in Process, Project, Research

4D(ii): Alter Ego (research, progress and final video)

Alter Ego:

A second self or different version of oneself, like the opposite side of your personality

Task 1: Name 5 characters or fiction with whom you have a special affinity

Miss Saeki – Kafka On Shore, Main character (unnamed) – A Wild Sheep Chase. Piggy – Lord of the Flies, Melanie Stryder – The Host, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz – Wicked

Task 2: 5 Public figures whom you have a special affinity

Britney Spears, Steve Jobs, Emma Watson, Mother Theresa, Melania trump

Task 3: 5 people you know or whom you have known

My Mother, My dog, Mr Kan (my poly teacher), My pet bird, Sheng Jia

Boiling down my alter ego,

Miss Saeki: 

  1. Special events for Miss Saeki from Kafka on the Shore:
  • The death of her lover
  • Created a one hit wonder called “Kafka on the shore”
  • She obsessed with the past (of her lover) and becomes a hollow shell that dwells in the past
  • Retreats into realm where time and desire stalls, can shift back between past and present
  • Writes a book of all of her memories
  • To free from her memories, she managed to push another character in the book to burn all her memories

2. Characteristics:

  • Lost in between the worlds (past vs present)
  • Have a strong sense of desire
  • Empty
  • Obsessed

3. Significant symbols:

  • Entrance stone
  • Miss Saeki has no shadow
  • Raining leeches
  • Talking cats
  • Her death after the burning of her notebook containing her memories, meaning she has returned to the other realm

Quote from Miss Saeki:

“‘I haven’t had anyone I could call a friend for a long time…except for my memories.’”

Taxi uncle:

Initially, I wanted to use miss Saeki as my Alter Ego. The part which draws me to her is the way she is obsessed with her memories. Not because I myself is obsessed with own memories, but for the fact each experience is greatly appreciated and stored at the back of my head, replaying the particular moments whenever I have the desire to do so. However, I do not really feel a complete “connection” with her. I was more drawn towards recreating the fictional crazy world that she lives in and the whole idea of an obsession with a memory, which could be greatly explored in a 1 minute video due to its short timeframe.

After considering about it for many days, I met a taxi uncle. He shared his life with me, talking about how different Singapore was back then, and how NTU used to be a kampong area that he grew up in. Our conversation was extremely engaging and it hit me how this part of his personality is similar to mine, being reminiscent of the past and treasuring the time that we had.

Quote from the taxi uncle:

“You know last time everything so different, now Singapore too fast”

*Btw the uncle told me that the land of NTU and beyond used to be a fish/sheep farm with plantations. NTU expanded and the people moved to the surrounding areas in Pioneer/Boonlay. A few of his friends he grew up with became canteen vendors in NIE and some of the foodcourts in NTU. Talk to taxi uncles they have so many stories to share 😉

In conclusion, 

Boiling down both characters made me realise have much I treasure and value memories, which is something important because it builds and shapes the very core of a person. This is the direction that my video is focused on.

Key words for the idea: 

To start this entire project, I read up the definitions of certain key words that came to my mind:

Reminiscent: To remind one of something/absorbed in or suggesting absorbing in memories

Longing: Having or showing a yearning desire

Nostalgia: A sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past

Remembrance: Have in or be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness of

Video concept:

Many ideas ran through my head, here were some of the areas which I thought I could do my video on:

  1. The easiest would be showing my personal favourite memories to people

2. Reenact the entire scene where I talk to the taxi uncle

3. Tap on textures and sounds (suggested by Lei)

I decided execute the third idea, something of which I am unfamiliar with and have not touched on before. It was difficult for me to start the entire project because videos of textures and sounds only were very foreign to me, therefore scouting  Vimeo really helped shaped my video’s direction and the aesthetics. In particular, Charlie McCarthy was my main source of inspiration as his videos were able to capture daily, familiar things so beautifully. Moreover, his video is able to evoke certain emotions to me. This is therefore something I want to challenge myself in my minute video – to evoke certain emotions and feelings to memories they had in the past.

To capture texture, I decided to use Macro lenses to up up close and personal with the things I capture.





I decided to go forth to filming with my gut feelings. Therefore no storyboard was created for the video. But as a guideline to the visuals I wanted to have, I have a moodboard which I studied very closely as a guide for the video.


I went around filming “aimlessly” for a few days, carrying around the DSLR and hoping to capture beautiful things that has meaning to me and hopefully my viewers. I also wrote a script, which help shaped my video too. Here is the script:

Dear viena, 

Don’t forget.

We all grow old, 

and things become distant. 

But don;t forget. 

Keep the days of your youth close.

And simple parts of life that makes your heart warm.

Even those moments when the emotional affliction is too much too bear.

Don’t forget.

Experiences shapes us, 

like the waves of the ocean shifting the landscapes. 

So future Viena, 

I hope you managed to ground yourself in the past, 

and remember those small fleeting moments. 

For without memory, we are not us. 

So Never forget. 


Especially since we are talking about memories here, I thought why not write a letter to my future self! To make things more meaningful, I kept in mind that this is really a video that I want my future self to watch. So this video have a personal attachment to me 🙂


Decisions of the art direction and why:

– Everything is intentionally made to be blurry because memories are faded and unclear anyways! To create this effect, I made use of bokeh effects. Also, I actually played the clips on my laptop and filmed it again to make the kind of effects you see in this video. An idea I got from here, one of my inspirations. It was just something I wanted to try out and have fun with. I liked the effect as it enables me to get super close up clips and made things more blurry.

– Warm colours were utilized when doing my colour correction. Also, lens flare effects were use from a freestock footage and blended into the video, using “screen” mode. You can particularly see it from 17 – 23secs, which enhanced the “feel” that particular scene and the entire video as a whole.

– I also played a lot with the sound effects! An inspiration I had from the previous 4D lessons. This time I spent more time editing the audio than the clips itself. Again, you can see it most particularly from 17 – 23 secs when I talk about the hard parts of life and you can hear fighting sounds at the background

– If you have not noticed, there were no images or footages of me! As anyway, all these “memories” makes up “me” anyway. It was challenging in that aspect because it meant that I had to fill the 1 minute with more “gut feeling footages” that I had to source. But I personally like this concept and idea!

– – To make my video more “vintage” and more “old feel”, I wanted to add a vingette effect. There was something online which I explored called the shoebox effect.


screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-2-07-08-pm screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-2-07-30-pm

It looks like this! But my own shoebox failed, which I think is due to the thick tracing paper that I could only find. But it was all good, and I will definitely try it out in my own time again. Another thing that could be tried which is called the pinhole camera (also DIY-able!).

In conclusion, 

I was honestly super unconfident about this video as it is a really new area for me. However, I am glad that people liked it! But there are definitely areas in which can be improved, like the narration and more of the audio that can be pushed. But what I am glad is that this project allowed me to push myself in different areas and to explore on many things and techniques (like it is my first time using macro lenses, it was such a pleasure!). This project was an interesting one for me.

Thank you for reading this far! Hope you enjoy my video as much as I enjoy creating it.