(All videos were edited and produced by Fendi Senpai)
We begin the day with setting up the projector and the board. Mapping the screens was no easy task as Fendi had to accurately frame the videos to be constrained within the two rectangles we had allocated on the board.
This was a tedious process and it was left to Hannah and Fendi, while Hui En and I rummaged through more articles for the board.
After they setup the board, it was our turn to fill the space with the articles.
When you step into the installation, the first thing which you will be greeted with is the entire conspiracy board. Intrigued, we expect our audience to step forward to investigate further.
To your right, you will notice that there are murder weapons on the table. A Swiss Army Knife, a saw, a gun (Barely visible) as well as supporting documents which provide a background on our main Character.
Above the table, you see several photos and a news article.
Here is a close up of the article as well as the supporting documents.
After which, your attention would be drawn to the conspiracy board. Audiences would be asked to choose which videos they would want projected onto the board.
By allowing the audience to watch the Vlogs in a non-linear sequence would enable them to form theories of the main character. They would be given the choice whether to sympathize with Hannah, or to condemn her for her actions.
On the other side of the wall, audiences would be exposed to Hannah’s potential victims.
Seeing their own classmates on the wall would give this installation a sense of realism. Our audience would then be compelled to wonder if such a thing could actually exist, similar to how people constantly think their neighbourhood or Singapore is safe… until a crime happens near them.
Close ups of some of the Polaroids:
Ambiance and acoustics, a multi-sensory experience
The space is secluded and dark, which draws reference and similarity to Hannah’s state of mind.
The red lighting adds a sinister tone to the installation, foreshadowing ominous events which were about to be unraveled.
After watching the videos, our audiences are then encouraged to explore the board, to pay attention to the articles which Hannah has put up. This shows development of the character and creates depth. We hope that our audience would be able to envision what it was like being in a mind of a serial killer.
These are some close ups of the conspiracy board.
Thank you team! It has been a blast working with you!! Its such a pity that we only have one sem together. 🙁
Phew, what a journey this has been! I learned so much being involved in this project and I am extremely blessed to have worked with such talented individuals. Constantly pushing one another to strive for the very best.
I would like to thank Director Fendi and Talent Hannah for their film wisdom, guiding me through the shots and helping me with any film woes I had. They never fail to impress me with their knowledge and prowess in this medium.
Hui En, for always caring for the team and offering support when needed! It was amazing seeing the ideas that she came up with which helped define the look and feel of this project.
I am certain that we are all pleased with the outcome of this project as our blood sweat and tears have been materialized to produce this wonderful product.
To Ruyi, thank you for your constant guidance and patience with us! It was eye opening learning what goes on behind every shot and I am certain that I will never watch another film again without analysing every scene, noticing the little details to what makes it so great.
From colour, to perspective and different angles, it has been a fruitful journey for me. Thank you once again and I am sure that I would be able to use these skills in my work for my years to come in ADM.
I was part of the team as the cinematographer, a term I haven’t heard before in my life before this project commenced. I was tasked to curate the styles and the looks of the shots, which meant I had to work closely with Hui En to design the looks of the set.
I also ran through the talent and director what kind of gestures or bodily movements I wanted the talent to show, to convey subtle messages.
I will begin with the idealisation of the installation, before we go into the execution.
I have inserted several pages from our installation proposal to give you a refresher on our installation.
Driven by the concept of being in the mind of a serial killer and their motives, we begin to explore what ways we could make this installation intimate for our audience as well as provide them with a sense of realism.
Character development was left to Hannah, while Hui En and I looked at ways to make the sets more realistic.
I started to research on shows which involved serial killers and one of the biggest influences in some of my shots was from Dexter.
Dexter is a show about a serial killer named Dexter who goes around killing other serial killers (funny how that works, huh).
As we had to recreate scenes of Hannah killing her targets, I went to watch scenes of how Dexter hunts for his prey and eventually kills them.
The killing scene happens around the 3 minute mark but in the video you notice how Dexter directly engages his prey in a hostile manner. For our video, we did this in a more subtle manner, luring the target to a more secluded area.
Dexter is iconic for being meticulous in the execution of his victims, planning every step from stalking, to killing and eventually disposing of the body. This is to make sure that he does not get caught. His ‘kill room’ is always lined with plastic to ensure that he does not leave any trace of evidence behind.
In this scene of our installation, Hannah uses a rope to kill her victim, similar to how Dexter did it. However as Hannah is smaller as compared to the victim, she has to put up a considerable amount of fight to take him down.
We also had to make the shot believable, thus, I had to ask Deryck (our prey) to slam Hannah against the wall to show that he tries to put up a fight.
The shots cycle between the room and the corridor to capture the thought of having such a sinister even happening in such close proximity to us.
In the final scene you can also see that I lined the table with plastic, similar to how Dexter does it before he dismembers his victim to dispose of them. Although the amount of plastic we used pales in comparison to what Dexter uses, it shows that Hannah is becoming more proficient and systematic with her killing.
(Second kill scene)
I will now breakdown the first killing scene. This would allow you to identify how much the killing pattern of Hannah has changed.
(First kill Scene)
As you can see, Hannah stabs her victim in this scene which shows her lack of planning as she just used whatever weapon she had which was readily accessible at that point in time.
It was crucial for Hannah to pace back and forth as it shows how nervous she was for this kill, a great contrast from her second kill as she was much more prepared for that.
I also told Hannah to greatly exaggerate the stabbing motion as initially, it was difficult to see that she was holding a knife. I told her to drag her arm out as far as possible to best capture the idea of stabbing.
After killing Shi Min, you can see Hannah frantically peering out the corridor, making sure that no one heard her awful deed. Again, a huge difference from the calm Hannah which walked out of the initial room as though nothing had happened.
The CCTV shots progressively get darker and less dynamic in terms of people as we try to show her state of mind deteriorating from a cheery and outgoing person to one which is more isolated, thus the darker settings.
The scenes for the day time vlogs were fairly straightforward as there was adequate lighting in her room.
One thing I wanted Hannah to do was to constantly play with her Swiss Army Knife in the vlogs. This would be a foreshadowing to an event crucial to the story.
For the night scenes however, I had to recreate the lighting in the room to make it believable. For starters, we placed the table lamp as far back as possible and we used a high quality light diffuser (aka toilet paper) to ensure that Hannah’s face would not be too blown out during the takes.
This is the result:
Canted/dutch angle shots
We wanted to experiment with using canted shots to show her slowly slipping into her disorientated state of mind.
If you look closely, you can see me peaking at the edge of the table trying to get the perfect shot. We used a high quality tripod (aka our wallets) to get the camera in angle for the shot.
This take was a extremely tricky as we had to coordinate many parts.
The sequence was:
Hannah frantically opens the door, whilst holding her camera in one hand.
As Hannah enters the dark room, she walks to the table to put the camera down in a canted angle
Initially, what we did to try and capture the shots was by having Hannah enter the room and hand me the camera to get it in place.
However, we could not coordinate it well as it was an awkward position for me to get into, which would result in the shot becoming shakey.
Therefore, we decided to split the sequence into two parts, cutting the scene as she enters the dark room. This gave us ample time to set up the dutch angle shot without all of the shake and distortion.
As this was a pivotal shot showing her spiral into her new state of mind, we wanted this shot to be intimate, only showing the crucial elements. Thus, the only light source in this shot was from the laptop.
Also, all those fiddling with the Swiss Army Knife is explained as she uses it for her first kill.
This is the final product.
Next, we move on to more complex lighting situations.
To start off, we have the scene where she first finds her new hideout.
I wanted both the light source and the camera to be below Hannah as it would show that she hasn’t moved in any proper furniture to place the light and camera on anything.
I also made sure to have the tint of red lighting as minimal as possible at the start.
Slowly as the vlogs progress, the red tint subtly becomes stronger, giving the audience a glimpse of how she is becoming more and more sinister with her actions.
The red lighting was not only use for aesthetics as they served an additional narrative. Within the installation, you can find these images of various classmates on sheets of paper.
Fine tuning the red lighting. This was the final vlog we had to shoot and as you can see, the red light is at its maximum.
This tethers a little into art direction, but the images posted on the wall were made to seem as though they were developed using a film camera, hence the use of red lighting.
I referenced the style used in Narcos as they were profiling individual drug lords. The black and white images gave a stylized look to the board which was what I wanted to convey.
Towards the end of the vlog, just before Hannah goes to murder Hui En, I told Hannah to ensure that the knife blade reflects the light off the screen as it was difficult for the audience to tell that she was holding a blade.
Here, you can see us in action as we play around with the lighting, finding the best way to capture the intended effect!
On Fendi’s OSS, you can see that he actively documents our shots and behind the scenes!
We made sure to have articles pertaining to different topics such as Car accidents, mental health, articles on university scholarships and bursaries, murder and crime (especially serial killers) and photos of locations.
This was to keep everything in line with the theme as we felt that if we just placed random articles on the board, it would not make sense and it would spoil the immersive sensation of the installation.
The articles also had to work well with one another. Meaning that they could be related to one another.
As you can see from a close up below, the two murders are actually linked together. These are some details which people may have missed on the actual day.
We made a total of 2 conspiracy boards, each in different locations. The first conspiracy board was made in one of the computer labs.
Initially we wanted to film the vlogs in the actual stairwell, however, we realised that recording audio there would be difficult as the place is echo’y and would result in a lot of reverb in the audio.
In hindsight, it was a good idea to film at the computer lab as we ended up spending a good 8 hours putting everything together.
I cannot imagine the discomfort we would have faced if we were filming constantly in the stairwell with a lack of ventilation.
The first mood board we created:
How it looks like with ominous red lighting:
On the day before the submission, we set up the final conspiracy board:
This assignment had been a blast to work on! From the development of the plot to the execution, it has been a great learning experience.
The assignment requirements was to come up with a picture story showing someone whom you knew before, but have lost touch or changed through the years, and now, would be a stranger to you.
My initial idea for the plot was to feature a pregnant lady with her baby. During the span of her pregnancy, she came to love and grow more attached to the baby. However, the fetus met with a miscarriage which left the mother devastated.
I wanted to attempt the angle of not having a physical human being the one which had lost touch, but rather the idea of being attached to something which you have not met.
After pitching my plot to my team mates, I realised that it would only focus on one main character which would defeat the purpose of having multiple group mates.
Our next idea was a story which followed a male who had just left prison, hoping to rekindle his relationship with his ex girlfriend. As the story unfolds, you realise that the individual was actually abusive to his partner, inflicting physical harm onto her. This story would then show that not everyone is who they may seem to be on the surface. As there may be characteristics hidden deep beneath the facade. We can see the main character having flash backs to when he was together with is girlfriend and how, although he may seem successful after leaving prison, he is still ultimately the same as he partakes in drug trafficking.
Initially, we thought that we were only limited to 20 images. Which was why we were careful at planning our story board. (We found out later that we could use more) However, I am grateful for this restriction as it forced us to make full use of every image and what it would convey. We manage to get the most emotions out of every image which helped our story flow well to keep it engaging.
This is our initial story board of 20 images. However, once each of us split into the sound editing stage, we realised that with the images we had, we could tell a completely different story.
We wanted to capture how certain objects could throw us back into the past, which may bring back unpleasant memories.
Development and Process
We also paid close attention to detail as we wanted to frame-match the image to show continuity in the story.
For example, how adjusting the rear view mirror could cause a flashback to a scene whereby his girlfriend is visibly upset.
This shot shows that an action could also trigger these memories. As the main character reaches for the gear lever, he remembers how he forcefully grabbed this ex girlfriend’s arm, hurting her.
Some of these shots were tricky to get as we were shooting in a car. (Thank you Hannah for lending us your car!)
Especially this shot which includes the use of mirrors as we had to find an angle whereby the camera could not be seen in the image.
For the gear lever, we had to use a zoom lens instead of a prime lens as we could not get the camera to focus in such a tight area.
In this shot, we tried to show the main character lurking about Felicia’s (the ex girlfriend) facebook account, to try and show that he is actually yearning for her and thinking of her. It is unclear, however she had blocked him from this profile, which is why there is the ‘add friend’ icon.
The next challenging scene was that when we had to shoot the fighting scene. Making a still image have motion is challenging as we had to use a longer shutter for it, while not moving too much to make the image unclear.
The part which we had the most difficulty was getting the shot of the main character grabbing the arm of his girlfriend. We had to show that she was walking away from him and that there was visible tension between them. To achieve this, Felicia had to walk away and I had to pull her back. This was to get the motion in the dress as well as the tension of the muscles in my arm.
It was also difficult to get expressions we wanted as none of us have been in a situation where we are abused (a good thing), thus, we had to have many shots of the character’s faces and their expressions of fear or anger.
This is a photo of me looking visibly annoyed or angry (to the best of my ability because I am actually a very peace loving human being) As the couple was supposed to be fighting in this scene, it was crucial for me to capture the expression.
This is a photo of me being lost in thought. This scene would be used to reminisce the past, or think of the future. It is incredible how one image can be used to set the foundation for so many different paths which the story can take.
After we realised that we were not limited to 20 images, we set out to capture more pictures which could be used in a flashback to happier times as we wanted to build the characters up to show what kind of relationship they had before his true colours showed.
With the freedom to use more frames, I set out to try and capture an image of the main character leaving prison. It was difficult to find a place in school which conveyed the idea of a jail or prison which is why I had a shot of a silhouette.
I got the inspiration of a jail cell from Prison Break where the main character first enters jail.
Moving on to something more positive, La La Land is one of my favourite movies and I watched it in cinemas 3 times and many more after it was available online!!! I enjoyed the cinematics and how it referenced old classics such as Singing in the rain. Because of this, I wanted to capture the essence of classics in my video.
Their on screen chemistry was also resembled that of powerhouses such as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Which I hope could be resembled though our shots.
This scene in La La Land was simply beautiful. The setting was in an observatory where they ascended into the stars as they danced in each other’s embrace.
The other scene which impacted me was when Mia left her date with another guy to search for Sebastian. I loved how the projector illuminated her face to show the look of longing and desire.
Which is why I wanted to shoot with a projector as I felt it showed intimacy and it focuses greatly on the details of the face as it illuminates facial features with different vibrant tones which can bring about emotions.
The photos are so cute right? We made use of the projector in the ongoing exhibition in ADM to show a very intimate scene where the couple shares a moment. The setting was perfect in capturing the essence of how pure the relationship was before.
Initially, during the video editing phase, I created a blank image and placed an audio over it for the audience to focus on what they were saying. It was a clip from Goodwill Hunting, one of my favourite movies.
The audio which I used starts at the 3 minute mark. I really felt that this fight scene was directly relatable to what the characters were facing, however, after I consulted my Ru Yi (prof, teacher) I realised that the American context could be off putting as we are visibly Asians and in Singapore.
In the end, we decided to record ourselves having an argument. It was awkward at first because we were unsure as to what we should argue about. However, as Fendi set the premise for the argument, it then became easier to formulate it. We recorded a total of 3 arguments which I managed to stitch together to form one which I was pleased with.
I also recorded sounds of me gripping various clothing to try and replicate tension as well as unease. I found that leather made the most distinctive sound as other articles of clothing would sound like rustling.
Ink. It is easy to overlook and take for granted this underwhelming object because of how common we see it in our daily lives. Few people know that ink is the world’s 8th most expensive form of liquid, more expensive than any type of alcohol or an exotic drink made from beans which have been expelled from an animal. Similar to ink, it is important for us to treasure experiences and victories in life, no matter how insignificant it may seem as it is the basis of happiness.
In my eyes, ink is the basis for creation. Great ideas are often formulated and penned down. It is quintessential for the form of expression. There are no bounds to the versatility of this object. From creatives to entrepreneurs and people alike, we can clearly see the importance of it. Have you ever caught yourself in a situation whereby you needed to take down a note or instruction but did not have a pen with you? This feeling of helplessness and worry of the potential inability to recall information can be daunting to say the least. Which is why I feel that we should better appreciate the things we have around us rather than only at times where we need it.
About a year ago, my lung collapsed on me while I was sleeping. Having never facing such an unknown pain, I did not think too much about it and continued onto my daily routine. It was only when I was having trouble walking upstairs due to my shortness of breath, did I realise something was wrong. I was admitted into the hospital for 5 days where there was pain in every breath I took, I was immobilised as there was a tube inserted into my lung cavity to drain the air (it is that scar you see near my armpit). I would lose all sensation in my arms because I was barely able to move it. However, the uncertainty of my condition was the worst feeling. Not knowing when my lungs would collapse again, not knowing if my next breath could cause another recurrence. This was undoubtedly the lowest point in my life.
Mind mapping and planning
I really wanted the ink to flow similar to how blood would.
This tattoo artist was able to mimic the textures and look of flowing ink. The technique was pioneered by Amanda Wachob and it brings out another dimension in the beauty of tattoos, as traditional tattoos have definitive lines which form the image. The viscosity of the tattoos has inspired me to create something from flowing ink.
Haw Par Villa has always been a place of interest in my heart because it is one of the few places where an individual was able to truly express himself on a large scale. Haw Par Villa was founded by Two brothers who were the founders of Tiger balm. Together, they built this sanctuary with the intention of educating the public on traditional Chinese values. This place was more vibrant in the 90’s with puppet shows and acrobatic displays. However, the high prices discouraged people and soon the site had to stop these displays. It is unfortunate that such places with such rich history and potential for insight are slowly eroding away as fewer and fewer people are able to appreciate such works of art. It is one of the few remaining places in Singapore which is not overly sensationalised and still retains the allure which it had years back. The scale of such a project left me in awe and it was difficult for me to wrap my head around it. The theme park presents an immersive environment, one that envelopes you in its world. When walk you through the entrance, you would be greeted with the sights of towering statues representing different gods and important figures in the realm of Buddhism. These include, the Buddha of fortune, the God of knowledge and the Gate keeper of hell. The figures represented in the “Gates of hell” attraction left no detail untouched. Expressions of dismay and suffering were accurately represented as these figures were impaled with spiked hammers, thrown into lava, eaten alive by devils, the list goes on. The lighting played an important role in setting the tone of the scenes which gave a chiaroscuro effect, making it incredibly dramatic.
Even in our society now, it is difficult to express yourself freely without some form of negative sentiment or doubt.
Imagine how difficult it would have been for the founder to go ahead with such a bizarre project of a theme park which also included segments of portraying the 10 levels of hell. Which I felt that it was admirable for these brothers to pursue such a project despite our conservative society, where death is often a taboo topic and not often discussed. I am also able to relate to this as I feel that generally in Singapore, I still find people who frown upon design courses or taking up the arts. These things are often regarded as a waste of time and never a substantial path to take. Therefore, I view this attraction as a reminder to continue following my passions as you would never know of the outcomes you would be able to achieve.
Above the 10 gates of hell, walking up a hill lies a tranquil place which overlooks Harbourfront. Traditional structures have been erected here surrounded by a body of water. This ascension represents life after suffering, after sinners have atoned for their sins. There are countless statues of Buddha scattered around this area along with statues of several Chinese emperors. I did not manage to get a full look around the park as it was pouring heavily.
I wanted to find a place in Singapore where people seldom talk about. Almost like a forgotten memory. The place also had to represent something significant, not just another nice place to take portraits or street photography.
There were several places I considered, which include The Singapore National Gallery, as it is a place where I often go to get inspired with the ever-changing exhibitions they host. The architecture of the Gallery is mesmerising as the two buildings have been seamlessly merged into one. The National Gallery is also an important avenue for people to express themselves, with interactive galleries such as the Children Beinelle and the Yayoi Kusama exhibition.
I wanted to capture the feelings of nostalgia in my photographs as this is one of Singapore’s oldest themed parks. These photos taken by Alexander Lim evoke similar emotions to the feeling of longing and sentiment.