Project 3: tea making

Jayden Liu
8 min readOct 22, 2020



Tea making is not a new process for me as I have made tea from time to time before. My dad is a big tea drinker so sometimes i would share a cup of tea with him. When I look through the house, I was not surprised to find a bunch of loose leaf tea that my dad had stored. But anywhere I looked i could not find any strainer so I bought a tea ball. I looked at articles online to learn if there is a way to make tea properly but they all seemed to have done it a bit different and all yielded similar results. I will continue to look for the most proper way to steep tea but for now I think I will stick to pouring water over tea leaves strained in a ball.


The videos that we looked at in class were all really interesting. In general, I was really intrigued by how the some of the good examples like “catch me if you can”, “mad men”, and “man” convey a great amount of ideas in such minimal exhibition of visuals and sounds. Moreover, I was impressed by how videos like “vertigo” and “true move” can be so emotional. I’ve learned from the class analysis that all of our classmates think more or less the same — we can easily distinguish what is good from what is bad. None of the videos utilize overtly similar techniques, yet all of the good ones convey their messages effectively. A feature I’ve notice that’s common across all the good videos is that they use their sound really effectively, whether it is a monologue, ambient sounds, or a background music, critical artist decisions were made to create a certain atmosphere adequate for each videos.

I think it is important to keep in mind that essentially every artistic decision I make is going to be leave an impression on the viewer and so each of the artistic decisions I take needs to be thoroughly justified. It is also important to come up with good sound tracks for the video especially when we are amateur video makers who are less equipped to make a sound piece of tape, as we see that the bad examples we’ve seen either has really bad sound quality or has ineffective ambient sounds.


One thing that stood out to me was the fact that the tea group had the least amount of scenes in our storyboards. it might have to do with the simplicity of our task or it might because we have overlooked some important details in it. Within our group, we all had similar scenes and all followed similar sequence.

One of the problems with my storyboard that we were able to identify in our discussion was the distracting pattern on the mat. I will be sure to not use that as a background next time. Other common problems among the group was the quality of lighting and the consistency of orientations. I had my images in squares this time because I thought it looked neat on the storyboard but it is really not beneficial when moving into video because it has to be horizontal. Moreover, It is ideal that I shoot my video during the day so I could take advantage of the natural light.

For next time, I will be sure to shoot horizontally and try to do it during the day. I would also eliminate as much distraction as possible including the mat.


Shooting video is a whole different experience than shooting pictures. A lot more goes into the making of video: The steadiness of the camera, the transition, the audio, and the performance of the subject all play a huge role in filming. Similar to the last two projects we had, I do not have any experience working in the assigned medium, as I have not thought of video making in a design perspective. However, as I stumble my way through my first day of filming, I could see why design principles and skillset could be applied to filming. First of all, like any other type of design, filming an instructional video takes a lot of planning, researching, and even practicing. More importantly, filming challenges the film-makers’ ability to communicate, as I was constantly trying to convey my idea and instruction without the use of words through a screen.

I was the only one in my group who did not have a complete minute long video in class because I did not have any experience with video softwares. Instead, I posted 10 different clips for my group members to review. Similar to last time, our videos look pretty much the same with minor tweaks here and there. However, for me there were much to learn from everyone in my group. The first problem that we identified in mine and a few more our peers was that some of our video was not shot steadily. It is a big distraction and obstructs the communication of idea, so I’ve decided to purchase a tripod for my iPhone for my next attempt. Another problem was the length of my clips. While obviously, when i get to editing my video, I would modify the length of my clips, but my group members do have a point when they mention how some of the unimportant clips were unnecessarily long. Lastly, I really needed to learn using a film-editing software for my next video so I don’t have to upload my clips separately.


I found the peer review questions really valuable. Not only can I identify my own mistakes from the comment left by my peers, but I can also learn what to improve by offering comments to other people. sometimes it is hard for me to see the problem with my own own creation but I could apply the advices that I left for other people to my own work. For example, I mentioned under one of my peer’s work that it would be better to show both the final product and the materials needed during the intro of the video so the viewers know both what they can expect to create after finishing the video and what they need to create it. I would have never been able to say something like that to my own work but I can identify the problem in my peers’ work and apply them to mine.

All three of my peers left valuable suggestions under my video. They accurately pinpointed some of my video’s most critical flaws, like the yellowish artificial lighting, the uncommon tool that is the tea-ball, the inability to show time and temperature and so on. These are all apparent problems I need to work on. To fix the lighting, obviously, I would have to film earlier in the day. I have been saying this for a long time but haven’t able to find the time to do so but I will be sure to find time for the filming next time. To show temperature, I think i will add a scene that shows the water boiling so it is indicated that the water used is approximately at boiling point. As to show how long should one brew the tea for, I do not have a concrete solution. There were a lot of mixed signals during the class discussion. Some have suggested that showing a timer is the easiest and most straightforward, some used hand gesture, some didn’t think the time was that important, and Steve had mentioned that people have different preference for their tea and that the color of the tea is more important indicator than the time itself. I am still not sure what to do for time for now. Lastly, I would like to purchase a teapot on amazon for my next shoot. Two out of the three peers who reviewed my video have said that they do not recognize the tea-ball, which is fair because I did not even know such thing existed before i purchased it. I don’t want the people who watch my video to think that they need such a tool to brew tea. Besides, making tea with teapot is simply more symbolic and appropriate.


This project was a challenge to my working process. Working with a new medium, I already feel less than equipped, so it was even more challenging to devise an effective plan to tackle this project. Through this experience, I have learned that though I might not feel like doing prep work like storyboards or sketches or notes, they are extremely important to the filming process. There are simply too much going on during the shoot for me to handle so it was very important that I layout an effective plan before I turn on the camera. furthermore, time and resources managing was on another level for a project like this. I know that I am going to film each scenes multiple times but what’s more important is knowing how to do the setup, when to stop and start a new film, keeping track of the progression, and being aware and ready for my role as both the actor and the director. It is easy to get stuck up on one scene and use up all the precious time resources so it is important that I reflect and remind myself of my movements and my goals.

This project is really special in that it allows me to communicate through all visuals, time, motion, and sound. Similar to the working process, the communication process was also a struggle for me. To teach through the video instead of documenting myself to do is really a critical distinction that I have to make and express. First of all, I think the collaboration between these means of communication is crucial. Accompanying the ongoing visuals, ambient sounds create incredible indicators that gives viewers important feedbacks that they should seek when performing the task on their own. Second, to effectively allocate the 1 min time frame, the amount of time that each scene is shown must differ based on the importance or difficulty of a certain action. Moreover, to successfully instruct the task I should not simply reiterate the task like how I would do it on my own but to create motion using gestures and body language. Lastly, like any other visual media, the composition is the key of effective communication. It helps to create a focal point that viewers should pay attention to and it makes the project visually pleasing so viewers stay interested.