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Video Essay Blog Post

When it comes to video essay, the use of images, text, visual, and voice are very important. A lot of video essay’s blend the ideas of things like documentaries, live presentations, and even power point presentations. The way it incorporates these ideas is simple, yet highly effective. For example, voice is generally the main theme, and it has the bulk of the message. A video essay without voice wouldn’t be very effective. The voice in a video essay usually plays throughout all or at least most of the piece. Like a documentary, video essays use visual proof to make points beyond voice and to give the speaker more credibility. A lot of times on top of the video proof is text like in a power point. Generally this text is simple, and helps to build the tentpoles of information that the whole video essay will be built on. Usually the text just highlights the main points as the speaker says them. This helps grab the viewers attention, and reinforce the important points so that they know what specifically to pay attention to versus other information that may be less important. When you blend all of these types of info you get a layered experience that makes the information easier to digest, and more enjoyable to view. The speaker says something. A video, picture, or other visual backs up their point, or gives an example. And finally text on top of that visual reinforces the ideas already presented and makes the viewer know how important the point is. I would begin writing a video essay by simply writing a script, like a presentation. Then I would find visual proof, and finally layer text on top of that.

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Breaking Bad Montage

For this post I chose a montage from Breaking Bad. I believe that this montage sequence does a good job of showing off the metric montage described in the Einstein reading The reason that I believe this scene is a metric montage is because of the timing. If you pay attention to the shot lengths, you will notice that the scene goes back and forth between long and short shots. Starting with longer shots that are all pretty close in time, and then switching the fast shots once the “action” starts. In this case there isn’t much action, but once the main theme of cooking starts the shots speed up. From the montages I have seen, and the ones we’ve looked at in class, it seems that a lot of them start with longer shots, then shorter shots, and back to longer shots. In this montage though, the shots go back and fourth. Longer, shorter, longer, shorter, longer, and so on. This process of the shifting lengths helps to build tension and make the scene feel interesting while also giving a feeling of being busy, or relaxing at certain points. It is also important to note that some of the scenes match the music, and while not everything is synced with the music, there are some parts where action and music are synced up. For example there is a switch that is flipped right on beat at one point. This is a very long scene, that in most cases could get boring, but I think the use of metric montage and fluctuating time really helps keep this scene interesting all the way through.

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Pixel Cinema, Star Wars and Google Earth

I was interested mostly in the Star Wars, and Google Earth videos. I would say that the digital aesthetics of these videos is chaotic, or confusing. They both give the viewer an odd view of the world and make it hard to comprehend exactly what is going on. While the Google Earth video is easier to understand than the Star Wars one, they both have a kind of chaotic and confusing vibe. Something interesting about this type of work is that it partially contradicts this quote from Lev Monovich. “cinema was understood, from its birth, as the art of motion, the art that finally succeeded in creating a convincing illusion of dynamic reality.” In these types of videos (the Star Wars and Google Earth videos) they goal is not to create a convincing illusion of dynamic reality, but instead to alter that reality to make it less recognizable. The illusion of what Star Wars and what Google Earth are is broken in these pixel cinema videos. Star Wars obviously is meant to be viewed as a story, or narrative piece, and when you have six movies playing on top of each other, it makes it very hard to view the story, especially if you’ve never seen any of the movies. Understanding any one particular story would be much harder. Here is another quote from Lev Manovich that I find interesting when related to this subject. “fictional films are live-action films, i.e. they largely consist of unmodified photographic recordings of real events which took place in real physical space.” This is interesting to me because both of these pieces we viewed are highly modified recordings. While Google Earth may not be a “fictional film” the Star Wars video is made up of six fictional films. And in that way, the pixel cinema version could be considered a fictional film, meaning that in this case, the film is not an unmodified photographic recording because the recordings are highly modified and purposely made to be confusing and complicated.

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Eagle Creek Documentary Post

If I were making a documentary about Eagle Creek, I think that I would pursue an overall story. Instead of a personal or point of view type story I would want a larger picture of multiple people from the event. I would follow a common theme of what happened, and how. How did people feel about it overall, and then go into what happened to the kids who started it, and end with how the forest is starting to rebuild and talk about restoration, whether natural or human-assisted. I would put a message out on social media trying to find people who were a part of it to interview. I would also try to interview the kids who started it if possible. And maybe a park ranger or someone who could add some expertise to the documentary. I would try to get shots of part of the forest that are burnt as visual evidence of the fire. There are still areas that are damaged and I would want to get some shots of those areas to add to the destruction aspect of the story. I would also get areas of the forest that are regenerating to help with the ending scenes. Of course having some real footage of the fire would be great. As the reading says, getting visual evidence means finding a story that you can capture in present time. It also mentions that this will tell the story better than any expert can, so getting real footage of the fire from people who were there would be very important to tell the story visually.

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Getting the audience into the story, SKAM.

I think that the idea of a networked tv series or webisode with the audience interacting on social media is really interesting. This almost blends the idea of television and video games. It allows the audience to really get into the story. Even to feel like a part of it. Letting the audience actually see into these people lives from a real point of view is really interesting, because this is how people interact in real life. They talk on social media, they see each others posts, and to have this type of interaction with a character just makes the story feel that much more real, and makes the characters mean a lot more. This also is a great idea from a marketing stand point, because it really pulls in the audience, and makes them want to see what happens next.

I like the idea of letting the audience take a very large part of the story, having their interactions have an affect on the story. It could be simple things, like having the audience vote on a choice that a character should make, and it could be as complex as taking into account the audience opinion, based on comments, and having those comments and opinions drive the characters. You could even tailor the story in a way that would make the audience impact more poignant. Maybe make the story about the harsh realities of young people with social media, how for some, it’s a great thing, and for others, it makes their lives a lot harder. Using a story like this to pass on a message would be a great tool.

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Run Lola Run

When watching Run Lola Run, the first thing I noticed was the style. It is shot in a very unique style, at least unique to other movies I have seen. When I first began watching the movie, I assumed that the style was different, purely because it was a German film, and possibly a lower budget film. Obviously foreign media can be different from American media, and a lower budget means that certain things may be changed to compensate. However, as the movie went on, it starts to feel less like a budget issue, or simply a cultural difference, and more of an aesthetic, or digital aesthetic. The basic idea of the movie is different from a “classic” movie in that the screen time and story time are the same, and that the story repeats three times, each time taking around 20 minutes of real story time, and screen time. Watching the movie, you get a sense of whimsy, and fun, along with a very serious undertone and story, that involves love, death, life, and hardships. The mixing of these themes with the filming style give the film an almost eerie vibe at first, but soon you become used to it, and it ends up blending into an almost perfect narrative. The style really ads to the narrative and the reason for this is because the more fun, and, as mentioned before, almost whimsical style give the film more freedom to play with time and still seem believable, since they have created an almost different universe. I also want to talk about the actual filming style, and why I call it whimsical. The reason for this word is because of the music, that is very different from your standard movie soundtrack, it is very good, but also very unique for a movie. Another reason is because of the long running segments, and interesting camera angle used throughout. All of this, along with the narrative, allow the film to become one, very unique, and complete experience.

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McCloud Blog Post

I felt that the McCloud visual essay was very poignant in terms of film. Talking obviously about the illusion of time in storytelling. I think one of the parts that stuck out to me the most was when McCloud mentions that “The panel acts as a sort of general indicator that time or space is being divided.” This relates to film when compared to the shot. The shot represents time and space, and it is assumed that time has not changed if the shot hasn’t changed. The same goes for characters within each shot, and how if you want to show time passing, having the character on screen leave the frame fully will help with the illusion of the passing of time or space. Another part I like was in the beginning when they show the long frame that has Uncle Henry taking a picture. In this frame they show how even though the brain wants to say “this is happening at once, because it’s all one picture.” However, our brain interprets it like a movie, and looks at this one frame, as one scene, as reads each thing happening in order from top to bottom, left to right. In a movie that issue isn’t present because the brain simply watches the movie in order, and doesn’t have to worry about what order it should be reading. I also found the portion about how quick each piece conspires to be interesting. Certain portions, like the “PAF” from the camera feel faster than the word “Smile” said by Uncle Henry. It’s all about how your brain reads it, but that’s based on how the author, or director in the case of movies, presents it. Overall, the illusion of time and space in movies and other media, is something that can be played with so that the viewer will see it the way you want, or see it in an interesting way.

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Blog 2 – Casino, Pen Scene

For blog 2 I chose the pen scene from Casino. I chose this scene because it always stuck with me, both because of how randomly violent it was, but also because of how ridiculous it was to watch Joe Pesci kill someone with a pen.

 

Medium (M)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Medium (M)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Medium (M)

Medium Long Shot (MLS)

Medium (M)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Extreme Close Up (ECU)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Extreme Close Up (ECU)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Extreme Close Up (ECU)

Medium Close Up (MCU)

Extreme Long Shot (ELS)

 

In this scene there are 18 individual shots. Most of them are medium shots, and medium close up’s, however, there are a few medium long shots and extreme close ups mixed in. I feel like the reason that medium close ups were used so heavily was to keep the viewer in the action (not too far away) while still showing everything that is happening, by not getting to close. The few times the camera switched to an extreme close up was too specific details that the viewer may have otherwise missed, such as Joe Pesci taking the pen.

The establishing shot of this scene is a medium shot, but it is a moving shot. The shot moves to the right, allowing the viewer to see each person at the bar, before it pans and zooms on Joe Pesci, which becomes a medium close up, and the second scene. The beginning of this scene switches back and forth from medium shot, to medium close up quite a few times, but once the action starts, its mainly medium close ups.

Depending on the character you choose to focus on, a shot may go from a medium shot, to a medium long shot, but I tried to figure out where the majority of the characters fit, to give the most accurate name. Its also important to note that even thought the bar hides the lower half of everyone body, that the shot was names for the distance, or what the view would see had there not been a bar there.

The final shot is the longest shot of the scene, being an extreme long shot. This is a good way to end the scene and allow the scene to kind of sit with the viewer for a minute before moving to the next scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Digital Media Ease vs. Quality

After reading the articles and watching the videos, my opinion is that these short films are trying to use the phone similarly to a camera. It feels like both films are not trying to be like traditional film. The reason I say this is because Detour is made in the style of a family film, or just a short fun film, not meant to look like a movie. However, the use of the phone seems to mimic camera use in a lot of ways. I do think that Detour used the affordances of the phone well though, in the scenes where they had a lot of camera movement, which is obviously easier with a phone than a large camera. Night Fishing is also different from traditional film, at least traditional western film because, like you said in class, it follows a more Korean style of film. Again though, it seems that this one is using similar techniques to a standard camera. One major difference I saw in this film was the heavy vignette, though I’m not sure if this has more to do with the phone, or just the overall style of the film. In Night Fishing, there is also a noticeable camera shake, particularly in the scene where he stumbles over the fishing poles and falls near the camera. This would not be the case with a standard camera.

I feel like an important automatism of digital video today is the ease of camera movement, which is made even more apparent in smartphone films, but is also easier with real cameras today, than it was in the past. Another important one, which is less related to the camera, but is still important, is the ease of putting your video, film, or movie out to the world, by simply using YouTube, Snapchat, or FaceBook. As a creator, I use digital video to create small clips for social media, like we talked about in class. As a consumer, I tend to watch a lot of YouTube, and see a lot of other peoples social media creations. The way I use digital media is generally based on entertainment and human connection. The reason for this is because I get a lot of my digital media through social media, and that is usually for entertainment purposes, or me and other people to communicate with each other through digital media. Digital media specifically through phones, seems to be trying to do two things. The first is create an easy way for EVERYONE to be able to create simple digital media and share it easily. It’s not meant to be professional or even impressive in terms of the media itself, but is meant to be easy and accessible. The second thing is to be able to mimic what real film equipment can do, but this is only when paired with the right amount of money, and the right skill. Most people won’t be able to create a film like the ones we watched, or even talked about in the articles. So it seems that phone related digital media is trying to have something for everyone. Its easy enough for any to make a low quality piece of media, but advanced enough for a select few to make high quality pieces of media.

-Grayson

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Hi Class!

Hi, My name is Grayson. I have enjoyed making and editing videos for most of my life, but haven’t done much because of limited equipment.

Here is the YouTube video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6uGxZJYVoI

The reason I chose this video is because I like the style. I think that the shooting is very interesting, I think that the use of different angles and different distances gives the video a nice flow. I also like the editing style, the music along with the shot speed, and time give the whole video a very good vibe. I also like the changes from highly professional shooting, to more quickly shot and unedited interviews, and back to professional shooting. What I find interesting about these types of videos is that they hold the attention of the audience without many strong characters, or strong story lines. Usually the cars, and the editing style are enough to keep me engaged.

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