The vivo X60 Pro, featuring cutting-edge design from vivo with maximum imaging quality co-engineered by ZEISS, is the ideal match for seasoned filmmakers like award-winning film director, Chong Keat Aun.
As the man behind films like Cemetery of Courtesy, which tells the story of the May 13 riots, and The Story of Southern Islet which earned him the accolade of Best New Director at the 57th Golden Horse Film Awards, his most recent project, “The Incident”, has allowed him to explore a different side of filmmaking – through the lens of a smartphone. Armed with a ZEISS-enhanced vivo X60 Pro and a nimble cast and crew, Chong was able to bring to life a story of a doting mother who struggles to make ends meet for her young son after the untimely demise of her husband within 48 hours.
During the recent screening of “The Incident”, Chong divulged 6 know-hows for aspiring filmmakers who are looking to leave their own mark in the filming industry.
1. Having a good quality camera is paramount
Chong notes how “The Incident” marks his maiden attempt at filmmaking with a smartphone and he was initially apprehensive. Being used to larger industry-standard equipment, Chong decided to put the vivo X60 Pro to the test for his short film project and found it to be the ideal tool to help him achieve the visionary shots he had in mind.
From the revolutionary Gimbal 2.0 Stabilization, which steadied shots (even when positioned on a moving motorcycle!), to the Extreme Night Vision 2.0 feature that enabled filming at night, the vivo X60 Pro lived up to its promise and delivered.
2. Shooting with a smartphone allows for creativity to be unleashed
Large video cameras may be the standard go-to for filmmakers but Chong notes how the vivo X60 Pro’s specially-engineered features has stretched him as a filmmaker in a positive manner. The vivo X60 Pro enabled Chong to shoot point-of-view shots of his characters from within an open cupboard, inside a drain hole, beneath a frying pan and even on board a moving motorcycle – all of which would be impossible for an industry-standard video camera.
3. Film soundtracks should never be an afterthought
It is without a doubt that a film’s soundtrack is a key element to the end product – think My Heart Will Go On in Titanic and Hans Zimmer’s hair-raising symphonies in The Dark Knight.
That was precisely why Chong engaged singer-songwriter, Yise Loo from the very start to conceptualise the melodious soundtrack entitled “Light Of Hope”, sang by Firdhaus Farmizi The song tugged at heartstrings with its influence of Chinese folk and Malay traditional music and elevated the film, capping it off in the best way possible.
4. Work around any filming limitations and always pre-plan
The pandemic has thrown a wrench in many a creative’s filming plans but Chong took it as a challenge that could be worked around, through lots of pre-planning. Understanding that it would take authorities a considerable amount of time to approve permits, Chong allocated one week in order for this to be ticked off the pre-filming list.
Additionally, it took the cast and crew only 2 days of filming to complete “The Incident” due to the limitations set by the pandemic, and all with a significantly reduced workforce of 50% its original number! Without dedicated pre-planning, the team would have certainly encountered more unwanted hurdles.
5. Be discerning of what projects to undertake
While it is important for filmmakers to stretch themselves and try their hand at different styles of filming and genres, especially at the start of their career, it is equally as important to evaluate if the project is in line to one’s filming style and path of growth.
Chong noted how he was once approached for a horror film project but turned it down as it was not aligned to his portfolio. In the same vein, budding artists should evaluate each project opportunity that comes their way.
6. Continuously be open to inspiration
Inspiration is abundant and everywhere and it is with this mindset that Chong conceptualised the short film, “The Incident”. During the height of the pandemic when filming opportunities were scarce and not permitted, Chong took the opportunity to help out in charity work and it was through these moments where he saw the struggles that single mothers go through, with some who are even made redundant during this time.
Chong based the plot of “The Incident” around a single mother who became a food delivery rider in order to provide for her son, and through his short film, hopes to shed light on how the pandemic has affected different lives.