Final Project Final Cut with Artist Statement

For my final project, I wanted to explore a topic that I love: environmentalism. When I was in my environmental science class this semester, my professor, Dr. Berger, challenged us to spend 12 hours without making any unnatural emissions. Many people in my class thought this would be a tough challenge. I thought it would be a fun one. However, soon after I began planning it, I realized how difficult it really is to like completely waste and emission free. I planned this trip with my friend Emily, who runs the EnviroMental Podcast, Andrew, who is a fellow DTC student, and Brandon, who doesn’t really focus on environmental issues. I thought this would be a good group because it is a diverse array of people in their environmental journeys.

In this video, I used the format of a video essay which incorporates voice over and interviews to move the story along and inform the viewer. Other techniques from this class that I used include continuity editing, discontinuous editing/montage, and interviewing. I ran into several challenges along the way. The ending shots have loud rain droplet sounds that I could not edit out without compromising the integrity of the interview. I could have solved this by bringing an external mike to do interviews so that the interviews were louder and had less background noise to edit out. I also could have made my subjects come back and voice over or re-do the interviews. I was also challenged by how to string all of this together. I decided to go to a linear format rather than splitting the footage up by topic, (ie. food, waste, etc). I shot this video on my Canon T3i with a 50mm lens and the base lens. I also used my iPhone XR to film additional video and audio. This video was edited using Adobe Premiere and the audio was edited in Adobe Audition, using noise reduction techniques. Overall, editing and shooting this video was a fun and informative process. I would love to do more activism-based video essays or documentaries in the future. 

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Interactive Media Blog

I watched the Uda Atsuko flash interactive media. The works by Atsuko uses different fragments of looping video and sound to piece together a narrative. On each hover over a video, we gain a different insight into the narrative. Each hover gives us a new angle on the situation. The part about these flash works that was so revolutionary, fun, and inspiring is that at the time there was no language for them. They completely allow for the viewer to discover new things throughout the media. In Atsuko’s works, there’s nothing that really provides a clear indicator for where to click or hover for things to happen. Instead the viewer must embark on a quest of discovery. Some parts of it can even be hard to find because the language used in between the pieces is not consistent. However, I think that this quirk and discover is what truly gives the piece life.

In terms of Atsuko’s works, I believe that they are narratives. In each flash piece, she tells a different story. Most of the times, her stories are about mundane moments in life. But, the way that she loops sounds and imagery, and plays with moving frames gives it life and excitement. In each piece there is absolutely a story, or narrative, that is followed throughout. Even better, it’s a narrative that the viewer gets to play a part in. Atsuko’s works are cinematic because they employ cinematic techniques. She pays attention to framing and continuity. Every frame leads to the next in a compelling and exciting way. Cinematic language is employed because it tells a story through images, framing, and progressive movement.


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Video Essay Blog

In video essays, spoken word, text, images, and videos can all create a language which comments on a given topic. It’s important, when crafting a video essay to remember that each thing displayed on the screen or heard by the viewer interact with each other. These sounds and images create an atmosphere and commentary on each other. For example, adding text to the Scorsese compilation gave a new life to the video essay, showing that Scorsese does not, in fact, show women in a positive or uplifting way. A combination of different media can make the viewer think of the concept in a different way than they otherwise would. I think you begin writing a video essay by thinking of a topic and an objective with that topic. For example, is your video essay trying to convince your audience of something? Is it trying to enlighten them or anger them? After picking an objective, it’s very important to calculate how the images, sounds, and videos that you use will help inform your objective. Anything used in the essay should be evidence to support your objective, if it is not, it should be cut from the video.

For my final project I am doing a video about how we individually contribute to destruction to the planet. I am filming my friends going on a camping trip in which we do not make any emissions for the trip! I will include interviews, voice-over, and motion graphics. This video will be a video essay/documentary. I am exploring techniques used in the Visual Evidence module and the Video Essay module. I will also be drawing from techniques I learned from the job profile assignment!

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SKAM – Betsy Hanrahan

Blog: Read the article about SKAM and then skim around the Facebook video series. What are your thoughts about a networked “tv” series or “webisode” with social media interaction with the audience? What ideas do you have for such a networked interactive series?

When first reading about SKAM, I am immediately interested in the series. I love series which allow viewers to communicate and be part of the plot line. One of my favorite interactive shows on Hulu is The Masked Singer, which is a kitschy show which brings different celebrities onto the show and the judges and audience participate in guessing who the celebrities behind the masks are. There is a huge community on twitter that discusses theories each week. With a show like SKAM, it truly gives viewers optimal interactivity. They are allowed to participate and potentially alter the plot line of the series. Traditional tv series are great for binge-ability and production value. However, webisodes truly takes advantage of the affordances of digital cinema and encourages viewers to be completely immersed in a narrative.

One of the problems with a webisode series is that it’s more difficult to binge them, in the style that you can with Hulu, Netflix, or another streaming platform. When reading about SKAM, I thought it would be an interesting series to follow. However, when I went to the Facebook page, I was overwhelmed with the amount of content I would have to scroll through to reach the first episode. In addition, the entire page lends itself to give spoilers to people who have not seen the episodes yet. I think one problem could be that it’s not thoughtless or mindless for viewers. They have to actively seek information, which on one hand leads to a dynamic and more intellectually stimulating experience, but on the other hand, I’m not sure if that’s what a majority of viewers who love binging series would like.

Since I love horror, I think it would be cool to do a web series which is based on a horror narrative. Perhaps the entire story could take place over instagram live or facebook live videos. This type of series would give a great initial shock, much like that of The Blair Witch Project. But, the shock factor might be too extra for viewers who might overreact or call the police.

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Pixel Cinema Blog – Betsy Hanrahan

In Manovich’s book, he discusses how Andrei Tarkovsky believed that abstract cinema is impossible (Manovich, 2). However, I would argue that cinema is inherently abstract and that digital cinema has made an abstraction of reality even further possible. In all cinema, the camera does in fact capture real events happening. However, abstraction is just the lack of direct representation and the focusing on ideas rather than specifics. All cinema is abstraction, as it diverges from reality. In digital cinema, this abstraction comes with more ease and abilities. In “LIGHT IS WAITING” by Micheal Robinson, he demonstrates how abstraction can exist and be utilized in digital cinema. Using editing techniques Robinson is able to create an abstract and other worldly feeling between  the “Full House” clips and the heavily edited sequence which comes after the tv is dropped.

In traditional cinema, every image was discrete and indexical. In film, things were exactly as they appeared in real life, effects were practical, and to alter film footage took an immense amount of effort (Manovich, 6). Film had an inherent truth, because to alter it was to have to paint on every frame or cut each frame individually. In digital cinema, the altercation of frames becomes much easier. There are several reasons that digital cinema does not have the same inherent truth and indexicality of traditional cinema.  This is because digital cinema is a combination of generated 2D and 3D animations, painting, image processing, compositing, and live action materials (Manovich, 7-8). In “LIGHT IS WAITING,” Robinson makes use of live action footage from “Full House,” but uses compositing, image processing, and editing techniques. In his piece, he creates a whole alternate reality out of editing techniques and image processing. Instead of putting reality on display, he creates a surrealistic or even unrealistic world of its own. “LIGHT IS WAITING,” inspires me because it exploits the potential of digital cinema and the abstraction of live action material.


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Visual Evidence – Blog

If I was creating a documentary about the Eagle Creek Fire, I would be most interested in pursuing the story of those directly impacted by the fire. I would want to pick two or three of the most interesting subjects who got stuck in the forest while the fire is raging. I think that this would be the most compelling because seeing a person talk about their experience of survival can be emotionally compelling. Getting visual evidence for this documentary might be difficult because, as Hampe states, you can’t capture the absence of something (Hampe, p. 94). I would try to seek out different found footage, of Eagle Creek before the fire, during the fire, and during the rescue. I would also ask subject what could illustrate point, as suggested in the reading (Hampe, p. 99). Asking the interview subject what can illustrate the point usually is a good idea because they were there and understand the experience best. In terms of footage that I would shoot, I would get shots of how the forest looks now and have the subjects return to the places where they were stuck and talk through their story (either in a group or as individuals). I would also like to get shots of things which illustrate their situation and the aftermath of it. Some ideas are shots of the only stuff they had with them or of their backpacks and shoes after the fire. I think it would be interesting to have the subjects go back and take video of them hiking through the forest trail they were stuck on to illustrate in a visual metaphor that they are reclaiming the forest and that the forest will bounce back.


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Montage Blog – Tonal

Search on YouTube for a Montage sequence the demonstrates one of Eisenstein’s methods of montage. Paste the video into a post and describe how the techniques in the sequence fit one or more of the methods and how you think the sequence works on the viewer’s emotional understanding. 

This scene (beginning at 0:45) displays a good example of tonal montage, more specifically a “graphic montage.” In Einstein’s “Method of Montage,” he gives the example of the fog sequence in “Potemkin.” In “Potemkin,” the visual feeling of the different shots connect them through montage. In “The Lion King,” the imagery of clouds and dust help to build tension within the scene. Graphic tonal montage is displayed through the rhythm in imagery. In the beginning of the sequence, there is dust which shows the conflict in the scene. This is broken up with the blue skies and white clouds. The white clouds still add to the tonal montage, however they

Provide contrast between the area which things are going wrong and where the characters are that do not know the things which are going wrong yet. Through the sequence there is a build in dusty imagery. As the tension and conflict builds, there is more and more dust imagery. As Mufasa is falling off of the cliff,  the dusty imagery is at its peak. In “Method of Montage,” Einstein describes that tonal montage can lead to a higher significance within editing. In this movie, tonal montage helps to build a mood and tension throughout the sequence. It notifies the viewer that something is going wrong, but promotes cohesion throughout the shots. This sequence also follows rhythmic montage, which is the length of shots based on the movement of characters or objects in the sequence. Through the sequence, the camera follows the movement of the stampede, Mufasa, and Simba. Rhythmic montage helps the flow of movement seem natural yet disorienting at the same time.

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Run Lola Run – Blog 4

In “Run Lola Run,” The director breaks up the narrative into three acts, each section tells a different version of what could happen. In the first section, the director uses many shots of Lola running, broken up by side narratives which show photographs depicting other people’s lives. In each subsequent act, the amount of running gets shorter and the director can cut out many things which we have already seen because we get the suggestion of them just from our recall.

This movie can be considered the digital aesthetic because it uses things which would not be possible without digital cinema. For one, it uses a lot of superimposition, such as with photographs. It also utilizes the portability of a smaller digital camera with the use of dynamic movement. An example is when the camera follows alongside Lola or when the camera circles around Lola or her boyfriend.

The film diverges from a traditional narrative structure my showing different versions of the same narratives, each following each other. Also, the film has scenes of the couple in bed which occurred in the past which are spliced into the middle of each narrative sequence. It is similar to Hollywood narratives because it follows Fretag’s pyramid, with the exposition being the first narrative sequence, the rising action being the second sequence, the climax being the boyfriends death, and the falling action and resolution being the third sequence.

A few things that stuck out to me about this movie was the strong visual cues and the sensory overload. The strong visual dues include the bag dropping and the phone dropping. These things help the viewer to understand what’s going on in the non-linear narrative. I was especially compelled by the sensory overload in this movie. The high contrast, overlapping noises, loud noises, and almost constant movement throughout the movie added a pressure and imminence to the movie which would not be there otherwise.

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Blog 3 – Betsy Hanrahan

In McClouds “Time Frames,” he discusses how changes in the rhythm and size of panels can alter how the viewer perceives time. In essence, when the expected is broken, the viewer begins to see things in a different time frame. Although digital cinema can only capture a moment in time as it is happening, similarly one could break the traditional rules of cinema in order to alter the viewers reality. One example is parallel action, which has the ability to show several events unfolding at once. This allows the filmmaker to fit more into a timeframe than what actually could have unfolded in a single moment in a single time.

Through continuity editing, a filmmaker is able to alter the viewer’s perception of time with ease. The filmmaker can make the viewer feel that a lot happened within an extended amount of time, but in reality it unfolded in a few minutes. The filmmaker can make suggestions with motion and framing rules which connect moments that are disconnected in real life. In contrast, discontinuous editing can show many chopped up events across time and space, although it is likely jarring or obvious to the viewer. Another idea of how to alter time in digital cinema is to utilize sounds and noises. While a shot focuses on a subject, the sounds can suggest other activity to the viewer, such as a person walking towards or away from them. In digital cinema it’s all about altering the perception of the viewer, which can be done using noises, framing, and length of shots.

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Sunny Disposition – Continuity Editing

For my video, I chose to film my brother watering our garden. There are a few moments in this sequence that I think are particularly successful. First, is the sequence which starts with the long shot of Ryan watering the garden bed (11 seconds) and ends with him walking away form the garden barrel (26 seconds). In the first shot in this sequence, it’s at the garden bed. The second, over the shoulder shot also occurs in the same place, but at a different time. This then cuts to the shot from the vantage point of the plants he is watering in a different location. This works well because the dynamic movement of the water connects the shots and the exchange acts as a motivated POV, even if it’s the POV of a plant. Another part I think is successful is the cuts on action in the end of the sequence. This part begins with the hose turning off (36 seconds) then goes to Ryan dropping the hose (37 seconds), and the hose hitting the ground (38 seconds). This part works because the first shot establishes that he has finished. The second shot shows him beginning to throw it down, and the last shot follows through with the action.

A part I think that is less successful is from the 4th clip (10 seconds) of Ryan picking up the hose to the 5th clip (12 seconds) of Ryan beginning to water the flower bed. I had initially filmed another clip which I thought could go in between these two, however it did not follow the 180 degree rule so I decided to scrap it. I think another shot which connected the two movements could make this part flow with more continuity. Another part is the cut from Ryan walking with the hose (28 seconds) to the close up of a tomato plant (30 seconds) and then to Ryan’s face (32 seconds). I wanted the tomato plant to act as a relief in continuity, but I feel that the sequence just becomes choppy instead. Perhaps I could have instead used a shot which is close up on a plant but shows Ryan moving and then settling into a spot in the background. This would connect the two shots better in the viewers head.

From this exercise, I found that playing with movement of an object, like a yellow hose, or a liquid, like water, through a frame can create dynamic imagery and transitions. I found that some of the sequences, like the hose dropping to the ground cut on action, when I rewatched it I didn’t even notice the cut. I feel that in order to be very successful in continuity editing, all my cuts might feel like this. This exercise also showed me how difficult it can be to film someone doing something with spontaneity. I  often found myself directing my subject to go back, or move over. It showed me how difficult it is to create a true documentary, and how boring it might be for a viewer to watch.


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  1. There are a lot of interesting edits – continuous and discontinuous. Here the continuity (and lack of sometimes) creates a mystery around the subject. With more traditional continuity editing (establishing shot etc) the viewer would be able to mentally map out the space of the garden. I am not sure I can, but instead it focuses on the experience of the character.

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Blog 2 – Fargo Movie Shot

Medium shot, pan on action

Medium shot, following character

Medium –> medium close up, pan on action

Long shot

Medium close up

Extreme long shot

Long shot, pan on action

Extreme long shot, POV zoom in

Long shot —> medium close up shot, pan on action

Long shot

Medium Shot

Medium Shot

Medium Shot

Medium Shot

Medium Shot

Medium shot, cut on action

cut on action, long shot

Medium close up —> long shot

Medium shot, gun follows action of character of screen

Extreme Long shot

Extreme Long Shot, cut on action

Cut on action, medium shot

Medium close up

Long Shot, slight tilt

Extreme Long Shot


For this blog, I chose to use my favorite scene from the movie Fargo, to discover why I find it so compelling. The framing of this scene shows a sequence of discovery and triumph, thoughtfully played out through the camera framing and movement. This scene begins with the main character coming through some trees in a series of medium shots. The third shot is slightly closer to the character, hinting that the character is beginning to make a discovery. This shot is then followed by a long shot, which gives us a feel for the whole setting, and hints that there is going to be something coming up in front of her later in the scene. The fifth shot, a medium close up allows us to better see the character’s face and feel her discovery. Next, we get to finally see what she’s looking at, however, there is little on screen action in this shot and because it is an extreme long shot, the exact nature of the surroundings is not clear. The series of next four shots show a pan on the woman’s action in and two POV shots which walk us closer to the subject, illuminating the nature of this interaction.

In the next sequence, we are showed a series of medium shots, alternating between the woman and man. Although the camera stays in the same place in each respective shot, the filmmaker makes use of timing to help illustrate the story. The shots start out longer and then get increasingly shorter until there is a cut on action while the man throws the wood. This sequence helps to build the tension until it is broken with dynamic movement. This sequence represents a height on tension, until it is broken with the cut on action.

Next, we get a medium close up which transitions into a long shot of the man running away from the woman. Next, she follows his motion off-screen with the motion of her gun, which helps to give us a sense of where he’s headed, even though we can not see him. The extreme long shots of the man running away gives the audience a sense that he is escaping, it makes us wonder if he might actually evade punishment. In another cut on action into a medium shot, we get the relief that he doesn’t escape, signified by the move in of the camera. If the filmmaker had chosen to stick with the extreme long shot, the visual metaphor would not have been clear.  In the last two shots, we see the triumphant character in a long shot, with a tilt to show her moving down towards the injured man. Then, an extreme long shot which is able to illustrate the triumph of her closing the lead he thought he had on her. Over all, this sequence uses camera movement and framing in order to show a journey of discovery, heighten and release tension, and show who came out on top.

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Blog 1 – iPhone film properties

I believe that iphone movies are creating something new, with new properties, diverging from high production cinema. Due to it’s portability, accessibility, and unique “look,” iphone movies have a different feel from that of movies shot on Red Cameras for instance.

The automatisms of digital iphone video is the dynamic movements, the ability to get obscure angles easily, a deep focus, and the feel that the viewer is there. The use of iphones parallels the use of camcorders of the early 2000s. When watching “Night Fishing,” I couldn’t help but be reminded of “The Blaire Witch Project.” In a similar way, I feel that when I see a hand-held shot from a movie that I am more in the action and that I can suspend my disbelief that the events in the movie actually happened. There is a certain charm to using iphones to film things, just as with camcorders. In early seasons of “It’s Always Sunny in Philedelphia,” the low quality taping adds to the grunge of the show. In a similar way, iPhones can be used to add grunge, realism, more accurate POV shots, and more obscure angles. It also allows movies to be more accessible and cheap to create.

The access to a mobile phone with cinematic capabilities allows for us all to be creators and consumers, and do it cheaply and quickly. In my perception, a lot of the content that I see online that was created on an iphone is for the purpose of sharing experiences or creating funny content on the basis of shared experience.

In an age of information, I feel that cinema is begging to be shortened, to be chewed up into bite-sized pieces of information. Everyone has access to movies, tv shows, and videos on their personal devices. Why should we go to a movie theatre? Why should we sit and watch a two hour movie at all? YouTube has created a place where we can share and watch snippets of information anytime. Apps like TikTok and Vine have made the creation even more accessible, the content even shorter, and the gratification more immediate.

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My name is Betsy Hanrahan and I am a junior studying Digital Technology and Culture. I have created some artistic narrative videos and some informative videos for jobs. I love tv shows and movies, though! Here’s a video I particularly like:

I like this style of video because it’s a professional video that explores different viewpoints and perspectives. This video also uses auditory cues such as dings to let the viewer and the participants know what’s going on in the video. In addition, these videos encourage participation because all of the questions used in the videos come from viewers. This video is simple and raw, but is high quality.

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