I feel like the majority of videographic essay I find on YouTube are done with voiceover. Which once again makes me question the balance between simply talking over images and using voiceover to critically engage with a text – what does it do to the viewing experience to eliminate the original sound? What does it do to dialogue to pair it with a montage of images?
In this video essay by Now You See It there is a strong balance between the power of the images and his script. He uses a number of examples, some of which he returns to, and a few clips pipe in with their original dialogue when it complements a point he is trying to make. I was particularly interested in sequences of an interview he included with Edith Head, a 8 time Oscar award winner in costume design and the costume designer for many of Hitchcock’s films. The interview worked well to complement the piece as a whole, it grounded Now You See It’s analysis in reality. In this case voiceover felt very effective in that it was able to tie together a wide number of clips from different sources.
As someone who is very interested in art design for movies, I really enjoyed learning more about the ins and outs of what costume design can do for storytelling. It was especially fascinating to hear that techniques used in fashion design are also applied to original works in film, although the latter is certainly under appreciated and underrepresented in popular media. Designers must dress characters in the style of the time the movie takes place but also must anticipate the future. They must be a few steps ahead between when the movie is made and when the movie is released. Clothing must look modern but without falling into any particular trends to maintain a balance between looking too dated or too generic. That’s why even today Grace Kelly’s clothing in To Catch a Thief looks so relevant, stylish, and elegant although it was designed and made in the 1950s.
Costume design does a lot to immerse viewers into or characters out of the world in a movie. It draws on the familiar and reworks it into an entirely different story. It gives us insight into characters, mental cues as to how the movie is progressing, and, most importantly, helps tell the story. Now You See It’s video was able to convey all of this and more while not losing and sense of depth and authenticity to the images presented.
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