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How do I clearly distinguish between:

  • Moving images only
  • Moving images and audio

Using as few words as possible, without it sounding 'awkward' of course.

Black Hat Guy:   "I was watching and listening to this moving image with audio data stream on my LCD screen and speakers respectively about..."

Mrs. Roberts:      "You were what?"

Black Hat Guy:   "I was watching a video on my computer about..."

For both technical and non-technical usage?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

For both technical and non-technical usage, the clearest and most straightforward terms also happen to be the standard terms, such as in this guideline from the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium):

  • audio-only
  • video-only
  • audio-video

For example, in their Flash Media Developer Guide, Adobe refers to video-only streams, video and audio streams, and audio-only streams.

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For most audiences, video or movie would be interpreted to mean something with both pictures and sound, unless you specify otherwise. The most familiar way of saying a video of some length only has moving pictures is that it's a silent movie. For a short item, we might call it a silent animation.

Technical documents such as this W3C guideline use words like audio-only and video-only but make sure to define them for readers. Here, the familiar term silent movie is an example of a video-only presentation. Video with no audio information is also used to make the meaning clear; in many contexts, even technical audiences may assume video can include audio unless its absence is mentioned.

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