Personal Reflection

  • Nature of the Project (content, aesthetic, and technology) 

My previous project for CMWP course was about “Stop Blaming the Victim”. The infographic video aims to change Cambodians and Indonesians’ perception who always blame the victim of being raped because of wearing sexy clothes. This common idea is deeply entrenched in the two nations’ society and culture, not to mention other cultural sensitive countries. This has greatly encouraged me and my team member in running the campaign against this rampant issue.

The video content has been generated based on the literature review plus personal experience and knowledge living in the two countries. Having the concrete foundation of the topic enables my team to produce the strong concept video which hits the viewers’ heart. My group decided to focus on how most Cambodians and Indonesians perceive the ladies when they are wearing sexy. This wrong perception has put the blame on the victim of wearing revealing clothes leading to rape.

The initiative of aesthetic for this project was to produce infographic video in order to convey the message because the victim blaming is a sensitive and controversial issue.  By designing the animation to represent the victim and the rapist could project the clear message and more direct to the viewers and it is also cost less and less time-consuming.

The use of the state-of-the-art technology allows my team to produce an attractive infographic video by using Adobe After Effects to illustrate the core message. The short educational video with two different languages version- Khmer and Indonesia-becomes viral across the social media (Facebook and Instagram) as the ubiquitous and powerful tools currently. However, to improve the future project, there should be the technique of designing a better infographic video with a mix of a better song to grab the view’s attention and possibly funny characters rather than the serious character. By doing this, the viewer will enjoy consuming the content as an example of this infographic video. 

  • Social Media Implementation

Due to the limited time, my team did only a two-day campaign mainly on Facebook and Instagram. My team member and I posted the different language version-one is Khmer and another is Indonesian language, on our personal Facebook page and shared it in our community. I have shared the video with the youth group working on violence against women in Cambodia and also tagged most of my friends to engage in the conversation. The most startling is that I gained many Likes and Shares within a few minutes with both agree and disagree reaction. This shows the way of how Cambodians are thinking about the issue.

 

To a certain degree, this project has successfully spread out the core message and raise the people awareness through the way people interact on Facebook both commenting and sharing the video virally. Personally, this victim blaming is deeply rooted in Cambodian society and it has been fading away gradually as many Cambodians are educated. Although my friends who are highly educated, they tend to follow the social stigma by blaming the women, who are wearing provocative clothes.

There are a few lesson-learnt from this project implementation. One of which is the expanding of the campaign duration. It was too short period of the campaign because my team could not finish the video before time. By expanding the duration, this will allow the content manager to interact closely and engage actively with the public, leading to an increase in the public awareness and action taken. Secondly, the use of existing community in my country was limited. The network and relationship with existing social media projects in my own country should be strengthened. The existing materials supporting the topic should be included, which can trigger public participation.

  • The Consideration of Theory

I used spreadability and interactivity theory in my project accidentally. Of course, the video has been spread across social media in order to distribute the content and circulate information to the public. This spreadable media plays an important role in this contemporary media environment, which allows the public to disperse the content widely (Jenkins, Ford, and Green 2013). The interactive theory has also been employed to engage the public discourse via Facebook by expressing their opinion and ideas toward the issue. Interactive media is used to form engagement among the viewers (Rada, Michailidis, Antonios, & SpringerLink 1995).

However, I have not applied the granularity and participation theory into my previous project due to the negligence  and unawareness. Providing the public with space to participate in sharing information, gathering information and creating their own content can uplift the importance of topic as stated in the participatory media. The use of granular can add more important information to the topic and interesting segments for the campaign. For the future project, the combination of a wide range of granularity, participation and interactivity will be beneficial for the public involvement and successful social media project. This shows that knowing theory deeply can contribute to the real work practices.

  • Compare and Contrast the project 

Loy9 is the most famous mass media project about civic engagement in Cambodia which can attract thousand of youths through their TV, Radio program and social media campaign. This has inspired me to run the social media campaign. Due to the artistic, technological creativity and the precise message, I have also adopted a few ways of audience engagement from this campaign.  let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between my previous project and Loy9.

Similarities 

  • Having the same social topic matching the public’s interest
  • Using the spreadable and interactive media methods
  • Producing video illustrating the key messages
  • Breaking down the topic for discussion plus accurate date and facts
  • Responding actively to the public

Differences

  • Loy9 has an extremely active social media followers because of their well-managed promotion and various contents
  • Loy9 has used the granularity extensively making the content distribution become widespread and interactive
  • Loy9 has the different of segments posting on an official Facebook page such as interview, TV, radio program, and viral video everyday
  • My project did not have the official page, but we shared our video on existing communities Facebook page
  • Loy9 has spent lots of money advertising the social media as well as the whole project and has a good collaboration with existing local organisations
  • Loy9 has no infographic video

Having learned the differences between the two projects, I will adopt the doable strategies to improve my second social media project. This, in turn, results in the efficacy of implementing the effective and efficient campaign.

References:

Jenkins, Henry, Ford, Sam., & Green, Joshua 2013,  Spreadable Media Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture (Postmillennial pop Spreadable media), New York: NYU Press.

Rada, R Author, Michailidis, A, & SpringerLink 1995, Interactive media, New York, NY: Springer New York.

Analysis and Reflection

  1. Introduction to Documentary 

The Participatory mode is beneficial for me as a person who wants to produce the investigative or social issue documentary. My strong preference in making the documentary is to reveal hidden information or explore social problems affecting people life rather than filming informative or entertaining documentary about sport, wildlife, culture, or art. This is the reason encouraging me to select the participatory mode for the discussion.

According to Bill Nichol’s seminal book, the participatory mode allows the filmmaker to directly interact with the subject, to involve in the conversation and to point out his/her views. There are two key components in the participatory documentary – interview and compilation – portraying a broader perspective of the topic. The interview is the most important form of encounter between the filmmaker and the subjects, it is not an ordinary conversation, yet it is the in-depth and following up interview. The compilation is the combination of archive footage explaining the historical events or background information. In this mode, the filmmaker is also the subject of the film and involves in the situation to question the sources and engage in the dialogue.

Below is an example of the participatory documentary, which is about the life of Michael Jackson. In some cases, one documentary may require a merging of different modes to explore the problem or the premise of the film.

This type of documentary predominantly fits with the investigative process, any controversial/political/historical topics and the topic requires more in-depth information. This mode is considered to be intrusive, which is completely different from the observational mode. The documentary named Fahrenheit 9/11 “, directed by Michael Moore is the example of the participatory mode where the director appeared in the film and interviewed sources with regard to the attack on the world trade center in 2002.

To provide the accurate and objective analysis of the former president George W. Bush government, Michael appeared on the screen to explore and dig out the critical information from the sources. This indicates that the filmmaker acts on behalf of the audience to reveal the real thought of the subjects. However, the filmmaker may have changed the situation of the discussion or the result of the interview when he/she engages in the conversation. To a certain degree, the filmmaker ideas perhaps influence the interviewee’s answers or opinions. This leads to  an argument in the film produced by Michael whether or not the film is objective or filmmakers’ opinion oriented.

The filmmaker’s involvement can impact the film because his/her perspectives and tendency affect the interviewees and have the power to control and to manipulate the film. For this reason, the filmmaker has to be ethical and respectful to his/her subject while using this documentary mode. This kind of documentary truly matches with my innate ability and passion. This is the mode that I can directly interact and engage with my subjects/sources in order to divulge the hidden information, and I will ensure that my point of view will not have an impact on the subjects.

2. No Direction Home

The opening of the film introduces the artist Bob Dylan, known as the American singer, songwriter, performer and the star, playing guitar and harmonica and singing a song called “Like a rolling stone”, which was the most popular in 1965. After using the live performance of him as the precursor for 30 seconds, the filmmaker introduced the foggy weather covering the forest and extracted the direct quote from Bob saying that “Time you can do a lot of things that seem to make time stand still. Of course, no one can do that.

This appears to be a very catchy introduction of the film. The audience keeps questioning what the conflict of the story and what really happened to the famous artist, Bob. To walk the audience through the film, the filmmaker played another song called “Blowing in the wind” following by the voice of Bob telling about his past how he found the guitar and how it inspires him to continue his passion. The use of archive footage as B-roll was included while Bob was narrating his personal story when he was young and what he found from the recording rap. “The sound of the recorded make me feel that I was somebody else, and then… I was maybe not even born with the right parents or something”. Then the protagonist started telling about the problem he was working with the mining company destroying the local farm land. He then began talking about his father occupation as the electrical staff. This means his background has nothing related to the art or music, but his innate ability and talent bring him in the art industry.

From my perspective, the filmmakers intended to tell us about the life of Bob Dylan and his struggling to achieve his goal becoming the artist. The film perhaps taps into the popular music and culture during Bob Dylan’s period and how he brings his effort to move forward. As an audience, I could guess by just seeing the 2-minute video clip and I believe that the filmmakers wanted to draw my attention to the main topic of the film which was about the revolution of Bob life from being a folk singer and songwriter to the rock style. The film is more likely to cover the controversial issue between Bob and his family since his background is not an artist and the difficulties in trying to be a well-known artist especially being a songwriter and also a singer. It is fortunate enough to learn that the protagonist, Bob Dylan, has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature and he is considered as the first musician who has won this type of award so far. This connects to the film portraying his life and movement to become the well-known musician.

3. Forbidden Lies

It is such a wonderful film clip with a unique sound mixture. It is true that sound is much more important than the visual effects. Let’s me start assuming how the sound was recorded. By excluding the music, I have categorised  the sound into three types in this film, which includes sound effect, ambient sound, and the interview. The sound effect was composed and produced in accordance with the atmosphere and realism of the film. Many sound effects were included to change the mood in the film and to add the tone of the action. The stunning sound effect could be produced by mixing with the sound of the items around us and it can indicate the existent of things appearing on the screen.

This is the second scene introducing by the sound effect from the first scene.

The sound effect was created to dissolve the image from one scene to another scene.

 

 

 

 

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The sound to stop the imagination was used while the music was playing in order to change the viewer’s attention. When the woman was dissolving gradually, the sound of disappearing was mixed in this scene.

The ambient sound was recorded from the different locations and environment. At the beginning of the film, while the music was playing , there was the birds sound mixing as the background. The bird sound may have been recorded in the forest and another dropping sound was recorded to use in the scene where the actress’s scarf dropped off the car.

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The dropping sound was edited to match with the moving image of the scarf falling down which can reinforce the viewer’s feelings.

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The natural sound of people having chit-chat at the Unisex salon was recorded. The recorder might have been placed to capture the actual sound.

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In this shot, the sound of the conversation between the Jordanian journalist and the source was recorded to explain the audience about the issue.

The interview was recorded by either wireless microphone or the boom microphone while conducting the interview with the sources. With the specific technique, tools and comprehensive knowledge in recording the high-quality audios, the interview sound was recorded clearly and sharply.

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The wireless microphone might have been placed on her to record her speaking.

The whole sound clip was edited thoroughly with assiduous attention based on my observation. The process of editing the audio might take a long time to adjust the audio and add transitions and effects. 

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This is the example of audio track editing with many layers in order to make the audio become dynamic. The Photo was taken from this website.

In the video clip, the audio may have been edited by using crossfade transition between the audio clips, fade in and out, adjust and customize the audio transition. The combination of sound effect, ambient sounds, and the interview enables the audio in the film become dynamic to grab and hold the audience’s attention. From one scene to another scene, the audio was mixed with the clear purpose according to the film treatment and script.

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In this scene, the sound of the Jordanian journalist reading the book overlapped with the sound of the actress reading the same book. The audio was faded in and out when editing the audio track.

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While the Jordanian journalist narrating her biography, the praying music was mixed as the background sound. There were two audio tracks in this scene mixing together.

Overall, the audio in this video clip was recorded carefully and edited greatly with many transitions and effects in order to make the sound of each scene become more attractive and energetic. The sound effect was created to fit in the film context and the ambient sound and the interview were recorded to describe the real actions. The most startling point is the way each audio was put together. The impression of the sound mixture has credited the film and allowed the audience to enjoy the visual image as well as the incredible sound mixing.

4.  Mini Documentary

After 12 weeks taking up the Sound and Image course, I have produced the three-minute documentary under the theme “Home”.  Before reaching this achievement, I have encountered countless problems mainly during shooting and editing, yet it has equipped me with practical skills and invaluable experience to remember and use for my future video project. Let’s me reflect on the three stages of my mini-documentary.

Preproduction

During this stage, the success is that my team has consulted with each other clearly about the production design and storyboard before shooting. There were 5 members in my team and each member helps facilitate and coordinate the shooting operation. After the brief discussion, my team has decided to produce a documentary showing the different perceptions of international students coming from Indonesia, China, Philippines, and Cambodia under the them “Home”. My team and I have created the storyboard and questions for the interview. The location was selected near RMIT and B-roll were planned to shoot around the school.

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My team tested and adjusted the camera at the selected location to shot the interview.

Each member has to involve in operating camera and also in being an interviewee, so there was a clear task allocation in the group. However, there was a major problem that my team and I were careless. The memory card was full. It is important to check all the shooting equipment including the battery, headset, camera, tripod, microphone and memory card before starting the production, but my team forgot to do it. Although there is an issue with the memory card, my team still managed to clear the memory and used to film since there was a spare memory card left in the camera bag.

Production

At this important stage, I would say the most successful is operating the camera correctly without having any over-exposed images and background noise. Each member including me was responsible for a specific task before rotating the role to shooting some scenes based on the storyboard.  This time, my team and I have properly set the white balance and checked with each other to ensure that it was the correct one. As a result, all footage is usable with natural color and beautiful frame. Of course, having gone through many shooting exercises, I am more accustomed to shooting video and the foundation of video shooting has entrenched in my brain, which automatically ordered me to shoot different shots and to frame from different angles.  “The more I practice, the more skillful I am”.

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The sound quality was recorded correctly. I found the quiet place with less background noise to conduct the interview, no more construction sound. However, there are some mistakes that I have to be careful in the future. The eyes level of the interviewees did not match with the camera level. It is clearly seen that camera was not set properly with the height of the interviewees.

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The interviewee’s eyes level was higher than the camera because the interviewer was taller and my group forgot to check the eyes level.

Another problem associated with the composition of the interviewees. I did not change the position of the interviewees due to the carelessness.  Below are the example of framing the interviewee on the left-hand side without switching to the right side. It is boring to have only the same frame of the image.

One more important issue to be addressed is the wrong position of the interviewer. The interviewee was framed by leaving the room on the right-hand side, but the interviewer stranded on the left-hand side. Therefore, the interviewee turned to the left, not the right-hand side as the basic rule.

The interviewee turned to the interviewer who was standing on the left, whereas the camera person framed the shot by leaving lots of room on the right. The interviewee should have looked to the right side.

One more noticeable lesson is that the wireless microphone should be hidden below the interviewee’s shirt. By doing this, the image shot is nicer than revealing the black microphone cable.

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The microphone cable appears to be obvious with the pink shirt of the interviewee, making it look not nice in the frame.

Despite minor mistakes, my team could finish the shooting successfully as written on the storyboard. I am satisfied with what my team and I have achieved and I will avoid the same problems for another project and improve my shooting skills to the next level based on the knowledge and experience I have gained from this project.

Postproduction

It is time to assemble the actual footage, adjust the color correction, sound, and music. I started reviewing all the footage and selected the usable footage based on the structure and storyboard of my documentary. I created the sequence for each of the scene for my documentary. Due to the fact that my mini-documentary is a compilation of many interviews answering a few questions related to transportation, language, food of different nationalities, so I have to organise the file neatly and orderly to faster the editing process.

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Specific bins were created to order the file while editing the actual footage.

After ordering files in the folder, I started combining the footage. Based on the previous experience in editing Abstract video, I adjusted the speed and duration of the opening images to faster the speed and I reduced the speed of the image at the end of the documentary. I increased the speed of each image from 100 to 200. The title of each question to introduce each scene was created in addition to the still image of the world map showing the mixed nationalities. The use of video/audio effects and transitions reduced the jump cut from one shot to another and the immediate cut of the sound from the interview. As an example , I applied film dissolve video transition to each image to avoid the jump cut. Another interesting editing expertise is applying color grade into my mini-documentary. At the end of the documentary, I lowered the Temperature and Exposer of the image in order to avoid over-exposed image.

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Even though the image was still over-exposed, it was better than the previous image. The grass became greener as the real one.

The music was also included and faded in and out according to the interview sound. The creation of rolling credit was also incorporated into this documentary at the end of the documentary. Although there are many successes during editing, there a two main problems I would like to address. One of which is the sound of the interviewer interrupting the sound of the interviewee. The voice of the interviewer saying “Yes” while the interviewee answering the question annoys the full answer of the interviewee so it is difficult to get rid of the sound during editing. If it is a participatory mode of the interview, it is fine, but it is not. For the future improvement, I will be careful in recording the sound and train the interviewer to understand the problem. The second major concern is the lack of B-roll footage. It is difficult to edit the interview without B-roll image and this resulted in the less interesting of the documentary. In fact, it would be beautiful to have extra cutaway footage illustrating the transportation or food while the interviewees were talking. From this experience, I will try to collect more B-roll footage or use archive footage to avoid distracting and add value to the film.

5. Color Grade

Why do we have to do color grading? The main reason is to manage the color of the footage aiming to make the image looks as what it should be and add the mood into the film. There are four color corrections in Adobe Premiere Pro including Creative, Curves, Color Wheels and Vignette and there are other functions to explore. You may find more information about color correction from this website.  Let’s take a look at the first image below that I applied color correction.

After

Before

 

 

 

 

 

By watching the tutorial and self-practicing, I came up with an idea of adjusting the above image by decreasing the Temperature and Exposure in the basic correction. The original image was a bit over-exposed and blur. I also turned the Contrast to 12.7 and Exposer to -1.0. The aim of this color grading is to ensure that the main component (RMIT logo) appears to be outstanding and the audience can recognize and it also corrected the white balance and the exposer of the image.

After

Before

 

 

 

 

 

The above image, I slightly adjusted the Sharpen to 20.5 and Saturation in the creative part in addition to the adjustment of the brightness, contrast, and temperature in the basic correction part. The Sharpen adjustment could improve the definition of the image’s edges. In this image, I aimed to correct the color of the scene to match with other scenes especially sharpen the interviewee’s face to make it look more focus.

After

Before

 

 

 

 

 

In this shot, my purpose is to create the stunning background color of RMIT students playing basketball and it could orient the audience to the real location. Fundamentally, I started changing the contrast and temperature to make the image look warm, have ideal light, and beautiful color.  The use of Vignette also made the subject, known as the basketball players, in the image stand out in the scene with the great creative effect. I adjusted the Amount in the Vignette to -0.5, and this also faded the periphery away gradually making the subject become more focus and avoid the unimportant elements in the background.

In conclusion, color grading requires time to practice and understand what the purpose to change the images and how they look like. Sometimes, the correction of the color in the image becomes complex and messy if the producer has not thought of the goal to achieve after editing the image. More often, the producer intends to create an aesthetic appreciation of the image or enhance the image quality. Commonly, the poor quality images are graded color in specific software, but it is not always possible to perfectly correct the images as what the producer wants.  Therefore, it is important to be cautious and careful while shooting to ensure the best quality of the footages.

6. Reflection on the Course

What I like the most of this course is “more practical”. Let’s recap my expectation at the beginning of the course, my main goal is to manage the video production successfully. With a strong commitment and enthusiastic support from the tutor in this semester, I have enormously enhanced my video shooting, editing and management skills. The ability to handle all the tasks in the three stages including preproduction, production, and postproduction has been improved due to many practical exercises.

Regarding the preproduction preparation, I am accustomed to the use of video treatment before shooting now because it helps me sharpen my video topic and shooting plan. Understanding the  basic fundamental techniques to shoot video with different frames and shots enable me to film each scene creatively and more aesthetic although there are a few minor problems. I could operate the camera well especially ensuring the white balance setting up and recording the sound properly. The most importantly, my editing skills by using Adobe Premier Pro has immensely developed because I edited lots of footage. I could understand how to do color grading and apply different effects and transitions in the video especially learn how to edit accordingly.

The best additional knowledge I have gained from this course is to work in the team collaboratively. Forming a production team is slightly different from forming a group to do the assignment. The video production team requires a strong commitment and specific skills possessed in each member in order to finish the shooting and editing successfully. The willingness to help each other in the team has proved to bring over the triumph in producing the video.

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The team spirit has come together while shooting. My team members have not only tried hard to work but also building a good memory together.

Personally, the course has provided me with many video production knowledge and skills which completely fulfill my expectations and this has boosted my confidence in managing the video production. The experience sharing between the tutor and other students have even enlightened and explained precisely during this course. It is such a joyful moment taking this course in this semester and I hope I will utilise all the experience and knowledge for the future project.

 

 

 

 

 

Freelancer, Let’s Try

Since I have been searching for a job during this summer break, I have decided to sign up for an account at Freelancer website. It blows my mind for what I have seen.  I found that this app is practically useful for me as a job seeker, but I am not sure whether I will be hired or not due to my limited work experience. This, however, is the first place to promote me and learn how the job is provided. There are various jobs related to my skills although it is fiercely competitive and the clients are from different status including students, small business owners, and some companies who would like to outsource the freelancers to work on their websites or projects. Most clients in my fields are students and small business owners. Before moving on, you can check my account here.

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This is an example of bidding the project. Anyone can offer the lower price to work on the project and the client will decide to pick up one freelancer.

Basically, my expertise is  journalism and report writing and I used to be the freelancer for the newspaper in Cambodia, but not in Australia where I am living now.  From what I have observed, hundred of freelancing jobs are available but each freelancer has to bid for the project and sometimes he/she is approached by the client directly if he/she has a good reputation. Personally, this app is beneficial for a particular person who is good at promoting his/her work and expertise. However, most Cambodians are not aware of this app yet and I do not think there will be more clients from Cambodia soon since there are limited internet access and knowledge. According to Freelancewriting, there are pros and cons of being a freelancer, but for me, the pros appear to overweigh the cons.  The only problem to consider is whether I have a spare time to finish the task and get the benefit as my expectation or not. Hence, to become a successful freelancer, there are 13 points to consider. Three of which are starting from a small project, setting the price appropriately, don’t be so cheap and finding the specific skill you want to offer. I found these three important pieces of advice are practical for me and perhaps help me promote my skills to be a professional freelancer.

Podcast

Have you ever produced any Podcast? If not, why don’t you  spend sometimes exploring this useful app? Technically, Podcast is all about sound, so you have to ensure that the sound quality is good when it comes to recording. Even though your Podcast content is exceptional if the sound quality is worse, no one listens to your Podcast. Today, I am sharing you my personal reflection on the processes of designing the website and this is the first podcast I have produced. Honestly, I am a bit embarrassed hearing my voice, but I have to give myself a try.

 

 

 

 

 

Peer Review

  1. Cyber Bullying 

The Cyber Bullying project is quite interesting. The content of the project has been synthesized and generated well. I really appreciate the hardworking of the group members. I could see that there are many interesting messages incorporating into the video to raise public awareness pertaining to cyber bullying. This indicates the precise information and the flow structure of the video, which can hold the audience’s attention. The video consists of the artistic design with funny and adorable cartoons, which to a certain degree attract the target audience known as the youth or young adult. The development of technology to produce the video is well-designed with the combination of social media platform to disseminate the message.

However, there are a few suggestions to improve the video. The opening image is unclear and they should have been enlarged to let the viewers see clearly what cyber bullying looks like on the Internet.

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An example of the ECU to hook the audience at the beginning. The Photo was taken from this site.

I noticed that there are a few long shots of the person using social media, but the video producer missed to capture the close up shot of the content portraying cyber bullying. This can be an example or a clear explanation for the audience about what the Cyber Bullying is.

Another point is the transition from one scene to another is pretty fast. The producer should slow down the speed a bit allowing the audience to read and understand each text. The length and size of each text are also problematic. I would suggest shortening each sentence and if possible, randomly select only the most important message that related to the serious cyber problems happening in the society as CYD (2016) also recommends to keep the text short and precise. I found that there are so many texts in the video which can make the viewers tired and could not get the core message that the project members want to convey. An increase of the font size is needed for readers to see clearer. Overall, I am a fan of this video since it has provided me with new information and the ongoing social problems which have to be addressed and intervened.

  1. The One

The production design of the video has been developed strongly, which can make the video become really inspirational and attractive. The three aspects of the video including the use of technology, aesthetic, and the structure have been done effectively. The film was structured greatly, which can convey the clear message to the audience. I could see that the film producer puts strong efforts in shooting at different scenes in order to capture the public expression toward the protagonist who has a bad scar on her face. This requires lots of work to film on the street and of course, it is not an easy task to achieve.

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The protagonist’s face having a scar should use as the hook at the beginning of the film. The photo was taken from this site.

Although there are many successes of the film, a few loopholes should be adjusted for the future improvement. The face of the protagonist having scar should be introduced earlier. I could not understand at first why some people along the street looked at the protagonist in a strange way since she was so pretty. Keeping the viewers in doubt is quite useful in some videos, but not really in this one. It is better to introduce the core problem, scar on the protagonist’s beautiful face, which lowers her self-esteem. As a viewer, I prefer knowing the issue at the beginning of the story. Another minor problem associated with the video is that there is so much information appearing on the screen. I would select three important message use as title: the problem, how people treat the protagonist, and how the protagonist overcomes. I understand that the film producer tried to insert the emotional message in the film, but it may be more effective to reduce the words and let the video illustrates or tell the story. This makes the audience easy to understand the protagonist’s feeling.

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A positive message should be included. The photo was taken from this site.

Moreover, the end of the video should have improved by showing the confidence of the protagonist in going out and confronting the others’ bad treatment on her after she has had a boyfriend who supports her. I notice that her boyfriend has a scar on his face as well. This might make the viewers think that only a man who has the same scar can love the protagonist. I would prefer having a handsome man loving the protagonist showing the positive content at the end. This indicates that the protagonist has been treated and loved by the nice man without discrimination or hatred and the viral video may increase the number of viewers through sharing on social media. In short, I like the production design and the content of the video which can make me feel inspirational and optimistic after watching.

 

Stop Blaming the Victim

It is time to change your perception and to stop blaming the victim. Check out the video and what is on social media below.

The social media strategy of this project has been done via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Instagram.  Among those social media tools, Facebook is seen to be the most attractive place to discuss this common issue in Cambodia. For more details of the project, please visit this website. 

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Just a few minutes, Cambodian friends start sharing their thought and views on this critical issue.

A Cambodian man tends to disagree with the video concept and another Cambodian woman stands out to voice her opinions.

To produce this infographic video for my project, I have experienced one major challenge in designing video concept to fit in the core message. Of course, video infographic is one of the most high-impact platforms to convey the message and it is also extremely difficult to create the interesting design. My team member and I have planned the storyboard, composition and finalising the script before designing the image and animation for the video, but the design was failed. My group has designed colorful and attractive infographic animation video, but the computer could not run the file, leading to the failure of uploading it into the Adobe After Effects. The pictures below are the examples of the original ideas, but my team and I had to change the concept and design due to the limited time left and capacity of the computer.

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The biggest challenge of designing the video concept has emerged again after the original idea was not successfully produced. According to Wirrienga 2016, there are 7 steps to produce the effective infographic animation video in order to communicate the data and message with the audience successfully. One of which is collecting visual inspiration, which can inspire the audience and convey the key points. After reviewing the visual images/data to be incorporated into the video, the concept of designing is structured.  The creation of infographic structure is like writing an essay consisting of introduction, body, and conclusion, but the most important information has to come first as the inverted pyramid with eye-catching font size and precise script, aiming to hold the audience’s attention. This sounds simple, yet quite demanding and time-consuming. One of the most heavies processes is to customize the infographic animation content. This means I have to change the font size, transition from one scene to another and the animation to ensure that the video can fulfill my target audience.

Searching for existing infographic videos that are relevant to the topic can be a clue to improve the infographic design. I admit that by looking at similar concept video produced with regard to violence against women allows me to absorb new knowledge and ideas to incorporate into my video. Although I watched many existing videos, the originality of my innovative design still remains and it can uphold the credibility and uniqueness of my video.

Feedbacks are the most presently useful too in my group. Based on my previous experience, I have also asked some of my friends to evaluate and feedback my draft infographic video. It is so effective by using this strategy, so I did it again on this project.  For instance, one of my friends, recommended me to slow down the speed of the video from one scene to another, and another friend of mine asked me to add more bright color to the animations. This clearly shows that more ideas are beneficial to enhance the quality of the video.

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Before comments.

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After comments.

From this experience, I will follow the basic rules of designing infographic animation video, be careful with technical issues, watch different existing videos aiming to generate more ideas and ask for feedbacks before finalising. These lesson learned are proved to be highly beneficial to enhance my next project.

Analysis/Reflection

1. The Abstract Edit

Working on abstract video is amusing yet it can enhance my production abilities and  editing skills. I used different effects and transitions to edit the video after self-exploration and getting some advice from the tutor and this tutorial. However, there are some challenges while working on this project. The image’s qualities were extremely poor. Some images were burnt and others become less distinct. I could not eliminate the discoloration because I operated camera inefficiently, resulting from incorrect white balance setting.

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This blur and burning image was because of wrong white balance setting.

The carelessness of adjusting the camera focus also made almost all images become unclear and not sharp. Therefore, I spent a long time to select the footage and adjust the low-quality moving images.  From this lessons-learned, I will set white balance carefully and check the camera focus thoroughly.

The sound of the images is problematic. Some footage had no sound and others had high pitch sound. The reason is that the input sound was off and the level of sound recording was also unstable causing audio distortion. To deal with this issue, I can add audio into the image and use audio effects to control the sound level according to Adobe website. From this experience, I will always check external and internal sound buttons before shooting in order to avoid the repetitive problem.

With curiosity to explore editing techniques, I exercise my editing skills by using a variety of effects and transitions. During the first edition, I did wrong in using effects due to the fact that I could not endure editing lots of footage within one hour and I had no much experience editing before. To overcome this difficulty, I edited my video again by using many layers and adjusting the opacity, color and the speed of some shots.

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In this shot, I reduced the speed of the image and adjusted the opacity to slow down the feed’s movement.

It was such a beneficial practical exercise that is called “learning by doing” although I was struggling at the beginning. The addition of transition on video enables me to explore the reality of how Adobe Premiere Pro works and it tends to train my brain quickly to remember the process of editing and using each effect and transition.

Music selection is important to match with the footage. I downloaded the free music from Youtube, which is in creative common archives.  I started playing with crossfade transition and adjusted the audio transition. Rather than using constant power transition, I used the pen tool to adjust the way I wanted to fade in and out the audio. It did work well and this becomes my new expertise and knowledge.

Overall, from the Expertise exercise, I learn lots more on how to operate the video camera and to explore the differences of video effects and transitions. This equips me with editing skills and allows me to practice these skills for the upcoming video.

2. The Expertise Edit

The Expertise exercise predominantly allows me to understand different types of camera shots and how to operate camera effectively. During the Expertise project, I have refreshed my brain and knowledge regarding video production after five years of suspending shooting video. I really enjoyed working on this project though I have faced with some difficulties, yet it is advantageous for my self-improvement.

From the editing experience, I would like to reflect on four main problems, one of which is framing the subject in different shots. Shooting with a variety of shots is extremely important. The difference of shots can demonstrate aspects of the characters, sets, and themes of the film. The success of my team working on Expertise project is that there is a combination of extreme long shot, long shot, medium shot, close up, and extreme close up, which reduces the workloads during editing. However, I found that there is a loophole to improve in my upcoming video production. I have noticed that all shots seem to be only half face of the protagonist. Therefore, next time I would move the camera to film the subject more closely and widely.

 

Another noticeable issue is sound quality. There was noise in the sound owing to the fact that I filmed in the class. I have not critically thought much about recording sound while shooting. Hence, when it comes to the editing process, the sound of the images is not usable. To deal with this type of problem, in the next project I will select a location that does not have too much distractive sound, yet a clear background sound. If there is an interview, I prefer to have a quiet place.

The position of camera angle is also crucial in video production. In my Expertise video, I have not filmed my character from different angles because I have not thought of it. After checking my footage, I realised that I should have done low or high camera angles to make my viewers understand the character’s relationship and make the video become attractive. This happens because I did not have a proper pre-production plan. This experience will remind me to think of various angles before shooting and to have a well-developed treatment.

Using effects and transition during editing is also problematic for me. While editing, I was trying to play with video effects and transitions. I used, for instance, color correction and blur and sharpen for video effects and 3 D motions, fade in and out, and flip over transitions. This has resulted in an unprofessional video and it looked distracted. I decided to remove those transitions and effects and edited my video as normal.

3. The Initiative

“Enemies of the People”, is the documentary film showing about the masterminds behind the mass killing during Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia directed by Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin, has inspired me to find out more about how to produce the documentary film. With the journalism background, I believe that producing the documentary by using journalistic skills can address important issues, investigate the reality of the social issues, reveal the hidden information and inform audiences. Hewitt and Vazquez (2010) explains the four stages in producing the documentary film including  the beginning, preproduction, production, and postproduction.

Getting Started is the early stage to develop the idea, set the goal,  think critically about the characters and visualizing the story, seek collaboration and prepare proposal and budgets  The generating idea is essential to shape the angle of the topic and search for available resources and materials that are relevant to the topic.

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Photo was taken from this website.

For instance, the producer has to do more research to understand
the topic precisely and look for accessible sources to interview. Wales (2015) also claims that research is beneficial to identify the central problem and clarify the accurate information of the topic, which can result in a high-quality documentary film. Energetic and enthusiastic characters who can hold the viewer’s attentions are pre-selected. The need for collaboration from relevant people is essential to ensure the smooth production and strong connection.  Planning proposal and budget are extremely important at this stage. Sometimes, the producer may need to do fund-raising, applying for the grant in case he/she does not have enough money.

Preproduction is generally perceived as a plan for shooting the documentary film. There are two basic plans at this stage including preparing for production and arranging interviews.  Production planning is consist of scheduling shooting, producing the storyboard, writing shooting script, hiring the director and passionate crews, arranging equipment and  dealing with legal issues. The number of crews can have strong impacts on the production. Sometimes, a small crew has been hired to produce the documentary film due to limited budgets.

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Photo was taken from this website.

Planning interviews are required because the documentary film is about getting interviewees to talk about the problem and to show the conflict. The key interviewees have to be scheduled for the formal interview. Some interviewees might be more significant in the film to elaborate the  complex and controversial issue of the topic. Location selection with the right background for the interview also has to be done before the production starts. Wales (2015) added that in this stage, the production team has to coordinate the travel schedule for shooting and continue working on the editing script.

Production is the stage of gathering actual footage. The director has to ensure that the sound quality, light, and  the aesthetic cinematography are operated correctly and creatively based on the treatment. The documentary heavily relies on the sound from the interview, ambient sound, and natural sound. Having enough light can improve the footage while shooting that is why the director has to ensure that there is enough light.

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Students pursuing Master of Media at RMIT were shooting Voxpop in front of the State Library.

To get the high-quality sequences, the cinematographer has translated the contextual vision of the director by paying attention to balance the composition, framing and to be innovative in producing artistic sequences. The director has to be critical for producing creative or aesthetic camera shots because it can take precedence over the editing stage. B-roll and cutaway shots can add information during narration or interview, which can explain the topic and increase the credibility. The significance of story conflict can build on the value in the documentary and the film has to retain the conflict otherwise, the documentary may become less interesting (Wales, 2015).

Postproduction is the important part for assembling all footage. Structuring documentary is essential when it comes into the postproduction. The storytelling has to be constructed into three parts including beginning, middle and end, and sometimes final thought might be included as well.  While editing the documentary, a mixture of different shots will be blended up and the script might be changed depending on the actual story after putting footages together in order to fit into a coherent film.

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Photo taken from this website.

Music also can be incorporated into the documentary film aiming to enliven the story by suggesting emotion or mood.  According to The International School History, there are 8 styles of making documentary including the use of “exposition, actual footage, narration, oral history, archive material, reconstruction, music, and graphic”. Thus, the  filmmaker can use the combination of styles or just a few of them. In addition, many techniques are available for the filmmaker, two of which are no narration and personal point of view documentary film. After finish editing, the draft documentary might be screened to a specific group of people who can give constructive feedbacks before finalizing the whole documentary film.

Let’s take a look at my latest mini-documentary five years ago I have faced with many difficulties in terms of generating ideas and shooting video. I admitted that I did not plan well before shooting plus having some technical issues such as shooting without the tripod. As a result, my documentary has many shaky moving images and become unprofessional. Thus, the advice above will enable me to improve my existing skills and tap into my personal interest in producing the documentary film.

References:

Hewitt, J & Vazquez, G. (2010). Documentary Filmmaking: A Contemporary Field Guide. Oxford University Press.

Wales, L. (2015). Complete Guide to Film and Digital Production. Focal Press

4. Prompts

According to Sound Design paper, the sound has been grouped into three categories including music, sounds, and speech. Speech has become appealing to me while reading. Narration and dialogue are the essential functions of the speech. The narration refers to a verbal and nonverbal means of communication and it has been classified into three types including direct, indirect, and contrapuntal.

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The sound mixer, photo was taken from this website.

The indirect and contrapuntal narration have been commonly used in the film .The sound designers mostly use indirect narration to tell the story or actor’s activities without narration. This means the audience can understand the situation based on what they see on the screen without having narration. For instance, there is no narration when the actor opens the car door and walk into the theater. The Contrapuntal narration is the way the sound designer use the image in opposite to the narration in order to make a comparison. As an example, the narration is about African children do not have enough food where the video is showing lots of food wasted by western people. The sound designers have to  have inherent ability to distinguish sound differences in order to  produce the sound that provides listeners with cognitive and affective information. This lesson enables me to understand and identify sound particular how to use speech  for the next project.

“Directors are mostly aggressive” crew members have to understand this. This is unfair that is why there is a discussion of the role of the director and actor. What I do learn from Actor and The Director is that the significant relationship between actor and the director is to understand each other. Instead of giving an order to actors to perform as what the director wants, the director has to accept the actors’ ability, specialty and potentiality.

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Production crews photo by Sean Hagen from Flickr:CC.

Some talented actors are able to perform perfectly though the director has not guided them. This means qualified actors can show their intelligence and to a certain degree can reduce the director’s workloads.  The most successful director is the one who understands actors intuitively. Another interesting point is that competent director retains the good working environment, inspire actors, acknowledge actors’ great achievement in performance. The Incompetent director will allow technical problems or his/her mood distract the working atmosphere and disrespect the actors. The director has to use infinite patience strategy and self-analytical approach to managing the production. The actors have to respect the director and do their roles aiming to successfully perform as what the audience wants. Personally, this kind of leadership has reflected the reality in the society not only in the production team. The leaders or the directors have to respect and appreciate their colleagues working under their supervision, leading to a remarkable triumph. The above points can immensely improve my understanding regarding the director and actor relationship, and hopefully, I can apply these strategies to my future career.

5. Lenny Production 

Team spirit has provided me with a great achievement in producing Lenny short film although it is not 100% perfect. My team has been working to support each other and this builds a strong sense of collaboration, leading to a great success despite minor problems. Let’s me share some experiences and challenges during Lenny project.    

Preproduction

My achievement in this stage is planning the storyboard and marking the script before starting the production. I have drawn a treatment for my production by considering different types of creative shots and angles, which includes close-up, medium shot, long shot, extreme close up. Planning key locations and characters in advance has also contributed to the success. I have thought of some locations nearby RMIT and I have divided three scenes based on the provided script allowing me to understand clearly how to manage each scene.  Besides, I have tested camera and sound recorder for making sure they work well and it made me more confident before camera rolling. Before starting production, my team has allocated specific task for everyone.

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This photo was taken from this website.

However, there are some obstacles . My team did not discuss thoroughly with each other about the exact location and the film treatment before shooting. My team and I went immediately without thinking of finalizing the plan for the production project, where to shoot , what the prompt are, and what kind of shots should be captured. This has resulted in unclear shooting plan and a bit complicated when filming each scene. From this experience, for the next project, planning is the best solution to work effectively and efficiently and I would have a discussion before starting shooting although each member has planned the treatment individually. It is important to talk and clarify the plan before going out.

Production

My team allocated tasks for each member clearly and each member including me had to rotate the role. Personally, the rotating role is more practical during this production since each member has a chance to perform different tasks and learn from each other.  During the production, I had a chance to be a sound recorder, camerawoman, assistance director (AD), the director. According to task allocation, I could fulfill my role to a certain extent. For example, when I was a sound recorder, I tested the sound button to ensure that it turned on and I checked the level of the sound volume to make sure it was in standard level. With regard to camera operation, I could frame the image well without too many mistakes and listened to the director and followed his comments for improvement. I applied the rule of production crews by respecting and doing my role without bothering or invading others’ task.

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My team was shooting scene 1 for Lenny project at RMIT campus.

Although there were many positive results during the production, there were also a few minor mistakes and misunderstandings. The planned location was not chosen due to the construction work. It is unpredictable although I have checked the place one day before the shooting. The switching role is good for exercise but it might be disastrous in the real shooting. I was confused about my team member’s role because everyone kept rotating the role. For instance, the role of being an assistance director and the director have not clearly differentiated. I noticed that being an assistance director in my team was just saying camera roll and other tasks were guided by the director. This means I failed to perform as AD because I was perplexed and could not fulfill the task. From this experience, I would say having a specific and clear role for each member is recommended for the next project and each role has to be precisely explained before starting the production.

Postproduction

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This is the way I organized sound and images for my Lenny project as well as other production projects.

At this stage, all footages have to be assembled and I would say my team has filmed many creative shots despite a few technical errors.  The process of editing is quite demanding if there are  poor-quality footages. During my Lenny project edition, I have followed the advice by creating the specific folder to organise all necessary files neatly. There are three important processes that I have achieved during the editing. Selecting footage is not time-consuming for me because most of the footage were usable. I created Bins for the three scenes, music, and sequences and then I started putting all the shots together based on the script. Using video transition could avoid jump-cuts in my video that was why I used a few film dissolve and cross dissolve to make my video goes smooth. I also used the pen tool to fade in and out the music and audio while editing.  With the experience from editing abstract video, I added the title of the film and behind the scene images, just to make the video more attractive.

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Some wrong activities during shooting Lenny short film.

In spite of some successes during editing, there are some issues. Some audio of the footage were disrupted by the construction sound that was inevitable. I decided to mute the audio because of the noise and I used the music to integrate into the video instead. There were many shaky images which resulted from using the hand-held camera without the tripod.  In the camera screen, the video was not so shaky, but when I played it on the computer screen, it was.  Another critical issue is that my picture appeared as a reflection from the mirror in the footage. I have to pay more attention when shooting near the mirror from now on otherwise this problem will occur again. There was also no ending shot for my Lenny project as planned. The initial idea was that there should be a wide shot of Van walking out of the scene , but there was not because my team forgot to film.  As experienced, there should be a person noting down and checking every planned shot before finish shooting for the future project.

6. Find Your Scene

“Me Before You” is a romantic drama directed by Thea Sharrock and released in 2016.  The film is about the love story between a disabled banker and his caretaker. This film has blown my mind and made me almost in tear. Because of this, I would like to deconstruct one amazing scene that I have extracted from the movie. Overall, this scene was produced with greater efforts and the well-designed plan.

  • Shot Construction: the director used many cinematography techniques to create visual storytelling in the film. According to Timothy Heiderich, the basic of film composition and the creation of different shots can form the cohesive narrative about what is going on in the film without telling. From my perspective, this scene used the film composition and various shots greatly. The director and cameramen created the art of cinematography by taking a variety of shots including long, medium and close up shots to position the action. This scene construction enables viewers to become more engaging with the actors.
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In this medium shot, the director blurred Will while  Louisa and another lady were talking about Will’s feeling to join his ex-girlfriend wedding.

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This close up shot, Louisa was asking Will to go out and her facial expression showed her insistence.

  • Camera Movement: In this scene, cameramen and the director worked together effectively to use various type of camera movement and different angles. The cameraman filmed the movie from the high and low angle, using tracking, panning, tilting, zooming techniques, which followed  the basic camera movement. Those shots were just incredible, allowing the audience to interact with the scene.
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Crane was used to filming this establishing shot by gradually moving the camera down to show the overview of the wedding and the actors.

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In this long shot, while the two actors were walking into the ceremony, the cameraman was panning from the right to left across the stone gate.

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Louisa sat on Will’s wheel and Will moved the chairs as the music was playing  and  the camera was moving along the two characters.

  • Production Design: The director has provided the audience with precise information in terms of illustrating the sets and visual style of the film concept. This mainly is about the use of color and mood in the film in order to create the aesthetic environment. In this scene, I would say the location was selected rigorously with a nice great campus and crowded people in the ceremony, which complied with the film concept. Wheels chair was designed to fit in the situation for the disabled protagonist. A mixture of brilliant color such as green, red, purple, and white in the scene has made the film become startlingly beautiful.
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The big church was chosen to show the wedding ceremony and actors dressed colorful clothes.

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The director captured the groom and bridge as the background, yet used the red color of a woman’s dress to make the shot become bright.

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A well-planned shot in the scene, many audiences were cast and performed in the church to celebrate the wedding reception as the real one.

  • Performance: “what make a good performance?” there is a discussion between the instrument and the craft for the best performer. Instrument refers to the actor’s mind, body, voice, and emotion.  The craft is about the process of building actor to perform based on the script. There are 10 tips for improving performance in the film. Personally, the actors in this movie have demonstrated their professional performance based on the basic rules and guides. I truly appreciate the actors, who could make the audience laugh, smile, and cry with them. Louisa and Will are talented and have spontaneous performance, which makes them achieve a fabulous job in this scene. They used their emotional feelings to show the tone of the performance, which made the audience understand and some were in tear including me. This shows that the actors are highly skillful in performing tactics.
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This close up shot shows the good feeling of Will accepting Louisa’s request, which made the audience feel happy too.