We Are Waterfall

'We Are Waterfall'
Koji Yajima, Richard Wang, Fuad Soudah, James Chapman
University of Sydney
Vivid Sydney
May 2015
Adobe After Effects CS6/CC, Premiere CC, Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, Final Cut Pro X, Nikon D5200 (Nikkor 18-105)


Projection Documentary
Koji Yajima, Richard Wang, Fuad Soudah, Daron Sew Hoy
Final Cut Pro X, Nikon D5200 (Nikkor 18-105)

Additional Information


What's there to be said? And I ought to have a say here, considering that this might have been one of my strongest projects being presented on this website alone. Some might scratch their heads and wonder: 'How could that projection be of such significance?'. Well, buckle up.

At first, regretably I must confess that I was an ignorant. First lectures that were held did inspire me, but I could not get the grasp on what we were actually about to do. Three topics: Aboriginal Astronomy, Microbiology and... one that I cannot recall (see how much of an ignorant am I?). We even made a few fieldtrips around campus, for instance to inspect under a microscope how colored cells, bacterias and in general microcosms look like, to inspire us and make a truly compelling project. We also took a look at body parts in formalin, but I supposed I could skip that part.

We were told that possibly only 3 best works will be publicly projected. As so the process began with forming a presentation of our projects. Then, once these were approved, we carried on with making it an actual video. Our idea? Featuring aboriginal astronomy in our projection. Waterholes, emu in the sky. Background research was made and our concept was received quite positively.

The creation of the projection was one true, exciting, yet extremely tiring journey. One of our collaborators had to commute long distances, which took 2 hours one way. I was still new in Sydney and had problems accustoming myself to the new enviornment under the scope of many angles. I carried out work in Adobe After Effects CC, which was incompatible with CS6 version installed on the university computers. A lot of hours squandered, us trying to do many workarounds. Hours of setting up the right environment at our faculty and filming necessary footage, which then had to be heavily worked on in Final Cut Pro. The resolution for which we had to prepare our projection was so huge and exotic that it did not fit the restrictions imposed on by Adobe's Premiere or Encoder, at the time. The rendering time made it even worse as a few seconds of footage required at times hours of constant computer workload. Basically the majority of our work had to be done on the university computers, at the very least the rendering part. And there were times, that each of us actually wanted to give up, especially during moments when a lot of work was lost, in my case, due to After Effects incompatible versions. Basically, the entire project was raised in great pain, yet we were determined to make it to the finish line.

Koji managed to get ahold of a black magic camera from his neighbour. He filmed a sandfall, which after colorgrading became a waterfall. I managed to get ahold of a water footage, a tank being filled up. We all together filmed and prepared a scene in which we painted waterholes. We also filmed the silhouettes. In the end, for the documentary... actually, I might have just filmed the footage, just because. But Koji came up with the idea of getting a ladder to film our projection. At first, I was reluctant. Then, we established a crazy configuration, of setting up a ladder, close and far enough to get enough of the crowd and the projection. A tripod was vertically set on top and the camera itself. The battery last for around 15 minutes of continuous footage. The shot was praised by many. Basically, by taking unorthodox approaches, we managed to create something that did exceed, potentially everyone's expectations. And yet, I still did not get ahold of the significance of what we did, until the work was completed.

Turned out. Vivid Sydney is a light festival, established relatively recently, as in 2009. Yet of enormous prestige, widely recognised not in Sydney alone, but in Australia and abroad, as the main tourist destinations go past all recognition. As if standard architectural facades, during vivid, many acquire colors and animations. Breathing life into something, that may be considered static - basically buildings. Still, it is a light festival and much and many more events take place across the city for weeks, usually during May. From my perspective, today, it seems that having a piece presented during vivid is, pardon my french, artists' wet dream. And yet, not three best pieces were presented on the iconic University of Sydney's Quadrangle's Facade, but in fact, all of them, as apparently the Vivid chairs' during the presentation of our works were surprised by the implication that they were about to choose between our works. All of them were projected. And inofficially I was told, that our projection was the one enjoyed the most.

A unit, after which I did not know what to expect, became a true wild card, that just could become my future trump card. This was my highest rated unit back in the first semester at University of Sydney. And that was a hell of a start. The remaining project was a documentary, for which my main resposibility included taking photos during our projection and setting up the environment for capturing our features.

Regardless. A projection, mapped out on the University of Sydney's Iconic Quadrangle. Continuously being there for around a week, cyclically a few times each day. The audience clapping and following, enjoying what we've created. And there was me. Not having a grip on the caliber of the project for so long. And then, eventually, having found out. And being proud for what we've created as a team. There is no price tag which could measure the worth of how content one may be.