nuSTUDIOS Film Camp

Last Wednesday to Friday, I attended NUS nuSTUDIOS Film Camp. It was a camp organised by the NUS film club CCA – nuSTUDIOS – under Centre of Fine Arts to teach filmmaking to anyone interested, so it was not really an orientation camp. Alas, there was only one other freshie present.

I arrived at CFA Practice Theatre, and we started off by introducing one another and some ice-breakers by remembering names. After that we had some introductory courses about creating a film, lights and camera by some of the seniors. Most of the stuff I’m quite familiar, except the lights which I’m new too. Kinoflo, Red head and stuff sound foreign to me until now. After lunch, we boarded the bus to aloha loyang chalet in which we will spend two nights there.

The afternoon was spent brainstorming and concepting our short (<5 min) film which we are supposed to create by end of the camp. The theme was environment, and it was quite difficult to decide as everyone had different ideas on how and what to talk about. It’s quite a weird and uncommon theme too. By dinner, we managed to decide our sequence with the help of our seniors, and I helped to come up with a storyboard. Our story was about solar power and involved blackout. Since our shots include night scenes, we decided to start receeing for our shots after dinner. We went around the rooms and decided how and where we should film.

At night, we played some card games and chat till about 2am before we slept. The next morning, some of the nice seniors made sausages and eggs for breakfast. We played some games of BANG! and related card games before we started filming at 11am. We did the day shots in the one of the bedrooms first. I realised that without lights, life was a lot easier in my previous short film projects. But now with lights, we actually took quite a bit of time to figure out what was the best adjustments for the best shots. Using diffuser, gels, different angles, combinations etc. It was a hard time for the gaffer (mainly our senior who helped us) to configure and decide.

After lunch, we continued our shots in the bedroom and finished at about 4pm. We played some more card games before dinner. When it was dark enough, we began our night shots in the living room. It was very funny, as our senior who acted in our film was very spontaneous and funny. There was like a KTV system in his laptop, and he was singing away happily and exaggeratedly. In the last shot, he was supposed to curse and swear in hokkien and he did it very well haha.

The last night, which was also Toby’s birthday, we got him a cake, had a mini-celebration, played card games and chat till about 4am before going to sleep. Haha we sure did have some fun. The next morning, 3 or 4 hours later, we all woke up with a daze and packed up and went back to NUS. Back at NUS, we had brunch and learnt video editing in Adobe Premiere in the nuSTUDIOS production room. They had 2 or 3 coms there. If only they had Macs. Well anyway, after the lesson and capturing, Danny took over the initial editing, while I helped to record the voice-overs. I did most of the editing later, but gave some chance for the others who never try before to try using the software. We managed to finish our videos by about 6pm.

After that, there was the BBQ cum film screening. It was drizzling, hence we moved our screening indoors. My brother Jacen came as he was one of the guest speakers lol. Besides Zo Gang, other films screened include Singapore Standard Time and a Korean short called Come. I think that SST documentary was done very well, as it contrasted very well between the instant gratification ambitions of singapore and the arts scene. It interviewed a botanist, as well as a theatre veteran. Although they were separate interviews, they seem to be talking to each other in the content as well as the way the film was edited. It was fantastic and it showed how Singapore tried to plant arts seeds of esplanade like trees, but for the arts scene it doesn’t work like planting instant trees.

After that we had some FAQ forum with the filmmakers, screened both group’s short films, had some BBQ food and went back at about 11pm, taking the last NEL train home. It was a good experience for me I think, not of knowing how to make a film, but more of getting to know like-minded people in NUS with similar interests and passions about filmmaking. I’m considering to join nuSTUDIOS now..