Cain Lever: a journey worth reflecting

My Video Essay “Good morning Procrastination” was easily the most fun assignment to do. Dr. Collins gave us no guidelines at all, so it was a pretty simple assignment. Basically, I just woke up one morning and decided to start filming a ton of stuff in my room. To create some kind of story, I started filming my shower to show a sequence of events. I tried to tell a story by showing my bedroom and then my shower and bathroom. After showing my video to the class, I realized the importance of editing. The order I put my shots in can make the difference between a coherent video essay and a nonsensical one. Although my video wasn’t nonsense, it lacked certain shots that would’ve made the story easier to follow for the audience. For instance, a close up of the actor looking down at the phone and then up at the door would’ve made it more obvious to the audience that the shots of the shower were meant to represent the actor thinking about starting his day but deciding to stay in bed instead.


My first VO/VOSOTVO was about KU bus drivers and icy roads. Getting film for this was easy, but I realize now I could’ve gotten even better shots. I needed more shots of the actual bus drivers. I only had one person in my video and that was the guy I interviewed. Getting more shots of bus drivers at work would have made my video felt more personal. Still, I thought I cut up my shots well. My script could have been a lot more conversational too. I think that after doing this video, I started to realize the importance of having a script in mind while filming. That way when I’m on the scene, I can look for shots that I know will go perfectly with whatever I wanted to say. I could’ve used a wide shot near the Chi O fountain to show all the buses on Jayhawk Blvd and all the snow that was there too.


My second VO/VOSOTVO was about Campaign Maka’s new mixtape, Comfortable. I tried to get more shots that related to the subject I was talking about in this video, so I got a lot of shots of the recording equipment he has. I needed more shots of him actually using the equipment though. At the time, he wasn’t planning on recording anything, but I could’ve asked him to show me some music on his computer. Then, I could’ve gotten shots of him at his desk working which may have been more entertaining than just to see a mic, headphones, a piano, and so forth. Learning from my mistakes from the last video, I got shots of awards he received knowing that I wanted to talk about them in my script. I came with a plan in mind of what I was going to say already, so when I got into his studio, I already had a pretty good idea of what shots I needed to take. I had fun trying to mess with the rac focus on the piano, but I need to mess with that effect more to find the best way and best times to use it. I think it’s hard to do a 30 second video on an artist that isn’t a household name, because I felt like I had to give him prominence in the script without sounding promotional. He is a rising artist in KC, but I didn’t know how much I had to emphasize that in my script to show that he is a newsworthy figure.

 


For my third VO, I made a video about ONEDAY, ONE KU, a 24-hour fundraising event on campus. I had been working in the newsroom a lot prior to making this video, so I felt I was getting a great understanding of how to get good video and write to your video. I knew the facts I wanted to address in my script before hand, so I got video of the sign and close-ups of important things that were written on the sign. In my script, I just wrote to the video and used the sign as my primary video for talking about the major facts of the event and used the video of the flags to talk about whatever filler details I needed to address. At this point, I think I really was beginning to understand how to film affectively so I can  “say it and see it.” My biggest problem was that I had trouble getting low shots of the flags. I really wanted to get a rac focus shot of a line of flags, but I had a lot of trouble keeping the camera steady while changing the focus on the camera. I think with better equipment this would have been easier. However, I think that I’m capable of getting good rac focus shots with my camera, I just need to continue to practice it. I also wish I knew when people were putting the flags in the ground, because I wanted a shot of that.


For my third VOSOTVO, I did a video on the event Unpacking Whiteness. This was an interesting event because it was set up in a circle instead of a normal panel. My camera doesn’t zoom well, so it was hard for me to get any close ups of the speakers. I still think I got some decent shots. My initial shot was a tilt. I know Dr. Collins has said multiple times not to use a tilt, pan or zoom in these videos unless we could defend why we used it. I had seen CNN do a similar shot for a DACA event. I thought that it was an interesting beginning to the video, but Dr. Collins still didn’t approve of it. I think if there was a poster or sign above the crowd that the camera was on at first, then it would’ve made more sense to have that. Now, I’m realizing how shots like those can be effective, but otherwise they’re just unnecessary. I want to learn more about those rules and when it’s okay to break them. My camera died at the end of the event, so I had to use my phone to get an interview.

2 thoughts on “Cain Lever: a journey worth reflecting

  1. student10

    Cain,

    I think you’ve been doing a great job in this semester so far. You’re creative and it shows in your work! I was really impressed with your video essay and the shots you got. The sequence showed what most of our mornings probably look like, procrastination.
    With your first VO/VOSOTVO 1, I really liked the fact you interviewed the bus driver on the bus. It made sense. The only issue was the sun shining in that made it a little hard to see. I liked the different shots you got in the VO/VOSOTVO 2. The first soundbite drew me in, but he was looking into the camera the whole time and it kind of made me feel like I was watching a PSA.
    The outside shots in your VO 3 looked great and you did well with the lighting. However, I didn’t see much variation of shots. The soundbite in your VOSOTVO 3 was good, but his head was cut off. Overall, I think you’ve been doing a great job in finding different topics for each assignment. Your shots have improved and you’re pretty spot on with lighting. Try to remember rule-of-thirds with the interviews. Other than that, you’re doing a great job. Keep it up!

    1. student10

      Cain,

      I think you’ve been doing a great job in this semester so far. You’re creative and it shows in your work! I was really impressed with your video essay and the shots you got. The sequence showed what most of our mornings probably look like, procrastination.
      With your first VO/VOSOTVO 1, I really liked the fact you interviewed the bus driver on the bus. It made sense. The only issue was the sun shining in that made it a little hard to see. I liked the different shots you got in the VO/VOSOTVO 2. The first soundbite drew me in, but he was looking into the camera the whole time and it kind of made me feel like I was watching a PSA.
      The outside shots in your VO 3 looked great and you did well with the lighting. However, I didn’t see much variation of shots. The soundbite in your VOSOTVO 3 was good, but his head was cut off. Overall, I think you’ve been doing a great job in finding different topics for each assignment. Your shots have improved and you’re pretty spot on with lighting. Try to remember rule-of-thirds with the interviews. Other than that, you’re doing a great job. Keep it up!

      -Tiffany Littler

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