Video

#ProjectingChange on Empire State Building

Michael Film, Video August 2, 2015

Recorded on Aug. 1, 2015 from Rooftop @230 Fifth Avenue. The best live experience of an outdoor projection.

By Academy-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker Louis (LouiePsihoyos for his 2015 documentary Racing Extinction. Also see below a projection over the buildings at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, by Obscura Digital:

Screening: Mystery Monkeys of Shangri-La with PBS Nature

Michael Film, Photo, Video April 23, 2015

On the Earth Day of April 22, 2015, Asia Society teamed up with PBS Nature to present a stunningly beautiful production about snub-nosed monkeys in Yunnan, China. We also had the honor of having distinguished zoologist and conservationist Dr. George Schaller with us to discuss the film’s importance along with filmmaker Xi Zhinong, founder of Wild China Film. Below watch the full film:

Representing the meticulous and ambitious work of an all-Chinese film company led by award-winning filmmaker Xi Zhinong, this spectacular film is the true story of a family of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys living in the highest forests in the world. Only recently discovered, snub-nosed monkeys are hauntingly beautiful primates, different and gentler than others of their kind. Elfin-like, they seem both childlike and wise beyond their years. The family is led by a formidable fighter and his crew, who together stand guard for eight to 10 families. This is a unique monkey society, formed in response to the hardships of the Himalayas. But their survival depends not just upon strong defensive strategies; it also relies upon the cooperation and interdependence of them all.

Here below is the complete video on demand of the discussion after the film screening at Asia Society.

Case Study: Air Pollution Visualized, Daily

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Photo, Video March 8, 2015

It all started in the lead up to the Olympic Games in 2008, I had a tickling idea to start paying attention to Beijing’s air pollution (video I co-produced). So I asked a friend whose apartment window has an open view over the skyline. I asked a favor to take a picture a day, if possible. And that project kept going for more than eight years. If you haven’t been to China, or smelled the lung-penetrating air or coughed it out while there, you have no idea how bad the air quality is. But just look at this below, one view from the exactly same angle but on two days.

Two days in Beijing with air quality between night and day [Pity that the scent cannot be reproduced here]

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Video Series: Pictures Talk with Phoenix Online

Michael Film, Photo, Video October 15, 2014

ChinaFile’s Environment section teamed up with Phoenix Online to create a series of two-minute documentaries on the work, ideas, and aspirations of Chinese environmental advocates. The environmentalists, many of whom work in relative obscurity even within China, collect photographs and record themselves describing their efforts. This series of 30 some videos have registered over 6 million views on Phoenix documentary channel alone.

Landing page for Pictures Talk series on Phoenix Online Documentary Channel. Click/Tap to watch on ifeng.com

Landing page for Pictures Talk series on Phoenix Online Documentary Channel. Click/Tap to watch on ifeng.com

Watch these selected, English subtitled episodes on ChinaFile.com:

 

 

 

 

 

Screenings: China Green Docs Film Series

Michael Film, Video September 1, 2014

The environmental cost of China’s breakneck development can be witnessed across the smoggy skylines of its megacities. But not all of China’s environmental problems are so visually apparent, from soils contaminated by cadmium and arsenic, to diminishing groundwater supplies unfit for drinking. The films in this series of Chinese environmental documentaries make visible some of the hidden consequences of China’s rapid growth and the people fighting to save their communities and livelihoods.

The series of film events were featured in the New York Times and received sold out crowds for all the nights. It has been one of the best attended film series at Asia Society. Here below is the trailer for the series:

Film: Waking the Green Tiger, 78 min, 2011, Canada/China, Dir. Gary Marcuse

Discussion: Plastic China with Wang Jiuliang

Film: Yak Dung, 50 min., Dir. Lanze

Film: Last Moose at Aoluguya, 100 min., Dr. Gu Tao

The New York Times: ‘Waking the Green Tiger: Documentaries From the Front Lines of China’s Environmental Crisis’

Forbes: Asia Society Has Opened Window on China’s Environment

Last month the Asia Society began a film series with Waking the Green Tiger, a documentary about efforts to forestall the flooding of villages in pursuit of a dam at Yunnan province’s Tiger Leaping Gorge. I met Chinese producer Shi Lihong, who was in New York for the event.

 

U.S.-China Forum on the Arts & Culture

Michael Audio, Film, Photo, Video July 1, 2012

A delegation of outstanding American cultural figures including Meryl Streep and Yo-Yo Ma traveled to Beijing to take part in four days of unprecedented cultural exchange in 2011. The US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture organized performances, master classes and roundtables that showcased the best of American culture, while forging new opportunities for American artists to collaborate and converse with their Chinese peers, in fields including visual and performing arts, literature, and cuisine.

Here below is a highlight video from this trip, which I led the crew in shoot and production:

 

We also managed to place a video clip from the main performance on nytimes.com:

pic nyt lil buck

nytimes.com features a jook-dancing performance of Lil’ Buck and Yo-Yo Ma, clip/tap to watch

Forbes Writing Pieces

Michael Photo, Video January 1, 2012

Brewer and his graduate students at Berkeley have concocted a wireless networking scheme called Wildnet (Wild is short for “Wi-Fi over long distance”). Two Wildnet transmitters can shuttle 5 million bits per second, as much as a cable modem, over distances of up to 60 miles. A relay station is needed if the antennas aren’t in direct line of sight. Wildnet takes Wi-Fi technology and extends its range 100 times farther than an airport hot spot.

UC Berkeley Professor Eric Brewer is a leading developer of a long-distance Wi-Fi that aspired to provide affordable access to telemedicine in rural India, and beyond. Click/Tap to read on Forbes.

UC Berkeley Professor Eric Brewer is a leading developer of a long-distance Wi-Fi that aspired to provide affordable access to telemedicine in rural India, and beyond. Click/Tap to read on Forbes


 

A Beijing upstart is betting it can transform China’s subways with commercials that play on tunnel walls as trains barrel past.

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Topflash CEO Cao Bin rides a subway car while his LED ads flashed on the wall outside the subway. Click/Tap to read on Forbes.com


 

Want to own a Gustav Klimt? You may not have been bidding on the Austrian master’s “Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” which went to Manhattan’s Neue Galerie museum in June for $135 million. However, you can get a reduced-size reproduction for $109 by clicking on OilPaintingsGallery.com or for $189 at Oceansbridge.com.

A village in China specializes in mass producing copycat masterpiece paintings for middle-class customers in the West. Click/Tap to read on Forbes.com

A village in China specializes in mass producing copycat masterpiece paintings for middle-class customers in the West. Click/Tap to read on Forbes.com


 

A variety of other animal-oriented occupations have popped up in China of late, including trainers, stylists, mental therapists and crematoriums. Pet clothes, which are not uncommon, are often more expensive than name-brand T shirts. And a styling runs anywhere from $10 to $80. The overall pet economy, with an estimated value of $2 billion, is projected to be worth $5 billion by 2010.

China's booming economy has also given rise to a new pet-serving industry worth billions of dollars. Click/Tap to read on Forbes.com

China’s booming economy has also given rise to a new pet-serving industry worth billions of dollars. Click/Tap to read on Forbes.com


 

The notional value of reward points, half based on cell phone usage, is at least an annual $640 million, growing 10% to 20% a year.

China is new to this hunt. The U.S. has a well-established sector of so-called performance-improvement companies, some of which are 100 years old. They manage loyalty programs, employee-recognition awards and the like for corporate clients or provide software and support for these. Such fare–airline mileage points long being the currency of choice in the U.S.–are a $30-billion-a-year industry.

China is catching up on the reward program-based economy, which in a market like the U.S. is worth $30 billion a year. Click/Tap to read on Forbes.com

China is catching up on the reward program-based economy, which in a market like the U.S. is worth $30 billion a year. Click/Tap to read on Forbes.com

 

Doc Film “Himalayan Meltdown” on Discovery Asia

Michael Film, Video May 1, 2011

Glaciers in Asia are creating an uncertain future across the region. From Nepal to the Tibetan Plateau, Bhutan to India and the Bay of Bengal, a way of life is under threat. The climate is changing and life as we know it from the mountains to sea is falling out of balance. These glaciers are source to seven of the region’s greatest rivers. But our most precious resource is disappearing one drop at a time. The people of Asia are answering the call, harnessing determination, spirituality and science to adapt and survive in a face of a Himalayan Meltdown.

I contributed research and camera work to the documentary from Qinghai and Tibet in China. Here below is a trailer:

Revealed: Himalayan Meltdown, a co-production by the UN Development Programme, Discovery Asia, and Arrowhead Films aired on Discovery Channel, Sunday 15 May 2011, 21:00 hrs.
Airdates:
Sun. 15 May 11, 21:00 – Discovery SE Asia
Sun. 15 May 11, 21:00 – Discovery Malaysia
Sun. 15 May 11, 21:00 – Discovery Philippines
Sun. 29 May 11, 19:30 – Discovery Australia
Sun. 29 May 11, 19:30 – Discovery New Zealand
Sun. 05 June 11, 21:00 – Discovery Taiwan

The Economist: Out of the dorm

Michael Audio, Video January 1, 2011
  • Out of the dorm

HUANG YIXIN and Wei Wei, two students at the Guangzhou College of Fine Arts, were hanging around their dormitory last summer and decided—as one does—to turn on their webcam, put on their Houston-Rockets jerseys and lip-synch a few of their favourite songs by the Backstreet Boys. They uploaded the clips to Google Video, a free website full of such stuff. Their grimaces are over the top, self-consciously ludicrous. And they became famous almost instantly.

A fun story about an art student duo who made their fame on Chinese cybersphere by lip syncing English-language pop songs. Click/Tap to read on economist.com

A fun story about an art student duo who made their fame on Chinese cybersphere by lip syncing English-language pop songs. Click/Tap to read on economist.com


 

Here below are some of their webcam performances. Enjoy:

 

 

 

 

Sliding Onto The New York Times

Michael Animation, Data & Graphics, Interactive, Photo, Video August 8, 2010

We invited The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to our glacier exhibition at the Asia Society. Our goal was nothing short of wowing him, from the 30-foot-wide wall-covering photo prints to a stunning array of digital assets.

Slider: 1921 vs 2009 near Mt Everest

 

Above is a slider tool (screenshot, see interactive version toward the end of this paragraph) I came up as a concept to illustrate the dramatic glacial change in a compelling way. It also invites the viewer to slide across the image to travel between past and present (or tap on a smartphone or tablet). The Times staff loved it and put it right on top of Kristof’s column.

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Web & Video: “On Thinner Ice”

Michael Film, Photo, Video March 12, 2010

A multimedia presentation co-produced with Emmy Award winning MediaStorm along with a magnificent photo exhibition of melting glaciers in the valleys of the Himalaya taken by mountaineer, Emmy Award winning filmmaker David Breashears. It was a years long combination of stunning before-and-after images of glacier photography spanning a whole century and many years of reporting and writing about climate change and its impact on local communities and the environment by Orville Schell (The New York Times) and Michael Zhao (World Policy Journal). Asia Society also published two reports making a case for a closer collaboration between the U.S. and China on climate change and energy. The exhibition and its evolving versions have toured Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, and soon will land in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2016.

Below is the video introduction to the project:

I was the producer and project manager of both the web site design/development and the video production.

pic On Thinner Ice

Screen shot of “On Thinner Ice” site, co-produced with MediaStorm. Click/Tap to visit on asiasociety.org.

Multimedia & Video: China Green Site

Michael Data & Graphics, Film, Photo, Video February 2, 2010

Over the past three decades, China has dazzled the rest of the world with its stunning, high-speed economic growth. However, rapid urbanization, poverty reduction and transformation of city skylines have come at a grave price: air and water pollution, degraded forests, pasturelands and marine habitats, growing greenhouse gas emissions and a host of other environmental problems.

China Green has been documenting China’s environmental issues now and for years to come and will strive to serve as a web forum where people with an interest in China and its environmental challenges can find interesting visual stories and share critical information about the most populous nation in the world whose participation in the solution to global environmental problems, such as climate change, will be indispensable.

Homepage of China Green site. Click/Tap to visit on AsiaSociety.org

Homepage of China Green site. Click/Tap to visit on AsiaSociety.org


Forbes: Asia Society Has Opened Window on China’s Environment

… the China Green project at the Asia Society, based in New York City but with a sizable presence in Hong Kong, has been tracking the mainland’s worsening environmental plight. As managing editor/producer of the project, Michael Zhao leads the effort to keep tabs and encourage reforms.