‘Youth Junction’ – Inspired by the 2011 London Ritos

This term, I have the opportunities to incorporate theories into practice work. Before that, I always had difficulties in combining those two elements together, especially in cases of real events. If I were a journalist, what is a true record of a event and how to stand in the neutral position. In order to gain these experiences, we decided to express the topic we chose in the form of a documentary based on the London riots in 2011.

Before setting up plans for the film, I had lectures to learn about social media with Simon. For example, considering our theme in a comprehensive way. Methods like: the target audiences is identified by understanding some relevant online communities and their concerns. Then,  trying to explore and localization of the film production. For a documentary, that is a great help! Based on those research methods, I and other group members were well aware that we cannot expect to control all the key points affected by riots within 7min’s film. Due to time, labor and factor constraints, we have to pay great attention on analysis, planning, specific pertinency and actual effect. We started with raked the online community for information, such as ‘Google’, ‘Youtube’, ‘The guardian’. From these website, we dug up some useful inspirations. For instance, the video about a Malaysian student is “helped” up and then robbed has emerged on the Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gex_ya4-Oo). From this video, it is easy to find that those bogus good samaritans is a group of youngsters. What is the cause to push these youngsters to attack a people of their own age. Meanwhile, I saw some information in the guardians ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/aug/16/london-riots-young-people-voice-anger.) In this report, some young people speak out about the reasons behind the ritos, they are quite unhappy with the injustice of unequal opportunity on the young people. These phenomenon may due to factors like connections with the rich and powerful. It is unavoidable to think about some youths’ aggressive behavior.  Did they mean to do it, or just took the opportunity to expressing complaints. After we finished the theme research, we decided to filming a documentary named ‘Youth Junction’.

Technically, Lab supplied some very valuable skills. Although I have some experiences of making a short film before, but Lab’s instruction still let me taken in many new ideas. While our documentary had neither specific script nor storyboard to be considered, I still think it is necessary to visualize some image in my mind. Meanwhile, I used two camera in filming days, one is a small but high definition camera from university, I used it when we taking exterior shots. Another one is Sony EX- 1, I thought about the EX- 1 is good for filming people to be interviewed in the room. But I was not sure if there any different image quality between them, because they are two kinds of camera. With this problem in hand, I found some documentaries on-line, I realized the documentary allows variances based on factual events.

After a few more research, we are going to get in touch with those people who appeared in Youtube video. Based on the personal information they have provided in their video portfolio, we quickly found out the contact method with them. The first person we have attempted to contact is the Malaysia student who attacked and robbed from a group of youngster, but still no reply. The second person is an A- level student named Ephraim, he has written a poem on London riots and lost generation. That is just the thing for us!! When we contacted him, he hesitated not a moment in complying with our request.  Another person who appeared in film is a MSc Psychology student in UCL. The reason is we want some professional theories of Psychology.

During the shooting of a scene, the footage from street is more randomly than I thought. We went to several places, like Brixton, Tottenham, South kensington, Campden grove and Peterborough. As a cameraman, firstly, I need to listen to each of the other members’ idea. After communicate with them, I was almost sure we don’t want too judgmental elements in film, like directed against those particular group or their behavior, so I tried to strike a balance between the opulent area and the epicenter of the riots.

As soon as the filming was finished, we enter on post-production works. It is to be noted here that we got a big problem when we editing film, in order to have a clearly sound quality, we used a directional microphone to record sound, I admit I lack of experience to record a perfect sound quality. The end result is that volume level is too low!!! When we do the film editing, we suffered in no small affliction on this account, especially when we attempt to pick out some useful sentence from footage. Fortunately I have a friend is really good at sound mastering, with the help of him, we finally solved the problem. Meanwhile, I also gained valuable experiences in sound record and design.

As we have good teamwork spirits, the course of film editing was smooth. We expended two days and one all night sat together to do the work. Sometimes, in order to speed up the process, I also edited the film by myself. After that, I will show changed places for them.

Through the experiences, I began to learn how to put theories into practice. In the pre-production process, we have to spend time to do lots of research works both in theoretical part and technical part. Now, our film is done, it is nice to just sit down and enjoy it!

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