So Rad: A Different Take on a Music Video POV

John Douglass and Glenn Harnden discuss the various point of views utilized in film. While reading through the different possible POVs, my mind instantly jumped to this music video. Here the band Radical Something shot their music video for their single “Step Right Up” from the POV as if the viewer was physically present and the band was focusing solely on them. It is a different take and because of that the video sticks out in my mind.


Get On My Level: Run Down of POV

In John S. Douglass and Glenn P. Harnden’s novel, The Art of Technique, the two discuss at great length the concept and thought process behind point of view.  An audience can interpret a story differently or have a much different effect on the audience depending on the POV chosen.  Here point of view was defined in three different ways:

  1. Point of view in terms of camera shot taken through the eyes of a character
  2. Point of view in the perspective of the storyteller.
  3.  Point of view referring to the interests, attitudes, and beliefs associated with a character’s or group’s specific perspective.

Breaking this down, while reading the definitions of different POVs movies and TV shows flashed through my mind as examples.  In regards to the POV of a shot taken through the eyes of a character numerous movies popped into my head.  The first (and this show my taste in movies) is from the scene in Pineapple Express where Seth Rogan and James Franco are running in the woods after witnessing a murder.  The camera changes the POV to have Rogan’s perspective running through the woods.  However, a much more famous example is from Silence of the Lambs where the POV is from Buffalo Bill’s night vision goggles.

Now, the POV of the storyteller falls into one of three categories: first person which is most used by documentaries or voiced narratives, second person where the audience is directly addressed as in political advertisements, and third person which is just witnessing the actions of the characters.  Naturally when thinking of first person POV examples I immediately thought of How I Met Your Mother.  This show is about Ted Mosby who explains to his kids the story of how he met their mother.  Throughout the whole episode Ted has a voiceover which helps the audience gain more knowledge of his character.

The chapter goes on to explain that every movie is made to have a purpose.  And the POV is just one method in expressing that purpose.  With that said think about your favorite film, and does the chosen POV create enough of an impact where if it was changed the meaning of the film would change as well? Or is POV something that we are so used to, or immune to, that we do not even realize the impact it can have?

Forever Halloween…Bare-boned Attempt at “Recorded” Music

Ronald Osgood and Joseph Hinshaw explain the concept of the psychology of editing. Here they state the process of making the viewer feel as if they are viewing the natural world or reality instead of looking at a screen. They bring up the example of the film Timecode was shot in real time to create a greater version of reality for the viewer. Following this idea, The Maine is a alternative rock band from Tempe, Arizona. They released their fourth full length album in July 2013 which was recorded live. The thought process behind recording the album live was much like recording the film in real time. It is to make the experience as authentic as possible for the viewer. Here the album “sounds like five people playing in a room” not a pre-record but music as if you are hearing them at a concert.

…AND CUT! The Know How of Video Editing.

In Ronald Osgood and Joseph Hinshaw’s article Visual Storytelling: Videography and Post Production in the Digital Age, the duo explores the process of editing footage.  Here they state that editing it done with a purpose.  It is done to add value.  There is not some formula to plug footage into and have an answer of how many edits to do or what amount of time to stay on a specific shot.  

The article as a whole shined some light on editing tactics that viewers would not always think to do thoughtfully while editing, but must be done for the overall story to have any meaning.  Three main points that are mentioned for editing tips include b-roll that visually describes the story the producer wants the audience to follow, continuality where story is consistent from shot to shot and within scenes, and a establishing shot where the audience becomes aware of where the location of the scene is taking place. 

Now most of us can say we are active consumers of video, although I doubt most of us realize what goes into editing footage so we can logically follow a sequence of events.  However, I do remember the movies and shows that I have seen that missed an editing component and left me confused.  Movie 43 is a sketch movie that follows a slew of celebrities in short skits.  Although the movie jumped from one story line to another, there was no consistency within the sketches.  It just made very little sense and my impression of that movie was big name stars with a awful script and editing techniques.  That is precisely what Osgood and Hinshaw say we need to avoid when editing.  You should never have your audience attempt to fill in grey areas for plot points. Much like what was discussed in creating websites, you should never let the user do any work.  They should never have to guess the navigation of the site or where the content they are look for is located.  Everything is catered to the user rather that be a consumer of a website or a video.

 Along these lines, is there a video that sticks out in your memory as an example of poor editing?  Moreover, if there is a video that you notice to have poor editing would you watch the whole thing or would the editing be a deal breaker?

Rabbit or Duck? That’s the Million Dollar Question.

Rabbit or Duck? That's the Million Dollar Question.

Herbert Zettl states one of the six main forces of the spatial field on the screen is the figure and ground. He goes on to explain how we assign a figure and group depending on what we see. How I Met Your Mother had a bit about this where some of the cast argued it was a duck and some argued it was a rabbit. The bit then goes into what is right or better, the duck or the rabbit, and relates it to Robin’s love life.

To view the whole scene click on the photo and go about 6 minutes and 30 seconds into the clip. Then just laugh.

20 Blocks to the Left: Our Ability to see horizontal planes accurately

Herbert Zettl brings up the idea that people innately have the ability to judge horizontal and vertical planes. Here we can “eyeball” a picture and just know if it is straight or not. In this Friends episode, Rachel is in the process of packing to move out. When Rachel and Monica get into a fight Rachel decides she is not moving and starts to unpack her belongings from the boxes. Rachel then takes a picture, throws it on the wall and asks, “Is that picture straight?” Monica replies “It needs to go about 20 blocks to the left!”

Here Monica demonstrates that we do have a fairly accurate sense of horizontal and vertical planes like Zettl states in his book, Sight, Sound, and Motion.

Forces of the Screen

In his novel Sight, Sound, and Motion, Herbert Zettl brings up the six main concepts of field forces on the screen.  Like this podcast discusses, today we are surrounded by screens.  Rather that be on a phone, television, or computer, it has come natural to us to perceive a world through a screen.  We may be so numb to the perception of a screen that we fail to notice the needed direction to satisfy the viewer.  Zettl states the six main forces of the screen are:

  1. main directions
  2. magnetism of the frame and attraction of mass
  3. asymmetry of the frame
  4. figure and ground
  5. psychological closure
  6. vectors

These six forces allow our minds to stabilize or accept the motion on the screen to be realistic.  Main directions is broken down into two categories: horizontal (suggesting calmness and normalcy) and vertical (suggesting power, formality, and strength).  A combination of horizontal and vertical comprise our normal world.  Magnetism of the frame and the attraction of mass refers to the borders of the screen and how certain objects can have a stronger pull on the frame.  A diagonal going from the bottom of the screen to the top depict an uphill slant, reversing that a diagonal from the top left to the bottom left depicts a downhill slant.  Furthermore, the asymmetry of the frame lends credence to the fact that we place a stronger emphasis on objects in the right side of the screen, and objects on the left are less dominant.  In terms of figure and ground, it is our human instinct to organize a picture field into a stable ground against which less stable figures operate.  Along the same lines of our instincts, we tend to conceptualize geometrical figures and mentally fill in the missing portions of recognizable patterns.  Therefore, we arrive at psychological closure where we assume the completion of an object.  A vector is a force with a direction and magnitude and are broken down into three categories: graphic, index, and motion.  The six main forces help tame space on the screen aesthetically so we have a frame of reference with the events that are occurring on the screen.

Rolling Stone: Sexting, Shame & Suicide

Rolling Stone: Sexting, Shame & Suicide

The following link is from a September issue of the Rolling Stone and profiles four girls who had a sexting scandal that lead to their decision to commit suicide.  Paul Virillo touches upon the concept of cyber sex in the third section of his book, Open Sky, to state the sexting furthers the gap between a person and the world.  Virillio argues the disconnect we feel to the world is largely stemmed from technology and cyber sex is a variable in that gap. However, if cyber sex is considered to distant us from the world then why did these four girls take their life as a result of the instance? Following Virillio’s logic, shouldn’t the girls feel less of a connection because the nature of sexting adds to the wedge? Further, as Virillio puts it, if we are becoming automatic sex machines, why did they even care? This article justifies the argument that sexting, cyber sex, and sex in general still holds meaning to some.

Suga Suga: Paul Virillio’s Take on Sex & Technology

Paul Virilio concludes the third section of his book, Open Sky, by honing in on the idea that technology is influencing our very existence regardless of our efforts to try and stop it. Virilio strongly focuses on technology’s effect on personal relationships we have and how the nature of personal relationships have changed because of technology.

Virilio states that because technology makes people capable of fostering relationships with little to no physical contact, the essence of relationships is deteriorating. He continues to explain that couples no longer need physical contact because they can stimulate pleasure with the aid of technology.  Summarizing Virilio’s points with a broad stroke, he is arguing that there has come a wedge between people and the world.  And this wedge is largely due to technology and the ripple effect it has caused on society.

Now, generally speaking, has society becoming more detached from the world? Sure. People sit around in a booth at a restaurant together but remain silent while they play on their phones.  Has technology affected the way in which we live? Absolutely, you can thank tech giants like Apple and Google for that. But is there no hope for humanity? Are we now incapable of producing meaningful relationships? Are the relationships made online less legitimate because of the medium the two people met? I do not know.  Virillio has written 145 pages in response to these questions, but who is Virllio to label what is meaningful and measure meaning like flour for a cookie recipe?

From this section, Virillio’s take of sex proved to be the most interesting as he compares the evolution of sex to that of cars with the stages of beginning, instrument, and instinct. He focuses upon the idea of sexual diversion and the effect technology has and will have on our view of sex.  The bottom line is sex is human nature. It will has happened, it will happen, and it will continue to happen.  Although the nature of sex can change.  The rise of technology paved the way to alternative forms of pleasure such as pornography and cyber sex. No one can deny that, however, Virillio’s claim that society is becoming a mindless sex machine, I would argue is a sweeping generalization.  Over the decades has sex become increasingly embraced and exploited by society? Yes, but to say it has lost all meaning and we think as robots towards sex is quite the statement to make to a world with 7.13 billion people.

Therefore, if we accept Virillio’s argument in full, is the path we are on that devastating? People said it was crazy attempt to fly, now it’s the safest, quickest way of travel.  People said it was crazy to produce home computers. Now this very book was written because of the success mainstream technology has gained. So, are we doomed or are the arguments laid out exaggerated instances?