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  1. an act of shutting and opening the eyes quickly.

  2. a momentary gleam of light.

This self-directed and produced short film is a personal reflection on pandemic life.

Using my phone's camera, I keenly pictured each encounter with inanimate, organic, and material things as expressive works of art. While collecting these visuals, I marvelled at the small, bright moments one might ignore during the darkness of a worldwide health crisis.


These shots work in tandem with a gentle lo-fi soundtrack, which cut in time to the light beat. My self-recorded voice-over is used to guide the images and contains my personal musings, which play out like a poetic diary entry.

The peaceful sensations and soothing narration is combined into a smooth montage to create a calm atmosphere. This juxtaposition against current events shows us how moments absent of people can still be full of life. With a hopeful message, this journey endeavours to inspire tranquility during a stressful era.

Filmmaking during COVID-19

My story aims to address the present worries and, oppositely, hope for the future that comes with living as a young person during the pandemic. While thankfully my story is absent of tragedy, I am just as affected with the shift in everyday routines and the resulting “new normal”. In my self-directed and narrated short film, I am able to share my thoughts publicly through a voiced script and video footage.

In this class, we learned about the importance of recording oral histories, such as in the case of the New York: Still Life project and the non-profit StoryCorps team. These platforms give individuals the chance to voice out their lived experiences without needing to be published authors, acclaimed writers, or mainstream media journalists. The stories are thus usually more intimate, free from propaganda and network privatization. These rarely acknowledged facets of our community are then publicized, their honesty and often heartfelt messages drawing people closer together.

Like video diaries, these stories are recognized as important artifacts of our time. Promoting understanding and insight within factions can be further achieved by creating and collecting these unique entries.

Technical Challenges

While I did have the freedom to use my own equipment, props, and materials, I also lacked an assistant who could either pose as my subject or shoot footage on my behalf. My tripod and digital camera could hold a shot steady, but I had to sacrifice dynamic movement in the process, while shooting with my phone created the opposite dilemma. Self-direction and production proved to be an interesting challenge altogether.

To counter these production issues I took my time with setting the stage. This meant configuring the direction of the light source and experimenting with

different angles while shooting a subject. I kept the footage rolling as I worked

on meticulous adjustments to ensure that I can capture a moment in its totality.

I would work around my family members’ schedules to decide when to film for indoor scenes, making sure that sunlight was present during those times as well. I sought out points of interest wherever I could, careful not to overlook anything that would make great film material. The process and results were extremely rewarding.

Pre-Production Film Process

I kept my project scope open-ended throughout the process. I paid careful attention to other films for their editing styles, use of colour, script, and overall direction. Noting how their composition and lighting were used to highlight their subjects, I would jot down my observations to reference later. I was overwhelmed with appreciating the many directorial styles and found it difficult to commit to something ideal, yet doable. As much as I wanted to incorporate hand-drawn animation, at some point I needed to accept my lack of time, skills, and resources to achieve what I had envisioned.

I brainstormed while recording my footage and watching videos, continuously asking myself what kind of story I wanted to tell and how I could approach it the most effectively. The freedom felt debilitating at times because locking in an idea meant putting a pause on the possibilities. Ultimately, I realized that my expectations for this first-time endeavour were harping on my abilities and taking away from the core message, which was my pandemic experience.

I put too much pressure on perfecting the visual style instead of allowing the medium to carry the message. From this point, I wrote my script like a journal entry: filled with purely unstructured thoughts. I recorded myself narrating it and revolved my film around the imagery and sensations it paralleled.

Pre-Production Shot List
Screen Shot 2021-04-09 at 11.34.00
Visual Effects

For my project, I wanted to explore and incorporate a variety of visual effects. I first wanted to add kinetic typography to draw attention towards important sections of my script, inspired by lyric videos where text and narration mirror each other. I opted for clear subtitles instead and focused on the opening sequence. With the title design, I merged animated typography with sound effects to serve as a subtle beginning to a tightly edited film.

I experimented mostly with overlaying video footage on top of each other and aligning them in grids to emphasize the rhythm and sequence of the shots. These worked as creative juxtapositions in content and colour. Combined with the pacing of the narration and background beats, the otherwise static shots became more dynamic.

Lastly, I added some moving, blurred textures on top of and underneath certain segments to make still shots appear more visually interesting. I accomplished this by finding an image with a rhythmic pattern, then overlaid it on the original video at half its opacity level. These worked to creatively enhance my footage.

Final Thoughts

Working on this film has taught me about how the contents and sequence of shots can work together to tell a powerful story. The planning, pre-production, and post-production processes are all equally important in cementing a visual style, which can greatly influence how the narrative is told and perceived. As a solo filmmaker, I was given the opportunity to create a personal piece where the outcome far outweighed the challenges.


Beyond a complete film, I developed a variety of skills ranging from composition to visual effects that will benefit me in future projects. I am proud of how blink showcases my learning while chronicling an experience that is not to be missed.

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