A Hell-firey Video Essay

So, for my video essay, I chose to look use the Lost Tapes episode “Hellhound. It is one of the four episodes that scared me as a child (along with chupacabra, skinwalker, and strigoi) that I made my character Maria interested in. I have already done posts with the “Chupacabra” and “Skinwalker” episodes, so now its the hellhound’s turn! It seemed Halloween-y and the hellhound is similar to the church grim, which I made an assignment about last week. Honestly, I still don’t want to re-watch the strigoi episode!

First thing I did was read the reading and watch all of the videos linked, to get an idea of what to start looking for. I then watched the episode. I used a version that was uploaded to YouTube, as one of the links provided to us about how to download video files involved YouTube. I didn’t know how to do it from the Animal Planet website, and I also didn’t want to sit through all of the ads, which tend to buffer and freeze. I marked down places where I could see things to analyze. Lost Tapes is easy, as half of the episodes are just slideshows of pictures, videos, and backgrounds with narration. Obviously I couldn’t use those parts, so I only had to sort though about half or three-quarters of the episode. After I found the scene, I re-watched and reread the links again and marked down what from those things matched up to the video.

In order to actually make the video, I had to download some software. I downloaded OpenShot Video Editor, one of the options provided to us. It took a bit to download and figure out how to set up and use. I then uploaded the full episode into it and then cut to have only the scene I needed. I also uploaded the still-frame of the hellhound before and after it. I wanted a title card, so I downloaded Blender in order to be able to use the animated title card I wanted. It was a pain trying to set up Blender with Openshot! It was also incredibly, frustratingly slow trying to render the title card. I like my end result, but wow, it was awful! Not only did it render slow, but I couldn’t review what it would look like at the end, so if the text wasn’t the right size, I had to redo it and sit through another render. It was honestly so, so awful. That wasn’t my only tech issue. For whatever reason, Openshot also liked to act up and either go so buffer-y or speed up to the point I had to save, exit, and reload. This happened many times. Basically, I had a fair amount of tech issues.

Tech issues did not abate when I tried to record my narration. I had written out my script, and when I tried to record it using Audacity, for whatever reason Audacity didn’t pick up the audio well at all-it was so quite it almost didn’t exist/ I had to tinker with Audacity to get any loud recordings to happen, and even then the recording was much more sensitive than normal to minute sounds. I recorded in segments, since I know that I can’t make a clean recording for 3 minutes straight.

After recording, I uploaded my audio segments and moved them around. I added the freeze frame for 20 seconds  so that the visuals would match in length and timing with my audio. I actually did 2 10-second freeze-framing segments back-to-back, as I didn’t realize that I needed longer until I had saved it. Finally, I added another one of those frustratingly-slow title cards to the end. I also added transitions to the pictures of the hellhounds so transitioning to and form them didn’t look as choppy. Finally, I was done!

Overall, I liked the videos and readings, and I felt like I learned a lot from them. Although, I like Marvel! I know its not as great cinematography, but they are fun to watch, OK?! However, making this video was a long, tedious process that took many hours to do. I like the video I chose, but there was so many tech issues! I do think this assignment did help me look at this episode, and TV shows and films in general, with a more critical eye to the cinematic camerawork and editing of whatever I watch. I never thought about chairs, the “rule of thirds”, staging, or moment before and their roles in whatever they are in. This was an educational, but extraordinarily  aggravating assignment!

This is where the picture of the hellhound came from, for both the video and my Featured image:


This is the YouTube video of the episode that I downloaded:

While the readings and videos are linked on the Weekly assignments page, here are the ones I used:


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