The Canadian Migrants – Design/History Documentary Film

The Canadian Migrants from Dennis on Vimeo.

I think there were a few setbacks during the production our documentary, but we managed to overcome them both in the historical, and design aspect of this project.

Historically, we had a few struggles with the development of our research question. At first, we wanted to investigate the effects of migration and the Handover on the economic situation in Hong Kong. After John Carroll, a history professor’s advice during his presentation at our school, we switched topics. We changed our research question to “To what extent has the Handover increase emigration to Canada?” Our group thought this research question would have more information and be more interesting. 

It was not too hard to find information that we wanted. It was particularly helpful when we found books, or research reports we could use to gather information as these sources tend to have the analysis of policies and a wide range of statistics. I think we managed to answer the research question at the end of the documentary. 

Design wise, I think the responsibilities of each group member. I felt like I needed to complete everything the group had to from video graphing, directing and editing the film. The most disappointing thing I had to deal with was doing the bulk of the editing because the editor did not do his job very well and I had to “fix” up. In the commercial world, I wouldn’t be able to step into other people’s work or else I would have been fired. The editing was pretty smooth but iMovie had a glitch in which it kept showing “Title Text Here” and “Name” in subtitles where I had already filled in after exporting. Originally the subtitles said “Interview with John Carroll, but to make it more professional, I changed it to John Carroll: History Professor at the University of Hong Kong. I also applied this subtitle change to the other interview.  It would have been better if some of the group members took their jobs more seriously.

There was no trouble writing the script as I was inspired to write the script in three columns: narration, visual and audio (sound, music). In the start, originally we wanted to make it in a style in which a specific event which will be elaborated when the interviewee talked about that event. In reality, we did the opposite of what we planned. We first talked about the specific event (Tiananmen Square) before adding more detail and a more personal response afterwards by an interviewee (John Carroll) 

I also did not think music was appropriate for the whole documentary, so there was only music in the introduction and ending of the documentary. 

I think this was sparked from my uncertainty to what exactly a director should be responsible for. Some of the main things I believe a director should be responsible is managing interviews, writing script and narration. I did all these things in addition to helping with the filming and editing.

I think it fulfils a lot of design specifications we set ourselves including an interview (we have two), and relevant historical information that informs the audience of why hog kong people emigrated to Canada, and the extent of the emigration. We also include footage from online, and royalty free 

Some of the desirable specifications were met but not all of them were met. We met the requirement of “designing an animated intro” as the stop motion I created could be considered a low amateur level of animation. We also included a time lapse in the beginning which was another on of desirable specifications. Although we did design a professional vector image, we decided to not use it in the documentary. 

Overall, I am proud with the documentary both in a design and historical aspect.