Visual Rhetoric-rowanstudent

0:01 The ad starts with an Asian man maybe 20-25 years old. He is on his phone sitting on a couch. The phone is an iPhone 6 which means the ad is recent, maybe made a few years back. This can be his parents’ house considering there is an old-looking picture of a couple on the wall. Right behind him there is a picture on the wall of some type of building. There are little American flags in a vase full of flowers so it may be Independence Day or some sort of holiday. Even though he’s an Asian man, this indicates he lives in America. By the expression on his face, he looks upset at his phone. Maybe he received news that upset him. He is dressed in sweats probably because he’s chilling at home and doesn’t have anywhere to be.

0:02 He is still on his phone, but the background has changed. He is what looks like a library because there are books on shelves with labels on the binding of each book. His expression on his face remains the same. His thumbs are both on the screen of his phone so he may be texting someone. He is probably in school because he is dressed in a more casual outfit than the first scene. He has books on the side of him, but fails to pay attention to them.

0:03 Background change. He is once again still on his phone. I am starting to think that something really important is on his phone because the scene has switched to him working out at the gym. He may be at a public gym or his school gym. The equipment behind him are colored red and yellow which leads me to think this can be a school gym that is represented with those colors. He still has the same face as all the other seconds.

0:04 Background change. Now he is in what seems like a food court. He is sitting next to someone that looks around the same age as him even though we can’t see the face. It may be his friend. There are other people in the scene except they seem unimportant in the background. I guess what the director is trying to say that even in social situations this man doesn’t interact besides being on his phone. Again, he still has the same face expression.

0:05 Background change. There is a cupcake with a candle on it signifying that it is his birthday, but he still on his phone (no surprise here). His face is the same as in all the other scenes. Now there are other people in the scene. To the left of him, there are two girls. Maybe his friends or one of them can be his girlfriend. To the right of him, it looks like they can be his parents just because they are right next to him while they sing “Happy Birthday.” He can be taking a picture of the cupcake, but it seems like he is still texting. This just shows that even though he has friends and family looking at him, he remains on his phone.

0:06 Background change. This scene is kind of random and out of place. He is on a carousel, still on his phone and still with the same expression. Now I’m starting to wonder if maybe whatever is on his phone is just the same thing because his face hasn’t changed at all since the beginning.

0:07 Background change. Now he is sitting on a couch, but a different one from the first second. The girl that was in the birthday scene is next to him with her arm on his shoulder. You can see her glancing at his phone. This is probably his girlfriend considering she is wondering what is on his phone. I now think he may be a little younger than 20 since she looks pretty young. It looks like she is saying something, but he is just ignoring her while he still looks at his phone. The director probably chose to make the girl speak to show that he doesn’t even notice or acknowledge that she is there. So whatever is on his phone must be more important than what she is saying.

0:08 Background change. he camera seems to be in a fridge. The man looks like he is either closing or opening it. But you can see him still on his phone.

0:09 Background change. The scene is kind of dark. It looks like he is in bed. I think the director did this on purpose to show that he is still on his phone because you can see the light reflecting off his face. So far, the point of view looking at the man is the same in each second. Although he is laying on his side, his body is still in the same position and alignment as the other scenes.

0:10 Background change. He is on an elevator going up, and is now wearing a jacket. So maybe this indicates the season change. He is still on his phone after all this time has passed. His thumbs are still on the screen so he is still texting someone.

0:11 Background change. He is at a party it looks like because of the lights and people around him. He is in fact still on his phone. This shows that even in the most social place to talk to people, he still has his face in his phone. There is a guy to the right of him and it looks like he is having a good time with a smile on his face.

0:12 Background change. He is back at the same gym he was earlier. He is still on his phone, but now he is not the one doing the workout. It seems that he is supposed to be the spotter for the person lifting weights on the bench in from of him. He isn’t paying attention at all because his attention is somewhere else, his phone.

0:13 Background change. He is back in the same mall he was at earlier. This looks like the same exact scene because he is wearing the same exact outfit and the people in the background are the same. Also, his friend next to him is wearing the same thing. He is still on his phone

0:14-0:15 It is a fast compilation of all the previous seconds of the man on his phone and in different settings.

0:16 He’s in his car now, but it looks like he’s about to do something with his phone. His face isn’t shown just the neck down. He is in front of a house. It can be his house or someone else’s. But he is definitely in a neighborhood because there’s a house right next to the other one, and what appears to be the house number. It may be the holiday season because there is a wreath hanging on the door, but that may just be a decoration.

0:17-0:18 This scene is of a closeup of his phone. The phone is on a seat, which means it’s not in his hands. He may have thrown it there to show that he doesn’t text and drive. It shows a conversation in his text messages. He sends “Hey what’s up?” Then the person responds “About to shoot a video…It’s for a pretty good cause (*with a traffic light emoji*)…Wanna help?” He replies “Yeah sure.” The other person goes “Alright come over.” He end the conversation with “Ok. Driving now so I’ll ttyl.” The video that the other person is probably talking about is this video considering they included a traffic light emoji with their text, which means it has something to do with driving. Instead of the man saying “I’ll ttyl”, he also includes “driving now” to shift the focus of the meaning of this video. The message is most likely not to text and drive.

0:19-0:20 It is kind of blurry meaning that the car is in motion. It it probably his car because the last scene was him in the car. The words “NOT HERE” appears in white.

0:21 The words “Never here” appear in a text message format right underneath the “NOT HERE.”

0:22-0:23 Then the message is finally revealed “Don’t text and drive” with the word text in blue to show the importance of that word.

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1 Response to Visual Rhetoric-rowanstudent

  1. davidbdale says:

    RowanStudent, yours is the most thorough response to the assignment I’ve seen so far. In the case of the other posts I’ve Replied to, I felt compelled to offer an example of thorough evaluation for the first second of video. In your case, I don’t have to do that because your response is so much closer to a completed first draft. So, instead, I’ll respond to your work throughout.

    0:01 Everything you say is appropriate so far, RS. I don’t know how you can judge the expression on the Asian man’s face, but if it looks to you that he’s upset, I won’t dispute it. I don’t see it myself, but that’s irrelevant. Two things of note. You made a really good catch on the American flags in the corner, but what do you suppose it might mean? Is it a clue that although we’re presented with a young Asian, we’re not in Asia? Something else. You say he’s sitting on a couch, which is only partly true. By the end of the first second, he is, but we discover him in motion. He’s been walking through the room to the couch texting and doesn’t stop texting while positioning himself at the couch and then taking his seat. Brilliant to identify the specific phone he’s using, but is it significant that he has a current iPhone? What does this say about how much time he spends texting?

    0:02 Your comment that he ignores the books on the table is brilliant. You’re very smart to pay as much attention to what doesn’t happen as what does happen. Is it significant visually or rhetorically that the man’s face and head are in the same position onscreen for both scenes? You didn’t say so. Are we starting a series in which he’ll be the center of attention? If he’s at school, would you call it high school or college? Is his age significant to reach a target audience?

    0:03 Your observations are quite good. You haven’t mentioned any other people. Has the man been alone in all three scenes? If he’s mesmerized by his phone in three different locations, and there are no other people in the scenes, does that begin to signal his isolation? Would the point be made better if he were alone in the scenes or if he were surrounded by people but oblivious to them? I can’t believe you didn’t mention that he’s doing situps while texting. Remember, your reader doesn’t have the benefit of seeing what you’re seeing. She doesn’t know he’s in “workout” wear or in a headband color-coordinated to the yellow equipment. (The title of the campaign is Yellow Light. That information is not on screen, but it might be significant.)

    0:04 Yeah. He’s also not eating. At the library not reading. In the food court not eating. Good catch on the isolation from other humans. We both got there. You might be able to fill it in backwards a second or two. Interesting that we don’t see the “friend’s” face. Is that significant?

    0:05 Is he still positioned at the middle of the screen? Does the lighting change along with the changes of what you call “background”? You didn’t mention faces this time. Are you surmising the girl might be his girlfriend with or without seeing her face?

    0:06 Describe why this scene seems out of place. Good for you to begin to wonder whether he’s looking at something different in every scene or the same thing each time. We don’t have any way to know, but as viewers of millions of video communications by the time we’re in college, we have a lot of experience with visual storytelling, and we start to notice directorial techniques. We wonder about what we’re NOT being told and try to pick up clues about the director’s intentions. Your job in this assignment is precisely what your question gets at: what’s he looking at? why is the phone so important to him? am I being manipulated? I want to be smart and “get it,” so I have something at stake here: I want to solve this puzzle before the director reveals the “truth.” Is there any significance to the visual fact that the world is spinning around him in the background while he stays as always stationary at the middle of the screen? Granted this is a long shot, but was he deliberately put on a horse that is always in motion but never gets anywhere?

    0:07 I was surprised when you thought he was in his 20s and called him a man. He always looked like a high school kid to me (but then, everybody does). Your observations are strong here, but one thing disturbs me. Since everything on screen has a purpose, what the heck is up with the 24 Bars? Are those Chinese relaxation balls behind her? Whose house are they in? You said it’s a different sofa, but you didn’t say it’s a different house.

    0:08 Definitely closing it.

    0:09 I don’t think you need me chiming in on every second from here forward. You’re perfectly alert to the possibilities of what is shown and what’s not shown. You can revise from here without my interference.

    0:16 I think it’s important not to skip ahead to whatever made you think “it looks like he’s about to do something with his phone.” When we first see him behind the wheel, he is doing exactly what he’s done in every scene so far. THEN he does something different with his phone, indicating there was a moment at which he had to decide NOT to drive while texting or watching his screen.

    0:17-0:18 Very clever. Very thoughtful. And quite inventive to surmise that the video being discussed could be the one we’re watching now. Just one thing. There’s no way to read that whole conversation in the time the screen is on screen in the “ad.” So, it demands to be said, if the video is on broadcast TV, as it’s originally intended to be consumed, what part of it would viewers likely see and respond to? This may require some analysis of how these 30-second spots are consumed in our current age. Does the director have to consider what material will be available as the scene proceeds in real time AND what additional material would be available to see when the screen is paused?

    One more thing, RowanStudent. In an Afterword (if you don’t manage to blend the commentary into your time-stamped commentary) evaluate the overall effectiveness of the visual part of this audio-visual bit of media communication. Was that technique of putting the kid at the center of every screen a good idea? Did it confuse viewers or help them draw a conclusion in keeping with the director’s message? Etc. How could the ad have been improved? When you eventually viewed this PSA spot WITH the audio track, were you surprised? Did the audio contribute anything essential that changed your interpretation of the spot or your appreciation for it?


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