Visual Rhetoric–todayistheday

0:00- In this freeze frame we are presented with a dusty sepia colored landscape.  The houses in the background are small and decently kept. The dimmed color makes it hard to pin point the time of day but most likely early afternoon. A car is parked distantly in the driveway of a small rancher home.  A brown brick building is close by.  A white gas pump station is centered to the left of the screen.  The numbers and words on the pumps are neatly placed and easy to read even with the fuzzy quality.  Gas prices are low and frozen from the last transaction.

0:01- An older tan car pulls into the gas station lot. They slow to a stop and park in front of the brown brick building. On the wall in front of the car is a blue payphone.  The blue seems to jump out from the rest of its drab surroundings.

0:02- The bright blue phone is hard to ignore.  A brown car parked in front of a brown building, and the rest of the surrounding seem to blend in with the dull.  But amongst it all is a bright blue pay phone. It draws you to the center of the screen.

0:03- Two teenage girls step out of the car.  They are pretty and young but the hair and fashion of their outfits screams 80’s. One girl who steps out of the driver side is wearing pale high rise jeans and a white shirt. Her hair is teased and volumized.  Her friend is wearing a long sleeve black sweatshirt paired with patterned tights underneath green athletic shorts.  She is holding something in her hand and has sunglasses on. The black and white contrast of the girls outfits makes the connection to black and white.  Right and wrong.  But the coloring of the scene is neither black nor white.  The background that surrounds the two girls is a wooded area.  They may be from somewhere in the suburbs, a small town that hugs the wood line.

0:04- The girl in the white grabs the payphone and turn toward the other girl.  The girl in the white out-stretches her hand toward the other girl.  The girl looks to be holding a wallet in her hand but its too blurry to tell.

0:05- The girl and the phonebooth become the only focus.  She is reaching for the phone, her face is calm.  In her white shirt and hair blowing back gently, she seems very innocent.

0:06- Girl’s fingers begin dialing a number.  Her nail polish is white and neatly applied.  Above the numbers there is a sticker with SAVE in all bold letters. The words below are illegible so it makes you ponder what are we saving?

0:08- The girl in white brings the phone to her ear. While her friend stands by with her hand on her hip.

0:09- The girl in white rolls her eyes as she moves to bring the phone to her ear.  Her friend besides her remains blank faced as she waits beside her.

0:10- The girl switches the phone to her left hand, as she lazily leans against the booth.  Her friend waits by with her hand on hip.  This is when I noticed that when the girl switched the phone to her left hand you could notice the hair tie on her wrist.  Her white hair tie was snug against her wrist as she holds the phone.  This made me relate it to a handcuff, shackled to the phone.

0:11- Girls look annoyed, as they continue to progress with the phone call. It’s as if they have more important things to be focusing on and that this is simply an inconvenience.   The phone is finally pressed against her ear.  Wind blows the one girls hair back.

0:14- Girl walks towards driver’s side of car with a bounce in her step. Her hands are empty.

0:15- The front side of the car is the main shot. In the background you can see the girl in white approaching the driver’s side. Trees and farm land are very distant in background. Telephone in the back looks like a cross with the sky surrounding it.

0:16- Background stays the same.  The woods and the telephone pole still in view.  The car color changes. Interior leather seats.  The girls form can be seen through window. She is holding something in her hand.

0:17- The girl’s hand is not empty, she holds a phone in her hand.  The door is open.  Different car  and a different girl.  She is alone this time.  Except for the phone in her hand.

0:18- Girl is wearing black ripped jeans and a black hoodie.  Phone still in hand as she begins to step into her car.

0:19- Girl gets into car and is seated. Her arm is reached to shut the door.  From this point of view, you can tell it’s the same girl in white from earlier.  But it is obviously a different time period.  The car is all black except for the tan seats.  The sun is shining in from the window. She is wearing a tan hat with her hair pulled back.  She has her ears pierced and has her cellphone in her hand. Even as she is reaching to close her car door her eyes never leave her phone screen.

0:20- Camera view is low to the ground as if placed on road.  The black car the girl is driving starts to drift slightly over the yellow line. A car can be seen in the distance on the other side of the road.

0:21- Point of view as if looking over girl’s shoulder. Black interior of car with black clothing draws your eyes toward white screen of phone. Text convo can be seen but words can’t be deciphered.  But her head is angled to the side, looking at the phone. Her thumb is hovering over keyboard.  She has two unanswered texts on screen.

0:22- Camera point of view is low to ground again. The girl’s car is now well over the yellow line. Heading straight toward the van on the opposite side of the road.  You can assume this point of view is from the front of the girl’s car.  Telephone poles line the side of the road.

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6 Responses to Visual Rhetoric–todayistheday

  1. todayistheday19 says:

    I was hoping you could help me fix my descriptions? I’m not sure it’s enough to paint the best picture but I’m not sure what else to add. I feel like I watched it so many times and can’t get any more details from it. Thank you for taking your time to read over it! Any advice and feedback is great!

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  2. davidbdale says:

    Judging from the first one second, I haven’t seen this video, TodayIsTheDay. Rather than watch it and prejudice my viewing of the opening few frames, I’m going to do an analysis of the 0:00 to 0:01 span and report on what I see. If it helps, this small sample may be all you need to expand your own entries. If you need another example after you read this one, let me know. If there’s a particular spot you’d like me to view, give me the time stamp, and I’ll do that one for you.

    0:00 We are outdoors at a gas station in the middle of the day. A gas pump dominates the center of the screen in close up. The tonal quality of the video is pale, overexposed, washed out, giving the impression that it was made decades ago, or that the filmmakers want to evoke an earlier time period. To this viewer, the immediate connotation is that we’re watching an exploitation film from the 1970s.

    The gas pump fits that time period. It is a clearly older model with very sharp-cornered chrome edges, a complete lack of bold modern graphics, and the On/Off lever to start the flow of gas that modern pumps do not have. It lacks any way to pay with credit card and the price and fill amount numbers are registered with analog number dials, not LED lights. We’re looking at nozzles 3 and 4. So there’s at least one more pump with nozzles 1 and 2. If they had wanted us to know it was a bigger gas station, they would have numbered them 7 and 8.

    The very deep shadow cast by the downspout on the gas station building and its overhanging roof indicate the sun is very high in the sky and off-screen to the left. Midday. That doesn’t necessarily mean safety, but a gas station at night is a clearer indication of danger or emergency. So, a non-threatening, daytime scene.

    The pavement is cracked. The landscaping is non-existent. A tall sign-post that once contained information about a nearby business (perhaps the gas station itself), is empty. The pole is peeling its paint. So, not a prosperous location. Maybe a depressed neighborhood. The prominent utility and light poles and the low industrial buildings in the background indicate the station is located outside of any large city, somewhere in a commercial district, with cheap land. Anywhere USA.

    From the left edge of the screen, an old-model sedan enters the scene. We see just a sliver of the car as it passes behind the pump, but pick it up again as it continues to the center of the screen. The camera moves with the car so that more of the brick gas station building is revealed, including an outdoor pay phone sheltered by the overhanging roof. Now we can be certain of the time period. There haven’t been pay phones at gas stations since the 80s. The prominent bumper of the car and the whitewall tires are additional clues that we’re watching something from an earlier time. Whitewalls were pretty much gone by 1980.

    I think our conclusions mostly match up, Today. I noted more details than you did, but we seem to agree that the filmmaker wanted to create a “period setting” about two generations ago.
    ________________________________________
    I’ve read a few sections ahead in your analysis, still without watching the video. I’m wondering about the girls. Are they clearly the driver and a passenger? Or is there some indication they were both passengers? Does that tell us they have a car at their disposal to drive around? In the 70s, that would have indicated a level of affluence. Are they in high school? Are they in a hurry? Is one the leader? Why are there two instead of one? Is their dynamic apparent in their actions?
    ________________________________________

    Let me know if this is helpful, Today. And if you’d like me to watch the rest of the video along with your analysis, I’d be happy to.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This was really helpful! Thank you! For my rewrite should I just add in your analysis or change it up and add parts of it in to my own analysis? 0:08 and 0:14 I’m unsure what to do since they’re only one sentence descriptions since not much changes. Sorry to get back so late, I just work all the time so I don’t have much free time.

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  3. todayistheday19 says:

    This was so helpful thank you! I thought I replied earlier but I was at work so it didn’t go through. Should I just change my first second analysis to your description or find a way to blend them? I feel like I can’t fix it without copying your words or ideas in some way. Also, for 0:08 and 0:14 analysis what should I do to make the description more detailed? Not enough changes or is significant enough to comment on. Again, thank you so much!

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    • davidbdale says:

      The only way to legitimately use the material I shared with you is to read and absorb it, then write your own version WITHOUT REFERRING TO MINE. You’ll remember what you thought was significant, forget the details you believe to be trivial, and since you won’t have the original in front of you, you’ll be forced to use your own language and voice. I’ll leave this in Feedback Please to remind me to return for 08 and 14.

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      • todayistheday19 says:

        Okay, I thought you were saying I should just use the one you gave me. I changed it up some but a lot of the lines are still originally yours. It’s mostly the gas station description and the car description because I don’t know anything about the style of 1970 so I just relied on your descriptions. I’ll change it today. Sorry for the confusion

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