One major outcome of this class was increased media literacy. To exercise this, we were asked to present critiques of various pieces of media. Below is my video critique, written for an exam on April 15th of this year. This is the video it discusses:
"This video is a short exposition about a specialty shop in East Austin, La Botanica. The video has two main subjects who describe the shop from their own perspectives: the store owner, who tells the story of the shop's development as a business, and a customer-turned-employee who fleshes out the stores more mystical aspects. The end of the video has a short interview with a shopper. I think this would have been better suited in the beginning of the video since she talks about the store's origin as a grocery market.
The video starts off with a couple closeup shots followed by an establishing shot of the store before cutting to the primary interview. The music fades as the interviewee starts talking and the two balance well. B-roll is used expertly in this scene to punctuate the interviewees statements (e.g. he says "We have candles," and the video cuts to candles). Only about 4 seconds of this interview show the interviewee talking. We then see a shot of the second interviewee, Melinda, stocking shelves, which serves as a fluid transition to her interview. She explains her connection to the store owner before moving the scene to the back of the store. This, we learn, is where she practices her mysticism. The next section was interesting. It is a 60 second interview, again with Melinda (though in different clothes) about her mystic practices. Again, very interesting, but it doesn't support the story of La Botanica very strongly or directly. It could have easily been cut down to 15 seconds.
My favorite aspect of this video was its shot variety. In general, the shots were kept short and relevant, something that contributed to my engagement in the video. Furthermore, the imagery was colorful, unique, and eye-catching. The audio quality was a little hit and miss, but adequate for the important parts.
The main critique I have is about the largely irrelevant scene in the middle. As I said above, it doesn't contribute much to the message, if at all. I would have cut it. Another aspect that could have used work was the audio. Because the primary interview contained so little a-roll, a voiceover could have been easy to use and could have been a big improvement over the dingy feeling production audio. The picture quality could have also been touched up with a few minor tweaks to white balance and brightness."