Visual Rhetoric—Flyerfan1974

0:01: We start off the video with a wide landscape shot of hot coals, and ash. However, the ash and coals are starting to be lifted up. A wind may be moving in to area. This devastation may have been a forest fire or a house burned down to the ground. The landscape probably looks so desolate and barren to show the devastation what a fire can do.

0:02: Almost half of the ashes are swept up by a sort of golden force. Trees and grass have come back to life with the removal of all the ash. However, a lot of ash still remains. The back of a boat looks like it is leading the golden force.

0:03 Almost all of the ash has been pushed away from this mysterious golden force. Mountains, trees, bushes, and grass come back from the dead. Making the landscape as beautiful as it once was. In the background, huge mountains start to grow to their mighty selves again. The destruction of huge mountains, which must be extremely difficult to destroy shows just how powerful a fire can be, it just ravishes an area. The golden force is what the area looked like before. The beauty of the before fire landscape shows the viewer that all that beauty is to valuable to be destroyed. The most important part of this frame in the boat. It is followed by the bed of a pickup truck. It is a truck hauling a boat, but it is going backwards. Time is being turned back, so whatever this truck passed, it caused destruction to.

0:04: Our shot is now along the road. We see the once mighty mountains, the beautiful trees, grass, and bushes. The trees have all their leaves on, and the man is using his boat. It must be hot, hot summer time. The truck pulling the boat is however, causing an extreme number of sparks. Something metal must be scraping the asphalt. The grass is not extremely green, it is a more yellowish. This discoloration is caused by the hot summer heat. This is the kindling to the fire, and the sparks are the fuel.

0:05: We see the man in his blue pickup truck, his shirt is yellow, and he has a watch on. The man has his arm out the window, tapping the roof of his truck. His eyes are pointed not at the road, but up at the sky. He looks as if he is not paying attention to the road, or the trailer behind him. He may be taping the roof because he is listening to music, he is taping along with the beat. He has the window down so how does he not hear the chains? The music must be so loud that its drowning out the sound of the chains dragging.

0:06: We now have a view from under his truck, and see that the chains used in the connection are sparking up. The metal being drug along asphalt causes the sparks. You can see the ash filled barren wasteland left behind by the fire.

0:07: We see ash and hot coals being lifted off a house and a grass filled front yard. A house was put in this video to show how people’s homes filled with all their belongings, can be destroyed by a simple mistake. The porch of the house is even filled with many belongings. You see the truck driving on by.

0:08: The house is even more intact, with all the belongings being visible. There are barrels and crates all on the porch. They must be filled with produce, with is grown at a farm. This farm house shows that farmers lively hood can be wiped out by the snap of a finger.

0:09: You now can see the front of the truck, moving backwards, turning what was destroyed back into fire, back into what it was before. There is a sort of landscape with dry grass, boulders, and dessert sand. The landscape looks like Texas, which his very hot during the summer. This heat plays a huge role in the forest fire.

0:10: We now have an aerial view of the truck and trailer. The ash is being pushed back to reveal streets, sidewalks, lampposts, and businesses. The creator of this video must have added the town to show what the wildfire can do.

0:11: More and more businesses are revealed. With the destruction of businesses, people will lose their jobs, consumers will have to seek a business farther away, and the whole towns economy may plummet.

0:12: A school and a playground has been cleared of the ash by the backwards moving truck. The creator added this to give an emotional hook. Children go to school, and play on playgrounds. They are defenseless, and are our future. This adds to the whole picture how much a wildfire can take from us.

0:13: The left rear tire is about to hit a pot hole the chains have just started to make sparks.

0:14: The backwards moving truck is now passed the pothole, and the chains are not dragging. It is safe to say that when the truck was driving forward and hit the pothole, the chains were knocked loose. Also we see leaves falling, Autumn may upon us. The leaves falling, and landing under the chains must have been the kindling for the fire.

0:15: The truck is perfectly fine, pulling a boat on a trailer just like normal.

0:16: The truck has stopped in front of a city hall with the American flag flying. This represents the devastation that wildfires have caused the us. A bear with a forest ranger hat and blue pants is walking on 2 feet toward the trucks hitch. It is the famous Smokey Bear who represents forest fire prevention.

0:17: Smokey now walks up to the chains to adjust them.

0:18: Smokey crossed the chains so they are shorter and do not drag even while hooked on the truck, and so that if the trailer comes off the ball of the hitch, it will be cradled by the crossed chains.

0:19: Smokey crosses them all the way so the truck is all set.

0:20: He reaches for the chains which are already connected.

0:21: He pulls on them to check if the chains are secure.

0:22: Smokey gets a close up of his face, and beings to no his head yes, saying “this truck is ready to go.

0:23: The truck pulls away and Smokey’s back faces us as he looks at the truck in pride.

0:24-0:30: A sign comes up on screen and says, “Spark a change not wildfires,” and Smokey is in the same spot he was before, in the background.

(The video says 46 seconds, but the extra 16 seconds are for social media page links being shown)

My Video 



3 thoughts on “Visual Rhetoric—Flyerfan1974”

  1. Hey, flyerfan, I get the impression from the length of your first entry (the one for 00:01) that you’ve spent a lot of time recording your reactions to the “setup” visual of the first few frames. I’m encouraged. I haven’t watched the video, so before tonight’s midnight deadline, I’ll watch just the first second after reading your entry and we’ll compare notes.

    My reactions:
    First of all, you’ve done a thorough job, flyerfan, so thorough it would be difficult to imagine my having anything to add, but I do have questions you might ponder before tonight’s deadline. As always, you may revise or improve your work at any time without asking permission. But if you want me to read your work again following improvements, you’ll have to let me know you’d like another look.

    —You haven’t described the cabin. We don’t know what’s relevant, what’s irrelevant in the first second of video, but we do see and react to everything. This is no mean shack in the woods. New construction stone and log exterior. Two stories means plenty of rooms for all the friends to have their own space. Big wraparound porch. Quality roof. Etc. It might say something about their ability to afford the place.
    —They’re a racially diverse group. I know it’s not comfortable raising the issue, and it could well be irrelevant; on the other hand, it may indicate a level of enlightenment or openness that indicates a character trait for this group.
    —You haven’t mentioned wardrobe. Can we learn anything from their clothing? Its quality, style, or quantity? The women are wearing layers. What’s the weather like?
    —I love that you’ve concluded from the POV that someone is watching from the woods. But what else does that say? Does this set up expectations the way a similar shot would mean they were being stalked by the hatchet slayer? How many camp slasher movies have similar scenes?
    —You’re very clever to use the burned-down-to-coals clue to indicate they’ve been here quite a while.
    —That guitarist is playing, not just holding the guitar, right? At the :01 mark, the woman to our right applauds the end of his song, correct?

    All of none of it might turn out to be relevant, but it’s not accidental. The director could have made different choices at every turn. So for the time being, at least, we’re drawing conclusions about all we see. What conclusions might you add?

    Too much? Will these questions inform the way you approach the other 34 seconds, flyerfan?
    I’d like to have your reaction, please.


  2. Flyerfan, I notice now that the video you linked us to runs a minute and five seconds, so perhaps the notes I made respond to a different version than the one you’re describing. I see your Notes end at 30 seconds. Please double-check and link us to the version you intend. Otherwise, you and I will be communicating very poorly. 🙂


  3. Hey, Flyerfan, let’s see if my feedback to the first second of your “friends camping in the luxurious cabin” video have prepared you for a thorough analysis of the first second of your replacement video. Your analysis:

    0:01: We start off the video with a wide landscape shot of hot coals, and ash. However, the ash and coals are starting to be lifted up. A wind may be moving in to area. This devastation may have been a forest fire or a house burned down to the ground. The landscape probably looks so desolate and barren to show the devastation what a fire can do.

    I haven’t seen the video, so I’m the perfect reader for your post. You are my eyes. You’ll tell me what I would see if I were watching with you, and you’ll tell me why the filmmaker has made the choices she has made. During the early seconds of watching any new piece of footage, we make hundreds of snap judgments based on what we see. If we celebrity, we think something. If we see a familiar apartment set, we know it’s an episode of Friends. If we see people we don’t recognize, we wonder why a young rich kid or a homeless black woman has been cast. And SOMEHOW we know we’re looking at a young rich kid or a homeless black woman. We decide if we’re watching the news, or a TV sitcom, or a car ad, or a public service announcement, within mere moments. HOW?

    Your Visual Rhetoric analysis explores how we know what we know from what we’re shown.

    What I see in the first second

    The first impression is that we’re looking at an alien landscape. It appears to be a wide view of a very distant horizon, but unlike any on earth. It might be the moon or a very barren dessert, with a low mountain range at the farthest end. If they’re mountains, then closer to us are rocky plains of . . . what? . . . sand? . . . ash? . . . and nothing at all vertical, just a barren waste with flecks of red. Still in the same second we think, maybe it’s night, and maybe this is earth after all, and maybe the clusters of glowing light are cities or neighborhoods creating light at night.

    Whatever this is, the image is unnerving, negative, foreboding. It’s not a travelogue, it’s not a sitcom. If it’s an ad, the product must be something to help alleviate fear or pain or suffering.

    Meanwhile, the camera is moving, left to right, so we’re seeing a time progression in effect. If we were moving in, we’d be “taking a closer look” at the subject; if we were moving out, we’d be “getting a wider perspective” on the scene. But we’re moving across this scene, to see how things change from one place to another, from the past to the future?

    Inexplicably, still in the first second, irregular bits of material rise from the horizon as if pulled up by a magnet, or reverse gravity, like things falling up. Somehow, I wish I could explain how, they change the scale of our impression. They appear small and near, instead of huge things seen from a distance. That in turn changes our sense that we’re looking at a vast terrain. Now we seem to be seeing a much smaller and closer mostly flat field of ash with glowing coals where we thought we saw clusters of streetlights. Something has burned to the ground. Or this is just the remnants of a large campfire. The scale is very disorienting, but the impression is still foreboding.

    The first second is often the richest second, Flyerfan, because we know so little and therefore are judging SO MUCH. We make countless predictions, most of which will turn out to be wrong, but which are often fruitful anyway, to the filmmaker, who put them into our heads for a reason. Does this help?

    I would love to have your response.


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