Week 13 – My Portfolio Essay

The aim of this studio, Online Video Experiment, was pretty vague to me at first. I thought we would be learning to create videos that were made online, just creating another YouTube video. I can remember my first studio session, an early Monday morning class where I had to drag myself out of bed to get myself ready for the nine-thirty morning class. Seth had explained the studio outline to us and all I could remember it was one confusing mess with the various parts.


Looking back at the twelve weeks of five hours weekly sessions, I can proudly say that I definitely learnt plenty – went in with a blank mind (probably the blurriest as well) and came out with more knowledgeable information (but still a blur) about online videos. Two weeks passed and I was still mulling over the question “What is Online Video?” and we had discussions over our case study presentations on what we thought was an online video. This studio is all about experimenting where not making the right decisions are acceptable.



My case study was these group of independent filmmakers, Wong Fu Production, who created a web series, Away We Happened, in collaboration with AT&T. I started breaking down this case study with my set of criterias to evaluate what an online video is. There definitely was not right or wrong answer but I could tell by the way I presented in front of my peers that my analysis might have been a little shallow. It was the third week into this studio session, so I was definitely learning from my mistakes. Seth had asked a set of questions and it began prompting me to keep challenging on analysing my thoughts more. For example, what element in that web series did I like about it? The answer was the interactivity and participation of it. I liked how they allowed the audience to choose the next plot and vote for it. These were the type of analysis this studio was looking for and I failed to bring forward to the table during my presentation. This experience made me learn that there are more to analyse not just the surface and I should sit and give more thought about it before thinking everything is settled.

View: all project ONE posts


Project two was a group work. I was one of the last few to find a partner. Seeing as one of my peers, Peter, was doing something on interactivity, I decided to ask him if he could work with me since we were both heading in the same direction. We ended up using his case study of the 89 steps documentary. One of our biggest problem was that we were thinking too far ahead, being creative and trying to produce a video with our own narratives. Clearly we did not understand the criterias of project two. We were supposed to pick out elements from our case study and create something with that element in mind. We chose a difficult theme by using interactivity and participation. It was a challenge but I definitely did not regret choosing this path because it only made me explore more to understand and to learn from the ideas.

View: all project TWO posts


Project three was probably the most fun I had in creating the sketches. It was due to the fact that I had a clearer idea of what we were going for. We had narrowed down to using first person perspective and trying it out on a narrative and non-narrative structure. As our probe for project three was about using first person perspective and how it is conveyed through the different video tools and services. We had to make seven sketches and I exhausted every way of editing the clip. It was a long take and I didn’t know if I had to cut them or should I leave it as a long take. The different platforms we used and suddenly an idea came while I was reviewing the films on the YouTube Doubler parallel narrative. In between working on my number of sketches I posted a blog post on my work progress. It was definitely exciting to see it come together. I thoroughly enjoyed this project, learning about narratives and non-narratives, seeing how non-narratives did not work well with the first person perspective and how it failed. It was an experiment nonetheless.

View: all project THREE posts


Project four had gave me a panic attack. I was stuck for a period of time and I could not get any ideas from all the little experiments on the past videos, trying to change the timings, reversing the shot and so on. It was stressful and worrying as I could not come up with any ideas while others had a few sketches in mind. Thankfully, after a few feedback sessions (and constant worrying), I managed to pull out a few narrative ideas. It definitely is a work in progress but I can tell it was a good prototype that might start a new style of online video.

View: all project FOUR posts



This has been the center of attention in this entire studio (besides reflections and presentations). Sketching is creating quantity of videos, experimenting and researching on different elements and aspects you picked out from your case study. I agree with this technique of practice-based research. In order to understand that certain technique, you need to reconstruct and recreate that technique. By doing a number of sketches only helps you understand how it was made, why it was used and what it means to the audience. Sketching was a new style of research to me. When I first started, especially my project two, it was a mess.

There are three stages of what I learnt in sketching. The first was simple innovative sketching where we experiment and making new discoveries by large quantity. Meaning, we create more sketches to discover more. Then comes speculative sketching, where you think about the form of the film more than the contents of the film. In a way, giving a simple plot  and work out it’s form. For example, what would happen if I use this plot in a non-narrative style with this online service? (It’s that kind of form). Lastly, the prototyping where you create a proper final prototype of what could be your next online video. These stages were important in discovering the various techniques and styles that went through before coming out with a few (passable) sketches. It makes you reconstruct things you have seen before.



Speaking up in front of an audience has always been a little terrifying for me. I get the nerves when I go up to speak. When I get nervous, I tend to choke on my words and forget to say the important things which results of not being able to convey my message across properly and the audience fail to understand my concepts. Being up front with another person did calm my nerves, however, that did not stop me from forgetting the important ideas again. As I mentioned during my reflection for Week 5, I failed to time my presentation and because I was so nervous, I did not deliver my speech well and that wasted my time as I went around the bush. Peter had also went out of time, leaving me the last 2 minutes for me to explain my sketches. Seth had mentioned that project one was just the warm up for presenting and I believe the more presentations I made the better. Results were shown as my presentation in Week 8 for the panel of judges for project three was better than I had expected it to be. The practice had definitely paid off because I felt a little less nervous as I delivered my speech well (with the help of my cue cards on my phone).


Overall, this studio has shown me a different light on the works of online videos. It was definitely not what I had expected online videos to be as I took for granted the knowledge of online videos are solely based on entertainment when there are many elements to take into consideration and the reasons why it was catered for services online only. This studio had a fair share of theoretical and hands-on learning experience. Practice-based research has proven, to me, the best technique of understanding the piece of work we are experimenting on. I intend on using these techniques in the near future as well. As a media practitioner, this would be the steps I would choose when I want to be more innovative and creative. Just like the video on innovative sketching, having fun and just making a huge quantity of sketches can bring about a new discovery and from there, we will learn from it.


Project FOUR: The Final Piece – The Journey


Creating an Interactive Narrative using YouTube Doubler

We were sticking to our YouTube Doubler and creating a parallel narrative. We thought it was more appropriate to stick to a simpler concept as suggested by the panel of judges. After brainstorming with Seth and the class, we had came up with a few pointers that could probe us into creating a few prototypes.

Ideas given:

  • start with the first person narrative.
  • understand it and analyse cinema films
  • after that, start thinking how it has been altered with parallel narrative
  • then what happens if you were going to show a ‘FRONTBACK’ video style. (filming yourself and the first person perspective.)

We had to look for an effective element that drives the narrative using first person perspective and try to find ways to make it more effective.

What happens to first person perspective video when it is re-appropriated into a parallel narrative like YouTube Doubler or other tools?

We started reviewing first person perspective in cinema films and the techniques of shooting and editing. We looked into parallel narrative where we understood it was a generalised category. Parallel narratives have been used such as tandem narratives where they are put into a single sequence.  SEE FILM: CRASH (2004)

We decided to use this narrative and see how it works while being played simultaneously. Also, we would explore on how to create an effective first person narrative as well.

The ideas we came up with over the period of 3 weeks were:

1. Having two-sided perspectives in a conversation.

Due to previous mistakes, I remembered to put in actions that would be obvious enough to see that it was a first person perspective. It wasn’t as effective as I expected with just actions and the other character looking into the camera. I had to think of more ideas.

2. Using Monologues (Inside thoughts/conversations)

This had proved to be more effective and how easily viewers can slip into the character’s shoes because they know what they’re thinking and what actions they plan on doing.

3. Using the elements of our case study and creating a simultaneous perspective

We finally used the room as a location where two people were undergoing a focus group experiment. This was to test their observation skills. We used two types of observation in this film.


And that is our final prototype.


The prototype definitely has more room for improvement. The idea, however, is evident with the parallel narrative.


Final Prototype: Stuck In A Room

These are the two parts of the video of our final prototype. Please view them in YouTube Doubler.


Ever wished to be be in a person’s shoe when you’re watching a film. Feel free to participate in our focus group joining perspective A! Wait, there’s two of them in that room! What does it feel like to be in the other person’s shoe? Stop thinking and watch in perspective B!

Check out perspective B here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP7DjnWPon0

Hold up, why not watch both of them together? You can mute and listen to the other person’s dialogue / monologue by yourself. You control this film! (GASP)

Go to: http://youtubedoubler.com
and put both the links in! (you can also put your dj name if you secretly wish to be a dj)




Adding the monologue to this video made first person perspective more effective due to the fact, I added the cropping motion like she was closing her eyes to take a nap. I used “bad film” effect to show the flashback of the key (it is not very visible) but the key was shown again when he was having his back facing her.



Reflection: Project FOUR Draft + Presentation Notes

Prototype Draft: First Iteration

Prototype Draft: Monologue Test (THE LAST CHIP)

Prototype Draft: What Will Become The Final Prototype

G-doc Report

Project Four Tag

The Project Four Journey

Wei Yun’s Portfolio

Prototype Draft: What Will Become of Our Final Prototype

This would be how it looks like in YouTube Doubler. Just for drafting sake, and for people to understand what it is like to put the videos through youtube doubler. This shows two perspectives of the two people stuck in a room for a “focus group” experiment on observing things. One would be observing from afar and taking in the surroundings and looking at things closest to her while the other opens every compartment, searches every corner and walks around the whole apartment. The twist at the ending was just a simple way to end the film.

Filming this draft was fairly difficult but much easier compared to the first film because we tried to use less face-to-face scenes so it does not disrupt the flow and use minimal hand gestures or at least as long as one of them does not see the gesture. I feel it still would have been better if we had the camera strapped onto us instead of holding the camera and limiting us to using one hand only.

The concept is fairly simple as we lack creative narrative but the idea is there. I had jumped from the two-sided conversation to two types observation but the elements from the previous drafts were considered in this film.

Prototype Draft: The Last Chip!

Another spin off from the previous draft, to try to improve on our skills of filming a first person perspective with a camera.


This was more of testing the monologue sequence. Instead of editing it, I had my friend say it out loud. Everything was in monologue until he says “YES THANK YOU!” This was a test on how a monologue feels together with a first person narrative. As a second try, it was fairly simpler compared to the first draft. The mistakes I found was that I could not use my other hand to set it like I had in the previous take. If I could not use it, I shouldn’t have put it in frame at all. Lesson learnt!

The monologue had given emphasis to the first person perspective narrative. I find that it allows the viewers to jump into the first person POV easily compared to showing actions. The monologue allows viewers to understand what the person is thinking and what he desires. The only thing left is for them to anticipate what the outcome will be.


Prototype Draft: The First Iteration

The first draft to be presented for class feedback. The cues were not planned out well as you can see some actions were not timed properly through the two perspectives. It was a difficult process, juggling camera, using one hand to put into action and the timing of when to look at the person at the same time. We actually used another phone to follow the timing of the previous shot. It was a tedious work because I was seen looking at the phone from time to time.

The idea was there but it felt like the actions later on only brought in the effect of the first person perspective. What could make it more effective? Peter and I thought that adding monologues, like inside thoughts/conversations, might bring more “flavour” to the first person perspective.

We definitely made a few trial and error to try and minimise the mistakes because if we were to shoot in a bigger room, it would be more of a hassle as the concept is larger and more actions would be involved. This was just a step to creating a better two-sided perspective.


Reflection: Week 12b – Present Project FOUR Draft

I was not feeling well so Peter pulled the weight of the presentation (sorry Peter!). I have filmed the draft back in Week 11 on the two-sided conversation. I managed to send to Peter and a few points of problems I came across as I filmed it.

These were my presentation notes:

    • could not do it in a proper room that we had planned out.
    • decided to try a different approach.
    • this is two sided conversations. it clearly shows two sides perspective
    • how to make it more effective though? – i had thought of adding monologues /inside thoughts into the two parts.
    • this was just a practice for having two first person perspective. because the room would be a bigger concept (coz bigger room, duh), walking around more, more actions.
    • it was difficult to repeat the same movements we went through. (as you can see some of the missing hand gestures i n the film) – MY HAND WAS POINTING IN THE FIRST PERSON BUT WHEN ON THE OTHER PERSPECTIVE, MY HAND WAS ON THE TABLE- (that’s about close to a min already)
    • for the next sketch, we plan to have the room setting filmed. good enough to be a first prototype. and see how we can improve on it from there.
    • to do that WE NEED TO GET THE TIMING RIGHT, THE ACTIONS REPEATED, AND TRY AGAINNNN… (and maybe a more well thought out script)

Reflection: Week 11b – Camera Put To Action

Shot the “TWO-SIDED CONVERSATION” prototype this week. Thanks to my awesome friend, we did it in a cafe while having lunch. I could say it was terribly difficult and we had to re-take each perspective more than three times at least. The mistakes ranged from moving the camera too slow, not on eye level sometimes and looking at things we weren’t suppose to look at.

A friend of mine told me I should film it on a 35mm lens because that is the actual focal length of our eyes… but… I don’t have a 35mm lens! So I just had to make do with my phone camera. We drank coffee until the levels were not the same anymore! But that was the least of our worries, the most problematic situation was that we were holding the camera with one hand that we could only act out scenes with one hand only. We lack an extra pair of hands or maybe gadgets that could strap the camera to our heads.


Reflection: Week 11a – IT CAME TO ME!


Two-sided conversation. – Having two perspectives on the situation. Person A will have thoughts and monologues about having trouble spilling a secret to the Person B. Person B will have a monologue about why Person A is being so jittery and awkward.

Stuck in a room – Having two types of observation. One may be looking around the room from one spot while the other roams and inspects every corner of the room.


So, I was having lunch with a friend and we were cracking up on making awkward conversations when an idea hit me. What if someone has a secret to tell the other but he/she is absolutely nervous and afraid that it would hurt the other person. Thus, the awkward confrontations. DONE! Idea number one.

The next day, I was running about going in for house inspections (before I get kicked out of my current lease), I always wondered what my friends and I would be if we were locked up in a room like a sort of “focus group” kind of experiment and it gave me an idea of using my first person perspective experiment as the focus group experiment (I think i just confused myself saying experiment multiple times). Anyways, so I thought two people with different kinds of perspective in observing the space.

VOILA! Now, to get cracking on how the film is going to be shot.

Reflection: Week 10b – Think of Ideas!

My mind became a blank. I was stuck with my sketches. Re-read the probe a thousand times and my creative ideas just got blocked. BLOCKED!

As suggested, I tried playing with the timings and sequence with the past videos I had and find something interesting. I tried parallel reverse timing, fast forwarding, playing at different timings. To my despair, there was nothing interesting or anything that I learnt from it. In other words, EXPERIMENT FAIL.

So, as I write this reflection, I am panicking that I do not have anything to present for discussion for next week…

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