Analyzing the Structure of a Video Essay using “How to Make the Audience Cry”

What a challenge! First the expenditure of time was at least 12 hours to produce this four minutes and 20 seconds. Six hours on Monday, and I forget when I started on Sunday but it was somewhere between six and 10 hours on Sunday. Why so long?? I know nothing about video production so it started with finding, uploading, figuring out how to use, then dealing with, the technology. With help from the professor and also my son (IT Guy) , I decided on Open Shot Video Editor because I’m an absolute neophyte, and it’s free. Well, it crashed about every 20 minutes while I was actively editing the video, making cuts, synching with my audio track, and that required the app to be reinstalled on my laptop about every 20 minutes!! That racked up a lot of time and frustration. Sometimes I just had to walk away for a while and gather myself. It was getting ridiculous–I counted over 18 crashes. I learned to manually save the project every few minutes because I didn’t trust that it was automatically saving anything between crashes. That was more time eaten up. Then I didn’t know how to edit but after a lot of missteps, I finally realized that I needed to keep the original clip intact on Track 1 (after separating out, and removing the audio), and taking just what I wanted for my video and arranging it on Track 3. At first, I thought I should just re-arrange everything on Track 1–it was a mess. It would have been nice to have some kind of lesson on how to edit from existing video because time is so precious here, and the Digital Knowledge Center is not available on Sunday or late in the evening when I’m working. There is much more to my process but it centered around trying to figure out what to do first and it sure would be nice to be working in a lab or a collaborative setting where I could ask someone around the corner. Working in isolation like this is very difficult because I don’t know what I don’t know and there are so many little details that can add up to make a big difference quickly, like thinking Flickr was the correct choice (not), and finally going to Vimeo but having to input my credit card for the free trial (someone please remind me to cancel my free trial before April 21). Then, when I first exported my finished file as an MP4, it actually saved as a .OSP (OpenShotPro). I had to back one more time, open the project and save it again as an MP4, and that finally took. I’m guessing Open Shot Pro is a very unstable app unless you pay money for their upgraded version which I’m sure is intentional to get you to upgrade. This leaves me wondering how the rest of my week is going to go.

The audio was pretty straightforward. I recorded it on my phone, converting it to MP3, and transferred it to my laptop via email.

Separating out the audio from the video on both tracks then deleting them was frustrating until I figured out (at least I think this was the solution) that I had to lock the tracks that I was not deleting. Then the other tracks stayed intact.

The bottom line is the end product. I met my goal of analyzing the video essay How to Make the Audience Cry, and used the video from that essay in my essay to analyze the structure of a video essay. I was satisfied that I was able to synch most of my thoughts with relevant sections of the subject essay, but there are a few obvious moments where I could have spent more time. But it was 2 a.m., Tuesday morning and I had to let it go. For someone who has never done this before, the viewer can easily judge my attainment of proficiency in two days with so many technical challenges. Hopefully, I score better in the analysis portion of this assignment.

What was more interesting, is that besides the structure of the essay, I also learned that to make an audience cry, you have to structure the story to gain the empathy of the audience. You need the protagonist to cry, and feel emotion, or the audience will never have empathy and also cry. So my analysis is a double whammy of sorts–I ended up with a two-fer out of this assignment.

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