Video Essay Final Project: Violence In Video Games

Artist Statement
I thought it would be a good idea to express my thoughts on why I enjoy playing violent video games in a video essay. I wanted to express my thoughts on violence in entertainment. We see and read about violence in books, cartoons, movies, and in plays. I think there has to be some kind of violence in entertainment because, we (humans) are trilled by it. For me I like seeing and reading about the good guys that win battles. I also like playing to part of the good guy in video games, that can defeat a whole army of monsters and aliens. I do not like playing video games about war, because I feel that it is glorifying war. I enjoyed making the video essay about my love of videos games as well as expressing my thoughts about the violence in entertainment. I am glad that I had to opportunity to use Digital Cinema to express my Ideas.

Des Smith

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Cinema Writing

I like that the voice over, adds to the video essay. After watching the films on video essays, I thought about how I use to watch the National Geographic documentaries when I was a child. I use to enjoy watching them and hearing the researchers, and actors voice overs. They sometimes added text as well as newspaper clippings, which was informative. I did not realize that they were video essay until I now.

I think the text and sound in a video essay helps express the argument of the film maker. In addition, I think the video would be bland without the text, and voice over. The images (pictures, videos, etc.) is great visual evidence, but the filmmaker’s thoughts on what is being shown on screen helps enhance the video essay. I can certainly say it helps the filmmaker seem like a scholar.

I do not know how I would begin writing a video essay, because I actually never thought about making one. I like writing stories, so I think I would start by researching topics I wish to explore. Then I would gather the visual evidence as if I was making a documentary. I would write my thoughts about the subject so I can record them, and add them to the film. I will edit the voice over into the film as if I were writing an analysis to a in text citation. This is the best way I can explain it, for lack of a better way to convey how I would go about creating the video essay.

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Networked Cinema

I think the ideal of influencing a show in real time is kind of an odd thing to do. I would not want my vision to be dictated by the viewers. Keep in mind this is just my opinion. I am not a control freak, but there too much that can go wrong during production. For example, what if an actor gets sick while shooting. I would not to incorporate that kind of thing into the story. I did have trouble with the reading, which was about the actors putting the school shooting into the story. I think there is a time in a place for everything, but putting school shooting in a series that is supposed to entertain it audience should be off limits.

I would like to do a web sketch comedy series that involves improve. I think if I was to produce and direct such a series, I could have some measure of control over that themes and story lines I want to explore. I like dark humor and satire, so I think I could pick a random news topic of the day and tell the actors to play of it. I think this sort of comedy can be great for an interactive wed series while I can have some control over the topics. I would choose five random but funny news topics of the day, and then post the topics on social media. I will have the audience choose the topic they want the actors to do. I know this could be tricky, I guess I could poll the topics before the show’s airs, and have the actors do the audience’s top choice.

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Duel Between Father And Son

This scene is an extreme long shot of Luke Skywalker confronting Darth Vader.
This is a pivotal scene in the movie. When Luke was on Dagobah, he received a vision of his decapitated head inside of Darth Vader’s Helmet. This vision indicated what Luke could become if he joined the dark side of the force. It’s also a revelation that he is connected to Vader. The shot indicates a passage of time. The first shot shows that the duel has moved into an open area.

This is a medium close shot of Darth Vader.
The medium shot of Vader is a psychological shot of Vader trying to pull Luke to the dark side of the force. The shot is also framed in a way to show Vader is trying not to harm Luke in a menacing yet subtle way. The camera is tilted up to show that Vader is an imposing character.

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This is a medium shot of their confrontation.
This shot shows that Vader has Luke on the ropes so to speak. It’s framed in a way to show that look could possibly die in this confrontation. I think of this scene as a photograph of two boxers with Luke looking as though Luke is getting pummeled by his opponent and is about to suffer a TKO.

This is a close up shot of Luke after Vader revealed that he is Luke’s father.
This shot shows Luke in a venerable position. The framing of the scenes held together by the framing to show that Luke has come to a pivotal moment in the film. The framing of this scene accentuates the shock of the revelation Vader revealing he is Luke’s father. If the scene was not a close up shot, it would lose its psychological effect of the audience.

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Pixel Cinema Blog

I watched Yorgo Alexopoulos No Feeling is Final. The film was not what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be an endless loop of some kind. The artist manipulated the images of mountains, oceans, trees, et cetera, with pyramid shaped patterns of various colors to create a spatial montage. Nature is the central theme of the loop. The artist did use the medium to create a blend colors with recorded images of three-dimensional the world, which broke with traditional cinema.

Alexopoulos used real photographic images to create this loop. Lev Manovich states, “Once live-action footage is digitized (or directly recorded in a digital format), it loses its privileged indexical relationship to pro-filmic reality. The computer does not distinguish between an image obtained through the photographic lens, an image created in a paint program, or an image synthesized in a 3-D graphics package, since they are made from the same material—pixels”. I do thinks it is interesting how we can manipulate live action footage on a computer. When I edit with Adobe Premier Pro, I never thought of the film as pixels.

I must admit that I love traditional cinema. I have always been fascinated by what cinema story tellers could do on the big screen. I remember watching Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom, as well as Ghostbusters in the theater and being in awe. These movies inspired me to want to be a filmmaker. With that said, I do not want to create pixel cinema. After watching No Feeling is Final, I did not have the feeling of this is something I must to do.

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Blog Post: Visual Evidence

If I were to make a short documentary about the Eagle Creek fire, I would interview witnesses and the fire fighters and police officers. I would pursue the stories of the people who were trapped on the trail. It’s important that I record the witnesses account of the ordeal. I would also get footage of the Fire Fighters at work putting out the fires. I would also obtain satellite footage to show the scope of the blazing fire. I would use this footage as visual evidence. In addition, it is import that I show people doing what they do otherwise all I would have is the witness’s words and no action.

I would show a reenactment of the teen setting of Fireworks to have visual evidence of how the fire got started. In addition, I would not show the teens face on the documentary, but I would film how he was disciplined for his part in starting the fire. I would have to speak to the boy’s lawyers as well as the Polices Officers who were involved in the teen’s sentencing. Filming the aftermath of the smoldering forest is essential to demonstrate the lost of the flora fauna. It’s central that I show to the visual evidence of the fire as well as speaking with multiple witnesses, I want my documentary to be reliable. I do not want to be involved in a scandal. It is vital that I be objective in filming the documentary, because it is not for me to judge anyone in the documentary.

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Untouchables Montage

The Untouchables is violent movie that focuses Eliot Ness’s war with Al Capone in the prohibition era of the 1920s. I chose the overtonal montage of the train station scene from the 1987 film, The Untouchables. The scene is emotional; it plays on the audience’s fears, of seeing bystanders caught between Eliot Ness and the mafia’s war. The scene of the baby in the stroller rolling down the stairs adds an extra amount tension to the scene. The scene is edited in slow motion to add extra drama to the scene. I think the scene would not work without slow motion. If the scene did not use slow motion, the scene would have been too chaotic for the audiences to see what was happening on screen. In addition, I think it would have lost the dramatic effect.

The scene is a culmination metric, rhythmic, and tonal montage. The editing does follow a specific number of frames. The scene is shot is in rhythm, such as beats from a percussion. There is emotional weight to the montage as well. The audience has seen what the war has done the people in Eliot Ness’s life. At this point in the movie, the audience is afraid that Eliot Ness and the bystanders are going to die in the crossfire. There’s also emotion weight to the scene because the war is being fought in a subway train station and not on the streets. This scene also represents Ness’s final confrontation with Capone’s men.

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Run Lola Run

Run Lola Run uses different cinema techniques from traditional Hollywood films. One of the usual techniques is transitioning from live sequences to animation to show Lola running down a flight of stairs. The part of the movie that can be said to have digital aesthetics is when Lola bumps into random strangers; the strangers future is told in about ten second montages. This is certainly not traditional story telling techniques.

The spatial and temporal arrangements are different from typical Hollywood films. The story elements are almost like an episode of a television show. Two of the acts end in tragedy, and begin again with Lola and Manni in bed together. The film still uses the three-act rule in a sense that something happens that spurs the Lola into action. Lola comes into a conflict with her father and is denied the money that will save Manni’s life. When Lola fails to acquire the money, see looks for a a way of gaining the money, which ends the act.

The method used in the movie to compress and stretch time is different from traditional films. When Lola is running through the streets to the bank the filmmaker uses close ups and wide shots to show a progression in time. As I mentioned earlier, the film still uses the three-act rule of storytelling. The film does the three acts in an unusual way by mixing in montages and animation, as well as looping the story to end with a different outcome. I have to admit that I did not catch all of the dialogue for the film. I was confused by certain parts of the narrative.

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Time Manipulation

After reading McCloud’s Visual essay, I now understand how different shot to can depict a passage of time. For example, I can film a close up shot of a character speaking and then pondering for a space. Afterwards, I can film the character in a medium long shot to indicate that time has passed. I can even fade to different to (close, medium, and long) shot to specify that a space of time has passed.

It’s fascinating how different shots in a film represent time; I never thought about this until after I had read McCloud’s essay. The panels where he discusses the past, present and now is mind blowing. When I watch films, I never think about the past, present and the now when characters are speaking in films, or when shots change to another shot. I view shots as if it is happening in the present. It’s fascinating how a single panel and shot can represent a passage in time. I think a perfect example of time moving in a single shot is the scene of Luke Skywalker gazing at the setting suns in, Star Wars.

I think about my favorite films which I tend to watch them over and over again like they are on an infinite loop. As I watch The Empire Strikes Back, I think about Luke on Dagobah with Yoda. The film does not specify a passage of time, but Luke’s training with Yoda indicates that some time has passed. McCloud’s essay has given me inspiration in creating shots to show a progression in time.

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When I was brainstorming ideas about this assignment, I thought about filming myself washing dishes. The story board came in handy for helping me plan where I would place the camera. For the first shot of the film, I used a wide shot to create a first-person perspective shot. This shot also establish what the short film was going to be about. This wide shot of  the dirty dishes also created a sense of mystery as well; it makes the viewers wonder why is the film opening on dishes.

I used a close up shot of me looking at the dishes. This close up shot was done to reveal that it was actually me who was staring at the dishes. The close-up shot is great for establishing narrative for the film. I think close ups are good for building tension in scenes. I used a close up shot of me turning on the faucet.

When I approached the sink, I used a medium long shot. It was at this point, I decided to position my cameras on the right side of the kitchen; I position the cameras to the right so I would not confuse the viewers for when I had to cut to another shot of me continuing an action. For example, I shot a close up shot of me lifting up a plate, and then I cut to a medium long shot of me putting the plate into the dishwasher.

Throughout the film process, I switched from close to medium long shots to keep the viewers eyes busy. When I was editing the footage, I found it somewhat problematic starting an action on a close up shot and then cutting to another shot of me completing the action. A great example of my editing is displayed when I did a close up shot of opening a can of Coke Zero. I started with the shot of me lifting the Coke until it was out of frame. I finished the shot on a close up of me lifting the can to my mouth.

During the conclusion of the film, I used a medium long shot of me putting the soap into the dishwasher and then closing the dishwasher door. I cut to a point of view shot of my hand starting the washer. I used the wide and close shots to help create motion. I have to admit, that I was confused to how I was going to shoot this assignment. It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination, because I had to shoot the film myself. It took me longer than I expected, because I had to really wash the dishes. I also had to keep drying my hands before I touch the cameras.

I think the film turned out to be okay under the circumstances. I wish I had more time to plan for the assignment. I am sort of a perfectionist when it comes to filming. After filming and editing the film, I now have an understanding to the concept of continuity.

This article has 1 Comment

  1. Des, Good. You are thinking through how continuity works. The edits are a little off. In editing for the illusion of continuity, you need to imagine where the action is in time and space off screen so that you can pick it up in the next shot.

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iPhone Filmmaking


After watching both Detour, and Night Fishing, I think they are trying the be like traditional films. The film Detour reminding me of National Lampoon’s Vacation. It wasn’t as funny though, but I did get the vibe of a family having fun while traveling and singing like the Griswold family. Night Fishing seem to emulate a found footage film like the Blair Witch Project.


We record crazy things out of the blue almost everyday and posting them on social media platforms. We often forget that some of the embarrassing things we film with our phones don’t exactly disappear when we erase them on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Some of our other automatism of digital video is filming things, such as babies speaking their first words, as well as toddlers taking their first steps. Smartphones has also allowed us to share part of our lives and thoughts with others by way of vlogging.



I use digital video as a way to entertain others. I have always wanted to express myself through the art of film. Films such as, Jason And the Argonauts, Back to The Future, The Good the Bad and The Ugly and Who Framed Roger Rabbit were a huge inspiration on me. I sit and wonder sometimes if I can actually create that sense of wonder that I got from those films with just a smartphone. I think digital video wants to an expressive form like traditional films. I think digital video allow inspiring filmmakers to create films without having to spend millions of dollars on a film budget.

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