Tuesday, May 7, 2013

ETAD 879 Video Critique

Proper Running Technique via Vo2maxProductions 


The description provided for this video on YouTube is, “Tips to keep for a more efficient running stride to improve speed, endurance and resistance to injury. You'll see correct, proper running form along with some drills that you can use to improve your technique.

From this description we can see that the goals and objectives of the video are to teach efficient running stride in order to improve speed, endurance and resistance to injury.

Production Techniques
Macro Level
The video attempts to reach its goals through the use of lecture style instruction and visual demonstrations. Examining this at a macro-level, the video does a good job of combining these two methods. It appropriately sets the stage through the use of a stationary “host” explaining the purposes of the video. It then transitions into visual demonstrations before returning to the “host” at the end of the video.

Micro Level
I will now dig deeper into the video. I will try to explore all of the different features of the video without going too deep.
  • The video begins with heavy music to engage the viewer. You can’t tell at this point, but it is too loud compared to the speaking that begins soon after.
  • The beginning of the video also shows a runner using proper form to set the stage for the content of the video. The camera tilts down to her shoes to show a focus on the foot strike. While this is happening the video also switches to an increased contrast or colour saturation – this is being used to get the viewer’s attention. In my opinion, it is a bit overdone as the colour becomes too saturated.
  • Throughout this opening sequence, the director also employed slow motion and switched back and forth between the normal colour and the saturated colour. There is also alternating shots between the runner coming towards the viewer and running away from the viewer. These all serve to capture the viewer’s attention, but to me, it seems a bit over the top and disorienting.
  • The intro section ends with a still shot of the runner along with the music fading out. I think this is an effective transition between the very high-energy intro and the host.
  • The next segment has the host introduce himself and introduce the structure and content of the video. This segment is not visually appealing as the shot is a bit too far away to be engaged by the speaker and he is wearing white against a white background. A positive of this setup is that they are employing the rule of thirds by placing the speaker’s head near an intersection of the gridlines.
  • Throughout this segment, there are a number of jump cuts that seem to be very abrupt. I would suggest using a more gradual cross-dissolve effect between the clips to make the cuts less noticeable.
  • There is also on screen text around the 45-second mark. It is large and very readable, but seems a bit cheesy. I am not sure why it is in brackets. This text is intended to improve the host’s credibility, but I would suggest that it makes the video look less professional.
  • The next segment of the video is shot outdoors near Boulder, Colorado. The setting is very nice with grass and mountains serving as the backdrop. Again the rule of thirds is used effectively.
  • The subsequent segment of the video has the host’s voice overtop of video of Allie (the runner) running. One interesting thing to notice is that the director still left in the soundtrack of her running underneath the narration – this is important because running coaches often talk about listening to your foot strike when working on your form.
  • Throughout this segment the video plays forward and backwards as well as in normal speed and slow motion. This helps to show what is being described.
  • The camera angle is effective at showing the lower half of her body, which is where we should be focusing our attention. I think it could be a bit tighter on the feet to make a clearer visual of what is being described.
  • The video once again employs on screen text. The text is in a different typeface than earlier – I would suggest maintaining consistency. This time there are no brackets, but there is overuse of ellipses (…).
  • The video continues to employ a variety of angles and has Allie running in from the left and also from the right. It would be better to stick with one direction to make it easier to follow and focus on the running form.
  • At 3:46 the video turns to another still-shot and then zooms in to focus on the shin position. A horizontal line graphic was added to help explain the shin position. I think this was effective.
  • The video then returns to the shot of the host against the white background. This composition has the same issues as at the beginning of the video. Bringing the viewer back to this location as a closing summary is effective.
  • At 5:00 the video returns back to the outdoor setting to close the video. This portion of the video is extraneous and could have been cut.
  • The video closes with the same music that it opened with along with more active clips of Allie running. 
  • The last second definitely looks like an accident and it should have been cut because it occurs after the music has ended.
Is this Video Effective?
I think the video medium is effective for achieving the goals and objectives of this video. The video medium is employed here to be able to show visuals and explain running form at the same time. It is also helpful for the visuals to be able to be static (still frames) at certain moments and also dynamic for most of the explanation. The video medium also allows for slow motion, which is crucial in showing something that happens quickly, such as running form. 

This video does a lot of things well, but also has room for improvement. Changes I would make would be to:
  • Use less of the colour saturation and shots of Allie running different directions.
  • Shoot the host segments tighter to his face and have him wear a different colour.
  • Use a consistent typeface and writing style for the on-screen text. I would also pare down much of the text.
  • Use more still frames of running form.
  • Bring the video to a quicker close.
Overall, I feel that the video doesn't completely reach its goals, as I do not feel like I am prepared to run with this efficient running stride, but it does serve as a starting point in learning this method. After viewing this video, I would want to view similar videos from others in order to gain a better understanding.


  1. Very detailed analysis, and I agree with all of your comments!

    I watched your video while using headphones to listen to the audio. I really noticed an echo in the segments when he was speaking in the room and plenty of background noise in the background shot! It's not as noticeable without the headphones - but paying a bit more attention to the audio would have given the video a more professional feel!

  2. Yes great analysis Ryan. I agree with what you suggest to improve this production. I see some evidence of thought but I think it could have been planned better. Perhaps making a series of smaller videos instead of trying to pack everything into one. The host scenes are not good. Poor choice of visuals and the lack of contrast do not help. Too many jump cuts I agree. He also looks tanned in the outdoor shots but not in the intro and extro. These parts feel tagged on after they shot the other footage.


  3. Thorough analysis Ryan. The host segments seem to have been an afterthought. Indoors with a bland background wearing a cream sweater - no depth to the shot and no interesting or relative background props or posters to connect to the subject matter. Having him outdoors in running gear talking to cam would have made the transitions Allie's exterior footage smoother. At the end we see him again with Allie on a wide shot. Then a jump cut to a similar framing I found odd. If the intent was to give it a cool look it didn't work because there wasn't similar jump cuts earlier to establish a trend. Audio was spotty, a bit bouncy inside. Audio mix not balanced - music too loud top and tail. My 2 cents.