Peek into ‘Time in Pandemic’

Lyna Mohammad

Recognising how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people, a group of four Diploma in Advertising, Multimedia & Broadcasting students from Kolej International Graduate Studies (KIGS), came up with a documentary on the issue entitled Time in Pandemic for their final year project.

The students were one of two groups and were assigned to develop a documentary topic into a proposal, pilot preview, and complete a documentary video, with a final semester theme ‘Health and Awareness’ as it is correlated with the global pandemic of COVID-19.

Naming their group Paradox, their documentary refers to a setting where we feel as though time is eternal, as we’re in the same place for most days due to social distancing.

Time in Pandemic also shows how much people’s routines have become completely different compared to before.

Their 20-minute documentary provides a peek into the lives of different people who are struggling and coping in this unusual time and how they are adapting to the new normal.

With the aim to understand the struggles, be more aware of the current situation and to be more sympathetic towards different people, Dewi Amalia binti Haji Hidup, Amylia Ameera binti Salim, Abdul Rahman bin Roslan and Muhammad Qawiem Al-Nas bin Haji Al-Sufri started their project.

Paradox members showcasing the poster art for ‘Time in Pandemic’. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD

Dewi Amalia has released short films before and written over four screenplays, while Amylia Ameera was involved in one short film project and was an intern at Pixelated Enterprise.

Abdul Rahman is a camera operator and a video editor who has been in the industry since 2017.

Muhammad Qawiem has been a video editor and camera operator for three years and has also directed and edited two short films as well as made one commercial video and one documentary.

“We developed the topic with our lecturer’s suggestions for a module documentary video production. After that, we developed the storyline, which was a collective one in the group. Ever since quarantine, we developed new normal routine and with that idea, we shared it in the documentary,” said Dewi Amalia.

The challenging part was during the production. To adhere to social distancing, they had to shoot the documentary with a smaller crew. One person could help shoot the routine part of the documentary or they would shoot it by themselves individually.

Paradox interviewed four different people whose routines were affected by the pandemic – a local secondary school student, a kitchen helper from a well-known restaurant, a foreign worker, and a retired local woman who was in another country due to closed international borders.

The interview centred on online learning, food preparations and safety precautions, how the local retiree came to be abroad and lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic.

It is hoped the documentary can provide insight and help people understand others’ struggles and how they have been coping.

“We hope that our objectives are met through the video by showing the different aspect of the consequences of the pandemic,” said the team.

The team distributed their responsibilities with Qawiem taking up the roles of editor and second camera operator at the same time to assist camera operator Rahman, while Dewi and Amylia took up the role of producer and writer respectively.

“We mostly juggled the workload among ourselves. If we had a much bigger crew, the documentary would be better. Our camera persons are also in charge of animation and editing. This project made us apply our multiple skills that we learned in the previous semester.”

The 15-week production of Time in Pandemic also involved the team sharing their stories on how they themselves are coping with “new normal” life.

Dewi shared on how to stay creative as she experienced procrastination during the self-isolation period, while Qawiem shared insight on working part-time during this law-stricken time, where eateries were only allowed to cater take outs.

Rahman spoke as a freelancer who is working at home due to social distancing and Amylia shared her new normal routine in coping through her days without her parents.

“Seeing our names roll at the end of the documentary gave us motivation as we felt a heavy weight lifted off our shoulders. It was a nice feeling to have after all that and we felt that our hard work paid off,” they shared.

Dewi shared that they used a timeline for the flow of the documentary. It begins in the morning and proceeds through the night.

They added in news montages to show when the outbreak reached Brunei shores, while also providing an introduction of themselves, their thoughts on COVID-19 and described their before and after pandemic routines.

Their pre-production and production processes took one week, with two weeks of post-production, while the locations chosen were around Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) and the Tutong District as well as the residences of team members.

Paradox said their target audience are those between 16 to 35 years, and are individuals with interest in global issues who are keen to learn other aspects of the issue.

Apart from producing the documentary, the students were also required to present an evaluation on the budget involved (based on a real broadcasted documentary) as a simulation for them to propose and produce a documentary video in real situation. They were also asked to share their plans on distribution and broadcasting mediums. Concluding the documentary, the narrator shared on the pandemic and what to hope in the future once the pandemic is over.

“It our hope that the documentary will not only be beneficial but also give future viewers a peek into the past. This documentary will hopefully remind viewers how individuals struggled to adapt in the new normal and how important it is to be in unison during this unusual time, as working together while abiding the law will not only protect everyone, but also combat the spread of the virus.”