Backpacking and Other Traumas – Project Brief 3

I chose my best friend Lucy as my subject for this brief and I knew immediately that I wanted to focus on her sense of humour. After brainstorming ideas, I decided to interview her about our recent backpacking trip because I knew that not only would it provide funny material, but it was an important experience for Lucy (and myself) in becoming independent. I believe the most successful aspect of this portrait is that I was able to capture and produce a snapshot of Lucy as she is now.

I attempted to change the colour balance in each of the clips so that they all matched. I think this is one of the problematic aspects of the work, as there was only so much altering I could do with my limited editing experience. If I could redo the project, I would also film a wider range of shots of Lucy in her surroundings, as this would have given me more to work with as I was editing.

I learnt a lot during both the filming and editing processes, from how to operate a Sony MC50 camera to working with multiple devices simultaneously, asking questions to gain useable responses and incorporating appropriate found footage. The most useful discovery I made in terms of producing a media portrait is that an anecdote can provide deep insight into a subject’s personality, not only through the story they tell but also the way they tell it, their body language and the spin they put on different situations. More importantly, it’s my job to tease that story out. This was how I managed to portray Lucy’s humour, and it was a particularly useful approach for working within the strict time constraints of the brief.

In relation to broader applications of my discoveries, I think I’ve taken steps in the right direction developing my editing skills. With every brief, I discover new tools, such as overlapping two videos and adjusting opacity. Watching other people’s work also gives me inspiration for different skills I could learn and then apply, in a different context, to my own work.

This is Me: An Edited Self Portrait

The concept behind my self portrait was to demonstrate the different environments, people and experiences that have shaped who I am. I wanted to illuminate numerous aspects of my personality by creating a juxtaposition representative of how people may perceive me on the surface and how I see myself. During the editing stage I realised that a couple of my media creations didn’t portray ‘me’ in an effective way, so the process itself fuelled my creativity.

Each of my images is connected, as they all give me a sense of “home” when I look at them. My sound recordings are quite varied – city noises representing my adjustment to Melbourne culture, me singing an original song both because I love to sing and because the lyrics resonate with where I am in my life now, and nature sounds because being outside and closing your eyes, you can feel at home anywhere in the world.

My first video shows where I have come from (Shanghai) and where I am now (college in Melbourne). The video of my sister sitting in my Grandma’s dining room writing a Chinese character brings together my family and my life experience. In the walking video I am on my way to college so this is symbolic of my new life. The reversed video of me drawing over my scars is supposed to illustrate that I like to be creative and have fun, but that when this is stripped away I am also strong (I think this video in particular is the most successful part of my work).

Editing these elements together gave me a sense of piecing together different parts of ‘me’. I wanted to create an abstract representation completely undefined in terms of time, so I mostly used blur and cross dissolves to build seamless transitions and create a fluid effect throughout the video. I think the least successful part of my work is the opening title, as it doesn’t completely connect with the rest of the elements in my video. For future projects I also want to work on my soundtrack layering skills.

My Self Portrait

My aim for this project brief was to capture my environment, which I believe reflects the newness and change in my life now. The underlying theme throughout each piece of media is the concept of ‘home’. This influenced my self-portrait because the places I’ve been lucky enough to call home have shaped who I am and how I see the world.


This Was 18: people, charms and moments that bring back memories of who I am when I’m happiest

Home Away From Home: when people ask where home is, I tell them what they want to hear

Tourist In My Hometown: I’m from Melbourne but the city is still novel to me

My New Life: college is my newfound independence

Audio Recordings

– City Trams: I am immersing myself in the city of Melbourne to get in touch with my Australian-ness.

– Move On: I love to write and I sing all the time; these are my outlets.



– Walking home: my new routine and a new sense of normality in my life

– Skype calls: the only way I see my family for months at a time. Staying close with my family is hugely significant to me.


澳大利亚 (ào dà lì yà) Australia
爱玛  (ài mǎ) Emma
家 (jiā) home
– juxtaposition between the words and the language they are written in to demonstrate two important aspects of my life
– words I live by