Project: Mapping Commonplaces

Compass Coffee Video:

Below is the video I made for my multimodal section of the project. Enjoy!


Essay: Mapping Commonplaces

I have chosen to create a video for my multi-modal project showing Compass Coffee as a commonplace throughout DC. Taking it a step further, after watching my video viewers will be able to use coffee, itself as a commonplace. However, we are going to start from the beginning. The title appears. Happy and joyful music is heard creating a blissful and lighthearted mood. During the transition between the title and the initial google search the Compass Coffee logo is overlaid. The google search and the logo provide the viewers with background information on what the video is going to be about. In addition, before I click on Compass’s website the audience can observe the very high rating Compass has. Using screen recording as a method of telling a story makes it seem as though the viewers themselves are searching online for Compass Coffee.

Fig.1. Screenshot of map to compass

After I click on the “press” tab numerous amounts of newspaper articles appear immediately followed by newspaper clippings from The New York Times, Eater, and The Washington Post. Showing all these big corporations writing about Compass shows that this shop is very well respected and popular around DC. So popular The New York Times wrote an article.

Next, the tape starts rewinding over and the viewer maps the Compass Coffee locations. Now the audience is going to accompany me in finding out what the “hype” truly is about. Initially, the search bar shows multiple Compass locations in DC. Again, the viewer can see how common this cafe is around DC. The fade to the black screen indicates a change in time. When I turn and talk directly to the camera gives the video a “story” kind of feel. Once I turn the camera back around, the screen becomes both my eyes and the views.

Moreover, in my walkthrough of the coffee shop (I received verbal permission to film) the viewer can observe some of Compass’s key characteristics. First, the quote on the wall (right). I used this image as one of my digital archives in which you can find, here. Additionally, the viewers are able to see the American flag folded in triangle — just as marines do during their retirement ceremonies. This is fairly fitting considering the owners met in the marines and bonded over drinking “shitty coffee”.

After looking around the shop the camera transitions into the back room and the views are shown the title of “The Roastary”. The graphics give a sense of a new chapter in the film. A little further on the graphics are used as explanations or labels. Being able to hear, see, and read where the beans come from shows the audience that Compass is a worldwide corporation that is not just isolated to DC. The voiceover that shortly follows suggests that this is a journalistic basis of reporting as he explains how the system works. I added a little bit of humor for the audience as you can solely see my nose as I sniff. The video concludes with a happy customer (me,) enjoying a lavender latte as the screen fades out, indicating the video has come to a close.

However, a part that I did no include in my video was when I got the chance to meet and talk to one of the co-owners, Michael Haft. Originally the barista told me the owners were not there, but after I started walking around with my camera, Michael approached me and asked if I needed anything. Explaining to him that I was recording for one of my classes at American University he was eager to have someone give me a tour. As seen in the video, the Roastary has hundreds of giant 130 pound bags of imported coffee beans. The beans come from places all around the world (as listed in the video).

Fig. 3. The Roastary; 130 pound bags of coffee beans (left)

Additionally, when I arrived they were in the middle of a taste test. They explained to me that whenever they create a new brew or mix they have a team of taste testers. Once they find the perfect combination they are able to save the settings in a digital file, ensuring that each cup after tastes ruffly the same. However, when they were giving me the tour Michael specifically made sure to keep me and the video camera away from the control settings. I concluded that this is a topic secret characteristic to Compass.

I hope you enjoyed my presentation, I had a lot of fun creating it!

Checkout one of my classmates projects: Melanie Arroyave

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