Friday, September 12, 2014

A Second a Day

Going in the opposite direction from last week's blog, I'm going to talk about videos that effectively use extremely short takes to get their points across. In the past few years, there has been a trend (mostly amongst youtube videos) of people taking a picture of themselves every day for a year to show how much they've changed. Although I am terrified at the thought alone of allowing the entire world to see every awkward phase I've been through in my lifetime, it is interesting to watch others do so. Here's an example of a transformation video:

Many times these videos are used to not only show change in looks, but also to shed light on issues, whether they be diseases, like the girl above, or social problems. In 2013, a Serbian news site called B92 funded a video campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence towards women. The video was posted to youtube as if it was a real person's story of abuse, stirring controversy and gaining a lot of attention.

TRIGGER WARNING: Domestic Violence

The sign reads "Please help me. I don't know if I will get to see tomorrow."

Recently, the idea of the "photo a day" video has evolved. People have been posting "one second a day" videos, showing different aspects of their daily lives as they grow. Here's one of the most adorable babies in the world, from birth to one year old:

Personally I believe the one second video compilation is much more effective than the photo series. I feel more attached to the subject and although each segment is only a second long, I feel like they tell much bigger stories.

And as the media world goes, this form of video was used in another social issue campaign. Save the Children, an organization dedicated to helping children in need worldwide, created a short film to highlight their campaign to help the children in Syria.

Not only is this film extremely effective in terms of its message, it is an accomplishment in effective storytelling as well. Because the takes are so short, everything needs to be precise. The production design, dialogue, makeup, camera work all have to be exact and planned out to a T. Additionally, each second progresses the storyline. In the beginning, we get exposition: family members and their relationships, the girl's attitude, etc... Then snippets of the war are subtly sprinkled between average days, showing a realistic progression of a country in crisis. Lastly, the symbolism of starting and ending on the girl's birthday really hit home the change not only in the girl, but the world around her. Although the film is a campaign for an organization, I found it impressive as a stand-alone piece.

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