Video Annotation Exercise


Videoant and Reality Television Assignment We have spent the last few classes thinking about television genres and reality television, in particular. Class discussion as well as the two readings by 1) Oullette & Murray and 2) Weber have focused on what reality television tells us about ourselves and what tropes it uses to do so.

In this unit, I would like you to work in a group to provide annotations of a reality television clip. Annotate a clip to show us 1) what stories it is tells us about “ourselves” (who we should be, how we should be, who has authority, what is the standard, how to normalize, how are we inadequate, how to consume, pull yourself, you are to blame for your lack of success, systemic inequalities have nothing to do with it, etc.) and 2) what generic conventions/tropes it uses to tell us this (“I am not here to make friends,” “you failed because you did not try hard enough,” “be the natural/better you,” etc.).

Form a group of 4-5 people, choose a clip from a show. Identify the important components of the clip. For the assignment, follow the directions to use videoant to annotate the clip explaining what stories and tropes are used. Each person should add 1 annotation. When you are done with all of the annotations, post the clip on the blog. The annotations do not have to be long, just a short paragraph of 3-5 sentences. Be sure to think about who is intended audience, the expected response, and what role the scenes play in the bigger picture.

This exercise is intended to provide you with the opportunity to critically analyze and "deconstruct" videos and their intended effects on the target audience, and to think about ethical and social issues that are associated with any given (video) media artifact. To accompish this activity, you will need to access (or place) a video located on the web that is saved in ".flv" or ".mov" format. Fortunately, these are common formats and, if the video you have found or created is not in one of these formats, there is a free (and easy to use) tool for converting videos and saving to the web.

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Locate a video for use in this assignment. YouTube is a great place to find pre-existing videos (already in the correct format for annotation via VideoAnt) that might be used in this assignment. Dr. Desai (or her TA) can assist you in locating or creating a video that is acceptable for this assignment.
  2. (OPTIONAL) Need to put a video on the web or convert it to .flv or .mov format? If you have a digitized video file that you need to either (a) place on the web, and/or (b) convert to ".mov" or ".flv" format, you should use the freely available and incredibly useful tool, Media Mill.
  3. Access and read, "Media Literacy: A Primer and Practical Strategies for Video Deconstruction" (PDF document)
  4. View the on-line video, "How to create an annotated video,"
    Another version of this introduction, created by VideoAnt's developer, is available here: VideoAnt Tutorial 2009
  5. Access and follow directions at, "How to Use VideoANT: Creating Your First Annotated Video" (PDF document)
  6. Please take a minute and complete a brief evaluation of this assignment.

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