Week 11- Week 12

After receiving the edited video from Ahmed, I started to add English subtitles after modifying some b-roll footages. Formerly, we did not make any professional subtitle translation, and we thereby consulted several friends from professional subtitle translation groups. According to our consultation, we made some slight modification on segmentation, and also made a difference on the option of font size and font that was not quite the same as the rough cut firstly presented, with the purpose of wishing to make audiences feel more comfortable. After finishing adding all subtitles, each protagonist’s video was decomposed into nine clips and named respectively. After that, we produced a bulb shape table as the theme picture, and each element on the table represented a keyword severally. By clicking any keywords, audiences will be brought into the next video.  During the process of each video playing, audiences are able to click the left arrow or right arrow for choosing to watch the next clip or the last clip. Simultaneously, audiences can access into the theme picture for watching the video that they want to, by clicking the info button in the upper right-hand corner. All of these editing is just like a mindmap, and every element included is capable of leading to different directions. All of these actions are required to combine Photoshop, Adobe Premiere and Klynt together to achieve, and this is also the most important skill I learned in this project.

Here is our project website: australiastartup.net

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There are some tips for documentary shooting  for next time:

1. Pay attention to audio.

Bad audio can really ruin a video. So pretend it’s radio. Get your mic as close as possible. Find a quiet room. Use a shotgun mic on a stand as well as a lav mic just in case. Don’t let your eyes win over your ears while shooting. Go for clean audio over cool visuals for your interview.

2. Rent or borrow stuff.

Don’t have a slider? Need a recorder with multiple inputs? Need a little do-hicky to stabilize your camera? Ask your friend who is a gear head or go to a rental house. Equipment can often be surprisingly cheap to rent. For instance the slider we used for This is Radio was only $40 a day. Audio gear like boom poles and recorders are even cheaper. Mics are often less than $10 a day.

3. Spend time on B-roll
.

B-roll is footage of anything other than the main action or focal point of the video. In documentary style videos, the A-roll is the interview and the B-roll is everything else. B-roll serves a couple of purposes. Ideally, it adds context and depth to your story. Interview tape is the heart, but B-roll is the body. It also covers cuts in the interview and makes your interview look seamless –– so get more than you think you need! And get some footage of your subjects’ hands while they talk, you’ll be glad you did.

4. Look for the little things.

Week 10

I am still waiting for Ahmed’s editing and colour modulation of video, thus I cannot start other editing work this week yet. In the past few weeks, I always attempted to contact Locky for re-filming, whereas he has been in Sydney. As a consequence, we hoped to let Locky provide some recent pictures or personal videos after discussing with group members, and wished that could make up for the deficiency of lack of material.

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I know that our footage is not perfect, but we don’t have the second time for shooting, but I still can learn from this, hope I can make it better next time.

I find a very helpful article that give me a lot of ideas for shooting:

First Comes Sound

  • Get room tone. Duh.  Gather wild ambient sound with the camera. Percussive stuff is useful.
  • Let camera roll if the audio (e.g. a whole song) is important, even if the picture is stupid. Don’t stop and start the camera during the scene.

Then, the Big Picture

  • Just shoot, so you have a ton of ingredients later. While you’re shooting, you don’t know exactly how the scene will play out, so don’t pre-edit it in your shots and angles.
  • Get details, so you don’t know where you are or who is who, e.g. I forgot to get really tight shots of a softball game. I should have gotten mitts, the ball in the air going different directions, feet running, a bat on the ground, someone picking up a bat, etc. etc. That stuff also helps you change direction to someone moving right-to-left to left-to-right.
  • Keep both eyes open looking around. Look for the unexpected, e.g. Cut to cat sharpening its nails in a tense domestic situation.
  • Get extraneous stuff when you’re doing a portrait to take the focus off the principal, e.g. in courthouse: shoot others coming and going, hands and feet, newspapers, court seal, gavel, view out the window, a door opening, closing.
  • If doing a story about a PLACE, get lots of angles, different times of day, different weather. Shoot at night.
  • For a large crowd scene, get good wide establishing shots from different angles, then get groups of 2 and 3 looking various ways, also shots looking down a line of people, and close shots, and extreme close-ups of details. Get listening shots. All these things allow you to use various angles, and switch the apparent left and right.

    Frames, Angles and the Like

    • Shoot over the shoulder shots at talkers and listeners. Hold over the shoulder shots, hold so that both people talk.
    • Watch lip and arm movement, etc. Get non-moving mouth shots.
    • Shoot hands, but shoot bodies without hands, esp. if hands are busy.
    • Watch out for eyeglass reflections. Watch out for big white overexposed spots in your framing. Watch out for clothing changes. Watch hand position, be careful of mis-matches.
    • Get offbeat angles. Try nonparallel framing, change horizon line. Don’t be a slave to the horizon.
    • Use a foreground. Try splitting the image vertically with foreground filling right or left of frame, e.g. Off-center framing to draw eye in, down a hallway, with wall up close in foreground.
    • If someone is doing something, shoot people looking at them.
    • Get people walking in, walking out of the frame.
    • Shoot passive listeners, e.g. snowman, stuffed animals, dolls, a dog. Great for B-roll cutaway option other than the usual: hands.
    • Shoot half a face.
    • Shoot stuff with white background for dissolving in and out of, e.g. piece of paper, a birthday card. Or simple image like water, etc.
    • If you’re the reporter/shooter, people will look at you right through the camera if you keep your eye inside it. The ultimate effect of their eyes looking right out of the screen is arresting.
    • For still shots, don’t breathe. Or use a tripod.

      Movement Moves

      • HOLD SHOTS, at least to a count of five, before and after pans. In other words: Hold on image, pan, hold on image–get three for one. Pan at different speeds on the same subject if you find something good. Try a slider.  Zoom and pan together.
      • Hold on ends of shots, after the action is over. Let the subject move out of frame and hold on what’s left.  Someone gets up from a hammock; hold on the hammock swinging.
      • Change camera position, go high, low, wide.  Climb up high, shoot down. Lie on the ground. Spinning shots. Why not? Don’t stay static at head height and zoom.
      • Hold on close foreground and pan off to deeper subject. Reveal.
      • Rack focus–i.e. pulling in and out of focus–useful in dissolving into/out of lights or a sunset, etc. Or try an out of focus face, coming into focus and vice versa.
      • Natural wipes: Guy leaves the courtroom and his whole body blocks the frame as he passes: good cut point. A garbage bag snaps out and fills the frame.  Cut.
      • Check pans on standby first, go slow. Know where you’re going with your pan. Pick the end.

      Overall

      • Check settings constantly.
      • Be adventurous in your movement.
      • Hell, be adventurous.

Week 9

Other groups’ video projects are finished after editing, whilst our project is required to add interactive elements. In addition, the video can only be issued by our own website, which results in a very tight schedule. During the exam, tutor also worried that I would not have sufficient time to complete the following work after receiving the edited video from Ahemd. However, I have been using Klynt for conducting some interactive editing of other videos in the past few weeks. Therefore, I have confidence that I am already quite qualified and capable of completing the work in time after receiving our video.

I am very satisfied with the project’s menu page personally. In order to make this element, I studied Photoshop on my own, and accomplished this front cover combing with Klynt, which makes me feel a great sense of achievement. On the basis of tutor’s advice, I added the introduction of each protagonist on the front cover, and the process of constantly improving truly makes me very happy.

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Hereby, I wish everyone will like our front cover.

Week 8

Film editing is a very boring work, especially on the condition that the footages have been viewed countless times. After three interview footages of about one hour being edited into eight minutes, I reserved gap between each different topics, so that I was able to decompose the film in terms of topic after Ahmed’s last editing and colour modulation. Fortunately, we did not need to worry about the issue of transition between different topics, and it is probably the only advantage of all difficulties in the project.

After rough cut, I delivered the three videos to Ailee for Chinese dictation, and then gave to Ahmed to add b-rolls, footages and colour modulation after translating them into English according to the transcript. At the same time, I had to keep learning to use Klynt, which is the most difficult part of this project, but I believe I can achieve it.

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Week 7

We intended to obtain more b-rolls for future editing, so that Director Ailee and I went to Angie’s home again for filming her pictures of fitness and reading. Also, we left for Angie’s company together for the second interview filming (owing to the limited time, some contents were not filmed at last time), and interviewed her employees.

Besides, we went to many streets of Melbourne for timelapse, and I planned to add these pictures before the appearance of menu page. In this week, I started to conduct the film editing work of interviewing footages. I edited the interview lasting about an hour into approximately ten minutes at first, and then translated into English based on the transcript dictated by Ailee, so as to begin the final editing and colour modulation by Ahmed. In order to have sufficient time for me to complete interactive editing, it is required to deliver it to Ahmed before he leaves Melbourne.

During the process of film editing, I found that the questions set for being convenient to edit actually did not work as expected. The protagonists still expanded into other topics when they were answering the questions. Whereas, it was too late to know and there was no additional opportunity for filming interview questions. The only thing I could do was to improve it as far as possible when editing. 

Week 6

According to the project schedule we established at the beginning of the term, all of interview filming should be ended in the last week, while re- filming shall be completed within this week. Nevertheless, filming for the second and third protagonists will proceed in this week, due to the previous several accidents (participant’s quit and no time for shooting). 

Locky’s foot was injured on the day of shooting, as a result that we only filmed interview footages and some pictures that he was working in the office. All of outdoor footages and pictures of life previously planned were not photographed. In addition, Locky left Melbourne after that, so that we could only wish to have a chance for re-filming in the next few weeks

Interview filming for Angie, as the only woman among three protagonists, was planned to proceed at home because that I considered shooting at home is able to make pictures a little softer. Nevertheless, filming was eventually conducted in a luxurious cruise due to a variety of reasons, and consequently the final recording effect was not as well as expected and pictures were overexposed since that the background behind Angie is the sea. However, all of us liked the pictures of her walking filmed by the stabilizer very much, and thereby I may apply this footage as the opening scene of the whole video, because it is truly beautiful!

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Week 5

Another bad news, the entrepreneur who agreed to participate in filming last week suddenly sent a message noticing us that she was too busy to take part. It was very disappointing and I even considered that choosing to film entrepreneurs was actually a wrong decision with no doubt. They were always too busy to know what their next arrangement in advance. I have tried to ask them to send me their work schedules so that I could well arrange the shooting schedule. Unfortunately, they always had some emergencies resulting in the delay of shooting. The group members and I even could not arrange our works due to that we did not know when the protagonists would have time, which made me feel very sorry to my group members. Thanks to that the first protagonist Eric introduced his friend Locky the founder of a cross-border payments company to us, I was able to reach an agreement with him that we will begin the filming after he coming back to Melbourne from China.

With respect to shooting, based on the lesson that the last footage shot inside the vehicle was over unstable, I purchased a beholder stabilizer for filming some b-rolls. However, my Cannon 5d markiii +24-70mm lens seemed too heavy, and the load-bearing of the stabilizer was not as good as expected, so I could only change to use 40mm lens. Furthermore, I also learnt how to use the stabilizer to film, as well as how to move to obtain a more fluent picture. This is a completely new experience for me since that I never used it before, hoping the eventual outcome is worth.

During the time of waiting for Locky back, we had a lot of things to do as well. Director Ailee and I went to film some awarding and meeting scenes of the third protagonist Angie. We were very expected for filming her, because that she is the originator of a media firm and also an RMIT graduate. I believed we would get plenty of inspirations by communicating with her.

During this week, I done a lot of research on how to make our video more professional because our camera guy can not alway go with us on those shooting day. Here are some tip for shooting day:

1. Pay attention to audio.

Bad audio can really ruin a video. So pretend it’s radio. Get your mic as close as possible. Find a quiet room. Use a shotgun mic on a stand as well as a lav mic just in case. Don’t let your eyes win over your ears while shooting. Go for clean audio over cool visuals for your interview.

2. Rent or borrow stuff.

Don’t have a slider? Need a recorder with multiple inputs? Need a little do-hicky to stabilize your camera? Ask your friend who is a gear head or go to a rental house. Equipment can often be surprisingly cheap to rent. For instance the slider we used for This is Radio was only $40 a day. Audio gear like boom poles and recorders are even cheaper. Mics are often less than $10 a day.

3. Spend time on B-roll
.

B-roll is footage of anything other than the main action or focal point of the video. In documentary style videos, the A-roll is the interview and the B-roll is everything else. B-roll serves a couple of purposes. Ideally, it adds context and depth to your story. Interview tape is the heart, but B-roll is the body. It also covers cuts in the interview and makes your interview look seamless –– so get more than you think you need! And get some footage of your subjects’ hands while they talk, you’ll be glad you did.

4. Look for the little things.

Just like with radio, in video you have to have your antennae honed for little things that can make your life miserable when editing. There’s the audio to worry about with video as well, but pay close attention to unwanted visuals. Look at your framing; is there anything you don’t want in the shot? Your camera bag? Is the framing straight? Is the subject looking towards the negative space? (That’s good.) Can you see your reflection in a picture behind them? (That’s bad.) Is there a computer screen in the background? If so switch it off or disable the sleep function so it doesn’t turn off or dim and create continuity problems. Using that same logic, make sure your light source doesn’t change over time. That might mean avoiding natural light if it’s a lengthy interview.

5. Amuse yourself and go with your gut.

Just like with any story, the best ones are where the reporter starts from a place of curiosity and genuine interest. It’s easy to forget that while making video. You have to set up lots of gear, your subject often has to sit still –– you can slip into a formal interview/subject dynamic more quickly than in radio. It is harder to get the subject comfortable. And you’re aware of your camera’s memory card rapidly filling. So roll tape early and try and capture some of those unguarded moments. Leave in the asides and the mistakes from time to time. And as always, chase what excites you when you hear it in an interview.

Week 4

At the beginning of this week, we received a bad news that one of our protagonists said he did not want to take part in another documentary filming since he had several similar shootings before, which brought a great inconvenience to our shooting work. What made me feel angry is that I had given a detailed introduction that our project is a documentary themed entrepreneurship when I first contacted him a few months ago. Why he agreed at that time, while regretted before the shooting? It really annoyed me, but as the producer, I had to comfort my team members and tried my hardest to find an alternative protagonist. Fortunately, I quickly contacted an entrepreneur engaging in the beauty industry. She agreed to participate in our shooting nicely, and invited us to shoot her birthday party as the b-roll next week.

Meanwhile, we have started the shooting of the first protagonist Eric. I prepared all equipment beforehand, and then went to Eric’s home with my team members. Because of time restriction, this was our only chance to shoot in his home, so we filmed the b-roll at home as much as possible. After that, we rushed to his company with Eric and shot the interview part.  On the road to the company, we shot the footage in the car, but when we arranging it after coming back, we found the pictures too shaking and there are very few available materials. Thanks very much for every member’s efforts, which enabled us to complete most of the shooting smoothly within one day.

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B-roll footage is very important for documentaries, I found some tips can help us shooting B-roll:

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Start with your wide lens. When you arrive at your location, before you meet your subject, quickly shoot the exterior with a tilt or pan, or a diagonal combination of a pan and tilt.

Shoot entrances & exits. When you shoot your subject walking or moving — e.g., as they walk into your location, let them enter and exit the frame without following them with the camera.

Capture comings & goings in one clip. You can get a shot of the subject coming towards you andwalking away from you, even with the subject walking in and out of the frame. After they walk past you, quickly pan your camera to a position ahead of the subject; then shoot them entering the frame.

Lens changes take up valuable shooting time. So while you still have your wide lens on, shoot all your wide shots, including a pan/tilt establishing the inside of your location, a shot above the shoulder, a low shot looking up at the subject, and a wide slider shot (if you have a slider).

Find a foreground. When you change to your zoom lens, take a couple more slider shots. Find a foreground like a doorframe, or any out-of-focus foreground, to slide into a “reveal” shot.

Do background checks. Always consider your background when framing a shot. When you focus on an object or your subject, think about how you could move the camera to showcase a better background (even if it’s blurry). Avoid bright windows, and try to shoot your subject with a lot of space behind them, to increase the depth of field.

Compose with layers. Similarly, when you can, try to shoot with multiple layers in your frame, including a foreground and background.

Make moving pictures. After framing your shot, take a moment to “move into” the image. You can do this with a tilt or pan into your subject, with a tripod, or you can move into your subject from out-of-focus to in-focus. This definitely helps with editing. And when you’re handheld or on a monopod, you can move your body slowly to create slight camera motion.

Blur for focus. Just like in your slider shots, shooting with a deliberate blurry foreground helps the viewer focus on the subject, and creates a nice distant perspective of us looking into an intimate moment.

Try to avoid conversation with your subject. For B-Roll that will go over an interview audio, it’s easier to use shots of your subject when they’re not moving their mouth talking to you.

Add angles. After you think you’ve got your primary shots, look around for interesting shots or angles that can add variety. For example, with a monopod, you can establish really high angle shots, or turn the monopod upside down for low shots, and later flip it in post-production. Make sure to get at least 5 seconds per shot, preferably longer, before moving on.

Shoot first (ask questions later). Most importantly, if you spot anything happening that you may not get a chance to shoot again, quickly focus and shoot it for at least 4-5 seconds without adjusting camera exposure or focal length, to make sure you get the shot without considering the ideal aesthetic. Then if you have more time, adjust the camera settings and shoot again. The last thing you want is an important moment becoming unusable because you’re moving, zooming, or adjusting exposure or white balance while recording.

Combine the ingredients, mix together, and serve. Once you start laying down B-Roll in your edit, you’ll want to build sequences of your different shots and angles, and go back to the interview shot as a transition between sequences and locations. A typical edit would look like this: wide interior pan, medium shot looking up at subject, over-the-shoulder close-up of hands at work, interview shot, and then new sequence. Whenever your subject is talking about really deep stuff, and you want your viewers to pay attention, use B-Roll without a lot of action, or better yet, close-ups of the subject’s face for that deep, introspective look. Add music, export, share, and then go eat an ice cream cone, you deserve it.

Reference

Slavik Boyechko. by Slavik Boyechko

Boyechko, S 2014. How to shoot B-roll, http://transom.org/2014/shooting-b-roll/.

Week 3

Because of the delay of last week’s shooting, we had more time to consider the interview form. Since we all had no experience of producing an interactive documentary, we firstly wrote the interview question list abiding by the preceding mode, such as integrating several small questions into one, which is commonly seen in a large proportion of interviews. Nonetheless, through a number of case studies, I found each topic of an interactive video frequently uses a separate button, and if respondents answer several questions simultaneously, it would bring a big trouble for the following interactive editing. Thus, after discussing with Director Ailee, we designed each question as an independent and targeted question.

During this period, we have been hesitating about using Chinese or English to produce this documentary. On one hand, we think this subject is mainly stories related to Chinese starting up businesses in Australia, so speaking Chinese will make the protagonists more relax. On the other hand, we live in a country with English environment, and the majority of our classmates and teachers are not Chinese users, so recording with Chinese inevitably will get our team member Ahmed into trouble (although he can understand a large part of Chinese). Finally, after negotiating with each protagonist, we determined to ask questions with Chinese and add English subtitles in post- production.

In my opinion, to accomplish this project excellently, I must be familiar with entrepreneurship. So during the period prior to the coming of shooting day, I carried out some research on entrepreneurship, getting an understanding of how to starting a business in Australia and comparing the entrepreneurial differences between China and Australia, which I hope can make some contributions to this project.

Here are some tips for interviewing someone for a documentary.

  1. Prepare your questions
    Think ahead about the type of questions you want to ask your interviewee. What kind of information are you looking for from this particular person and what are the type of questions that will best get them to give you the information you’re looking for? No need to go crazy. 5-10 questions is usually enough.
  2. Avoid “yes” or “no” answers
    Your questions should be asked in such a way that you won’t get “yes” or “no” answers. You need your documentary interviewees to give you substantive answers that you can use in your video edits. Instead of “Are you happy with the outcome of the court case?” Ask, “What is your response to the outcome of today’s court case?”
  3. Prepare, but be spontaneous
    Even though you have prepared questions in advance, allow yourself to veer off from questions if the interviewee says something interesting or unexpected that you’d like to explore further. Sometimes the unplanned “spontaneous” questions & answers create the best moments.
  4. Get the interviewee comfortable
    When the video camera rolls, ask easy questions to warm them up. Ask them what they had for breakfast, where they are from, how many kids in their family.. anything to get them talking and comfortable. This is a key interviewing tip!
  5. Don’t give out specific questions in advance
    I cannot stress this point strongly enough. It’s perfectly acceptable to give someone a general idea of what the interview will be about, but do not give them your list of questions. If you do, they will try to memorize their answers in advance and you will lose spontaneity and freshness. Your interview will end up feeling stale, unauthentic and rehearsed.
  6. Have them repeat your question
    This is a great idea, especially if you plan to have no narration for your documentary. Get the person to repeat back your question in their answer. This will help you with the video editing and storytelling later during the editing process. For example, you ask, “How are you feeling?” The interviewee says, “How am I feeling? I’m feeling excited!”
  7. Proper positioning of interviewee
    If you are the person both shooting AND interviewing, the person may end up looking into the video camera, which gives the feeling of a personal and direct connection with the person talking. However, the off-camera approach is most common. The interviewer sits or stands right next to the camera so that the interviewee is looking just off camera. You get your best results if the interviewer (you) is standing right next to the camera, that way you can see the full face of the person you’re interviewing and not a profile, which can be unattractive and distracting to the viewer because you can’t see their eyes and facial expressions very well.
  8. Keep your mouth shut
    Stay quiet when the other person is talking. You don’t want to hear yourself in the background. (Watch out for the “hmmmm”, “Oh right..”) Just ask the question and then keep quiet. It’s good to nod, and make gentle facial expressions, just no sound. Unless of course, YOU are part of the story and the camera has both of you in the shot.
  9. Ask for final comment
    Here’s a great video interviewing tip: at the end of the interview, always ask the person if they have any final thoughts. Ask them if there was anything you missed. This can sometimes bring out some great information you hadn’t thought to ask about.
  10. Don’t stop filming when the interview is “over”
    Especially when you have someone who is nervous and never got quite comfortable with the interview. When you’re done with your official questions, say “OK, that’s the end of the interview.” Make sure the camera continues to roll at this point because often the conversation will continue. Psychologically, the person no longer feels the “pressure” of the interview and will loosen up. This is the time I have often gotten the best quotes of the interview!

Reference

Fuller, F. (2016). How to interview someone for a documentary.

http://www.desktop-documentaries.com/interviewing-tips.html.

Week 2

As to the selection of protagonists, our position is founders of Chinese enterprises in Australia, aged at around 30 years old. We hope to present a more intuitive understanding of entrepreneurship to other young people studying in Australia through the sharing of their entrepreneurial experiences.

As the producer of this project, I am responsible for contacting all protagonists, which is exactly the thing that made me discouraged this week. We originally planned to complete the shooting of the first protagonist Eric this week. However, he was so busy that we did not acquire this week’s filming permission, which caused that all of our plans had to be deferred accordingly. What was worse, another participant quitted the shooting due to his own schedule, which made me very disappoint because I spent a few months building connections with these protagonists, and his exit totally made us unprepared. As the contact person, I am very sorry to my team members.

In terms of equipment, for the convenience of shooting, both Director and I bought a camera to prevent the case that there is a shooting requirement but we cannot rent the equipment, which is also a lesson we drew from the shooting of multi-culture dance in last term.

In order to strengthen the skill of contacting respondents, I made some relevant studies:

  • I need to conduct a study of the companies and respondents before formal meetings.
  • I need to prepare the project scenario in advance and be able to introduce it to the respondents with succinct language.
  • I need to design a question list and send it to the respondents to make them prepare answers in advance.