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Video Essay: Blue Valentine

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I just finished my video essay and, although some parts were a bit time consuming (I’m definitely glad I started trimming scenes out over the weekend), this was a much easier assignment than I expected. I decided to do it on Blue Valentine because it’s a fairly new movie that I’d already seen a lot, I’ve already argued in favor/about it in a more general sense at length so I felt qualified to speak on the subject, and I happened to “magically” already have the movie on my computer in an .avi file.

I’m positive that already having the movie on my hard drive and being so familiar with it made this considerably easier because I knew my argument/thesis going in and I didn’t have to figure out how to rip it from a DVD or go searching for clips on YouTube.

Converting the files to MPEG-4 format (is that even right? I don’t know, but I got it to work) was simple with MPEG Streamclip and Perian. I was also already pretty experienced with iMovie, so editing my clips once I got them and converted the files was super easy too. The only difficult parts of this process were trying to get my essay below the 10 minute mark and getting over my self-consciousness of hearing my voice recorded. Ask my radio show partners; I really hate hearing my voice. I don’t know. I hope no one else hates the sound of my voice as much as I hate it.

ANYWAY, I got over the voice thing pretty quickly because I had to and I was able to shave some time off by eliminating what I believe is a crucial part of the film, but wasn’t absolutely necessary to my argument. I addressed the relationship between Dean and Cindy in a more general sense and how the director’s manipulation of time, working in a non-linear fashion, enforced the fact that these two characters should never have stayed in the relationship as long as they did because it ended up destroying them. I decided to ultimately cut out any mention of their daughter because, although she plays a significant role in their relationship in the film, it was either cut her out or add 3-4 minutes to my final length. I opted for the former because I knew I could make a case without her.

I’d also like to apologize for all of the “umms” and for how rehearsed I sound/the fact that I’m clearly reading. Also, in my final voice over clip at the end, my computer (which is currently in the process of slowly committing suicide, I think) started making loud fan noises, so it sounds like I’m talking over loud machinery or something. I’m not. I tried to do the voice over with a basic outline in front of me, rather than writing out what I was going to say word-for-word, but there were more “umms” and fewer coherent thoughts coming out of my mouth when I did it that way. I really have a mental block against recording myself speaking. I don’t know what to tell you.

Wellllp. I’m just waiting on Vimeo now. It’s possible that the most “time consuming” aspects of this project have actually been waiting for files to convert/upload.

Enjoy the video essay. Come at me with any discussions you’d like to have, re: Blue Valentine. I don’t think I could get tired of talking about this movie. And, thanks to this project, I’ve finally desensitized myself to it and no longer sob uncontrollably for the last hour every time I watch it.

And, I guess, before you watch it, I should warn you–some clips are really quiet. I just watched it through on vimeo and there are about 4 sections that are barely audible. I adjusted the volume in iMovie, so it’s as loud as it can go, but I still had a little trouble hearing, so they might be lost on anyone who hasn’t ever seen the movie before.


Blue Valentine Video Essay from Jordan Kroll on Vimeo.

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