I hadn’t done a video analysis in a while, so I thought I should give it a try. I wanted something AI-related to work with. My first thought was Blade Runner, since I had a copy from the library, but that’s probably been done to the point where I couldn’t add anything. Ghost in the Shell was another possibility, since I watched it recently for the first time. That would have the added benefit of looking at how cinematic technique works in animation. But then I thought of the old TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which occasionally dealt with nascent AI systems in development. I went to see what clips were available on Youtube, and found Agent Ellison Plays Chess With John Henry, which seemed like it would do.
I watched the clip through a few times, noting things I thought significant. I wrote out what I wanted to say and recorded it in Audacity, and then went back through the recording to clean up some pauses and breathing noises.
I grabbed the clip from Youtube and brought it and an MP3 of my voice-over into iMovie. The voice-over was longer than the clip, and what I had to say didn’t line up with the video properly, so I had some decisions to make. I split the VO track (Ctrl-B) and moved parts to the appropriate spots. I also dropped the volume on the clip when I was talking. I used the freeze-frame function at one point to get the video and VO aligned, and copied some clips of video and placed them to go with the VO. Then I decided to run the whole clip a second time after my track ended, so a viewer could see what I was talking about in proper context. I added some titles as well, then used File->Share to convert it to an MP4 that I could upload to Youtube.
I took my VO script and the transcript of the video from Youtube and put them together in a text document. I cleaned up the capitalization and punctuation in the Youtube transcript, since it was auto-generated. When I uploaded my iMovie output to Youtube, I added my text file for the subtitles. When I watched the video the next day, the punctuation and capitalization were missing so I realized that I forgot to click the Publish button after I put in the text, leaving it with auto-generated captions. So I went back into Youtube and fixed it. Not the first time that’s happened. Youtube gave the video a copyright warning, but didn’t block it.
I think the essay works okay. The things I don’t like come from issues in the source material, namely the low definition and the shaky camera. And the sound of my voice. But what can you do? It was worthwhile though to take a close, analytical look at the scene and think about what it was showing and how. It gives me a better appreciation for the show, and for film-making in general.