Dan Zehe, Kyle L, Zi Wang
Writing Across Media
21 July 2013
Scene Editing Involving University Material
Weaving visual and sound, video editing instills an intended image into the audience, molding universal judgments within every scene executed by mastering manipulation of all aspects forming an audiovisual production. Transforming raw footage to a final cinematic solution, two different video representations using similar footage intend to explore the Undergraduate admissions process at the University of Illinois but turn into two completely different genres, spiraling from a typical University informational documentary to a feel-good drama about a student on campus with cancer. These two distinct videos illuminate the audiovisual effect made by the assembly of characteristics fabricated by video editing. Comparing both movies, using a large portion of the same footage, visual evidence and music renovate a simple documentary into a preview for an intricate plot of sadness, hope, and appreciation of life.
In the documentary production, title slides guide the viewer through a step-by-step process in understanding the perceptions and eventual reality of the Undergraduate admissions process at the University. The characteristics of the words displayed on screen and the music playing combine to affect the audience in a certain way. The words on these slides, “…have a distinct look…carrying information about its intention,” (Drucker 92). This distinct look carries topical information in the video, transitions between ideas, and hopefully sparks the audience to ponder the importance of the upcoming information. Going into more depth, these characteristics present a simple, bold font on a black background to emphasize the words and the information they contain. On top of emphasis, coloring changes the feel of the information given. First, the color red illuminates a concern of the creator, introduces why this video was made and what this documentary intends to solve, setting the stage for the rest of the documentary. Next, and more importantly, the transition slides in the middle evolve the ideas presented. In this case, “…language itself raises the question of definition,” (94). In connection to definition in this video and the evolution of ideas, the language transitions idea from what the first interviewee perceives to be true in order for the next interview to describe the actual process, answering the questions previously brought up in the video.
Along with the characteristic of words in the title slides of the video, the background music establishes evolution with the ideas to enhance the development of information throughout the video. At the start of the video, the music introduces the rest of the documentary by presenting a meditative pondering about what the creator will inform the audience with the given realm of the topic. As the documentary moves along, the musical pace picks up along with it. This signifies the development of information that answers questions brought up starting from the beginning of the video till the second interviewee where the information transfers from speculative assumptions about the application process to actual information given by an administrator, thus creating a side by side development involving the transitions and the information presented.
This documentary relies heavily on transitions between title slides and interviews to streamline facts to the audience about the original idea for the project: the admissions process at this University. However, without certain characteristics to the interviews, even though, “evidence that the person shown said the words that were spoken, it carries no evidence whatsoever about the truth value of the statement the person makes,” (Hampe 63). With these characteristics, these interviews enhance the authenticity of the information presented, establishing a genuine interpretation of the process. Delineating these characteristics begins with switching back and forth from images of the University and the actual interviewees. This relates this campus to the people talking, establishing a general relationship between the two with the viewer. Delving deeper, when established with the University, the age of each interviewee forms a connection with certain populations on campus. With these two connections, the viewer realizes that both of the interviewees have at least some experience in the highlighted topic, giving legitimacy to the spoken words. On top determining the demographics of both interviews, “Using other cues to decide whether or not to believe a speaker…” (63), one interview can influence the audience more in comparison to the other. Since both interviewees talk about the same subject, the demographics of each come into play to help the audience make this decision. Specifically choosing one student and one administrator, the audience realizes the authenticity backing the information spoken by an older woman sitting in an office over a young man explaining his point of view on a couch. This gives more value to what the administrator says over the student, exemplifying the real process of Undergraduate admission at the University over the perceived idea from an outside perspective.
Transferring from the documentary to the movie trailer, the visual effects previously mentioned drastically change the genre of audiovisual production, and therefore, the understood experience the audience has with the video. The title slide of the movie trailer immediately exemplifies this intended change by using only a title and one sound effect to set the mood for the entire video. This goal establishes, “the more concretely you can describe your documentary idea in terms of visual images, the better your change of communicating through film or video,” (Hampe 54). The first sound effect, a siren, clarifies a visual image for the viewer right off the bat connecting the first expression to the movie with some emergency. The second characteristic, the space backdrop, can relate to many things, but with the siren, the backdrop’s intended goal narrows down creating an image of the heavens, reinforcing an imagery of an emergency currently happening. Along with the title, “Lie”, the soundness of the introduction represent, “the specific conditions in, under, or with which the final product will be experienced by its audience,” (Shipka 356).
Along with the change in the title slide, we used identical footage from the documentary throughout the movie trailer to represent completely different ideas. Using the interviews as an example, the movie trailer transfers the intention from being authentically informative to producing connections between people from separate sets of footage. The completed objective reveals closeness of the interviewees to the main character of the new movie trailer even though no connection exists between the interviews and this new plot. We achieved this goal with a multimodal approach of video and musical effects including the slowing down of the footage and the replacement of audio, and “when the visual evidence is well realized…you can get a sense of the situation in a flash,” (Hampe 57). In regards to the slowing of the interviews, a plot line develops involving multiple characters because of the events leading up to the interviews. In the documentary, standard information from title slides and the amount of footage used from the interviews gave the audience the direct intention of the original footage. However, when the movie trailer includes only a few slowed down frames of the interviews, the intention relies heavily on information already given. With the previously revealed information regarding a student with breast cancer and the basic info the movie’s landscape, the interviews turn into reactions from characters close to the victim regarding the diagnosis of breast cancer. Along with the short slow exposures of the interviews, replacement of dialogue with sad music adds to the experience the viewer has with the movie trailer. When thinking of the effect of music, start with where the music begins and ends. It begins after the doctor gives the awful news and ends when the patient wakes up from a bad dream. In between, the trailer includes a singular idea: the reaction to the bad news. With this in mind, the music not only adds to the sad reaction, but also acts as a transition of ideas or, in this case, developments in the plots just like music did in the documentary. Even though this is one example, changes like this occurred through out the movie to achieve the intended experience for the audience.
Using an array of effects involving the manipulation of video to display certain experiences to the audience, we changed standard footage of a campus and interviews regarding the admissions process from a documentary style production to a movie trailer, eliminating all preliminary use of the footage captured. This exemplifies the powerful use of audiovisual effects to form the strongest connection between the creator and its audience. With the examples given, the audience can be controlled and influenced, showing another perspective on how soundness in the multimodal process can produce a powerful mechanism to reach an audience and display a your perspective on any issue.
Drucker, Johanna. Figuring the Word: Essays on Books, Writing, and Visual Poetics. N.p.: Granary, 1998. Print
Hampe, Barry. “Visual Evidence.” Making Documentary Films and Reality Videos: A Practical Guide to Planning, Filming and Editing Documentaries of Real Events. New York: Henry Holt, 1997. 49-68
Shipka, Jody. “Sound Engineering: Toward a Theory of Multimodal Soundess.” Computers and Composition (2006): 355-73. Web. 30 June 2013.