An Analysis of “She Knows”

Sequencing is utterly crucial to making an effective video, and the sequencing in  “She Knows” by J-Cole does a stellar job. There is an abundance of tight shots in the video, but they are justified as much of the video is focused on the two main characters reaction’s to what is occurring around them. The tight shots of them playing arcade games, skating, drinking, and smoking do a phenomenal job of creating an aura that reminds one of a day played hooky from school. The closeness of the shots also gives the viewer a better chance to read the character’s expressions, vital to the story of the video. While there are many tight shots, some of the most beautiful and haunting shots are wide shots. When the main character walks in on his mom and J-Cole, the video follows him out of the house, then cuts to a wide shot that shows the two friends running down the street. This cut continues to show the friend following the main character, a kind of subtle reference to just how strong the friendship is between the two.

This video relies heavily on pans, but none of them seem unnecessary. Much of the panning serves as a tool to reinforce how good of friends the two characters are. Displaying the main character calling out for help as his backpack gets stuck to his friend coming back is a great utilization of panning, as it may be the most heavy-handed example of trying to represent the bond of friendship. Another little small scene that features a pan is when the main character goes to light a joint, but has issues with the wind preventing him from doing so. From there they pan to his friend cupping his hand around the joint, aiding in lighting it. Even with such a small shot (the scene only takes three seconds) the director is able to relay exactly what he/she wants to. The only complaint I could levy against the panning is at times it seems a little too fast and hectic, though that may be intentional as an allusion to how hectic the day the viewer is witnessing is.

The pacing of this music video was something that struck me as particularly intriguing. The first three and half minutes that follow the boys from skipping school until they head back to the main character’s house after running away from the cop moves at an almost breakneck speed. They go from skating to going to a gas station to smoking and then trespassing all in the matter of thirty seconds, with cuts taking the viewer from place to place. This is in line with the more upbeat tone of following two kids cutting class and enjoying a day off. However, after the main character discovers what his mother and J-Cole are doing, the video slows considerably in pacing. The rest of the video is essentially just the friend chasing and arguing with the main character, the main character being picked up from school, and grace at the dinner table. This slower pacing assists the viewer in understanding the more sad route the day has gone. The pacing is really what sets the video apart, allowing it to have its intended affect.


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