Visual Rewrite — @Plutoshouldbeaplanet

0.0 The video opens up with a cartoon image of Smokey Bear’s face. He is looking slightly up as if he is about to tell us something. His face is positioned in front of a wooded area that has light coming through the trees that is brightening up the wooded area. The woods are real woods which artistically contrasts Smokey’s cartoon face. In other Smokey Bear videos, there is a similar depiction of him. The real woods in the background contrasting Smokey’s face gives attention to the cartoon bear rather than the woods. In addition, we know that Smokey bear’s purpose is to warn us about forest fires. His face could be cartoon in front of the woods because his face is almost “guarding” the land that he wants to protect. The light between the trees is directed at us, showing that the sun is behind Smokey.

0.01 Within the first second we see smokey start to talk and the camera start to pan inwards closer on his face. The trees from the woods sway a little, but not enough to draw your attention off of Smokey. Smokey talks to us for a full 5 seconds about something and the camera stays focused on him. Since Smokey talks for a full five seconds, audio is extremely important in this video. He is most likely telling us something about the woods behind him and how we can prevent forest fires. Maybe he is talking about their vulnerability. In the later parts of the video, you can see that the scene is set in fall. During fall, the trees are at their driest and therefore the most vulnerable to forest fires. He could be giving us facts about the forest behind him, maybe statistics on its previous fires. Since it is the beginning of the video, he could just be introducing himself and why we should listen to him. He may even be giving us a lesson on steps we can take to ensure the statistics of forest fires go down.

0.05 The camera then cuts to 2 men camping. They’re sitting in lounge chairs in front of a fire. There’s a brand new tent in the background. The two men are dressed in clothing that is clean. The men’s outfits and equipment suggest that they are first time campers that aren’t too much of the outdoorsy type. They haven’t been doing much hiking or fishing, or traditional activities. You can tell because the clothing is spotless, and there are leaves surrounding them that look untouched. A bunch of leaves cover the ground suggesting maybe it’s fall. They’re wearing coats and a hat and the men are looking at each other showing that they are talking to one another. The shot also shows a firepit between the two men. The firepit is enclosed and the fire is small. Since Smokey was at the beginning of the video, we know that this small fire is most likely the cause behind the message Smokey is trying to send us. He is most likely talking about safety of contained fires within a wooded area.

0.06 The camera zooms in on the guy to the left’s face. he is clearly holding a mug drinking a hot beverage. He looks happy. He’s smiling and wearing clothes for cold weather. He is looking slightly to the left of the camera suggesting that he is talking to the other camper. We’re gonna name him Joe.

0.09 The camera then turns to the camper that’s on the right, we’ll call him Mike. He is also wearing clothes for cold weather and is looking slightly to the right of the camera suggesting he’s talking to the other camper. However, Mike does not look as pleased as Joe does. Mike is also holding an old, brown, maple leaf and is shaking it at Joe as he talks.

0.11 At this point the camera zooms out and you can now see both campers in the center of the frame. They seem to be about the same age. Their conversation seems casual, giving the impression that they’re good friends, or maybe bloggers. They’re both drinking something warm in front of the fire. they’re looking at each other and it looks like discussing something. Mike puts his hands up almost in a defensive mode as if they are arguing about something.

0.13 The camera pans down onto the table between the 2 campers that is holding their beverages and shows one of the campers phones which lights up with the image of Smokey Bear’s face that we saw in the beginning of the video. Under Smokey’s face there is a sound bar, similar to Siri or Bixby on modern smart phones. Joe most likely is talking to the phone or asked for “Siri Smokey” or something.

0.14 The camera then moves upward to Joe’s face whose phone it most likely is because it is set right next to him on the table. He looks down at the phone and begins to speak and starts to look up at Mike while also looking down at the phone every now and then. Maybe he is conversing with Smokey or asking him a question. Siri Smokey is most likely were to warn them about their contained campfire and how to be safe so they don’t start a forest fire.

0.16 The camera pans out so you can now see both campers again both look at each other and nod as if agreeing on something. Wow it would really be great if I chose a video that didn’t depend so much on dialogue…

0.17 The camera moves back down on the phone where we see Smokey continue to talk. The agreeance between Mike and Joe must have been to something Smokey said. After all, who is going to disagree with preventing forest fires?

0.19 The camera then pans to the Joe who is smiling nodding and looking down Smokey. Smokey is most likely teaching them about fire safety and Joe agrees. After all, Smokey does know best.

0.21 The camera pans to Mike who has his eyebrows furrowed almost as if he is perplexed by something. Maybe he doesn’t care about fire safety.

0.23 The camera points back down to Smokey who continues to talk.

0.24 The camera then points to Mike. Mike now looks surprised at something Smokey said. He’s finally coming around to care about fire safety. He’s looking at Joe.

0.26 The camera moves out and you can now see both campers again who are presumably having a conversation. Both look content

0.27 Video ends with a drawn picture of smokey the bear’s face in white on a black background. And underneath it says “only you can prevent wildfires.”

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9 Responses to Visual Rewrite — @Plutoshouldbeaplanet

  1. davidbdale says:

    Pluto, my practice is the react to your analysis as I read it WITHOUT watching the video for clarification or confirmation. I’ll respond with questions if I’m having trouble visualizing what you describe or if I don’t understand what the rhetorical value of the director’s decisions might be. And also if I’m very impressed by the quality of your observations.

    0.0 I don’t like to open with a grammar complaint, but you’ve written two run-ons here, both illegal sentence wannabes. A cartoon image of Smokey Bear, you say? (Surprise: he has no middle name. He is not Smokey The Bear, just Smokey Bear, with initial caps.) He’s a cartoon but the wooded area is an actual physical wooded area, or is that illustrated too? Light coming through the trees in that semi-religious way that makes Smokey look like Saint Smokey? What is the tone of this piece in the first second? Silly? Sober? Neutral and informational? Smokey has evolved a lot over the generations as a drawn spokesbear. How’s he looking here? Old-School Smokey? Hip-hop Smokey? Art Gallery Smokey? Art departments sweated to bring you these details, Pluto. Share them with your readers.

    0.01 And for a full five seconds, the entire visual is Smokey directly addressing the camera? Wait, just his face? For five seconds Smokey Bear’s face talks to us? Does it move? Do the woods move, sway in the breeze, call attention to themselves? They’re not just scenery in this story. They’re the precious treasure we’re trying to protect. Is the animation credible? Is the thing just hovering in the woods there? Two- or three-dimensional? Is the effect creepy or hilarious? Does it ruin the mood? Smokey doesn’t joke. He’s a park ranger. Law enforcement.

    0.05 There’s a kind of camping where you don’t bring lounge chairs. These guys might be posers. Will they be killing their dinner or using a solar panel to power a portable microwave? Brand new tent fresh from Amazon, or well-used by veteran campers? Other bourgeois equipment visible? Coats they won’t mind smelling like campfire smoke forever? Good sturdy boots, or sneaks? The fire is not an afterthought. This is a Smokey Bear video. We need details of its size, how well it’s contained, whether it’s ringed with rocks or in a pit, whether there’s a shovel and water bucket visible for putting it out. Details.

    0.06 Name the guy. Is he Stocking Cap or Short Beard or Matt Damon type? Mug from Land’s End? The Dollar Store? A telescoping metal cup with a foldable handle?

    0.09 Name the guy. Is he Short ‘Fro or Sheldon Cooper or Denzel? Is he displeased with camping or with what Matt Damon said? Are these clothes he will discard when he gets home or have dry-cleaned?

    0.11 So, are they gay, good buddies, out on assignment for an adventure blog, scouting the location for a horror movie? Do they have wives? Girl friends? Are they the same age? Could one be the other’s boss?

    0.13 Are they really even camping, or is this one of the guys’ spacious back yards? Who gets cell service in the forest? But, OK, does Smokey have an app? Or is he calling them directly for FaceTime? You don’t say whether he’s in action mode, or a still image, or what.

    0.14 Of course with the sound off, you can’t know whether Smokey started talking to Matt or not, so, does the timing tell you anything? Did he have to “answer the call,” or did the app just start chatting with him? Is he shocked to receive a notification, or is this something he expected from long practice?

    0.16 It does begin to seem as if SO MUCH of this video depends on voiceover and dialog it may not be the best candidate for a Visual Rhetoric exercise. That places more of a burden on you to mine the visuals for clues.

    0.17 So, he IS talking. Video Phone Call from Smokey! He’s a one-trick bear, Smokey. The only conversation that interests him is lecturing his audience about fire safety. These guys are probably getting a dressing down.

    0.19 Humorous? I’d be surprised.

    0.21-0.23 Denzel is now the villain. Anybody who disagrees with Smokey is dangerous with matches.

    0.24 Denzel got called out. Doesn’t like it.

    0.26 Quick to admit his negligence, Denzel has been wised-up. These lessons have to end with agreement and a shared responsibility to protect the forest.

    0.27 I’ll bet it doesn’t say “” I’ll bet it says “”

    Is that helpful (in addition to being extremely annoying), Pluto? I’ll give you a placeholder grade that will insure that you revise for a regrade. My new strategy. Feedback is a conversation! 🙂

  2. davidbdale says:

    Because you chose a video that apparently depends A LOT on its soundtrack, Pluto, when you finish explaining how unsatisfying it was to watch the video muted, how you had hardly any idea what was going on, and how the whole thing seemed like a waste of 30 seconds, you’ll have to add an amendment in which you clarify how MUCH or how LITTLE the dialog turned a nuisance into a persuasive bit of social engineering.

    • Your comments actually had me chuckling out loud to the point where everyone sitting around me is now wondering what on my computer is so funny.

      I found it kinda funny because I actually never watched through the video with the sound so I really had little to no idea what was going on other than the visuals. It didn’t really occur to me how much I could be missing. Not only how much I could be missing, but how irrelevant the depictions are. I also would pick probably the one video where the pictures are not as useful as the sound… haha

      I also didn’t realize I don’t think I know how to find a run on sentence or how to notice I’m using one. I just start thinking and don’t stop haha. anyways… I’ll fix this

      • I also must be honest here, I have no idea in the first clip how to describe the lights..

        • davidbdale says:

          I haven’t looked, so . . . shafts of light reminiscent of a religious painting? Are they? Or is there a backlight glow that separates Smokey from the background, makes him appear to be floating, makes him appear to be the source of the light?

      • davidbdale says:

        It’s all funny to me, too, Pluto. 🙂

        The video opens up with a cartoon image of smokey the bear’s face he is looking slightly up as if he is about to tell us something. His face is positioned in front of a wooded area that has light coming through the trees the light is directed at us, showing that the sun is behind Smokey.

        Runons Remedied the easiest way:
        The video opens up with a cartoon image of Smokey Bear’s face. He is looking slightly up as if he is about to tell us something. His face is positioned in front of a wooded area that has light coming through the trees. The light is directed at us, showing that the sun is behind Smokey.

  3. davidbdale says:

    For four seconds out of 30, a cartoon head is superimposed over actual video of trees swaying in a gentle breeze. Why?

    A complete Visual Rhetoric assignment blends visual reportage with rhetorical analysis. Why a cartoon superimposed over a real forest?

    One possibility: Smokey CAN’T be real; that’s a given. But the trees COULD be animated. They’re real by director’s choice. The director wanted to present us with an actual, always at-risk forest (a pre-forest-fire forest) to emphasize the beauty and vulnerability of the real thing. Its protector is merely a disembodied animated head pleading for our cooperation to protect our natural resource. The cartoon can’t protect the real forest. He needs our help.

    Is that crazy? Maybe. But it’s defensible. And it may have crossed the director’s mind. It surely crossed the mind of the animation team assigned to bring Smokey to life. (It would be easier to draw him against an animated forest than green-screen him seamlessly against real footage.)

    Draw your own defensible conclusions about the creators’ strategy as you proceed with your revisions, Pluto.

    • davidbdale says:

      This just in. One of your classmates posted this description for a DIFFERENT Smokey Bear infomercial:

      0:01 In the first second of this ad we see an image of Smokey the bear. This image contains Smokey’s head floating in a patch of forest with sun shining through. From this we could tell if we know anything about Smokey the bear that we are about to learn how to prevent forest fires. The forest background with the sunlight shining through it was most likely added to capture the pure beauty of forestry, to show how sacred it is and to exemplify why fire safety in forests is very important. Smokey the bear is present in this first second because he is the symbol of forest fire prevention in America.

  4. davidbdale says:

    Your additions are helpful, Pluto. If you have time for anything else, consider listening to the audio afterward and describing how well, or how poorly, the visuals augment the message of the soundtrack. Now that you know what the ad SOUNDS like, do you wonder why the director chose the visuals as a second track?

    Regraded and taken out of Feedback Please.

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