Video Essay: La La Land

For this assignment, I wanted to build on the video essay assignment that we all did last week, and you can find my video from last week here. I wasn’t super proud of what I made last week, so I wanted to refine and spend more time on creating a better video essay analysis. For this one, I used iMovie again, but included a more focused narrative for my video. I didn’t include background music because I thought it may be too distracting from what I was saying. This article helped me shape my narration for this video essay too, I wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. I also used pictures that fit what I was talking about, and learned how to freezeframe the pictures so they wouldn’t be floating around the screen as they tend to do in iMovie. Also, making this on an iMac was a lot easier than my phone, highly recommend.

Video Essay

For my video essay I decided to analyze a scene from the Wolf of Wall Street.

This scene actually goes 4 minutes longer, but the rest of it is just them talking how they are for the last 30 seconds of this clip.

One of the first things I noticed about his scene was the composition of the scene. In the article “How to read a movie”, the rule of thirds is discussed. This scene shows a perfect example of that. In the main shot in the beginning when Belfort is greeting the two FBI agents. from the article, “A person to the right of that position will seem more positive; to the left, more negative” Belfort and his girls are on the right side of the screen, and the FBI agents on the left are seen as more negative. Belfort is also in much brighter clothes, with lighter hair, and is usually shown with the sun shining on him. According to the article, lighter colors are usually seen as dominant over darker colors. The FBI agents are in black suits so it becomes very apparent that Belfort is the dominant character.

This clip from later in the scene is a great example of a tilt shot. Showing the favorable character (Belfort) from below gives the character a more godly presence than if the camera was over his eye line,

As The FBI agents are walking up, they are already scene as the bad guys and as lesser before they get a chance to talk. This is an extreme high angle shot. This makes the FBI agents seem like pons and the character at the right angle seem like he is over them.

Video Essay.

Below is where I created a video essay analysis on one of the scenes from the movie, “The Shining.” This is the link to the original assignment and it is worth 3 1/2 stars. I completed this assignment in iMovie and it was very time consuming. I went to the DKC for help and below is my completed analysis of the scene, Here’s Johnny!” Let me know what you guys think.

Video Essay

I chose my one of my favorite scenes from Doctor Who, the episode of Angels Take Manhattan, where Amy Pond and Rory Williams (the companions) die.


O Video Why Art Thou?

It’s been a long long time since I did a video essay, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Here I talk briefly about symbolism in O Brother Where Art Thou. Some of the clips I found on Youtube. For others, I used Quicktime to make screen recordings from Netflix. Astute observers may notice that the film is not streaming on Netflix. But when I use my Opera browser, it thinks I’m in Sweden, where Netflix has a somewhat different selection. I used MPEG Streamclip to trim clips and stills from what I had. The voiceover was recorded in Audacity. I put it all together in iMovie. I had to stretch some shots and trim some clips to get the images and video in sync with the voiceover. Not too tedious. I think it came out okay. It’s probably not very insightful and a little slapped together. Adding some background music might have improved it, as well as some titles, but, it’s okay for a quickie.

Video Essay

For my video essay I decided to take a scene from the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane, which I watched this week. I chose this movie for two reasons. 1) This movie has an extremely high rating on Rotten Tomatoes and I am a big fan of Rotten Tomato reviews 2) John Goodman is one of my favorite actors-he can play any role.


In an attempt to become a movie director over the course of a single week I read the post on “How to Read a Movie,” and watched the Top 20 Cinematic Shots video, and Camera Angles and Techniques video, which were both insightful as to specific techniques that are normally passed over by the audience but they are able to grab and keep the attention of the audience like no other!


Below is the link to my video essay! Enjoy!


(I also thoroughly apologize if I am not a Hollywood director after only one week of video crítíqúé!)

Behind the Scene… Just One

Of all the different digital modes, I’m probably least familiar with video. I was glad to peek behind the scenes of some of the techniques used in film and other video production.


Scene Analysis – 10 Cloverfield Lane

I chose this movie because it was most recent on the list. I pulled up Night of the Living Dead initially, saw the black and white, and closed the tab – I guess I’m just spoiled with modern visuals.

I used this program, OBS Studio, to do the screen and audio capture. It’s a pretty versatile program.


How to Read a Movie

In How to Read a Movie, I learned that  a lot can be interpreted from positioning of the subject within the shot. I relied on this mostly with my scene analysis of 10 Cloverfield Lane, as most of the cinematography wasn’t very “fancy.” There were mainly cuts and pans, so I focused on the positioning of the characters, the story a still frame told, and the panning of the camera. Largely, I learned that none of this is an exact science. There are trends, as the article states, but it isn’t absolute, and while different angles, styles, or different means of video capturing techniques can be used to enhance a story or a performance, I think the focus is still mainly on the actors. I imagine it would be difficult to produce a movie where the cinematography is featured more prominently than the performance.


Filmmaking Videos

The videos were short enough where I actually chose to watch all of them. I found it amusing that almost half the videos had the scene with the ape throwing the bone in the air (match cut).


I actually liked the idea of the match cut, but imagine it looks best when lined up perfectly with the object in the next frame. Of all the techniques, I found “the zolly” technique to be the most interesting, as it plays with perspective and movement in a unique way I probably never would have thought of. Of all these techniques, for my group video project we’ll probably use panning/whipping and long shots the most as it’s supposed to be a documentary style. My partner, Cypherpunk, also told me about J-cuts. I was familiar with them, but never knew the official name! I have a feeling I’m going to learn a lot by shooting this project.

Analyzing With Ebert: 10 Cloverfield Lane

Hey, folks! This week I learned a lot about looking deeper into the visual aspects of films. I took a film studies class last semester and loved it so I was ready to roll with it. First off, I watched a video that drew me in with its scandalous title: Hitchcock Loves Bikinis. What I took away from that video was the importance of shot/reverse shot patterns. If you show a person smiling then flip to a shot of what they’re smiling at, it can change what you think about them entirely. That’s the beauty of film! Just one single shot can make or break a moment.

The whole video summed up in one picture.

The second video I watched was the one-point perspective montage of Stanley Kubrick’s work. I’ve seen a few videos of this favored shot of his, as well as mixed in with Wes Anderson footage, as he’s a huge fan of it as well. One-point perspectives can make shots pleasing to the eye with their symmetry but also wildly unsettling. In 10 Cloverfield Lane, it seemed to lean towards the latter, just as it does in The Shining.

The third video I watched was the 20 Cinematic Techniques montage. This one was really interesting because it pulled from a large variety of movies and showed a wide array of techniques that can be used to portray different feelings and effects. This went will with the Ebert article, which I’ll get more into in a minute. A big focus of this video was camera movement and how that can change how the viewer ‘feels’ in a scene. Tracking and panning, as well as handicam footage can make the viewer feel like they’re “inside” the action and is a prime choice with filmmakers nowadays for that very reason.

We love a good one-point perspective, baby.

The final video I watched was another Kubrick video, the one on zooms in The Shining. This video was overwhelming to look at and I wish it was shown in a more digestible way but I understood what they were going for with it. From what I could tell, the zooms Kubrick used mostly brought focus to specific moments, as well as making certain people feel “smaller” or “larger”. When the camera zoomed outwards, the person in the shot seemed smaller and like they were left behind. When zooming in, they seemed larger and more in control. That was my understanding from watching the video but I’d be interested to see how others felt about it.

Finally, I read the Roger Ebert article. It reminded me a lot of exercises before, I suppose because the “Cinema Interruptus” is a necessary part in learning how to dissect movie scenes. It helps me a lot to just turn off the sound completely and focus on camera movement, framing and lighting to really catch on to what’s happening. Otherwise it all flies by while I’m into the music! What I learned from the article that was really notable to me was something I’ve noticed a lot of other DS106ers have focused on: the Rule of Thirds and axis of characters/figures on screen. I can figure out what techniques were used in shots after a while but I didn’t realize there were inherent meanings and feelings that came with the composition on scenes. Now I know more than ever that each technique and design in films are consciously chosen. This “composition theory” that Ebert described is something I mentioned in regards to 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Also in the video, I talked about visual storytelling in regards to the opening scene. It doesn’t completely mesh with Ebert’s article but the idea of stopping each shot and analysing what it says fits right in with what I thought about the scene. Without any sound and with just a few shots, you learn all necessary info about Michelle before you hear her speak even once. I thought that was amazing and had to dissect the scene a little!

This assignment was cool and gave me a chance to watch the movie a little deeper. It was hard to fit all I wanted to say in while I watched the scenes so that was the main struggle. The rest was just a matter of downloading video with the 4K downloader and meshing it together in iMovie. Watch it below and let me know what you think!


Dr. Strangelove or: How I Went Crazy Analyzing a Movie

Hello everybody! This week I was tasked with a couple of readings and watchings. In this post, I will reflect on all of these. SO STRAP IN.

To begin this week I read Roger Ebert’s “How To Read A Movie” article. I found this article very interesting, especially Ebert’s strong axis theory which demonstrates that placement in shots has a deeper meaning. What really resonated with me about this article is the fact that Ebert taught himself movie analysis. I relate to this as for the most part I self teach myself various skills (e.g. audio, video and movie editing). Moreover, Ebert’s notion of being loose when analyzing films hit home for me. I think what he was trying to say was that everything has layered meanings and sometimes things just have no meaning. It really depends.

The first watching I did was a compilation of Stanley Kubrick’s use of One-Point Perspective. This camera technique gives a tunnel vision effect to the shot. It also forces you to focus on the center and realize the importance of the object/person at the center.

The next video I watched was a compilation of Quentin Tarantino’s from Below shots. What I learned from watching these videos was that this effect demonstrates a person’s power. It also gives a foreboding feeling to the scene. In most of Tarantino’s movies, the from Below technique is used in place of a dead body so we can see others reactions to the corpse.

Another video I watched was the Top 20 Cinematic Techniques. Out of this list, I had a few favorite techniques. I loved the limitless zoom a lot. It is definitely a little much, but really cool simultaneously. Through this video I also understood what an Establishing Shot is. Before, I had no idea that it had a name. My last favorite from this video was the dutch angle. I liked the effect of it, especially that it led to sense that world was off somehow.

The last short video I watched was Hitchcock Loves Bikinis. I learned in this video that content matters. What happens in between a man smiling can make him either a creep or a sweet old man. This demonstration really impacted me as I saw how little changes influence the overall video.

The movie I watched this week was “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Honestly, I have watched some very weird shit (looks directly at Frank), but this really took it out there. It really did take me an hour after watching the film to absorb what I saw.

Martha tasked us to analyze a scene from the movies we chose. So, I decided to break down the Doomsday Machine scene in “Dr. Strangelove.” Below is my video.

I was actually surprised at how many concepts from my above readings/watchings were in the video. Mainly, Roger Ebert’s strong axis theory and the from below shots. I really did enjoy “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” I think that it’s off the wall humor worked very well. I mean, everything is so serious in the film, and then a character dies because he is sitting on a missile while it drops and he SWINGS HIS FUCKIN COWBOY HAT.

I was literally cackling. I do have to say that the movie was weirdly realistic and that really drew me in. The characters were almost familiar (e.g. the General being the typical overly patriotic man) and this led me to get more invested in the plot.

Well, that is it for now folks. Thanks for tuning in, I’ll catch you on the flipside.

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Assignment Bank 14 #DS106 (4 Star)

*Let me tell you someone rated this 2 stars and unless you edit 6-10 minutes of video everyday of your life, “this is NOT a 2 star assignment.” So I took it upon myself to make it right up the alley of 4 stars. in which sounds a lot better.

Anyway I did “Video Essay” Video Assignment.

In this assignment bank we had to grab a video and make comment about several things in these films. I grabbed a documentary called “Superheros,” in which was about real life superheroes.

Due to copyright reasons I can’t post the original video.

I had to use Adobe Premiere Pro and a nifty app on my phone called Voice Recorder.

Believe it or not I started off watching the documentary! I picked several scenes I wanted to talk about. I made several notes on key points. I then downloaded the video and started cutting it at the parts I decided I wanted, of course you are going to have to adjust because you either talk to much or not enough. I went back and forth with the editing sometimes deleting everything I edited to start over. It has to flow or your video will look beaten up and trashy and mine still isn’t good, however it is the best I can do without someone right next to me teaching tips and tricks.

My final result is below.