Week 2 Workshop- Thursday

So today we moved to advance level understanding of Sony EX3 camera. We grasped the knowledge of Zebra, white balance, focus modes and gain. When Robin was explaining the white balance system of EX3, I mistakenly confused the difference between 3200 kelvin and 5600 kelvin white balance, later on I got the difference of both in the end, but as Robin said that, it doesn’t matter what is the right temperature for the shot, because it depends on what you want to achieve in the end.

later we reviewed each of our homework we did, regarding my work I thought the framing and placement was done nicely and the amazing incident happened in my video which was similar to the style of Lumiere brothers, as the activities in the background was finished, a bird appears on the foreground and exits the frame at exact 50th second. talk about my luck, haha. On the downside, my exposure was way blown out and the details were missing, I will be careful in my future assignments now.

In the final hour we were given an exercise to create a 50 second take which could be a ‘description’ of something familiar and common-place. or of something extraordinary and unexpected of overriding importance and overall aesthetic choices in relation to location, composition and exposure. As we watched Georges Melies artifact of card playing for inspiration purpose, our group created a scene at the nucleus space building 9. Our first take was great but a student disrupted in that take and time consumed was way less, it was a struggle with the few next takes and some actions went wrong but finally we had the 50 second take in the final clip and it went smoothly. My idea worked well, the exposure and white balance was just what we wanted. Our first placement of the camera was the other way around but somehow the framing wasn’t looking pleasant, the whole frame was cramped up and the point of view was messy as well, else we wouldn’t be facing disruption and the delays in our takes. In the end, we enjoyed what we did and were satisfied with the output of our artifact.

Initiative post- Ethics in Documentary Making

When I watched ‘Dont look back’ directed by DA Pennebaker I asked myself a question, what responsibilities should a director have towards his subjects, keeping in mind that the secondary characters in that documentary e.g journalists, were his subjects as well and the way they were mocked and shown a bad image of them was a connotative message in this documentary. Did they knew that they were being recorded?, if they knew they were being recorded, did they knew that the footage would be for personal use or for commercial purpose. 

It is a common belief that documentaries have a clear social and ethical purpose (Ellis, 2012: 135). It is important for a student of documentary to understand the key ethical concepts before the production stages of filming particular documentary, they have to ask themselves the following questions, the potential impact of the project? The intended audience? Who might benefit from the film? Who could be hurt by the film? If these questions are correctly addressed and keeps them at the foreground of projects then they are able to take an ethically informed position because human nature is involved and the relationship between a filmmaker and his subjects will evolve from time to time as it is a dynamic and story will change alone (Krawitz,2010: 48). Practically, it is not just the subjects, the relationship with the viewers and to maintain their faith in the accuracy and integrity of the filmmakers work is also an ethical concern (Aufderheide et al, 2009: 6)

“Ethics is not set of rules, it is about taking responsibilities for your decisions” (Quinn, Ethic Behind The Lens, 2013). Before making a documentary, the director has to have a point of view. It is one of the most discussed issue in the documentary making of whether it is possible for a documentary film maker to be objective. This involves two types of attitudes, one philosophical where it is possible for a filmmaker to be objective and other an emotional one where the presence of the camera and the crew alters the behaviors of the subject (Eckhardt, 2010: 150). In Pennebaker’s “Don’t Look back’, the filmmaker follows the emotional line, Bob Dylan’s behavior has a contrast when he is facing on camera talking to the journalists and when he is talking to his fans.

In a relationship between a filmmaker and a subject, a critical issue is of the power as it is understood to be something that a filmmaker has control of the image of the participant in documentary (Nash, 2011: 4). Many filmmakers have admitted that they don’t tell the whole truth of their motivation to get access to the subject or to get the scene what they want (Aufderheide et al, 2009: 14). Ellis suggests that although subjects may have been exploited, but it was necessary to the aim of documentary (Ellis, 2012: 142). In ‘Don’t look back’, although Bob Dylan is the main subject concerned, but there are other subjects that appear minimal in the documentary but play a vital role into being exploited. These subjects are journalists who interview Bob Dylan but Bob plays mind games with them tells them that the truth is hidden from the people and they will lose by printing the real truth. One of reasons which I may feel that Pennebaker might not have got their consent is because he was using a handheld camera. The journalists might have felt this to be a home camera and perhaps they thought that Dylan’s crew might be filming his tour and didn’t bothered to be worried about it. A filmmaker should work in a good-faith relationship that would not put the subjects at risk (Aufderheidi,et al, 2009: 6). The participants are victimized and thus the filmmaker must give up the controlling position and take stance of supporter (Nash, 2011: 5). So by being honest, the subjects can participate in the project without false assumptions (Krawitz, 2010: 50). The Subjects have to be in a frame of mind in which they can take responsibility for their actions (Ellis, 2012: 143).


1, Aufderheide, Patricia, and et al. (2009). Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Ethical Challenges. Retrieved from http://www.cmsimpact.org/sites/default/files/Honest_Truths_–_Documentary_Filmmakers_on_Ethical_Challenges_in_Their_Work.pdf

2, Ellis, J 2012, Documentary : Witness and Self-revelation, Routledge, London., pp. 135-54.

3 ,Ethics Behind The Lens, 2013. Video. USA. Chicago Humanities Festival. Availability: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_981ZEM99e0.

4, Krawitz, J. 2010, “Treading Softly: ETHICS & DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION”, Knowledge Quest, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 48-51.

5, Nash, Kate. (2011). Beyond the frame: researching documentary ethics. Retrieved from http://www.textjournal.com.au/speciss/issue11/Nash.pdf

What do I want from Film 3?

When I was doing one of the tasks in Media 1 which required me to document a person I know, it was more of a documentary style video. At that time I realised my calling to pursue in this field. The thing that intrigued me the most was the story telling, when my subject was talking about his experiences, it made me forget that I was recording the conversation. You know it is real when you see it, and this documentary filmmaking is closer to reality, well in my point of view, the observational style of documentary filmmaking is. So when the time came to choose a studio for Media 4, I decided that I would go for Film 3, the fascinating thing about this course is that it questions that what if we applied the methodologies of drama production to the making of a documentary? This question in itself made me ponder about the art of documentary filmmaking, is documentary really what it is or can it be a hybrid of drama and other filmic techniques?

My goals are to be efficient in editing videos regardless if it is a film, music or documentary, produce content that at least makes sense to the audience, collaborate projects with different media makers around the world, to learn how to design sound (I’m really bad at sound selection and making of it) and lastly and most importantly, to launch my own production house for documentary making which will focus on the stories of people who faced hardships in their lives and how they overcome the obstacles. I know my goals are bit much, but like they say, every 1000 mile journey begins with a single step.

Besides that question, I would really like if this course offers practical work more than writing as I believe that one can only learn through practical experience.


Lets Zoom

In today’s class, we were introduced to Zoom H4N. It is a professional sound recorder and widely used in media industry. Like we did an exercise for Sony EX3, we also had to do an exercise for this as well. This time we had to document a location by using Zoom H4N with the objective to ‘describe’ the location so that is it identifiable to the listener.

I was paired with Constance again, so we started off with the ambiance of the nucleus space at level 2 of building 9 but we listened first before recording and it didn’t felt like we were at the same area, so my attention diverted towards the blow dryer sound and i asked Constance to go inside the toilet area and record it, I thought the sound in there is common enough and so the location would be identifiable.

I think the first sound clip is pretty much identifiable, the water coming out from tap, some footsteps to approach the dryer, and then the sound of dryer itself. So one can assume well that the sound clip is from the toilet.

However the second sound clip is a bit confusing, we hear a car moving, water stream and crumpling of paper. one can assume that it may be from a park but actually we recorded at bowen street. So in this sound clip we were not successful in achieving our objective.

The third sound clip is of footsteps and cars, so its safe to assume that sounds are from a nearby road, and indeed we did captured it on Swanston street.

The last clip we recorded were of Trams, but it is a bit confusing whether it is of trams or trains as they sound more or less the same, but I think it is pretty much identifiable. Overall I believe we achieved the objectives of the exercise except for the second clip.

I listened to another Groups sound recording, it is pretty much identifiable that they are sitting in closed environment, with the chatting and footsteps going along. As I’m reflecting, I realise I did a mistake by not following the rules as it mentioned to document just one location. But then again, if we omit the first recording, then it is easy to identify that the location is a street where people walk by, cars go by and trams run along.



Gear Up- EX3

After experiencing Media 1 protocols of using Sony Handycam, it was time to move onto the next big thing, Sony Ex3. I entered the class with a warm welcome of Sony Ex3 and tripods. I knew at that instant that we would be doing something practical with these machines. After Robin gave us a brief intro of EX3, Constance and I went out for class exercise to shoot or document a place, event or a activity in a single 50 second take.

I was thinking as we walked out of the classroom the best place to shoot and to capture a precise moment, it should be interesting what matters the most to me. Constance then pointed me towards a dance activity that was going on Bowen Street. We rushed at it and placed the camera at a suitable position because one of the constraints was to shoot at a fix zoom of 12 mm with no panning or tilting. I quickly adjusted the focus and exposure settings but somehow it didn’t work well, the whole dance routine changed and thus the framing wasn’t doing justice with it. We were not satisfied with the output so we decided to capture the same activity but placing camera to another area. It turned out well for us, there were movements into and out of frame, significant activity going at the foreground and background, good exposure but the white balance was not adjusted so overall the tone of the image was blue.

The thing that bothered me was why 50 seconds of shooting? Why not the whole minute or 30 seconds or may be even less than that, it was later that I discovered was that we were trying to practice what the famous Lumiere Brothers did in their time. They had just 50 seconds of footage to shoot and thus we were imitating their technique to capture quality moment.

Things that I came to know/ discovered:

1, Setting up EX3 and how to mount properly on tripod

2,  It’s not about the quantity of the footage, it’s the quality that matters.

3, The points of interest and the activity within the frame is important to engage with the viewer.

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