Video Story Critique

What I’m going to be talking about today is three video sports stories that have caught my eye to be critiqued. While they don’t have to do with the SEC, my blog also has to do with sports in general so they are relevant. The first video is about a woman who is trying to make it back to the winter Olympics for the fourth time, although for the first time as a mother. The second video is similar in the aspect that it also has to deal with a mother that’s trying to make the Olympics, although this woman is trying to make the Olympics in weightlifting and has never made the team before due to injury. The last video details a small town in Alaska that hosts boxing and MMA matches every Thursday, and follows three people who step into the ring.

1. The hook for all three videos are pretty good. The Olympic skier video starts with a shot of the woman sliding down a slope full of obstacles, with her talking in the background but combining that with the natural sounds of the skis going through the snow. That visual and sound captures your attention. The second one is effective also because it starts of with a shot of the weightlifter letting go of the bar, sending the weights crashing to the ground with a loud thud. The site of a female weightlifter is an odd one to begin with, but then when you find out that this weightlifter is a mother of three and has sustained a back injury in the past, that really sucks you in. The last one’s hook wasn’t nearly as good as the other two. It just shows a sign that reads “Thursday Night at the Fights” and has a person talking over it. I would’ve liked to hear the sound of a bell or see punches being connected instead.

2. The heroes are the most compelling part of the stories if you ask me. While they are all doing tremendous physical and mental feats (Olympic skiing and weightlifting, stepping into a boxing ring) the people doing these feats are just ordinary people. For the first one the videographer made you care about Sarah (the skier) because shots were shown of her being a loving mother to her infant and a loving wife to her husband. They would show shots of her playing with her kid or hanging out with her husband to show that she was an ordinary person trying to achieve an extraordinary thing. The second video makes you care about Melanie (the weightlifter) by showing the difficulty that she has trying to calm her autistic son down when he’s having a tantrum or panic attack. The third video has three heroes, all with different backgrounds. The first guy was in and out of prison till he found boxing so that’s a feel good story, while the second guy was fighting his first pro fight. The third guy was actually a trainer that was fighting to show his students how it’s done. By knowing who these people were and their backgrounds the videographer created a connection between you and them when they step into the ring, so you want them to succeed.

3. The conflict for the first two videos was Sarah and Melanie trying to get to the Olympics. Some things were similar between the two, as they were both mothers and were trying to make it. There were some noticeable differences however. Sarah was trying to make it back to the Olympics for the fourth time, meaning that she had already been there. Melanie had never been to the Olympics because she hurt her back before the 2000 Olympic trials. Sarah is trying to make it for the first time as a mother, but her kid is perfectly healthy. One of Melanie’s kids has autism, and the videographer shows a scene where he’s having a tantrum or panic attack. Both videos show them working out for their respective sports (Sarah for skiing, Melanie for weightlifting). The last video deals with three boxers with three different stories. The first guy was in and out of prison until boxing, while the second guy was having his first pro fight and the third guy was a trainer fighting for his students. The videographer showed action in the ring for all three fights, and showed the results too. The first and third guys won, while the second guy got knocked out.

4. I’d hesitate to call any of these endings memorable, but they did the trick when it came to wrapping up the story. The first video ended with Sarah’s husband making a joke to her about her chances after she got done finishing a practice, while the third video ended with the last boxer having his hand raised in victory. The second story had probably the best ending, as Melanie can be heard talking in the background about how she’d trade her achievements for finding out a cure for autism, while the video shows the autistic child trying to say “I love you” to his mom. That was at least somewhat memorable, if only because it tugged on your emotional strings.

5. What the first videographer did that I plan to use in my own work is how he combined pictures with video. Some shots were just pictures while others were actual moving video. I thought that was pretty neat because sometimes a picture can capture someone’s attention more in certain situations than moving screen can. The second video showed me that I need to have compelling natural sound to go with my video. The sounds of the weights clanging against the floor and her grunts illustrated perfectly just how hard weightlifting is. The last video showed me that I might want to have people interviewed who aren’t just part of the main action. The videographer had the boxers themselves talking and explaining things, but they also had the people in charge of the event.


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