For this analytic paper I will be doing a critique of David Bruton’s Stop Motion video, which is a “brief” look into the life of a college student at IU. The first half of the video is a scenic view of campus, weaving in and out of buildings, flashing from one building to the next, and exploring what a student does on a daily basis. The second half of the video is all about the weekend and the drinking that occurs, legally of course. I really enjoyed this project for several reasons. First the content was pleasing to the eye and I actually felt like I was experiencing campus. The music was also upbeat and didn’t make me want to fall asleep which could have been possible considering the video is almost seven minutes long, which is extremely admirable. I really liked that David didn’t include any walking pictures in his video and he sort  of appeared to just be moving without lifting a leg. The fact that he did not use a tripod made all the pictures more engaging. To engage this project I’m going to use Baym’s Seven Key concepts of new media, Bolter and Grusin’s Remediation, and Manovich’s five main principles of new media.

Baym has seven key concepts as previously stated and consist of interactivity, temporal structure, social cues, storage,  replicability, reach , and mobility. The key concepts I find relevant to this project are interactivity, storage, reach, and mobility. The interactivity being used here is technical interactivity, “a medium’s capability if ketting human users manipulate the machine via its interface. (Baym 7) To view the video the user has to either search for it on Facebook or click on its link. There is also textual interactivity in that anyone watching the video can leave some feedback.  The storage for this project is I’m sure on David’s computer and hopefully somewhere else also so he doesn’t lose his entire project again. He also posted it on Facebook so it is also stored with Facebook. And because David posted his video on Facebook his reach is potentially very large. He posted this for everyone in the class to see and also all of his friends on Facebook if he chose to share it. This also makes his video very mobile since it can be accessed from any computer and phone at any given time.

I wanted to briefly talk about remediation in relation to this video, because that is essentially what stop motion videos are. Remediation is “the representation of one medium in another.” (Bolter 45) Stop motion is the compilation of numerous photos. Put together these photos create a story that slowly unfolds as you watch the pictures go by. David did a really good job with his pictures, I was actually sucked into the video and wasn’t distracted by the fact it was stop motion. Some other stop motion videos I watched didn’t quite accomplish this and it took away from the video.  I would say this process is refashioning in that you are taking simple photos that capture a moment in time and putting them together to create a video that tells a story while still just being a bunch of pictures. I would say what draws attention to this fact is that David’s feet never move in the video making you realize there are gaps of time missing because this is not film but a compilation of pictures.

Manovich has five main points numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, and transcoding. I will only focus on two of these. I want to talk about automation because it is extremely prevalent when making a video of any kind really. The program used to compile the pictures and  make the video has automatic settings, and then different manipulations you can do to the video. Digital cameras even have different manipulation settings to get the perfect picture. Finally transcoding is the cultural layer and the computer layer, which I think is important to talk about because David’s video is about his personal experiences here at IU. The culture in this video is the story, plot, and point of view. The story is David’s and is told throughout the video. The first half is just him walking to campus and class and doing a little studying. The second half is his weekend life, which is not about studying or class, but about drinking. And specifically the games and fun you can have while drinking. Now my weekend experience is different from David’s and I’m sure there are other people who have a very similar weekend. This is culture. The content of the video and what David does is culture, his choices and actions, which completely make up the whole video and are also what makes it so interesting to watch. The computer layer is the process of putting all of the photos onto his computer, and then into his program where he compiles them. The computer is what makes watching the video possible. These two layers are a part of each other and influence one another.

Overall I really enjoyed David’s project especially the fact that it started and ended with the alarm clock sound. I really liked the song he chose and it helped keep me interested through the 6 minutes and 54 seconds it took to watch the whole thing. And I also want to add that it is amazing that he made a video that long and it must have taken him so much time to complete, especially because he had to do it twice.

Sources

Baym, Nancy K. “Seven Key Concepts.” Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010. 6-13. Print.

Bolter, J. David, and Richard Grusin. “Remediation.” Remediation. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1998. 44-50. Print.

Manovich, Lev. “Principles of New Media.” The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2002. 1-24. Print.

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