SCREEN LAB: Assignment#4 – ACMI Exhibition Project: Video work & Individual Written Reflection





WEEK 10:

WEEK 11:

WEEK 12:



“Your goal must be a good story well told” Robert McKee (2005)…

… This was a quote that was first given to us when we first began the studio, as something to inspire us along the way. This became my goal for the entire studio, to tell a good story, and well. This was, of course, along with aiming to effectively explore and engage with the studio prompt of What possible aesthetic styles, development approaches and other parameters might shape the production of short- form educational videos about complex screen media concepts and processes? The assignments we were given along the way, worked exceptionally towards working towards this goal. We were tasked to make a series of personal videos across the year, before working up to our final big assignment – which was to prepare an educational short-form video for ACMI. These videos that we were tasked to make in assignments one and two, all required us to follow strict perimeters and timelines, in order to prepare us for the work that we would do for ACMI. ACMI (The Australian Centre for the Moving Image), at Federation Square, Melbourne, is Australia’s national museum of film, video games, digital culture and art. Given that ACMI is such a highly revered organisation, it was of much importance to us to be able to follow the timeline and perimeters given to us by them to the absolute best of our abilities. So, assignments one and two, were so helpful to me in order to prepare myself for what ACMI was expecting from us at the end of the semester. Being a part of Screen Lab, this semester, was an incredible experience, and I have walked away with it, with a much better understanding of what to expect when I finally begin to work in the media industry. I was able to learn to effectively work to tight timelines, and produce something that I was both proud of, and extremely satisfied with, all while working within the firm perimeters. I’m extremely excited to be a part of the exhibition at ACMI, as it’s something I can put on my portfolio, and truly be proud of. Despite the fact that we were confined to the spaces of our homes to learn, and didn’t have access to RMIT facilities, equipment, and didn’t even have face-to-face classes – I truly feel that the staffing team did an incredible job at keeping engagement and learning levels high, and I felt like I spent the entire semester well engaged with both my teacher and classmates – Even walking away from the studio with a few new friends. Who would’ve thought that could be possible in these times? It’s a testament to how well the studio was run, and how hard our teacher had worked to making us feel connected as possible in the face of this unprecedented moment in history.

Producing assignment four was trying, to say the least. I prefer to work on my own, but it would naïve for me to think that I will ever work alone in the real media industry, ever. Because of this reality, I really wanted to push myself this time around to be a part of a group, and learn to break down this anxiety I feel towards relinquishing control to other people, and learn to work with people to make my work better and easier to execute. I worked with Sarah Jackson-Harris, Jude Islip and Sherly Lim. I’m glad I chose to do this, as I felt overwhelmed with the pressure of all the assignments towards the end of the semester in all my classes, and couldn’t even begin to image how I would have coped trying to produce the assignment on my own. We began by adding each other on social media to create a group chat so we could have continuous contact with one another, and organise meeting together over zoom conference – Which would become our go to, to call and speak face-to-face. We were tasked to pick a prompt, from the set of prompts that were given to us by ACMI’s Field Carr, and create a concept to present and pitch to the class, Cat and Field. My group decided to go ahead and pick What is a Pepper’s Ghost? (In films but also Space Invaders even Tupac Hologram). We were extremely excited by this idea of creating a hologram, immediately thinking of all the creative possibilities there were to explore this prompt. After it had been taken it to class discussion to ensure everyone got their fair choice, and we had all decided our prompts, it was time to begin to work on our concepts.

We jumped into basically straight away, organising a call to work out our prompt after we had all finalised our choices. Our ideas were big, especially given all the restrictions surrounding the stage four covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in metropolitan Melbourne, but we were going to attempt to execute them anyway. Our idea was to make our very own Pepper’s Ghost sets, and record ourselves presenting the idea of the Pepper’s Ghost, while simultaneously showing how the Pepper’s Ghost works. We commenced our research on how this would be done, and I created a bunch of templates for sets to map out how to do it, and what we would need. We also created a presentation together on Google Docs, where we mapped out this research and concept idea. We pitched this presentation to the class, Cat and Field, and watched everyone else’s presentations for their concepts and ideas. I really enjoyed Beatrice, Georgia and Tiani’s presentation for the prompt Breaking the fourth wall. The feedback I had for them was the following: “presentation, looks fantastic. I can get a great idea of what you’re looking to do and you have good background information. 2. when you say reenacting, will this be you guys playing out a scene from an actual film or writing your own sort of script out with your own characters? 3. No suggestions really, just interested in seeing how you’re intending to incorporate live action with archive footage”.

Now we had nailed out our concepts, it was time to get cracking on producing our films. Our first hurdle was finding the stuff for it while all non-essential services were closed. We had to order a bunch of stuff from both Officeworks, and Bulk Acrylics, including black foam board, hot glue gun and glue sticks, acrylic sheets of glass and a crafting knife.

Once I had all these items, I was able to cut up the foam boards into a set for the Henry Dircks inspired small scale set, glue it together with the hot glue gun, and slide the sheet of acrylic in to create the holographic effect, once we place lights into it. We see this set in the video with the Magic School Bus and the Tupac Shakur example. I then began to create the John Henry Pepper inspired set, employing my mother to cut up the acrylic sheet into smaller pieces, which involved scoring and snapping with tools that I didn’t know how to use. Once she had cut the acrylic up into smaller triangles, I was able to stick them together with clear tape to hold it together and make the projection pyramid we see in the rest of the video. Once these were done, we were able to begin to move onto the filming phase.

The first phase of filming involved me writing up a script out of the information that was on the concept presentation. This would be to present in front of my green screen at home, and used to project me into these sets as holograms. We though filming the presentation on a green screen background would allow us to have more to work with. I proved to make a few mistakes during this process, and ended up having to cut down about 20 minutes’ worth of footage before getting a solid cut where I was happy with my presentation. Then I passed the footage on to Sarah, who was able to colour correct the green to a bright enough colour to Ultra Key it to a nice clean black. This we were then able to play with to put in the projection pyramid, as well as at the tail end of the video with green screen footage behind me.

After doing this process, we were then able to move into stage two of filming, which would be filming myself in these sets, as well as filming our examples that we were speaking about in the film on these sets. We originally were hoping that the restrictions would ease, so we were able to pass along the set to Sherly to film with her Sony A7. This didn’t end up happening, so I resorted to filming a majority of it on my Nikon D3000 on an 18-55mm lens. While I was able to get nice clean shots of the sets at a mid-range, I wasn’t able to capture a clear shot close up. This resulted in Jude creating his own projection pyramid out of clear CD cases, and passing it on to Sherly to refilm these close-ups, which we see in in the final cut. Sherly also took the beautiful shots at the beginning of the butterflies with her A7. So, in the end, it was a combined effort between myself and Sherly filming.

Editing began with Sherly, who put together our first rough cut we presented to Cat and Field. Then, she passed it on to myself, who put together the final cut. I then passed it back to Sherly to colour correct, play with the audio, as well as add in the Ken Burns effect we see of John Henry pepper and Henry Dircks, as this was something that was easier for her to achieve in her editing software – which is different to what I work on, Adobe Premiere Pro. She had already added this effect in in the rough cut, so I had to export my final to her to add these in for the sake of continuity. We then showed out rough cut in class, and received some feedback for changes from Cat, which Sarah edited and fixed up. After this was done, this was the final cut that we submitted for assignment four, and to ACMI.   

While collaboration was trying, especially considering I originally didn’t want to at all, but I’m glad that I did. Working as a team was something that taught me a lot of lessons about the trials and tribulations of working with other people. The conflicts and tensions that arise, the creative differences that occur, and all of the other curveballs in between – It was ultimately, an extremely valuable learning lesson for me, and I’m glad that I was a part of creating this work for ACMI and successfully passing Screen Lab with my team.



The key learning we did this week was discussing the final touches again for assignment four, as well as discussing what we would need to be doing for assignments five parts one and two. We went over ensuring that we are including all the correct ACMI logo and fonts that we are required to use as a constraint. We discussed how for assignments five part a would be posting our films to the Screen Lab studio website (but also as a part of assignment four) for our exhibition, that would include:

  • a title, a short summary of your work, its process and what you got out of it and;
  • an embedded link to the final work housed on the MediaFactory Vimeo account
  • a featured image of the final work

The main conceptual and main media making elements we discussed were all in relation to our rough cuts of our ACMI short educational films for assignment four – uploading all of our rough cuts to the one drive to show both Cat and the class, in order to get some constructive criticism, and make any final changes before the due date this coming Friday (October 16th). For our group, we discussed how we had to be at 25 fps and were only currently at 23fps, how we had to work on making the audio clearer, and how there were two minor bits that were out of sync. We fixed these up, before uploading them to Vimeo.



The key learning and conceptual elements we discussed this week was all in relation to the final touch perimeters, that ACMI require and are asking us to abide by, in attempts to get organised and ready to prepare and handing in our final cuts for Assignment #4.

The main media making elements we discussed were what these perimeters were, and how we should execute them. The first perimeter is that we are to keep it to 2:30mins. This is a bit of an issue for us, and the tightest we could get it to is around the 2:50 mark. We are discussing ways we may be able to tackle this issue now. The second, and most important perimeter, is to ensure we are downloading and using the correct title fonts, and new ACMI logo that should be used in the final cut. Because this is a public blog, and these fonts/logos are currently confidential, I cannot name them here. We were given these fonts/logos to use via email and CANVAS portal from Cat and Field, along with a PDF briefing us on how we should use these titles from ACMI, and instructions on how to use them from Cat.



The key learning we did this week was all in relation to Assignment Four, and all the requirements we have to meet in the next week. Cat told us we are expecting Field Carr in class next Tuesday – meaning we will need a rough cut put together by then.

The main conceptual elements we discussed were in relation to how we were going to make all of these requirements happen. This was going to be a big process for my group, as there are so many elements to the film, that all require to be made in seperate steps before we get to film the final piece. For our concept, we wished to make a real Pepper’s Ghost set and film myself presenting so we could place it in the set – so we are not only explaining the Pepper’s Ghost, but also showing an example of it.

The main media making element of this week was the execution of all of this. It began with us ordering acrylic sheets, foam board, hot glue gun/glue sticks and clear tape online, as nothing is open due to stage four restrictions in Victoria. This meant we had to wait it out till it came – luckily for us, however, it came in a very fast two days. Making the sets required a lot of trial and error. In total I made about 6 mock up pyramids before cutting into the acrylic sheet, which ended up being a process of scoring and snapping a net that I had designed up to make the pyramid. Then we trialed gluing it with plastic glue, which totally failed. It melted the acrylic, making it all cloudy and messy – resulting in having to make it again and using the clear tape instead to piece it together. Then, I had to film myself presenting for the set. I did this on a green screen background, and spent a lot of time colour correcting and cutting down the footage, so I was able to Ultrakey it to the best of my abilities. I also chose to record the audio with my Blue Yeti X mic, and sync it up with the audio. This I had some troubles with, as well as syncing up the audio, so I uploaded it to our groups OneDrive for Sarah to go over and cut and correct further. Once we did this, we were able to execute a first shoot of the set, which proved to be difficult due to having to film the hologram on an iPad and in the dark. I shot it on my NikonD3200 and took some shots on my CanonEOS300d. I was able to pass this on to Sherly, who made it into a rough edit for Cat, Field and the class to see on Tuesday.



The key learning we did this week was all in relation to Assignment #4. This week we presented our Assignment #4 concepts to ACMI industry professional Field Carr, and RMIT Lecturer and industry professional Alan Nguyen. My group were presenting our concept on Peppers Ghost, to which we had really positive response from the both of them. The main conceptual elements we discussed were in relation to our concept, and how we were going to make it work. This included explaining how we would build our Pepper’s Ghost set and attempt to create our own Pepper’s Ghost hologram of myself – presenting on the history and other examples of Pepper’s Ghost. We explained how we would be using plexi-glass and foam board to create our own smaller-scale Pepper’s Ghost set to try one theory, and also a projection pyramid out of the plexi-glass to place on an iPad to test another theory. We plan to see which of the pair works best, or even if we can, incorporate both of the ways Pepper’s Ghost can be created.

The main media making element we discussed was how we would be moving towards the production of Assignment #4. This included how we would begin working towards our rough-cuts now. For us, this is through creating these sets and beginning the filming of me on a green screen, so we can move towards editing the footage to work within our sets. We intend on working on this immediately.



The key learning we did this week was in relation to preparation for assignment four. This was through doing research and examination of previous ACMI examples, and what factors we could take from these in order to help conceptualise our ideas for our ACMI films for assignment four. We discussed how it should be first and foremost, highly educational, but still engaging and entertaining. We discussed how Field Carr from ACMI would provide further feedback on how we can do this in Week nine.

The main conceptual elements we discussed were about how we can obtain funding for feature films through Screen Australia, and all the guidelines that come with applying for funding for a film (which can be found at: This is especially useful for us, as students, and as as budding filmmakers.

The main media making element we discussed this week was how we would execute both our practice presentation this week, and the pitch presentations we will be having in class in the following week to Field Carr and another guest. This weeks practise run could be made into pdfs or powerpoint slides to show an example of our idea, or alternatively can be basic rough cut or basic elevator pitches at this stage. We should be continuing our assignment four pre-production now, through doing research, scripts, shot-lists and storyboards – which from Week eight onwards, will be included in our assignment four reflections. Come Week nine, we should have a much further refined concept – with a com-partnering powerpoint presentation and potentially a rough cut or test run to show the class and guests.



The key learning we did this week was in relation to preparing for Assignment #4. To do this, we need to begin working on Assignment #3, which is a presentation to the class, Cat and guest speakers that involves either a powerpoint presentation on our concept or a rough cut of Assignment #4.

The main conceptual elements we discussed were in relation to the topics that we have to choose from to create a micro-essay for ACMI. Talking about the topics we could pick, what they meant, and how we could possibly make them engaging – all while meeting the key requirements given to us by ACMI.

The main media making elements we discussed were ways that we would be able to make our micro-essays and presentations, given the current circumstances. This included helpful tips for pre-production, including storyboarding, shot-listing, research, and how we have to reference when presenting our concept and creating our content for the ACMI Exhibition.



The key learning we did this week was mostly in relation to the development of assignments two and four. We looked into the expectations of us, as well as the constraints that are in place.

The main conceptual ideas for assignment two were to create a silent, three minute film with a three/five-act story structure. The main media making element we discussed was how we rely on the sound design and shots we take, in terms of trying to tell a story in this case, as there is no dialogue. We also discussed the importance of trying to create a film that was G rated, as this is an ACMI parameter, and we should be working to practice the development of content that works within ACMIs constraints, and developing our skills of working to a brief, for when we finally enter the media industry.

For assignment four, we mostly discussed collaborative contracts when working in group situations (which sign over the rights for everyones work who is in it to be able to be used in the final film), and the topics that would be in place so we could begin  to discuss and generate thoughts on what we will be doing when we come back from the mid-semester break.




The key learning we did this week was in relation to both assignment #2 and #4, covering the expectations and constraints within the assignments, as well as exploring this idea of the “gallery experience” – as we move closer to the ACMI Exhibition micro video essays we will be creating for assignment #4.

The main conceptual element we focused in on being this “gallery experience”, exploring how the video essays will be presented in the setting of a walk through gallery exhibition, as well as how they will be presented in the setting of online gallery exhibitions; in order to help explain how our video essays may be presented, so we are able to present the ACMI topics in an educating, engaging and entertaining manner.

The main media making element we focused in on this week being the silent era film, exploring silent films that have already been produced, to try help us understand how to create an experimental video with no dialogue, and find inspiration as well as understand the task that assignment #2 is asking of us.



The key learning we did was learning how green screen is used within major film productions and virtual production on a major scale (e.g. in films such as Star Wars, that are majorly comprised of virtual production).

The main conceptual elements we covered were how filmmakers are synergising film and gaming advances – testing the limits of real-time and in-camera rendering. We discussed how new virtual production stage and workflow allows filmmakers to capture a significant amount of complex visual effects, using shots in-camera, real-time game engine technology and surrounding LED screens. The way this works, is LED stages are put in place to work in combination with a motion capture volume which is aware of where the camera is and how it is moving, with a rendered out Lat-Long 360, put up in the LED set. Production design teams would also bring in practical pieces that needed to be matched, followed up with a more precise lighting adjustment on the day that set would be used for final imagery and real takes.

The main media making elements we did this week was learning how to basically use VFX & Luma Key on Adobe Premiere Pro. Cat walked us through the process of using Ultra Key effect on a green screen image/video, to make the background black, then to add another background image/video below the green screen image on the timeline to make this the background image of the green screen image/video. I found this process super helpful, as I recently got a green screen going at home and was needing to learn this skill anyhow. I’m extremely excited to work with green screen on future projects, with hopes to use it for Assignment #2.