the moment.

    Your help ou be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrew Vaughan
      March 8, 2016

      Hi Jonathan,

      I have not yet uploaded any of my own students’ work to IBIS, but I think these pdfs get uploaded when you upload the exhibition sample.

      The instructions on the form say “The completed form must be submitted to the IB with the internal assessment material for each candidate whose work is part of the sample for moderation. Additionally, the IB may request that the forms for other candidates are also submitted for scrutiny”.

      After you have submitted the marks for the exhibition, you will receive a list of the candidates who are in your sample, so I think you will upload the form for these students when you upload their artwork etc.

      (If this is incorrect please could anyone who have been through this process let me –and Jonathan – know?)

      I hope this helps!



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