As part of my DIGC302 course, I chose to critique Gabrielle Ramponi’s major project. Gabrielle set out to test different popular health and fitness hacks on the internet, to see if it was possible for normal people complete, all whilst maintaining a full-on life of working, socialising and attending University. To do this, she was to try out a fad every week, recording her thoughts before, during and after, then summarizing her discoveries in a vlog at the end of every week.
The projects focus is not on the actual outcome of the programs, as Gabrielle was not aiming to lose weight or get fitter through this exercise, but simply just to test how practical the demands of each program are within the context of an everyday person’s life. This fills what I think to be an untapped market. There are plenty of reviews for all different kinds of things, and plenty of different lifestyle hacks, however I’ve never seen someone review lifestyle hacks like this before. Often there’s shows where a person will completely change their lifestyle to trial a new fad, however for most people leaving your job to do nothing but ab work outs and blending kale isn’t particle. Gabby has instead made a series about what lifestyle hacks can fit with a normal routine, which is a refreshing and exciting outlook.
In the first vlog, the difference in frame orientation of the introduction and the main video is a little off putting. Gabby mentioned that she had a problem with the fact that she kept reading her notes while filming, meaning she was looking off screen. Whilst you can notice this, it’s not particularly distracting, and she looks up at the camera enough to still be engaging. Her first video is on an issue which she has struggled with personally, and I found that it was very easy to be invested in her progress. She made the issue very personable and relatable and helped to develop the sense of who she is past the project. This was a great video to develop her profile, and was a good choice for the first video- it worked as an introduction to both the video series and to herself, helping the audience feel more involved.
The microphone used was a little hollow sounding, but not distractingly so. The video does leave some room for improvement in both audio and visual quality, however the cost of that improvement would be impractical for the impact it would have on the video. The video was still extremely easy and enjoyable to watch. The slightly lower quality of sound and visuals almost gives it a more authentic feeling. If the production was too high quality and polished, the videos would almost lose that element of realism that Gabby is mastering so well currently.
The second video has Gabrielle making much more constant eye contact with the camera, which shows a large amount of progress in just two videos. Her style will continue to improve as she gets more comfortable talking to the camera and refines her editing skills. I found the way that she talks about fitness very refreshing. I personally find fitness blogs off-putting in the fact that they seem to take themselves too seriously. In Gabby’s videos, she flips this on its head, acknowledging that we’re all different and we don’t all have time to sit around doing yoga and eating Chai seeds. The tone of realism and humour that she brings to talking about fitness is enjoyable. Both the first and second posts are accompanied by a blog that details her initial thoughts and gives a quick summary of results. This was a very good tool to add, and enhances the user engagement. I would have liked to see her actually attempting to do some yoga, however. This would have given the review a little more realness.
Gabby then moved from the video platform to the blog platform for the rest of her blogs. I’ll be honest, I was sad to see the vlogs go. Her blog for week three still contained GIFs, which added a nice visual element. The layout is clean and easy to navigate, and she carries that personal tone through her writing. I would have liked to see more than one type of meal plan, potentially even one or two examples of what she ate in a day to add some variety and get the audience thinking. The blog was short and sweet, meaning that there wasn’t a chance for the reader to get bored or lost, but it also meant that there wasn’t a lot of information in it. I would have liked to see one or two more blogs about each week, potentially before the trial, her thoughts during, and then one like the one she posted summarising it all. Having the end blog which readers and view as a stand-alone complimented by the blogs that detail her process would offer a more immersive experience. I would have also liked to see a few more links to recipes that viewers can make for themselves, to aid anyone first starting out.
Upon writing the critique Gabby hadn’t yet put up the final section of her blog, however she had added an intro into what she’s doing- a vegetarian diet. I think added a little preview like this is a good way to generate hype, and get the viewers excited to read the rest of the blog. I would have overall liked to see more content for Gabby’s blog. The order in which they appear on the blog itself isn’t consistent with the week they were supposed to be covering. I think have a specific tab for the lifestlye blog would be a good way to organise the blog. In saying that, I personally don’t know how to do that so I can’t comment on Gabby’s ability either.
Overall, I think that Gabrielle’s project has tapped into a unique market where there is a lot of room for growth. She has succeeded in her aim to demonstrate if different life hacks can be done by everyday people. I would like to see her get back into the vlogging as well, as she has a very nice, authentic presentation style. The combination of the blogging and vlogging in her first two weeks was extremely effective and should be considered again if she continues with the project.