So, dear fellas, long time no talk. I’m in Hong Kong since August. Slowly doing my research, and other things will explain here. And some summary on what was done, what should be done by the end of the year.
1. Return and routine.
When I came back, I started figuring out the results of my trip to Russia: field trip, finance, investment plans, etc. If the former was quite ok, the latter was a massive blow to my budget. I realized I made a crucial mistake when I did not sell all my dollars in March. If I did, I could benefit from the 20% interest rate for half a year and then use this money for my trip. Well, it was an epic fail – I will learn from it.
The rest of the issues I had were related to studies – my research writing, book reading, video editing, tutoring, etc.
My goal this semester is to write two chapters of my research about “12 Angry Men” and “Japanese Horror films: Kairo and Grudge.” Also, I want to polish the features of my theoretical framework.
This semester we have a class on visual studies research writing. It is a very valuable class for me because I can revise the ideas of VS writing with my professors. I work not with my supervisor only but with another professor specializing in exhibitions and the history of art. We have about 45-48 students (local and mainland Chinese) who write on many topics, including feminism, AI art, films, photography, propaganda posters, intercultural film elements, etc. When you read and comment on someone’s research, you start seeing the issues of your research problem, questions, and arguments.
4. Video editing.
The most extensive work was done and is being done here. I realized time is flowing fast, it’s been four years since I last studied filmmaking at Shanghai Theater Academy. And I still have a lot of footage – from Thailand in 2015, from my performance in 2019, from the deaf society film of 2020, etc. Let’s go from the end to the beginning.
4.1. Long Time No See.
Who doesn’t like reading the intro below the videos – we had homework about the reunion. We wanted to include some irony in the video and show the ‘reunion’ between the violent and weak prisoners in Russia. It is clear that Russian camps and prisons are no joke. There are traditions and rules – official and unofficial. In this video we may see ‘press hata’ – a cell where the prisoner is being beaten or even raped for a particular purpose – extortion, torture, or punishment.
The original version of the film was edited by my colleague and classmate; she used different color tones, music, and extensive footage. I changed it to a more VHS and 90s-like look because of my addiction to the VHS style. Also, it reminds me of the ’90s TV shows about the criminal underworld and law enforcement work.
In 2018 we presented the film we shot at the very end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. It was my first short film thoroughly planned, produced, and filmed by my team and me. I was very excited and enthusiastic about it. The main idea was the anxiety of young people when moving to the big city when reality contradicts expectations. And how some may pass the invisible line of sanity.
The new version included the additional footage with Yanyan and Sean in the rehearsal room of the Red Building with the manikin. Manikins were in the real-life footage of the malls symbolizing the faceless and soulless nature of many people living in the cities. When we saw a manikin in the rehearsal room – it was a nice coincidence. The ‘consciousness’ – Sean – pushes it away – trying to prevent insanity. But to no avail. He is fading away.
Anyways, long story short – it was my first art-house film which I find fascinating and amazing to rewatch.
4.3. Faithless – Insomnia.
In this case, editing was complicated because of the multiple effects I used. No new footage – just revising what we had with better stabilization, speed of the footage, and effects, especially isolation of the color and opacity. The pace and visuals look much better now on the level unavailable for me in 2018. The theme of the homework was to use color correction and emphasize things with color. We chose to make a music video. And only now I realized we kind of failed the topic because we used only black and white while we had to use some colored footage. Corrected in 2022.
4.4. Future projects.
Next, I’m editing the sci-fi action film we shot in 2018. The topic was fiction; we chose scientific fiction based on the Alien franchise because I was playing a video game about space marines. I was obsessed with the idea of a sci-fi film shoot. My colleague prepared a cool script. It took us several days of shooting, tons of footage, and three cameramen (we had to change them because our DP wasn’t available during all our days). In the end, we had so much stuff we only used a bit to make a trailer based on the Avengers trailer score. Finally, I will edit the whole film. We have many issues with sound and camerawork. And the biggest obstacle is I cannot release it because I did not have consent from our scriptwriter and actress. I will make a short wrap-up trailer to feature the film without showing those who did not grant me consent. The full film will ONLY be shown to those of the team who wanted to watch it and requested it a long time ago.
Next will be several short videos using deep fake techniques. One will be used to show the difference between masking technology – the default masking tools of Adobe Premier and the advanced plugin – MochaPro, and their inadequate quality compared to the Deep Fake tools.
Then, my outdoor performance – Revival. I already have the major footage done already. I just need to use some effects and cut some unnecessary elements I don’t like from the performance footage. Make it look cool. Maybe glowing, maybe using the after-effects of lightning, and so on.
Finally, will edit the deaf society film. And this one will take a LOOONG time to edit because I will play with the sound design. And this film had been being waited for two years.
I already have two articles ready and one article idea cooked in my mind. I need to finalize one for the publish. Then, will update another one and choose the journal to publish.
6. Next year’s plans.
My main plans are related to my research writing and possible Ph.D. exchange scheme. Will keep you posted.