Author: Jason Mittell

Week 10 / 11

November 13 – Videographic Responses

  • Submit videographic response essays to Classes folder
  • Watch in class

November 15 – More Videographic Responses

  • Do weekly video commentaries
  • Watch more videographic responses

November 20 – Guest Filmmaker: Jen Proctor on Video Art, Feminism & Videographic Criticism

  • Watch Jen Proctor’s “Am I Pretty?”  (password via email)



Week 6 Schedule

October 16 – Share Algorithmic Videos

  • Export algorithmic double feature
  • Come to class prepared to discuss algorithmic videos

October 18 – How to Make a Video Essay?

  • Read Conor Bateman, “11 Ways to Make a Video Essay
  • Read Christian Keathley, “La Caméra-Stylo” [in Classes / Handouts folder]
  • Watch Christian Keathley, “Pass The Salt”

  • Come to class with ideas for Videographic Abstract Trailer

Week 5 Schedule

October 9 – Share Multiscreen Videos

  • Export videos to class folder
  • Come to class prepared to discuss role of multiscreen in videographic work

October 11 – Assignment #5 Workshop

  • Do weekly video commentaries
  • Give group feedback on multiscreen videos
  • Read Jason Mittell, “Videographic Criticism as Digital Humanities Method” [in Classes / Handouts folder]
  • Watch deformative experiments discussed in Mittell essay
  • Read Catherine Grant, “Dissolves of Passion: Materially Thinking through Editing in Videographic Compilation” [in Classes / Handouts folder]
  • Watch Catherine Grant, “Dissolves of Passion”

Week 4 Schedule

October 2 – Share Epigraph Videos

  • Export videos to class folders
  • Come prepared to discuss the role of text on-screen
  • If you were not at Kevin Lee’s talk, watch his video “Right Now, Wrong Then”


October 4 – Assignment #4 Workshop

  • Do weekly video commentary
  • Give feedback to your group on the epigraphs
  • Watch “Honolulu, Mon Amour” and read online commentaries
  • Watch “Hitchcock & DePalma: Splitscreen Bloodbath” (graphic content warning)

Week 3 Schedule

September 25 – Share voiceover videos

  • Export exercise #2 to classes folder – see our class notes on voiceover
  • Come prepared to talk about voiceover, building on videos you have viewed
  • Watch “Transformers: The Premake” by Kevin B. Lee

Attend Kevin Lee presentation, 4:30pm in Axinn 232

September 27 – Assignment #3 workshop


Week 2 Schedule

September 18 – Share PechaKucha videos

  • Export PechaKucha videos to Classes folder.

September 20 – Assignment #2 workshop

  • Watch Kevin B. Lee, “Talking with Siri about Spike Jonze’s HER

Reminder: Kevin B. Lee will be visiting on Sept 25, with a public presentation at 4:30pm in Axinn 232.


Week 1 Schedule

September 12 – Introduction in-class

September 14 – Assignment #1 Workshop

  • Choose 2 different options for your chosen critical object (film, TV show, webseries, etc.) – if possible, bring DVD or Blu-ray, or digital file on hard drive
  • Bring external hard drive and headphones (to every class!)
  • Do Video Commentary post
  • Read “Has the Video Essay Arrived?” (Monaghan) and “College Leads in New Form of Scholarship: Video Essays” (DiGravio)
  • If you do not have experience with Adobe Premiere, start working on the tutorials to help learn the platform.
  • Watch “What Makes a Video Essay Great?” by Kevin B. Lee

Sample Video Commentary: What Is Neo-Realism?

This 2013 video by the acclaimed video essayist kogonada, originally published in Sight & Sound magazine, is deceptively straightforward. On the one hand, it seems like an explanatory video that provides a comparison between two versions of the same film – we could probably read the transcript of the voiceover and understand the essay’s key argument about the differences between Hollywood cinema and neorealism.

But kogonada’s tonal mastery adds additional dimensions to the video that transcend the ideas expressed by the words alone. First off, the use of the split screen allows us to experience the distinctions between the two versions, not just have them described via prose. The video lingers on the extended shots, recreating the effect of duration that kogonada suggests is an essential component of neorealism – just as filmgoers would see Terminal Station‘s takes endure beyond normal expectations, we experience them surpassing the Hollywood norms, feeling the effect of the neorealist aesthetic.

Additionally, kogonada frames the entire piece in a suggestive and poetic tone. Instead of using the academic framework of an argument, thesis statement, or reference to other critics, he posits the entire video as an experiment requiring a time machine. Is this science fiction? His voiceover tone certainly suggests that something is a bit off from conventional academic discourse. This opening frame locates the entire video within the realm of speculative fiction, even though its content is fully rooted in history and critical analysis. Thus when he arrives at his conclusion, drawing the link between neorealism and the essence of cinema, it feels less like a conclusive argument by a persuasive critic, but more of a hypothesis offered by a somewhat mad scientist (or artist). Thus the videographic form embraces a poetic mode that encourages a degree of uncertainty and abstraction, much more than we would expect or allow for in a written essay.

Video Commentaries Instructions

Each week, students should find a video essay published somewhere online and write a commentary on it. Commentaries should be posted before class on Wednesday morning. The commentary should strive to answer two basic questions: what did I learn from this video about the subject matter? and what did I learn from this video about the videographic form? Commentaries should be at least 250 words, but should be as long as necessary to explore the ideas.

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