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I’ve been following One in 8 Million, a section, for a while. Each week there will be a different story. I choose a recent one, a story about a walker in New York City, as an exercise for semiotics. (Click on the image to watch the story in the website. Sorry, flash player is needed.)

I am not sure what genre it is, but it is different from a movie. There is no movement, but continuous static photographs.


Due to the pictures are chosen to match what the character says, so I think they use montage as one of the editing techniques to make the sequence of this story.


I am sure every picture is deliberatively selected, including the composition of each photograph, how that photograph match the voice over, etc.

Production Design

They shoot on location, and the props are from the real settings in the city and costumes are all from the character her own.


Although the “actor” is not a professional actress, I think there is still a sense of performing in this story-telling, photo pose as a performance.


They use voice-over as parallel sound, and I think it is non-diegetic sound, since in this case, only us as watchers could hear it, not the people in the photographs.


Black and white, so that people could only focus on the content of the photograph and the story itself.


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There are some photographs use close-up camera position, and the one above is a deep depth of field but with the character blur. My connotation is that this photo reveals the inner voice of the character that she doesn’t like to walk in the city, as her voice over in this part is “I don’t feel like in the city.”

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There is one look-down camera angle. My connotation is that it reveals the loneliness of the character.


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The walking man sign on the road is at the same time iconic, indexical and symbolic sign. It is iconic because it is the resemblance of human being; it is indexical because it is caused to exist by the existence of human being; it is symbolic because the sign is not exactly like human, but by convention, a sign with a shape like this would make people think it is human. [I am still not confident when trying to distinguish these three concepts. These arguments are copied from Barnard’s book, page 148-149. Please help me.]

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At when there is 1:13 left, the photo of the character’s sketchbook is seen as an index to her thinking, for her voice over is “if I don’t walk, I can’t think”.

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I think the graffiti picture when there is 1:28 left is an icon. It is like a portrait for a lady.

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The photograph when there is 1:20 left with a picture on the ground with two women in cheongsam on it, (I think they are from old Shanghai time), it is iconic, but I am not sure whether it is symbolic. Can you find any conventions?


When there is 00:38 left, I don’t understand why when she said”I noticed buildings”, but the photograph shown is having a shallow depth of field and making the building out of focus, instead focusing on an old man. Maybe they don’t have a better photograph? Probably not so.

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This exercise really helps me to think deeper of the terms, instead of just memorizing.

This is by no means a complete analysis. I would like to hear your voice.