Duet “Commentary” Video Essay Group Work

While in your syllabus the grade breakdown calls for a group Podcast (worth 20% of your grade), I have been so impressed with everyone’s work that I want us to plunge directly into something a bit more advanced.



As a group, you will create a running commentary to play over the short film we saw last week, Duet (2014). For references, look at the “Voice Over/DVD Commentaries” post.

Things to do:

– Write a script that will be read by one (or more) of you as the commentary track over Keane’s short (duration 3:48). This can be thoroughly analytical (explaining frames, giving background on the piece), wholly personal (speaking of your own reactions to the piece) or any combination thereof (you can also go more creative if you want). The main idea is to work on matching image and text.

Bear in mind that, on average, 130 words translates to 1 minute’s worth of talking (so you want to aim for roughly 500 words depending on the speed at which you talk).

– In writing the script, bear in mind that you’ll want your text to match what your viewer will be seeing (use the Duet storyboard for this).

– Download (and/or rip) Duet off of the internet (via the YouTube extensions we discussed in class)

– Record your running commentary using Audacity (or whichever sound recording/mixing software you are more familiar/comfortable with). You want to aim for it to match the running time of Duet perfectly. You’ll have to do this by next Thursday’s class where we’ll be mixing everything together.

– Combine the audio and the video (we will be doing this in class so even if you’re experienced in audiovisual editing, come prepared to do so with your peers in the classroom: part of the assignment is to offer a crash course on how to do this and the hope is those less experienced will be able to learn from those who are more comfortable with these technical aspects).

– Export your video and upload to your blogs (via Vimeo, YouTube, etc.) offering a transcription of the video’s script and a description of your intent (250-500 words); a sort of “Video description.” You also want to give your video a helpful title.

– You will be graded as a group so you want to make sure everyone contributes, making accommodations for various technical skill-sets. The following is the grading rubric I will be using to evaluate each video:

Grading Rubric Duet


About Manuel Betancourt

Manuel is a New York City-based writer, editor, and critical thinker. He's a pop culture enthusiast and an eternal Buffy fan. His work has appeared in Film Comment, TheAtlantic.com, Backstage Magazine, Vice, INTO, Esquire.com, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Catapult, among others. He's a regular contributor to Remezcla and Electric Literature. | @bmanuel
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