For our group’s video project, we decided to a remediation of various video works to talk about existentialism in a typical college student’s life in a humourous way. Our larger group of 5 people initially started out to shoot footage of a college student and examples of good student behaviour and bad student behaviour. We shoot a lot of footage of typical activities of a college student, such as going to the library, going to the gym, meeting up with friends in bars, and waking up hung over. We wanted as much visual evidence as we good get, hence the variety of footage we shot. Within the variety of shots we took we had some abstract footage that could be used in various different situations, but also concrete images of our actor doing very tangible activities. While shooting, I wanted to get a sense of observation, hence most of the footage being third person and from a observing gaze of the subject.
While the initial ideas for the video was to showcase good and bad examples of a college student, when we split off into our smaller editing groups we had different ideas. In my smaller editing group, we wanted to do something that we saw in our actor’s expressions while shooting. Even during the scenes that were supposed to be more fun, a la the bar scene, he looked like he was not as interested. This has inspired me to create a final video that was sadder and darker in tone. Then we were inspired by our instructor to check out Henri the Cat videos, which really inspired us to do something similar. The Henri the Cat videos reminded me of Godard movies, and everything clicked into place. I wanted to do a remediation of a French New Wave film (as they often dealt with themes of existentialism) and the cat videos (which were also a tribute to French New Wave cinema).
In the end we ended up using the sounds directly from the cat videos. I think if we had more time we could have done a more serious job and recorded our own narrations, but with our tight deadline we did not have the luxury of doing so. After deciding on using the narrations from the cat videos, it turned into something more comedic – as it was a voice of a cat talking about cat struggles, but our subtitles were talking about something very different (the main character’s existential struggle through college life).
In terms of visual editing choices made, I tried to reflect a lot of editing techniques used in Godard’s iconic film Breathless. Our video is entirely in black and white, which gives it a more sombre and artistic feel. I also used multiple jump cuts, which is something Godard was famous for using in his films. I used most of the jump cuts in the video during the bar scenes to depict time passing aimlessly and to add a sense of discomfort.
If we could improve on the video, I think I would do a lot more differently. For example, I would really like to record our own narration to better reflect what is happening visually. Using pre-existing audio sources I felt that we were limited in what and how much we could say. Also, because we had to use two different Henri audio tracks in the video, there is a point half way through the video that is awkward in terms of visual and audio matching each other. I would also like to explore more with shooting the video, perhaps with more close-ups of the main character’s face, and perhaps experimenting with more first person perspectives.