2014 Video Sketch 2-4

Shot with: Vine

The 3 crafts in the video are, in order, a kid is lying prone on the back of elephant, 4 people hugging in a circle, an aboriginal family of three.

These shots could be the cutaways/B-roll materials, which are commonly used to hide zooms in documentary.

 Similarly, a contextually irrelevant part of a sentence or anecdote can be removed to construct a more effective, succinct delivery. This can also be used to change the meaning of the speaker to fit the view of the producer. In fiction film, the technique can be used to indicate simultaneous action or flashbacks, usually increasing tension or revealing information.

As the contents of these cutaways still stick to the topic ‘intimacy’, they may create a better mood for the audience in a way.

Lastly, the constraints were less cared in mobile video making, in this case, the reflection of myself holding the camera on the showcase window was captured in the video. This is familiar to every one of us as we see our reflections all the time. Thus, the audience would get realness from watching the video that full of  real experiences of life.



2014 Video Sketch 2-3

Shot with: Vine

A photo slide has been projected on the floor of the entrance in a tea shop, the photos are about intimate people enjoying their tea, a hash tag topic occasionally appears.

I really like this idea that it serves multiple purposes; it tells you how happy you would get if you drink tea, and invites you to join their topic on Twitter so you can talk to the other happy people.

In the aspect of shooting technique, I used the method of ‘shot for shot’ ( a way to describe a visual work that is transferred almost completely identical from the original work without much interpretation) that commonly was used on Vine as putting shots of playing video with self-made shots to reconstruct a new story, however, the quoted shots may or may not serve original meaning in new video. 



2014 Video Sketch 2-2

Shot with: Vine

Vine gave us a platform to share our life with others, the mobile phones therefore became our eyes on someone else to see what they have seen. For example, when I decided to buy a puppy to join my family, but I hesitate on choosing breeds. I need to get advises from friends by sending them videos. The videos taken by mobile phone nowadays are large in size which may use up all your internet data. Why don’t I post a Vine? It is small in size and every one could leave commons below, and even get tips from other owners. Big win.

2014 Video Sketch 1-4

Edited with: iMovie

Music by: iMovie

In previous sketches, we had videos about people and animals, people and people, finally we can see some intimacy among animals. In this video, a group of waterfowls are having their time in the lake. The purpose was to make  a video about observing birds in the view of human eyes. Therefore the heights of camera in three shots are similar to the height of an adult in both standing and squating positions. In the second shot, I was recording while following the waterfowls, the image is not stable due to the camera moving along with my body, but it happens to be simulating the vision of human. It is similar in shot three, camera moved up in a second and moved back, just as our vision sometimes get distracted when we are looking at one thing.

2014 Video Sketch 1-3

Edited with: iMovie

Music by: iMovie

In this sketch, the content switched to the  intimate relationship among families.

In the first scene, I filmed a father and daughter in over the shoulder shot, however it was not like the type of shot in film/TV productions which commonly is used to help the audience place the characters in their setting. It was more like a  kind of style that I intended to use the head of the person to frame the main characters. Filming from distance could cause the image becoming too empty, using the other people or objects in between to set off  seems easier for our eyes find the main focus. 

The second scene is my favorite,  which I filmed a family of three on the moving little train with my arm stretching out of the window. While the family was also taking selfies for themselves that really gave us a example of how mobile phone ares used in making photos and video all over the world. Of course, the advantages of mobile phone filming reflected in this scene which was capturing the spontaneous family movement in quick actions: flip, click, and action.

The  third one is more on the content, we got friends, families, lovers are riding water bikes all in one lake. Well, I cannot think of any other situations which gathered all these combinations and got them working on one thing as sorted groups, people get more intimate when cooperating, they always do.

2014 Video Sketch 1-2

Edited with: iMovie

The content of this sketch is me holding my girl friend’s hand which sticks to the topic of intimacy: the aspect of the intimate relationship between lovers which commonly the first thought comes up when we talk about intimacy.

In the first shot, the camera travels up along our arms to holding hands, this cinematic technique has been commonly seen in video production to present the intimacy of two people. It was even easier to shoot by mobile phones because of the light weights of them, or we could call the mobility of them.

In the second shot, the mobile phone was filming directly up underneath our hands, on account of the flatness of mobile phone, the shot like this is achievable without massive space and any camera mounting tools. In contrast, the normal video cameras would need extra space underneath filming objects.

In last shot, the phone was placed beside of holding hands, again, the extreme low angle benefited from the easy placement of a mobile phone. Also the romantic background music was spontaneously recorded from a movie that we were watching then, so the music clearly was found on location and was used as a social document so its loyalty free.

2014 Video Sketch 1-1

Edited with: iMovie

This sketch was edited with 3 shots, its main purpose was to capture the close relationship between dog and human trough the recording by the mobile phone.  In the first shot, Tiggy(dog’s name) is attracted by me waving his snack bag and runs toward the camera. In my opinion, the owners always feel being needed when their pets running toward them. In next shot,Tiggy is standing very close to the camera while he licking up the food, I intended to get this shot in zero distance with Tiggy in order to simulate the intimate moment when we playing with our pets. The interesting thing happened in next shot which was Tiggy pushed over the phone and me and Tiggy were both captured in a facing up camera angle. It follows that filming with mobile phone expanded the allowance of the interaction between the objects and camera, more possibilities would be achieved due to the inherent features of  a mobile phone(smartphone).

Industrial Media 2-3: Lenny

Lenny exercise was a good experience to me which took me through the whole process from pre-production, via production to post-production. So I personally joined in every part of making a film, and we took turns on different roles on the set, differs from my previous experience of being single role in crews, I had a chance to know how individuals work with each other on the set, and should respect and make allowance for the others. Most importantly, knowing the relationship among the crew could help me quickly locating where the issues happened.

The order is important on the set, to achieve maximum efficiency and making every one working together as a team, the 1st AD is in charge of maintaining orders during shooting. I used to think making a film was all about being creative on the story and techniques, but ignored the non-creative works behind the scenes. After shooting Lenny VI, I have known whoever is on the set, doing the correct behaviors would always affect the quality of the outcome, and his/her future career.

The choosing of the locations could be very challenging too; it should be memorable to the audience by specific settings. Choosing a good location would spend lots of time, it is a good idea to find locations where have characters rather than generic places. Such as, we would better find a quaint boutique bookstore or a French café with a patio overlooking a park instead of just a bookstore or a restaurant. Some other things should be considered too like: the availabilities of accommodations, car parking, and electricity and so on. Finding the perfect location that works both inside as an interior and outside as an exterior may be difficult.  But we can film the exterior of a house and then use a different house’s interior, which gives us a more controlled environment.

I overall enjoyed the editing; we have got enough shots on story and actors, but need some B-roll shots which give the audience a good idea of the landscape that the character encounters. If we had more time I probably would get more shots for each scenes that have conversation from different angles, therefore I could avoid cutting back to the exact same angle every time. The tricky part of cutting is how to cut tight scenes without becoming too “cutty”, this means taking out some unnecessary pauses between actors’ delivery dialogue of lines, or tightening the gaps within dialogue sentences through the use if carefully placed cutaways.

Industrial Media 2-2: Reflections of Doco Readings

In the last few days, I have read

  • Ward, Paul. Documentary: the margins of reality
  • Curran Bernard, S. Documentary storytelling for film and videomakers

I used to hold a thought about how to divide documentaries and dramas, which the documentaries should only document the real events without any performance or acting. However during the studying the documentary field in depth for months, I have known the relationship between two categories is complex and sometimes overlap. Paul Ward’s Documentary: the Margins of Reality has given me a great understanding about this relationship and all the variations on these.

Ward pointed out some fictional techniques were increasingly used in documentaries in recent times, such as reconstruction or re-enactment. These techniques are sometimes only options when the documentaries engage with history and the past, or difficult to get access because of anonymity or other problems:

Either there is no ‘direct’ record of the events that can simply be drawn into the documentary context- this is the case with events from history when no cameras were present-or there are issues around anonymity or other problems with access that mean that reconstruction is one of the only options available.

For my current non-fiction project, even though it will be an observational documentary, there will be no obvious acting or performance within, however, for capturing a necessary scene which for example could boost the narration, but it is somehow missed or interrupted, We do require the participant to ‘re-enact’ that moment, so I consider this arguably could be the acting in observational documentary: how real people/non actors ‘play themselves’ in some way.

 …there is an argument that all documentary involves people ‘acting’ in some sense of the term, so the distinction is arguably a matter of degree…

With the development of film and TV productions and technology, I believe the documentary should pick up the tools such as CGI, props or acting to reconstruct or re-enact the certain aspects of reality, to let the truth have a chance to be presented in maximization.


In Bernard’s paper, the word ‘serendipity’ has been mentioned which I found very fresh and useful,:

It’s not unusual for filmmakers to begin one project, only to be drawn by the characters and situations they encounter toward a film that is both different and stronger than they anticipated.

and then I think back to when I was planning the story for my current project, a documentary about the life style of elderly people in Melbourne. But as the prior research and filming going further, the story is getting more specific and clear, it is no longer only about an old man’s daily life, we discovered a Chinese senior citizen club, therefore this created an opportunity to explore different elderly people and various stories of them, most importantly, to explore the conflicts in their lives of living in a foreign country: how they live different with locals?

Keeping a sense of serendipity could be an instinct for documentary makers, because there is a lot of drama happens in ordinary life, these realistic dramas are often well received by the audience. Knowing how to find them and discover the potential interesting story behind could help us get an access to a great documentary idea.

While talking about the access let us look at another point that Bernard mentioned, the actual accesses to whether the locations, the subjects or archival for making a film or even a shot happened. Think about the possibilities of the accesses before filming could avoid waste of the time, on the other hand, spending sometimes to truthfully communicate with the people who can grant it, which mean establishing a relationship and building trust between each other.

This is a professional relationship, although filmmakers often grow very close to their subjects.

I have to gain several accesses to interview the senior citizen club members, it was more difficult than I thought, but as long as I make my intentions clearly and be truthful to them, they would start to trust the crew. Therefore in exchange, they would be truthful in front of the camera too.

Industrial Media 2-1: Clown Train Analysis

I am a big fan of horror/thriller films, but after I have seen many different types of horror/thriller films for these years, I have to say the good ones are always rare. One of the factors which define a horror/thriller film as successful is its SFX. The short film Clown Train that I just watched is a good example of the SFX utilize in horror/thriller films.

The film starts with a complete darkness with the sound of train slowing down; some harsh brakes sound from within which I consider was put on in post-production, for making a normal sound more “dangerous” to stick to the movie genre, so that I can almost define its genre as horror/thriller at the very beginning without seeing the image. This is one use of the sounds in horror/thriller films, the sounds are used to evoke the characters feelings and emotions in order to get a response from the audience, and also symbolise the genre.

And then we see the location where the story happens-the train, more specifically, on a carriage. Listen carefully, we hear the humming noise and two low key electronic chords are playing at low volume behind the image, without too much explaining and acting, we knew some thing bad is going to happen to the protagonist. The sound was used as a tool here to manipulate the feeling of audience, by carefully using the sounds employed in the scene it creates the right mood and atmosphere and in the context of the horror/thriller genre, helps to build suspense and tension.

A bass drum kicks when the scary clown shows up; the drum kick simulates the heavy heart beat when people get shocked. The speed of dialogue was intentionally slowed down, but the single low key piano note and tensive beating sounds are still playing softly that reminds the audience: this is just “the calm before the storm”. The stereotypical light flickering sound always makes the situation worse; and following the plot is pushed to the climax: when the clown reveals the biggest suspense to the protagonist and the audience, a synthesized “dangerous” sound gradually plays to high volume, which indicates the protagonist is in an extremely danger. The audience of course, feeling like being in this danger, and just want to run for their life.

Expect the musical instruments and synthesizers that we commonly know, I would like to introduce a special instrument which is invented by Richard Waters. I think the waterphone is probably the best instrument for making the dangerous sound effects for horror/thriller films.