Film Assignment 2: Short Film Annotation
Link submission due to CANVAS by 11PM Friday, Oct 20th
ENG 265: Fall2017
Beginning of the continuity system
"With the continuity system, the film could do what the eye does naturally: select and focus on
the quintessential drama. This practice spelt economy in attention, vividness of effect, and
dramatic intensity." (actor Milton Sills in 1928)
For this assignment, you will be provided with a short film circa 1909 to analyze how it reflects the issues
of ‘narrative clarity.’ Your task will be to use the web-based video annotation tool, VideoAnt, to annotate
the film, that is, create small text comments alongside the film to demonstrate your ideas and
understanding of the film and relevant readings.
The goal for these annotations is to present analysis, evidence and argumentation, not simply opinion or
Website: VideoAnt: https://ant.umn.edu/welcome
VideoAnt Tutorial: https://youtu.be/xMOnEyIWp6I You will cover the basics of using the tool in discussion
section, and both your professor and GTF are available for troubleshooting and help, but you are
responsible for learning how to utilize the tool to create your annotated video and you should expect that
you will need to give yourself adequate time (not the evening of Oct 20th) to become proficient in the
technology. The platform requires you to enroll using either an existing Facebook or Gmail account. If you
do not have one of these accounts, or are for whatever reason unwilling to use your personal account,
contact your GTF for access information from a generic gmail account created for the course.
Grading Parameters: Grades are based on both quantity of annotations AND, more importantly, quality.
Quantity: At a minimum, an A-range assignment will include 7 but not more than 10 annotations
Each annotation should be a short paragraph in length.
Demonstrate careful thought about the aesthetics and production of meaning in the film and
how the use of a particular element or device supports the film’s narrative clarity.
Provide synthesis and application of concepts and ideas presented in readings and lecture.
Include direct references and quotes from readings or class lectures to support your
If you use additional research outside of your textbooks or lectures make sure to cite your source
clearly within the annotation.
Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.
Film: A Corner In Wheat (1909 D.W. Griffith)
Video link: https://youtu.be/By6qokGa7FE
For this twelve-minute film, create a set of annotations that examine the how the filmmaker and film
address the challenge of telling a story that is comprehensible to its audience, i.e.:
First you should review your class lecture notes and (re)read the section of Film History focused on “The
Problem of Narrative Clarity” (pages 35-39). Second, review the list of terms below that come from
lecture, discussion and the textbooks. Third, watch the film a couple of times and find places, scenes, or
moments in the film that highlight how these various techniques, elements, or devices are working (or
maybe not working) to provide narrative clarity for the film’s assumed audience. Fourth, write your
annotations using the terms to structure your analysis. Label each annotation with the specific term(s)
you are using for your analysis.
Technical note: Make sure to hit “SAVE” every time you make a new annotation. The “SAVE” button can
be found at the bottom right of each annotation.
Match on action (Match cut)
Medium long shot
Extreme long shot
On screen textual information i.e. signs, letters, etc.
Intercutting (parallel editing or crosscutting)
Mise-en-scène (for narrative clarity)
Lighting (for narrative clarity)
Still photography (as present in the film)
Point of View
General questions to consider: How do the film’s techniques of editing, camerawork, acting and mise-enscene clarify and/or provide continuity for what is narratively happening in the film?
How does the film use certain techniques to help the spectator grasp the causal, spatial and temporal
relations in the film?
How does the film make visible to its audience a chain of narrative cause and effect? How might we be
made aware of any character psychology that affects the narrative?
Are there any places or use of cinematic devices where the film seems to break with conventions of
narrative clarity or continuity that we (audiences in 2016) have come to expect/understand? Consider
these questions and observations you come to on your own.
Once you are completely finished with the project (make sure to proofread just like you would/should for
a regular paper), click on the “settings” icon under the video (it looks like a little gear). The “ANT
SETTINGS” window will open, select “SHARE” and make sure that under “Shared With…” you have
selected “VIEW” from the pull down menu. Copy the “Share URL” that is provided that links to your
You will then need to open CANVAS and paste the link into the submission section at the bottom of the
assignment page. Finally hit the ‘Submit Assignment’ button and you’re all done!
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