Kaptiankristian’s video “Her – Building a Beautiful Future”, begins by claiming that “there’s a cynicism that’s seeped its way in to modern science fiction.” He goes on to state that modern sci-fi films are “dystopian, apocalyptic, totalitarian, and not much else…” Kristian does not attempt to prove this as a thesis to his video, but instead provides a counter example to this identified trend that’s dominating the genre. Kristian examines Spike Jonze’s film Her, looking at the film’s aesthetic choices which shape its environment and the ‘reality’ that it is attempting to bring to life. The subject of aesthetics guides more than Kristian’s narration though – it guides the overall look and feel of his video. In the description for his channel, Kristian simply states: “visual love letters”. In doing so, Kristian provides his own definition for the genre of videos he is producing. They are not videographic essays, but rather love letters. They reflect a bond between creator and source, a bond which is quickly apparent in his video “Her – Building a Beautiful Future”. Before he’s even a minute in to the video, Kristian begins to introduce his unique yet inspired visual style. One of the key aspects of Her which Kristian highlights in his video is the idea that the film builds an image of fashion and technology through style elements of the past. The computer monitors resemble wooden frames, while the protagonist’s outfits are simple combinations of cotton and wool in plain earthy tones. Kristian brings this same “material design” aesthetic to his “visual love letter”. Around the 45 second mark of the video, Kristian transitions to an onscreen image of production designer K.K. Barrett. The image of Barrett is quickly “cut-out” so that only the image of the man remains. This “cut-out” of Barrett then “falls” on to red construction paper background that gives off a surprising sense of “tactile-ness”. The shot pulls out slightly, as titles “fall” onto the construction paper background too. These titles appear to be typed from a typewriter and when they finally settle, create a diagram much like a family tree the viewer might have made in middle school.
In the past class we discussed the importance of font choice in videoessays. Kaptiankristian brings these concepts of style and design to a whole new level. His entire video is based on the approach that he will force the viewer to notice his own aesthetic choices, which in turn will reflect and highlight the style of Her which is the focus of his argument. His video “David Fincher – Invisible Details” operates in a similar manner, and is easily one of the most impressive instances of editing prowess and strong style direction that I have ever seen, not just in the medium of videographic essays. I’m not sure if I necessarily prefer this approach to more understated and poetic approach taken by creators like Kogonada, but I found this creator’s work immensely engaging – especially visually.
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