Documentary in a Day

Producing a documentary is not easy as I expected. We formed a group of 6, switching our roles frequently to produce our own documentary of “Home” theme.


Each of us took different responsibilities. We had a cameraman, 1st AD, a recordist, a key grip, an interviewer and an interviewee.

We used MCU to do the interview. The interviewer sat to the right of the screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-8-00-56-pmcamera so that the interviewee did not look straight into the camera. This made the audience feel more comfortable with what was being said by the interviewee than they would if the interviewee was staring straight at them. For best results, we placed the interviewer and the interviewee level with the camera, to avoid making the interviewee appear to be looking up or down.


Because of rule #1, we complimented the interview’s eye line, by observing the Rule of Thirds. We considered our camera shot as cut into thirds and place the interviewee in the opposite third to the direction that they are looking. This gave our shot a sense of balance and removed any empty “dead space” behind them.


When framing up our shot, we also considered the interviewee’s surroundings. A tree was placed in the background to reduce the emptiness of the blank white wall. Because we filmed with a single camera, as I mentioned above, we framed our interviewee with a medium close-up. This will allow the audience to see the interviewee’s facial expressions.


Three lights were set up. We used a square panel light as the key light. The key light was the most important light because it was the brightest light in the frame. In this case, we had a lot of shadow off to the camera left side and below interviewees’ heads because the key light was placed to the right and high. We used the fill light. It was not as powerful as the key light, but what it did was to adjust light to the exact part of the frame that was in the shadow. The last light was in the back. This light created a shadow of the tree which made the background more interesting.

The interview was really interesting. Each of us switched our roles as an interviewee. Because the theme was “Home”, we asked each other with questions comparing our hometown to Australia, where we are studying abroad. We are classmates, it explains why the atmosphere was really comfortable. Everybody was doing great, both asking and answering. Our different personalities and confidence contributed to a pleasant and laughable documentary.

We are quite happy with our interview, however, the camera was not placed properly when we interviewed Evelyn (at 0:18). She was a little bit in the centre of the frame. Also, the gem should have been adjusted to create soft light. More details of lightning should have been considered to make our interviewees’ skin smoother. And also if we have a chance to do another interview with people whom we do not know well, we will have to warm up the atmosphere before filming in order to produce the interview exactly how we want.

Post Production

The documentary was edited individually. We had two types of footage separated in different folders, one was the interview and one was “B-roll”. We went out to film extra landscapes for the “B-roll” after interviewing but I did not put it in my documentary because the duration of the interview is enough.

I begin my documentary with a short introduction. The graphic world map was adjusted to the background then followed by a number of houses popping over it to illustrate the theme “Home”.


Editing the documentary is really tricky, especially when I had to cut the footage. We did not have a list of questions and we switched our role as interview, therefore it took me time to find and cut footage in groups. However, we had common questions for the interview, every group of answers began with a question which was showed in text. There are 5 questions. Opening with greetings, then followed by “What’s your name?”, “Anything special about your name?”, “Where are you from?”, “How long have you been in Australia?”, and “How different is your home from Australia?”.


The answer of each interviewee was cut just right. I used cross dissolve in every beginning and ending of each group. The part of asking names were attached with text in order to clarify the audience with each interviewees’ names. The video also was colour corrected and I reduced the saturation to lower the yellowish. The documentary was ended by some footage of behind the scene.

Our interview was recorded right, the interviewees talked clear and loud enough, there was no noise in the background. However, I put some chill music in the background to avoid the awkward silence.

Forbidden Lies

Forbidden Lies is an Australian documentary released in September 2007. It was directed by Anna Broinowski. A dramatized documentary investigating accusations that “Forbidden Love” author Norma Khouri made up her biographical tale of a Muslim friend who was killed for dating a Christian.


The first 30 seconds the clips shows two characters in a several different settings. The audio includes some sound effects, such as: birds chirping, sparkling sound, car, weird sound when throwing scarf and landing on the ground, footsteps, wind, etc.

Perhaps the sound of car, footsteps and wind could have been recorded during filming these scenes. However, the rest of the sound may come from sound library. The car sound was adjusted as it approached and drove away. However, no car sound is heard when the couple is in the car. The sound of the scarf removal is too unrealistic. The editor may do it intentionally to emphasise this action.

When the couple is the shop, we still hear the bird chirping. The editor perhaps wanted to maintain the liveable feeling when layering the sound effects.


The previous sound effects are cut off when the documentary turns into the interview. The woman said, “This is not the truth”. A new set of sound effects was create, it has the feeling when you shut down something immediately. The audio is followed by a cash register sound. All we can hear from here is the woman talking with the sound when she types on her computer later. The audio matches the image, therefore the scene may have been film and recorded on site. When the woman talks about the book, there is a chime sound in the background like a sign.


The next shot is an outdoor interview with Dr. Amal. The audio mainly concentrates on her speaking, we can hear the sound of the bird as well. This could have been recorded on set, or could have been added. When Dr. Amal talks about the same book, we hear the same chime sound again. The scene leads us to another women holding the book. When she finishes her sentence, a photograph capture sound is adjusted as the frame becomes still. Dr. Amal continues her talking with the bird sound in the background like the beginning.

The scene then moves back to the first woman, she reads the book out loud and her voice is connected and recited with the woman’s voice, who holds the book we mentioned above. The editor layered the recordings the part which both of the women do the reading.


The next scene shows a map. A sound effect of heartbeat is added with a pretty scary music. When it zooms in Jordan, we can hear the sound of paper tearing. This sound effect may have been taken from library. The interview of the woman is layered in the background, running along with the sound effect.


We are taken to the woman’s office again. She closes the book and puts it on the table. These sound could have recorded during filming. Then the woman started talking about a unisex salon shop. The scene then was filmed outdoor. We hear the man’s voice selling newspaper with background noise while the woman keeps doing her interview. When the camera zooms into the shop sign, a musical instrument sound may have been used.

We then jump back to her office. The woman is making a phone call and dealing with the papers. These sound could have been recorded on the set.


We go back to Dr. Amal’s interview then continue with the seperate women’s and men’s hair salon. The sound effects of cutting and spraying in women’s hair salon seem to be taken from sound library while the shaving sound in men’s hair salon may have been recorded during filming.


The outdoor scene was recorded well. We barely hear the background noise. The audio only focus on the women speaking. A mini microphone may have been used to record her voice.  However, we can hear the noise in the background when the scene changes from outside to inside the shop. The re-enactment begins with the voice reading the book. The sound of the money sheet and coins could have been recorded there, then is followed by the sound of camera shutter effect. The voice is kept playing along while the re-enactment continues with the sound of the woman taking the pack of cigarettes and the lighter, then lighting the cigarette. It is really compelling when the editor used the reverse sound effect to illustrate the reverse footage. After that, we hear the sound of turing a page when we see the book.


The final part of the clip was filmed in the street with Dr. Amal’s interview in the background. The sound effect of pulling down the hotel could have been sourced from sound library. There are three layers during this scene, Dr. Amal’s interview, sound effects and the music. It then is followed by the first woman’s talking about the gym. Dr. Amal’s interview in the background is brought back then the scene continues with the gymnastic trainer’s interview with background noise. We can hear a “ding” sound when the camera focused on the Music Box sign on the van. The woman’s phone must have turned on the speaker mode so we can hear their conversation while she is talking over the phone. The clip ends with the sound of her closing her phone and the sound of a bus driving through. These could have been recorded during filming.

No Direction Home

No Direction Home is a documentary which traces the life of Bob Dylan, the famous American songwriter, singer, artist, and writer. The documentary was produced by Martin Scorsese. The film focuses on the period between Dylan’s arrival in New York in January 1961 and his “retirement” from touring following his motorcycle accident in July 1966. The 2 minute sequence edited by Thelma Schoonmaker that opens has left an unforgettable impression of narrative style in documentary.

It begins with archive screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-11-18-48-pmfootage of Bob Dylan’s performance. The footage was not edited with any kind of effect in order to remain its original. Both Schoonmaker and Scorsese were really good at expressing human emotion at the beginning of this scene. This generates a “young Bob Dylan” with full of enthusiasm, he was singing on the stage with a guitar and a harmonica around his neck. It then followed by a cross dissolve effect of a black and white image, between a MCU of the tree branches and a WS of the forest covered by heavy snow with a silence.

Bob Dylan started to talk about his past from here. The picture of an old house was attached with “Many Years Earlier” to emphasise his interview in the second part of this documentary. His folk music was played along in the background. Bob Dylan stated that he was about 10 when he first found the guitar, when he first played guitar, when he heard music on the big mahogany radioscreen-shot-2016-10-28-at-11-33-04-pm

that had the 78” turntable, followed by a video of a turnable. It was really interesting when Dylan mentioned the song “Drifting Too Far From The Shore”, the song as well as was played in the background at the same time. And I guess that was the moment he made decision to step into his music career. Schoonmaker used Dylan’s archive material to mix with his interview.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-11-47-37-pmIn the third part of the scene, a video of a main street with the sign “Iron Mines 1 Mile North” with fast tempo music in the background. Dylan started talking about his home town, “what happens to a town after its livelihood is gone, it decays and blows away.” The scene continues with footage from the mines with low tempo background music.


Dylan talks about mining company and farmland, it was a really hard summer time and cold in winter. Dylan even said people did not have clothes.





“The pit was on there, out of the limited of the town. You could be a rebel, it was so cold there. There was not any philosophy, idiom, ideology to really go against.”


The final part of the scene was the pictures of the town and his father’s electrical store. Dylan discussed his father’s store and the first job he had was to sweep up the store. He learned the “discipline of hard work and the merits of employment.”

I guess we will see how Bob Dylan grow up and be a successful music artist in the upcoming movie. The two minute sequence lets us know his childhood and how he feels he was “born to the wrong parents”. It is expected to show more about his family, his home town, and his life and his personal philosophy of life through music.

Introduction to Documentary

What is Documentary?

Documentary is a non-fictional motion picture. It describes some aspect of reality for the purposes of instruction, education and maintaining a historical evidence.

Modes of Documentary Film

Documentary mode is a theoretical scheme which was developed by American documentary theorist Bill Nichols. Documentary mode distinguishes particular traits and conventions of various documentary film styles.

Bill Nichols describes four different documentary mode in his reading, including Observational, Participatory, Reflexive, and Performative Modes.

This article will discuss the hallmarks of Observational mode in documentary film.

Observational Mode

Observational documentary attempt to simply and observe lived experience with a minimum of intervention.

Bill Nichols has stated, “what we saw was what there was”. This mode ensures the authenticity of what happens. A pure observational documentary has no voice-over commentary, no supplementary music and sound effects, no inter-titles, no historical reenactments, no behaviour repeated for the camera, and no interviews in post-production.  Observational documentary tends to simply observe, allowing viewers to reach whatever conclusions they may figure.

The filmmakers are neutral observer. They are normally out of shot so they cannot influence what is happening. Nothing will be rehearsed or staged. This means filmmaker has to rush around, resulting in poor shaky looking footage. Bill also has said, “We look in on life as it is lived. Often the characters are caught up in pressing demands or a crisis of their own. This requires their attention and draws it away from the presence of filmmakers.”Observational documentary arises from available lightweight portable synchronous recording equipment and dissatisfaction with moralising quality of expository documentary. The filmmakers have to be patient to catch the right moments,  they will be in a “waiting position” or else missing a really tiny “piece” of footage will make the documentary unfinished.

One of the most controversial conflicts of our time, the Vietnam War inspired untold numbers of films, songs and books, and most of historical records are observational documentaries. The truth of the most disastrous battlefield in human history are revealed. Every footage taken by courageous reporters and filmmakers from all over the world will remain its previous eternally.

Bill mentioned in his work about whether the cameraman should have refused or tried to dissuade the Vietnamese monk, who set himself on fire to protest the Vietnam War. This is an issue that the filmmakers consider when producing documentaries. Should they ignore the obstacles and continue with what happens in reality, or should they intervene to save a person, or simply a creature of the wildlife? The filmmakers have to pull out their boldness to witness and work in the battlefield, where they can sacrifice their lives to catch these valuable survival moments

However, observational documentary aimed for immediacy, intimacy, and revelation of individual human character in ordinary life situations. Every historical record should be honoured to certify its originality.

Making an observational documentary brings a lot of benefits. It allows filmmaker to record unobtrusively what happens when not explicitly addressing the camera. Although it stresses the non-intervention of filmmaker, this mode raises the ability of filmmaker to include representative and revealing moments. Filmmaker cedes control of events more than any other mode, it helps with building patience and filmmaking skills development while they have to properly record sound and images.



Nichols, Bill, 2010. Introduction to Documentary . 2nd ed. America: Indiana University Press.


How To Make Your Content Popular?

Social Media has never been as powerful as today. One of the element contributing to its successful is the bloom of Social Networking Sites.


According to DreamGrow, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter are the most popular. Not only young people who spend 1 hour/day surfing social network sites in average for entertainment, but also adults who look for knowledge and information. Therefore, the fastest way to approach target audience is to launch your content through social network.

First of all, spending hours researching, analysing, and creating compelling content to help us reach whatever content marketing objective we have is a must do. Before we get deep into social media tactics, ensure we are planning out our content, and our social media updates on an editorial content calendar. This will ensure every single piece of contents gets properly promoted in an organised manner.

I actually have been through this matter before. I have my personal Facebook with nearly 80 thousand followers. Every post had 6 to 12 thousand likes with hundred of comments. I got numerous of products advertising contracts. And I have to say, I earned good money by promoting cosmetics and healthy products on my Facebook. New contract came every week, all I had to do was to post the image and information of clients’ products, wrote some reviews then got paid.

However, there was a period of time I was a little bit “laid-back”. I did not spend much time in building content, it got less interesting and the number of times I got “disappear” on Facebook increased regularly. It has brought its consequence until now. My content is less popular than ever, the number of people following my daily post has dropped day by day.

Therefore, it does not matter if you are promoting your business or your own personal content when comes to social networking sites. Rich and attractive content must be researched and created. Ensure your daily update to engage permanent audience.

Secondly, embracing the visual is a core element contributing to successful content promotion. We all know tweets with images get more engagement. We have known that pictures on Facebook get more engagement. And with other popular social networks such as: Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, are based entirely on images. Create not only a branded feature image to share with our post, but also create seperate images for each of the main points so they can be shared when we repeatedly post them to social media.

Finally, share our content at the right time. I always share my content on Facebook at 8pm. I have made some experiment of posting content  at day time. And the result turned to be really different. My content was so much more approached at night time than day time. Though this tip may seem like common sense, many content marketers actually overlook this simple concept. For maximum engagement, the content we are sharing needs to reach as many people as possible, so we have to go where the crowd is and when they are online and active. Then we can compile a posting schedule to ensure we post during a certain time of day.

This is what I have in mind for a long time in order to get my audience back to my social networks. And these tips not only work in marketing personal content but also in business. By utilising these above tips to promote my social media content, I ensure that I would be well on my way to generating a lot more traffic from social media for my content.

Code with Anna and Elsa

Elsa and Anna Snowflake is an exercise which you can learn the basics of how to code. This programming concept interests you while spending an hour playing game, it is actually the moment that you realise you have finished an hour of code.

Everybody knows Elsa and Anna, of course. The way these two Disney Queens of Arendelle moving around depends on how you create the snowflakes and patterns. Traditional programming is in text, but they use visual blocks that you can drag and drop to create codes. This is another impressive element of Elsa and Anna Snowflake exercise. Within one hour, you will do 20 different exercises of code, from simple to more complex.


Beginning with the left screen, this is the ice surface where you run your program. You will follow the instruction below to finish each level.


There is a toolbox in the middle. We can use these blocks to tell Elsa what to do.


The workspace on the right is where you build your program


From Puzzle #1 to #3, Elsa shows you how to create a single line to a square.


In Puzzle #4, you know how to make a square with “repeat” function, which uses fewer codes. Insert number of times you want to loop the block inside it to make a square. This is a really important function to save you time writing too many unnecessary repeated codes.


Puzzles #5 to #9 show you how to use “repeat” to create more complex codes.

Puzzle #10, #11 andp10-11-12 #12 use a repeat to create a parallelogram. It’s just like a rectangle but has different angles.



Since Puzzle #13, you learn how to “repeat” to draw a circle and overlapping circles.



You can make circles in different sizes in Puzzle #16 and #17.


Puzzle #18 and #19 show you how to create a snowflake branch. Be free to create a winter wonderland in Puzzle #20.

After one hour of code, I finished 20 different exercises with “Code with Anna and Elsa”. This is a great way to know not only about math, logic, creativity, but also introductory computer programming.

I guess the most basic Javascript codes are Repeat and Loop.  It can make the work efficient. Without repeating the same thing many times, Loop and Repeat are used to increase productivity at work. Even if you decide to duplicate some code a few times manually, this approach doesn’t really work in practice.

The number of times you will need to duplicate your code will vary based on some external factor such as the number of items in a collection of data, results from a web service call, the number of letters in a word, or even in Video and Computer game programming. It would be terrible if you copy and paste something a few hundred or thousand times in order to repeat something.

“Code with Anna and Elsa” is a really handy and interesting program. It inspires people to learn code and especially is well recommended for young girls with these two popular Disney characters.

Peer Feedbacks



“Who is Annie?” is a short Docu-drama video made by Priyankar Ray, Annette Omondi and Nick Chan.

The story raises a really common problem that needs to be solved thoroughly. Domestic violence, which is also known as intimate partner violence, is a form of violence that can occur within any relationship. Their video particularly focuses on a couple. The image of an abusive husband is pretty ordinary in not only a particular country but also every where in this world.

The idea of the character “Annie” is really engaging, especially when they mentioned Annie could be your friend, your mother, sister or your neighbour. Annette plays as Annie, who suffers those painful slaps from his husband, David (played by Nick).

One moment you find yourself the happiest person coming home and enjoying a glass of wine with your husband. Nothing could be more touched when he brings you breakfast. But I guess nothing can last forever. It changes too fast that you have not realised whether what is real. Starting with arguments, then followed by domestic violence.

A one minute feature-length is perfect for a short docu-drama video, especially when they intended to promote “Who is Annie?” on social network sites. Nowadays, plenty of videos can be found on internet and the audience may “jump” into another one if the duration is not short enough.

The acting of Annette and Nick were naturally and convincing. But somehow it remains a little bit of awkward feelings. They perhaps did it intentionally. I find it interesting and less intense when tracking a really serious problem. However, if they could follow one specific style, by style I mean a profound concept or to make it a real “parody”, then the video would engage audience exactly the way they wanted.

The post production was designed to match their purpose. The beginning is edited with bright colours then switches to fade tone when they gradually reduced its saturation until it is black & white. This intention which is attached with background music emphasises the moment when the domestic violence starts.

In conclusion, their video is well organised and definitely will engage target audience. I would love to follow their products if they come up with more series of “Who is Annie?”.




“Along came Pokemon Go” is produced by Truc Lam, Ming Yang and Xiao Tao Bian. This trendy video will make you laugh at first second when focusing on what troubles this “taking-over-the-world” game can cause you.

For those who are addicted to Pokemon Go, you will find the video content really familiar. They generated the story with a young couple. Bruce, an ideal boy to love, has ruined his relationship by spending too much time playing game and totally ignored his girlfriend. I guess “karma” is always right, what goes around, comes around. By the end, she got into Pokemon Go and paid no attention to him no matter how hard he tried to get her back.

The storyline is easy to follow. The speed of the video was increased to create a fast-forward effect. This technique definitely brings humours to the audience. The one minute and a half video has no specific dialogue accept for some sound effects and funny background music. It reminds me of successful silent movies with subtile by Charlie Chaplin.

The aim of this video is to raise awareness among young game players about its addiction negative effects and and why they should keep a balance between gaming and their real life. “Along came Pokemon Go” will ensure to interest young people and adults as well. However, this kind of trendy issued product should be launched at the right time to avoid “out of dated” matter due to its temporary tendency.

A Short Film Idea

Making a short film is a great training ground for getting your feature made, seen and sold.

Jason Brubaker

Proposal Page

How to convey a message to the audience through a 90 second feature-length film is challenging.

It was in the suite of RMIT, we formed a group of three, all girls. I was assigned to write the script and direct the film, Miro was the cameraman and Hannah was the actress.

Before carrying out all the equipments and shooting our first short film, we planned to produce an inspirational video motivating people with their inner beauty. The feature-length for a 3-member filmmaking crew was limited, therefore we had difficulties of meeting the duration requirement and make the video understandable at the same time.

I needed to focus on a film idea that we could tell in a minute and a half. The story needed to be interesting but not too complicating, otherwise the audience would have no clue about what we tried to say. We determined the genre, asked ourselves a question: “What story can attract audience in 90 seconds?”.

I came up with a suggestion of making a motivational story about the girl who handles the mockery from surrounding people because of her scar. The story is her narration, how she has dealt with criticism and gained confidence to find herself and “the one”.

Kathryn Burnett has stated “There’s no time to develop an elaborate plot, a raft of characters or lengthy set ups.”  This is particularly true in producing a short movie. Most of what filmmakers do is to become a storyteller. With the discriminating taste that has been acquired by most film viewing audiences, even on YouTube, it’s wise to leave the more sobering ideas to those that can spend millions of dollars telling their story. And in our case, I did not have much time to tell everything.

Whether it is a fiction-story or an abstract video, one core idea must be concentrated. Therefore, the film mostly focuses on one character only. Two-third of the length aimed at the protagonist, the rest presents the extras and her “the one”.

Robert Hardy also said , “Write what you know.” There is no doubt to agree. Storyteller should draw from their own experiences to create believable scenarios and authentic characters. Although what happens in a movie is not reality, the story line must be convincing to persuade the audience what we want them to know. Therefore, I created this character managing her issue, which is one of the most common concern when teenagers and young women feel insecure about their appearances.

The meaning of this inspirational video is hoped to spread out a message to motivate people build confidence and maintain a positive attitude. People who are struggling with inferiority complex of outward aspect should find the video helpful and a motivation to overcome their problems. The video also recommends that judging by looks has never been considered as encouragement.

Although I am not totally satisfied with our product, this is a great opportunity for me to step in specific filmmaking and media industry in general. More research about film technique will be implemented to produce better product in the future.

Watch in Youtube!


Elliot Grove . 2015. 19 Great Ways to Brainstorm short film ideas. <

Jason Brubaker . 2016. Making A Short Film: 5 Tips For New Filmmakers.                                          <

Robert Hardy. 2015. 9 Quick Tips for Coming Up with Great Short Film Ideas. <

Kathryn Burnett. 2015. Writing a Short Film.                    <

A Scene

“Violence is one of the most fun things to watch.”

Quentin Tarantino

It was Autumn 2003 when I was reading a teenager magazine. There was a column written by a fashion blogger. It was attachedGogo.jpg with a picture of a Japanese student wearing her uniform,  and “Gogo Yubari, Kill Bill” was in the caption.

I was so amazed, the girl was holding a large meteor hammer connected with a chain. I decided to watch this movie right away. Unfortunately, later I learnt that “Kill Bill” was banned in Vietnamese cinemas because of its violence. I had waited for several months and finally I got a DVD from a local shop. I was thirteen then, a little bit sneaky. Otherwise, I would not be allowed to watch this bloody violent movie if my parents found out.

Honestly, Kill Bill was far more than I expected. It was crazy! I mean everything, the story plot, the Japanese animated scene, the black&white colour changing, everything. I jumped from intense to excited. The Bride has made so much effort to do her revenge. Every villain has their own characteristics.  The Samurai fighting scene is beautiful. Quentin Tarantino, the writer and director of Kill Bill, has made a really brilliant masterpiece.

One of the most impressive scene, I have to say, is when Ella Driver, as known as California Mountain Snake, tries to assassinate the Bride with poison when she is in coma. 

It begins with a blonde long hair lady wearing a white coat and she is holding her red umbrella. Ella Driver whistles the melody of the song named Twisted Nerve by Bernard Herrmann when she is walking from outside into the hospital down the hall. Ella turns into the room on her left while the camera keeps following its track to the room on the right side, where we can see the Bride is lying on her bed.

The screen starts to split. 

Left Side

Right Side

CU The Bride in her coma. EX CU of Ella taking her gloves off.

INSERT: of her leg stepping into a sheer, white stocking.

INSERT: of her buttoning upward on a white nurse’s uniform.

CU The Bride’s finger in pulse oximeter. CU of Ella’s sheer stocking feet stepping into white nurse’s shoes.

INSERT: of a syringe needle stuck in a vial. The red liquid is drawn up into the syringe.

INSERT: of Ella doing a test with the syringe.

INSERT: the syringe is placed on a nurse’s tray.

EX CU The Bride’s closing left eye. CU of Ella placing a white nurse’s cap on top of her head.
CU The Bride’s face. A medium tracking shot of the door is opened, Ella in a white nurse’s uniform, with a matching white eye patch over her right eye, carries the nurse’s tray with the red-liquid syringe on it, stepping out.

She walks down the corridor towards the sleeping Bride’s room.

The split screens are merged when Ella looks at the Bride through the window.

The scene then followed by an MC of Ella holding the tray, with subtile:






The Bride is about to be injected with that deadly poison then such relieved, Ella has a phone call by Bill.

The whole shot construction makes the story more intense. It is incredibly creepy but artistic. Especially, the split screen has created a significant effect. One side is the silence of the sleeping Bride, the other side is a sequence of Ella’s transformation into a freaking nurse. One side is unawareness, the other side is intentional homicide.

However, the ‘coma scene’ would be nothing without Ella’s whistle, or I say, the melody of Twist Nerve. Both cheerful and haunting, this bouncing whistle tune quickly turns into a tormenting barrage of dread. It is said to be one of the most greatest moment of Kill Bill Vol.1, a hesitant but terrified melody is played along with the most suspense scene.

There are a lot of remake versions on the Internet. People try to set up the scene, actress attempts to act “cool”. But no remake version can defeat its original. A citation to praise Quentin Tarantino for his shooting script, his direction and his post-production team including editors and sound designers.

Kill Bill and Quentin Tarantino’s other movies may not be enjoyed by everybody. His work is characterised by nonlinear and storylines, forward and backward; disorder segments;  a synthesis of violence and gore, multi-culture and of course, not normal. However, with some one is willing to experience new sensation, let your mind free and enjoy his uncommon craziness.

It might be a surprise.

Lenny – Reflection On

During the first semester of Master of Media – RMIT, I enrolled in Sound and Image course. We had an incentive day to produce a one-page script and more than two hours to shoot three scenes. I was assigned to direct the shooting with other four students, a First Assistant Director (First AD) to manage the whole production, a Cameraman,  a Boom Operator, and a Camera Assistant.


It took us nearly three hours to finish the storyboard for just only 1 page script. To be honest, it was the first time I was the director. I discussed with Miro, the cameraman and another group member to do the drawing. We analysed the script, determining what to shoot and where to shoot. The storyboard was drawn by a student who has a back-ground of Bachelor degree in Games Design, she took our ideas about the duration of the shooting, camera shot types and the transition to transform into drawing. There were 18 drawings in total, filled with details. When we were about to finish the storyboard, we found out we had miss-understood about the genders of the characters due to the sample we had worked with previously, so the drawings were fixed all over again.


It was on a Sunday morning, we went to school to get the equipments. We asked another group to be the actors for the film. While other members were setting up the camera, I asked our actors to read the script and did some practices. The trouble was that they were not real actors and also it was the first time I directed. We were all students, my actors did not get paid for their jobs, so I had many difficulties of trying not to be bossy. Although I was not satisfied enough, I was so respectful for their help.

We spent a lot of time finding the exact locations we wanted to shoot. I was my fault, I had not checked the location properly before producing. Furthermore, the constructions nearby caused too much noise, we were interrupted whenever a truck passed by.

Finally, when we were ready to shoot, there were some technical problems that Miro could not adjust the focus on the camera properly. I was “freak-out”. It was always about the time-management. On a real production, every thing needs to be on time. Otherwise it will cause money-related trouble when the budget is limited. However, we decided to keep shooting.

The whole process of film-making did not only have problems, we had fun as well. None of the group member remembered how to call in a video shot procedure, except me. I got only “Action!” and “Cut”. First AD had so many lines, she had to hold the instruction to read her lines and even she needed to remind every member.

Fortunately, we finished on time. I now know that being a director is really troublesome. I was struggling in transforming what was drawn on the storyboard into reality. I had to keep my eyes on every detail, every movement of the actors. I had to watch the time, decided whether to move forward or to retake the shot. I had to maintain the positive atmosphere because none of them getting paid. I needed to balance between my high requirement and satisfaction of what I had.

Nevertheless, we have learnt how to do our roles and how to work in a group. We helped and encouraged each other. We all tried to focus and maintained positive attitudes. No matter how imperfect our product is, we all had a chance to know what it is like in a film-production process.


It was only when I started doing the post-production, I realised how bad I was a director. The shots did not have strong connections to each other. Some scenes were too long, some were too shot so there were not many choices of editing. And even our reflection was showed up on the window, you can see it at 1:15 on the Version 1.

Lenny Version 1:

The content of the film generates a little bit of suspense, so I decided to edit the film with green and blue tone. I used the Fast Colour Correction in Video Effects to balance the white in different shots. The colour was adjusted with Temperature: -10 and Tint: -15. Some footage was adjusted with exposure of -10 and contrast: 10; highlight: -10 and shadow: -16. To avoid the “suddenly appear and disappear”, I used Video Transitions with Fade in and Fade out, beginning with Cross Dissolve and ending with Dip to black.


The background music was a little bit creepy to increase the thrill and suspense. Due to the noisy background, I used some filter in Audio Mixer to lower the unnecessary noise.


After reviewing several times of the first rough cut, I noticed that the same scene when the two actors had their conversation did not match the tone of colour, I adjusted some more Temperature and Tint to make them look-alike, also to cover our reflection on the window as much as possible.

Lenny Version 2:


I have learnt a lot from doing the Lenny Incentive exercise, including the three stages of production. Although I have experience of working in Media, I have never had my hands on the whole film-production, from Pre-production to Post-production. That was a really valuable experience not only for me but also for all of Media students.