I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to salvage bad audio and I believe I’ve found a potential solution to the problem.


The Musical Bartender


Working title: In between

Director: Benjamin Sheen

Sound: Carmen Chen

Producer: Daniel Lau


“In between”, a student documentary that explores the drag performers – men who dress up and perform as women, often for purposes of entertainment.

This documentary explores the underworld of drag queens, and gives the audience an idea of who a drag queen really is and what they are all about. The film shows real perspective into the person and personality our subjects. It is a look into the more human and emotional side of these talented and diverse drag performers.


Featured in the film is one of the most recognised drag performers in Melbourne, the hostess of Bingo Au-Go-Go from Greyhound Hotel, Miss Connie-Stevens-Lingus. Connie has been in the business for the past 20 years and performed all over Australia and the United States. His performance style is influenced by a variety of past…

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Shooting Day: 4th September 2013

Location: The Greyhound Hotel



It has been a long day, so I’m going to keep this simple.

Challenge #1

Space. By the time we had set up gear, there was barely any space for anyone to walk about.

What could/should have been done

There really wasn’t much we could have done about it other than changing our shoot location and foregoing our initial idea of playing around with the mirrors in the dressing room.

Some things to consider for second shoot

Perhaps change our shoot location


Challenge #2

Mirrors. Mirrors, while aesthetically pleasing, are super hard to work with! Especially if you’re in a confined space. We ended up being in quite a number of the shots.

What could/should have been done

  • We should have practiced shooting some shots before conducting the interview
  • The crew should have paid more attention to where the camera was pointed and move accordingly

Some things to consider for second shoot

  • Discuss and mark the placement of bodies during the shoot
  • Forego the mirrors and change our location


Challenge #3

Fridge. There was a mini fridge in the tiny dressing room. We weren’t allowed to unplug it without the management’s permission.

What could/should have been done

  • We should have used lapel mics
  • Fix the problem later in post-production

Some things to consider for second shoot

  • Try using lapel mics instead
  • Conduct interview in a different location


Challenge #4

No prep time. We weren’t allowed in the facility without the presence of our subject. Our subject was only available a couple of hours before the show and it would take him at least an hour and a half to get ready. This gave us almost no time at all to prep and setup our equipment studiously.

What could/should have been done

Some things to consider for second shoot


Challenge #5

Lighting. The lighting in the dressing room was relatively good. The problem with lighting lies with the coloured spotlights that would illuminate the stage later during the show.

What could/should have been done

Fix the problem in post-production

Some things to consider for second shoot

Challenge #6

Audio. The audio mixer we got was faulty and it ended up recording from the internal mic instead. This plus the disturbance from the fridge as well as all the other electronic equipment lying around the facility, caused us to record really bad audio.

What could/should have been done

We should have tried recording using lapel mics

Some things to consider for second shoot

  • Try recording audio using lapel mics
  • Forego the mirrors and change our location



Things that we could/should have been done (in general)

Check equipment beforehand

Some things to consider for the second shoot (in general)

  • Change our shoot location
  • Reshoot footage from first shoot



Earlier this week, the group got together and discussed our approach, in terms of documentary modes, to the project. Feeling unsure of my knowledge toward and memory of documentary modes, I decided to revisit some of my notes from last semester’s documentary studies subject.


  • Voiceovers addressed the audience directly
  • Voice-of-God narration
  • Use of archival footage – images, video footage, interviews
  • Filmmaker attempts to persuade audience of a particular point of view


  • No voiceovers
  • No interviews
  • Synchronous sound recording
  • Filmmaker’s presence is hidden
  • Handheld
  • Long takes dominate


  • Filmmaker and documentary crew  intervenes and/or interacts with the subject
  • Filmmaker may include voiceovers to narrate the documentary
  • Includes interviews (on-the-run questioning)
  • Handheld
  • Long takes dominate
  • Use of archival material


  • Borrows techniques from fiction films
  • Use reenactments
  • Incorporates Dramatic music
  • Voiceovers are used to pose questions


  • Filmmaker and documentary crew interacts with subject
  • Filmmaker comments on the process of making the documentary
  • Discusses topics that has to do with identity rather than factual ones
  • No proper conclusion

I would like to start this off by saying, filming a documentary is not as easy as it looks! I’ve always ignorantly assumed that filming a documentary was a simple task; that all you really need is an interesting subject to follow around and everything else will naturally fall into place. Boy was I wrong! 

The task was to film our classmates as they discussed their projects. Sounds easy enough…WRONG AGAIN! I let my indecisiveness get the better of me. I couldn’t decide who to focus on, when to do it. As a result, it felt like I was always a step behind. Someone would say something noteworthy and/or interesting and by the time I pan the camera towards them, they would have been done saying what they wanted to. So, not wanting to lose another important moment again, I keep the camera locked on that same person and, of course, someone from across the room says something I wish I had filmed! Needless to say, I underestimated the level of concentration needed of me.

Here are a few things this exercise has taught:

  1. Pay great attention to how the interview is progressing
  2. Be quick and prepared to make decisions as to whether to keep the camera locked on the subject(s), pan somewhere else, etc
  3. Attempt to predict the subject’s movements or where his/her train of thought would eventually lead to


As an extension of last week’s tute, this week our task was to film more cutaways to complement our previously shot and edited interview. So we brought our gear out on the streets, going handheld this time around. Apart from some shaky shots and not getting the exposure quite right for a couple of them, I’d say the filming went pretty well. Here’s the new and improved version of my interview exercise.

We’ve gotten into groups and brainstormed ideas for our upcoming project. I think we’ve gotten off to a pretty good start. Here is what we’ve got so far:

Drag Queen

  • Wednesday Bingo Night
  • What caused the change?
  • Personal struggles
  • What it’s like?
  • Before and after drag
  • The old vs. new generation of drag queens
  • What it takes to become a drag

Sweeney Todd (Student Production)

  • what happens behind the scenes?
  • Struggles producing a musical
  • Struggles being in the musical
  • The process of producing a musical


  • What actually happens behind the bar?
  • Subject’s personal experiences
  • What’s it like being a bartender?