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Storyboard – Documentary

Storyboard for our documentary on the personal struggles a Syrian family had to go through.

storyboard syrian refugee.jpg

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Shooting script

Syrian Refugee

Picture Sound
Black screen BBC News report
Empty house, cinematic shots of items in the house that give the audience a clue to the family. For example, child toys scattered on the floor. We do not reveal any persons. Fathers Voice over
Cuts unexpectedly to slow motions sliding shots & close ups of the youngest son playing and laughter. Emphasising the child’s happiness Father starts to talk about more depressing subjects. Which will be a contrast to the images being shown.

– Also sounds of laughter

Finally, we reveal the father with his son on his lap. The father has a very serious face while his son is optimistic about the world.


Cuts to black to a photo the family took off their house back in Syria. This gives the audience an idea on how different life is. This then leads to credits.

Voice over with hope of a promising future.


No sound


Updated Shooting script


Blank screen News report on the situation in Daraa, Syria is heard.
Image of the empty living room in which the family live in the UK. You see the Syrian freedom flag and other household items (Wide-angel shot/ Close-ups)The youngest son Omar is seen playing with his toys in the living room. (Some medium close-ups/ P.O.V’s) Father begins talking about their life in Daraa and the horrible things they saw.
Cuts unexpectedly to slow motions sliding shots & close ups of the youngest son playing and laughter. Emphasizing the child’s happinessOmar is shown looking at his work and certificates he has gotten in the short time he has lived in the UK. (P.O.V shot) Father mentions how his son learnt to adapt to life in the UK quickly as he is the youngest. There is a contrast , as the image is happy and he is talking about a serious topic.
Image of Omar outside having fun. You see him running in slow motion. ( shot using slider) Pictures of the families house in Syria is shown to give a contrast. Continue talking about their arrival in the UK and how they felt freedom to be away from the danger. Father feels he can continue his dream of his children having education and opportunities in life.
Omar and his father are seen together. Identity of the speaker is revealed. The father has a very serious face while his son is optimistic about the world. No sound

Shooting script needed to give us a rough idea on how the video may look, it is like a written storyboard.


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Making a Relationship – 6 Shots

‘This week it is your challenge to try and communicate the unspoken feelings between characters.’

We learnt how important blocking and spacing is, so important to the extent that we can understand the relationship between characters even without sound.  Our challenge was to play around with this idea with 6 shots.

After receiving feedback from the class one subject kept coming up, the fact that my work was ’13 shots’ instead of 6. I was told I hadn’t met the brief requirements but from my understanding the class hadn’t counted my shots but instead counted how many cuts I had. For example, if I cut from on shot to the other 50 times it still would only be two shots with 50 cuts.

However, technically I haven’t met the brief but that is for the totally opposite reason. It’s because I had used less than six shots. In fact, I have only used 5 shots. My plan is to do a re-edit or even re-shoot to meet the exact requirements. Another thing I would change in the re-edit is the colour correction because in the class workshops I’ve learnt one of the most important lessons which

Another thing I would change in the re-edit is the colour correction because in the class workshops I’ve learnt one of the most important lessons which is to always save the skin. Before this, I didn’t know how to colour correct and I’ve just put a LUT in from premiere pro’s pre-sets. At first when I asked for classmates opinions they all loved it but that’s probably because they are around about the same stage when it comes to editing but now looking back we can see the amateur flaws in my work.

One of the criticisms I do agree with is that my topic may be cliche or not original because it’s a couple fighting. On the other hand, I tried playing around with lighting spacing and framing I even used a slider to create some movement and depth to the shot. I needed it to be extremely better compared to my first task ‘Photographing the face’, it had to be a bit more cinematic with better movement and just more creativity when composing the shot.

There are shots through the door which creates some sort of mystery and leaves us feeling like outsiders because we aren’t directly inside the same room as the characters. Or the use of dark blues and red just to emphasise the unstable emotion in their relationship. Blain Brown mentions that ‘few elements are as effective and as powerful as light and colour. They have the ability to reach viewer at a purely emotion gut level.’  It sets the mood, the audience doesn’t have to consciously think what is going on because the brain reads the situation through the lighting without even thinking about it.

chiaroscuro‘Chiaroscuro emphasised shadows and harsh lighting to create a sense of depth and volume in paintings.’ 

Even though it’s a painting cinematography needs to follow the same concept so that the image doesn’t look 1 dimensional. Many have the misconception that the cinematographer is just for the construction and positioning of the shot but they need to understand how the light will affect a certain space and how to add complexity to the frame without overcomplicating. This time around I spent a lot more time experimenting with lighting, I placed small LED lights in particular parts of the room depending on where I wanted the audience’s eyes to be focused on.

Blocking had to be considered because it tells the story in itself, we are able to differentiate who is dominant in the relationship plus movement in general, helps create a natural realistic feel to the scene.

Blocking was originally a theatre term that refers to the positioning and movement of the actors in the stage. In cinema, camera and lights are added to the equation.

There are points where we had the female subject standing up while the male was sitting looking up towards her which made him look powerless and not in control, again, the fact that you can only see part of her face but because the blocking is so effective you understand what’s going on just through her body language and the way the male is positions and his reaction to her action.


Blain Brown (2016). Cinematography theory & practice. Canada: Routeledge. 48.

FilmmakerIQ. (,). THE BASICS OF LIGHTING FOR FILM NOIR. Available: Last accessed 2016.

GABE MOURA. (2014). Blocking. Available: Last accessed 2016.


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Photographing the Face

This was my first attempt at the task ‘Photographing the face’ now looking back I wish I had put more thought into the idea after comparing it to other peoples work I could have been more creative.

Culture is the main theme of my video. I tried to represent this idea throughout the whole shot, it starts with a bit of shake and I made an active decision not to cut it out because it emphasises the home feel.

My mother was preparing for a wedding, at Eritrean/Ethiopian wedding’s its custom to wear a white headscarf. A simple accessory of the scarf indicates to the audience where the subject is from without even using any words.

It starts in black and white and slowly transitions to colour, my reasoning for this is to articulate my point of having a very rich culture. When you look at the poster at the back the paint on the different tribes in Eritrea looks beautiful, according to Eritrea’s ministry of information there is a total of nine ethnic groups including ‘Tigrinya, Saho, Bilen, Hidarb, Rashaida, Kunama, Nara, Tigre and Afar’ who all have different beliefs and customs but are still able to come together as one, so imagine how diverse Africa is.  I have a strong love for east Africa in general, even though I am not in the video itself it is still revealing my character.

The plan was for my Mother to act natural but some Tigrinya music was playing in the background so she asked me if she could dance. It’s something about the drums that my mum can not refrain to dance. As Eritrea is quite a young country most of the music is focused on the war ‘Some new artists in postliberation Eritrea are emerging, however, with an artistic focus on the country’s struggle for independence.’. The people have a certain pride which includes my mum, especially because the fight is so fresh in people’s memories, loads of lives sacrificed including my mum’s father and many of her siblings.I Thought the spontaneity was kind of cool so I didn’t take a second take. However, now wish I did because people put more time and effort on the look they wanted to go for, it just inspired me to think of a unique style to develop for myself, something that makes my work special.

‘Music has always played a pivotal role in Eritrea. It mobilised people during the 30-year war of independence from Ethiopia’

Music gave people hope, it’s probably the reason why Eritrea was so successful in gaining independence,                                                                                                                                          ‘Music also gave the EPLF a tool to inspire and recruit young people in the fight against Ethiopia, and a number of rebel fighters went on to become music stars after independence.’ These musicians started a revolution, it united the population and many of these singers are looked upon as heroes because many of the pioneers were freedom fighters too.

I Thought the spontaneity was kind of cool so I didn’t take a second take. However, now wish I did because people put more creativity on the look they wanted to go for, it just inspired me to think of a unique style to develop for myself, something that makes my work special.

For example maybe next time I could project images and clips of the war and see my mother’s reaction to it because it was obviously an emotional time. Also visually would look more interesting especially as the task is only meant to be one shot. The Weeknd’s Often music video has inspired me to be more inventive in the future.

Although it isn’t only one shot, it is made to look like it is, it’s strikingly stimulating and engaging.The director Sam pilling has a quite dark re-occurring feel in all his videos but they are all still quite different from each other. His shots are always cinematic and intriguing that’s why in my shot of my Mum I used a slider for a subtle effect to also give it a more polished feel but because I was moving it so slow you probably wouldn’t be able to tell so in that aspect ineffective in achieving what I wanted.

Either way, it is a learning curve, in future I will take more time experimenting with ideas and increasing the amount of takes so that I have a variety of work to pick from.




shabait Administrator. (2014). Eritrea’s 9 ethnic groups. Available: Last accessed 8th DEC 2016.

K JETIL T RONVOLL. (2007). Countries and their cultures. Available: Last accessed 2016.

Ismail Einashe. (2015). A history of Eritrean music, from revolutionary funk to viral pop. Available: Last accessed 2016

imvdb. (August 21, 2014). Often (2014) . Available: Last accessed 2016.


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The Story of a Syrian Family Treatment –


Tragic news of bombs that have hit the city of Daraa in Syria is heard, along with a black screen. You hear the voice of the reporter explaining the situation. Mohamed a refugee living in the uk begins to speak about him and his families story. He explains how he used to live in Daraa along with his wife , his 3 sons and 3 daughters. His face is seen looking into the camera, as his voiceover continues. His expression shows that of great emotion. His eyes give the impression that he has seen a lot of terror. He is seen in his home located in Birmingham.

He continues to talk about his home in Syria and the life he led before his home was destroyed. He talks about how was a biochemist engineer and certain signs of the country changing as they lived their daily lives in relation to this his daily life in the UK is shown. He continues to talk about how his house was destroyed and footage is shown of his house in the aftermath of it all. For the first time, they were forced to leave their hometown and look for refuge elsewhere.

They are now living in the U.K and finally feel like they have control of their lives despite the fact that they had many things that they had to adjust to. The father states that he feels happy he can now fulfil the dream of sending his youngest to school. The father is seen with his youngest son who is 6 years of age. He talks about the rest of how he is grateful to have freedom of choice as it was taken away from him for so long. Things that most of us take for granted.

Every human being has the right to seek refuge in any country as it is a basic human right.


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A Nation in Isolation

Eritrea: A Nation in Isolation Documentary 


This was a highly anticipated documentary in the Eritrean community because the country does not get much press. The fact that it was going to be shown on mainstream T.V was a big deal and very exciting. However, on the day it was meant to be aired the documentary was nowhere to be seen and I still don’t quite know why.

It’s one of the only documentaries that talks positively about the country, I admire Afshin Rattansi for being brave and highlighting a different opinion even if a few of the facts were wrong.

For example using the wrong archive footage labelling it a different war, also exaggerating the number of lives lost.

But apart from the minor errors he raised questions and challenged previous ideas people had on Eritrea. Especially considering the fact that they actually made the documentary in Eritrea rather than relying on word of mouth like previous BBC documentaries.

I’d consider this documentary as participatory because Rattansi was actually inside interviewing and discovering the answers with the audience. It feels like we are on the journey with him.

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Week 2

Documentary Modes

  • Performative – Acting or demonstrating – creating a deeper understanding.
  • poetic – Rhythmic- Emotional- More experimental
  • Observational- Natural as if Camera was not there.
  • Expository – a Conventional type of documentary- often has a narrator.
  • Participatory – Interview involved with the subject
  • Reflexive – relationship with the filmmaker and the audience.biggie-and-tupac.jpg
  •  BiggieandTupac by Nick Broomfield is Participatory
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proposal #1

What I propose to do for our three-minute documentary is a powerful piece on a little primary school child’s experience on being bullied. It’s extremely easy to feel sympathy for a child because they have a sense of innocence about them.

In my head, I can Imagine the visuals to be a time lapse of the child in the middle of a huge school playground. The audience will be able to see the sadness emotion on his/her face while everyone around the subject is moving fast enjoying life

In terms of sound, the subject is going to take us through a journey with a voiceover and I also would just want the ambience of children playing in the background to create a mood. Its sounds that the majority of people can relate with because most of us have been through the school system.


Proposal #2

Women at war

in the armed struggle for independence for Eritrea, women made 40% of the freedom fighters which just proved how ahead of time the society was. especially considering the Uk till this day still doesn’t allow women on the front line.

This documentary would focus on one female who had an involvement in the war, her experiences, and stories whether they are funny or sad. I just want to catch genuine emotion so that the whole world can connect even without knowing the history behind the war.


proposal #3

Settling in the UK

My mother has a lot of funny stories from when she first  got to the Uk in the 1990’s. I would love to find out how hard it was to integrate into a community that doesn’t speak your language and just trying to survive. Also personal experiences including running from immigration and maybe even the journey to England and people and relationships she made on the way.