Video critique assignment: The New York Post Trump controversy

http://nyp.st/2dT6Vq0: This is the video and audio of Donald Trump having a conversation with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush in 2005. Scroll down in the article to view the 3:06 minute video.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr:Creative Commons; vintage video camera and photography camera.

The New York Post warns the video contains offensive language-they weren’t kidding. The video footage is about an article The Washington Post wrote about comments Trump had made in 2005. The video and audio begin rolling, and Trump begins talking-but you can’t see his face. The first half of the video shows a bus that has the banner “Access Hollywood” slowly moving towards the camera. The viewer can hear Trump’s voice but he is not in view. For the skeptical news consumer this can raise suspicion because you don’t see Trump talking in person. The video footage of the bus is pretty unremarkable- it’s really the audio of Trump talking about his come-on to Nancy O’Dell that keeps the viewer watching.

Around 57 seconds there is a clear distortion in the video as several men are exiting the Access Hollywood bus that says, “This distortion was in the video as obtained by The Post.” Although video distortions are not considered aesthetically attractive in video, I think it was important for The New York Post to note this so the video reflected credibility. Had The Post not addressed this, I think the video, audio, news article, and possibly The New York Post, could have possibly lost credibility because viewers might think they doctored it.

The next minute and a half of the video focuses on the door of the bus and eventually pans to the side of the bus.  As a viewer, when I saw several men exit the bus, I expected to see Trump and Bush exit as well and pick up the audio dialogue- this doesn’t happen. Again, the viewer wonders where and who Trump and Bush are looking at and commenting on from the bus because all the viewer sees is the bus door.

Around a 1:33 a woman with blonde hair and a red and white striped shirt walks by, and as a viewer I wonder if Trump and Bush’s conversation is about her or if she is just a random person passing by in the video footage-this is confusing to the viewer.

At 1:42 the camera goes from the side view of the bus back to the door and you see a figure that appears to be Trump in the bus door window. You can hear Bush explaining to Trump how to open the bus door in sync with the audio. This lessens the viewer’s confusion and suspicion because now you can physically see Trump and this relieves doubt in the viewer’s mind it is Trump actually talking; and the video is not a fake.

The video is at 2:15 and you can see Trump and Bush outside the bus completely meeting and greeting Arianne Zucker. The footage is clear and I can see other people must be present because it looks like flash bulbs from cameras are going off as Trump, Bush, and Zucker are talking.

The next 30 to 45 seconds of the video focuses primarily on Trump, Bush, and Zucker walking to what appears to be a backstage area or a studio. The video is shot pretty tight because I did not notice there were several people in the background of the footage at all until I really looked for them. I was really focused on the conversation and visual of the three walking.

It isn’t until around 2:55 that the three round the corner and the viewer can see one of the cameramen and audio personnel in the hallway filming. Again, this isn’t overly distracting, I had to look for it to notice it.

Video was the appropriate technology to use in this story-I actually wish there was more of it because as I mentioned earlier it is hard to get the context of who Trump and Bush are discussing on the bus. Still photos definitely would not have been appropriate for this story because it is not the moment that is important-it is the audio and video that bring context to this political scandal.

Overall, I would give this online presentation a letter grade of a “B” for how appropriate and effective it was. Where the video suffered for context the most was definitely in the first minute to minute and a half as I previously discussed. I mean- let’s be honest, the video is what it is-simplistic and adequate for a political news story. It’s really the audio coupled with the video that makes it a political scandal.

Happy Quilling!

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