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Our Real Endowment

Done as my second project in CMS.335 (Short Attention Span Documentary). We were meant to provide the audience with a sense of a problem, event, or phenemenon.  I chose the rather serious topic of suicides, especially those here at MIT.  It uses quotes from MIT's administration and reports on suicide to paint the picture.  It's super depressing, but also a good thing to see to remind us all to take care of each other.

Comments (10)

I think this whole piece was very well done. It seemed very simple but still had a very powerful effect. Watching it on my laptop, I was able to see everything much more clearly. I liked the shots of the city skyline from the roof and then the silhouette of the person you used to depict a person who might jump. You had been filming the skyline and then moved in to the person then you moved back to the skyline. At this point I felt like I was expecting a change in the visual. I think adding a shot of the point of view of the person on the ledge would have been nice – maybe some shots of him looking around. I really liked the part where you simulated the fall by lowering the camera over the edge of the building. I think the spinning caused by the wind really added to the effect. It also seemed like the volume of the wind increased here, which also made it seem as if we were moving faster and actually falling.

I liked that you had facts in the background. I had noticed that there was a point where you switched to suicide facts about MIT, but I hadn’t realized that you were narrowing the focus starting with the very broad up until the point where you say we need to band together and look out for each other. I think that was very neat.

Posted over 2 years by mpd91@mit.edu

Our Real Endowment
1) I was surprised by the class disagreements made on your editorial choices on your film, because it was so masterfully done. The entire time I said to myself, “That’s the film to beat,” along with “How did he do that?” The voiceovers were clear and powerful. Streamlined thoughts and statistics flooded my brain with both calculations and emotions, leaving me overwhelmed; this compounded with the visuals, equally aesthetic and overwhelming. Final effect: vertigo and chaos. The best thing about this film is that the narrative is a first-degree narrative, where the experience is felt vicariously though the restaging of the suicide (whereas secondary would be experiencing vicariously through interviews and word of mouth, which is less effective).
2) Not much bad. I only think that the beginning needed to be shot using a tripod to still the actions to make the retelling of the suicide more believable.

Posted over 2 years by andyj@mit.edu

I really loved the sound of fast winds in the background! It made my stomach freeze up (I’m scared of heights). How did you get on top of the roof?! I want to do that for a music video! =D The reverb effects on the voices gave a tragic undertone to the statics. The skyline of Boston was beautiful and calm, which gave me an eerie feeling. The quick rewind effect at the end was sooo cool! How do you create that sound effect?

Some minor notes. The visual got me super dizzy and I was so seasick towards the end, I had to turn away from the screen. Also, I had trouble absorbing the statistics because I’m more of a visual person and audio tracks that jump from one topic to another usually leave me in the dust without visual reinforcement but that’s just me personally.

Great job! It was unique!

Posted over 2 years by ray_li@mit.edu

I thought the approach to this video was really unique. We haven’t really looked at any pieces that solely rely on audio for the main narrative. I thought that in itself was very creative. I liked all of the visuals that you included as well and thought that while the audio could stand alone in expressing the issue the video that you provided did supplement it well bringing an air of realism the audio may miss. The narrative, thus, was well structured.

One of the things you could have experimented with more is getting more lead up in the video. You do a lot of circling shots which are really cool. I also loved the dropping motion that you managed to capture. One thing that would have been even better though was getting the “build up” either through seeing the silloute move around more, get up on the ledge, etc. That could have made for a more dynamic main character. One the whole though, excellent job.

Posted over 2 years by jhaskins@mit.edu

Wow! The audio was incredible. The shots were excellent at pulling you into the film. And for picking such a difficult and controversial subject, you handled it with great editing, awesome audio, and video synergy. The movement of the camera, the oscillatory motions, were passive and relaxing, but this contrasted with the serious facts that were being played in the background. The voices were cold and emotionless, and it helped just to present the facts coupled with the depressing images. And the images! The dull yellow lights of the city with a person obstructing them really added a sense of pensiveness, depression, calmness, and inquisitiveness. The sound of the wind amplified the emotions conveyed by the picture.
I’ve only got a couple of suggestions for your film. There was one particular scene (where you said you dangled your camera from a rope) that was very distracting. Throughout the whole video, I was so absorbed in the shots that I forgot that these were being recorded by you with a camera. However, during this scene, the camera started shaking an spinning in an almost gimmicky way, and it took me out of the film. Next time, I’d maybe attach two ropes to the camera to stabilize the rope. Another suggestion I’ve got is that I would have liked to see a bit more variety in your night scenes. I think a shot of the Charles River at night, with the building lights reflected in the water, would have gone great with this piece. Anyways, excellent job!

Posted over 2 years by sguitron@mit.edu

I thought you paid tremendous respect to the subject. I tend to dislike “suicide” related material because they seem to trivialize a problem by trying to give it some one cause. You completely took a different route — there was an amorphous shadow of a figure, and we knew nothing about him, where he was going, and why he was going there. In a way, that highlighted what little we knew (and what little we do) about suicides even better than introducing him as a character with a specific story in mind.

The part where you fall, and then seem to pause and zoom, is a bit jarring. I would’ve preferred there to be constant disorienting movement, mirroring the disorient of being up high. I think instead you should have just let the camera keep rolling, keep capturing movement, at the risk of nauseating the audience (but in a good way).

Posted over 2 years by vsun@mit.edu

The best aspect of this piece is the mood and atmosphere that is created through visuals and audio usage. Cold windy background sounds foster a sense of suffering and distress. Echoing through space, each sentence telling something about suicide conveys the emptiness and loneliness within the space and the person about to commit suicide. Camera movements through space, circling through the dark views of the city, then slowly approaching from behind the person standing tall by the edge of the rooftop looking at empty space is chilling.
Ending with a message that was conclusive provided a closing to the piece. I really actually liked the concept of “our real endowment,” which is our students’ lives. Tying this point at the end with how the camera was brought back to the rooftop from a falling phase also seemed to suggest the importance of working to reduce suicides. It was as if time was rewound to before the student filmed committed suicide.
Although the piece was stylistically and as a whole extremely engaging at a very emotional level, I thought that the content of the sentences read about suicide were sometimes too detailed and filled with statistics to match the purity in emotions felt by the piece. Maybe if some more personal content were read out, they would have matched in a different way to the piece that would have been interesting as well. Otherwise, I loved the emotional ride. You tackled a difficult topic to approach very delicately.

Posted over 2 years by sahar_h@mit.edu

I really enjoyed this video. The use of quotations from MIT was awesome. I appreciated the relevancy of the topic right now. The varying voices and pieces of information kept me interested and attentive. I also liked the suspense built up by the visuals. I think the audio and video worked well together and the use of the wind audio created a distress that enhanced the mood.
Some of the video lost me a bit. Specifically some of the jarring video portions with vibration and spinning. I understood the reasoning behind it but at a couple points it became difficult to keep watching and forced me to take my attention away. But besides that I really enjoyed what you did with this video.

Posted over 2 years by austing@mit.edu

Wow! This video has definitely been one of my favorites. You did such a good job attacking this rather delicate subject in such a powerful way. I was hooked the entire time and thought the use of your audio the whole time with facts about suicides. I thought your shot up on the roof and the falling of the camera really added to the chaotic mood in the video. I actually liked the part where you pause and zoom in, I thought it really contributed to the video. Overall great job, I really would not have you do it any differently.

Posted over 2 years by andreagu

This video was very unique. You deserve a lot of credit for tackling a very sensitive subject in a tactful way that was both informative and engaging. I especially liked the shot of the road you took by dangling the camera from a rope. It fit very well with the feeling of unease and instability conveyed by the entire video. For the part where you zoom into a still frame, I might have actually used a fast forward and fade to black, which would have conveyed something entirely different of course. I really liked the disembodied voices in the background of the video, which depersonalized the quotes. Overall, fantastic job.

Posted over 2 years by ndou@mit.edu

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Zach's CMS.335

Zach's CMS.335

Updated over 2 years ago

Created
March 21, 2012 02:58
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