Christopher Fung Fosters Creativity and Community with the Unstrctrd Acoustic Sessions
Director Christopher Fung has had a long, winding career building bridges in the creative field. Whether it’s combining live action with design and animation as a VFX supervisor or bringing the storytelling capacity of filmmaking into physical space as an experience designer, Fung’s work has always been at the intersection of creative disciplines. This multi-faceted background has led him to create often unconventional projects for an impressive portfolio of clients, including directing a commercial for BMW featuring a reconfigurable LED maze, designing a cyberpunk futurescape for Grimes and creating an installation art series for The New York Times.
“My professional role as of late has been to draw upon these many past lives to find the right medium to tell the right stories,” he said.
Having worn many hats, Fung often brings together unexpected creative partners, including filmmakers, architects, game designers, musicians, animators, engineers, and scenographers, to find unique storytelling opportunities. This interdisciplinary approach has expanded his career from entertainment and advertising into the worlds of exhibit design for museums and collaborating directly with brands on feature development. Whether it’s creating work to be experienced on the screen or in person, Fung strives to invite audiences into the process, sharing with them all the craft, creativity, nuance, and innovation that goes into the final product.
Unstrctrd: A Work in Progress
According to Fung, his Unstrctrd Twitch channel is a return to being a student. Livestreaming his process as he works on projects, Fung invites the creator community to share in his passion.
“Born from the pandemic, the project was my way of rekindling the energy I missed from being around other creatives and the natural collaborations and ideas that come with it. Learning through making mistakes and thriving off other people’s passions, I wanted to create a space to foster projects with the same care and craft as my professional work but without all the intent, process and expectation that had spread from client work to personal projects,” he explained.
“The title Unstrctrd was meant to remind myself that this is a work in progress. To focus on the journey instead of the results,” Fung added. “Livestreaming my work was an extension of a pandemic-era practice I began of sharing my screen as a casual hangout spot for studio mates in the absence of a physical space. But with a larger audience, it also felt like a natural way to attract like-minded individuals interested in learning about production and meeting creatives outside of my usual circles.”
The first project to emerge is the Unstrctrd Acoustic Sessions which involved collaborating with the vibrant community of musicians sharing their talents on Twitch. Fung speaks of music videos as one of his earliest creative passions and sees this project as a return to that source of inspiration. “The idea for the Unstrctrd Acoustic Sessions slowly evolved after meeting more and more incredible musicians through Twitch, particularly during the pandemic. I wanted to find a way to leverage my years of experience to elevate a diverse cast of artists who are all making music on their own terms,” he said.
The project quickly grew from an Airbnb jam session at TwitchCon to a full location shoot during the convention weekend as excitement around the project spread. “It was an incredible opportunity to have so many talented musicians traveling from as far as South Korea and Australia in one place, and I wanted to present each of them in their best light while keeping the project open and collaborative,” Fung noted.
Over a period of twelve hours, Fung and his team filmed 11 artists and 16 performances, including Calvin Thomas, Tyler Levs, Joliet4, Musiciscode, Zane Carney, Pealeaf, Yeju, TJ Brown and more, performing a mix of originals, covers and instrumentals. Post TwitchCon, Fung has been editing and grading the footage in DaVinci Resolve Studio, livestreaming the entire post process on his Unstrctrd Twitch channel.
“Each of our musicians has an incredible and supportive community on Twitch that shares in their journey, with all the successes and hurdles along the way,” Fung added. “It felt only natural to be equally transparent on the film side of things. Time permitting, I host weekly livestreams where both the musicians’ communities and anyone interested in filmmaking can weigh in on the editing process in DaVinci Resolve Studio and learn about everything from pre-production to unnecessarily complex VFX shots. Since both the project and our musicians are independent, it’s been refreshing to be able to share a process that is typically hidden behind NDAs and darkened edit suites.”
Posting Performance Art
While Fung has traditionally relied on DaVinci Resolve Studio’s edit page and a DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor keyboard, he’s integrating the cut page into his workflow for the Unstrctrd Acoustic Sessions. “I find the cut page’s UI especially useful for quickly chopping down a long timeline and creating selects to manage a library of footage. Combined with the Speed Editor’s jog shuttle knob, it’s much easier to make those quick and precise edits. The build quality and compact size of the Speed Editor also makes it a joy to bring around as part of my mobile editing station,” he said. “Adding the cut page to my workflow, I have found it most useful in editing clips from my livestream sessions which tend to be long and more functional edits.”
“The edit page just feels great with the ability to zoom in on two axes very quickly. It captures the benefits of pinch-and-zoom on a tablet device but with the added functionality of a full keyboard. The built-in stabilization has also been impressive at recovering shots that might have been lost, but more unexpectedly helping to bridge the camera operating styles between myself and my cinematographer,” he added.
According to Fung, as part of the teaching aspect of this project, he wanted to keep the entire post workflow in DaVinci Resolve Studio and that includes VFX. “I have years of experience in VFX and am excited to see how that knowledge transfers to the Fusion page. While this is a live performance-based project, there are a few sneaky shots with set extensions and shot blending that have been fun to tackle in Fusion,” he said. “Using Fusion’s built-in tracking and optical flow features, I’ve been able to make those seamless tweaks and keep people focused on the music.”
“Having set up VFX pipelines for studios in the past, the ability to change between editing, color grading and compositing with the click of a tab in Resolve is incredibly liberating,” Fung added. “The amount of extra mental, technical and process overhead required to roundtrip between software is now all time and energy that can be reinvested in the creative while working in Resolve. Being able to iterate quickly and make mistakes, without being penalized for them, creates such a positive feedback loop. Even if a shot does need to go to an external software, having the tools to sketch an idea into an edit helps to quickly determine if it’s worth the extra time investment.”
The Unstrctrd Acoustic Sessions was designed to create high-quality music videos, while teaching viewers about the creative journey. “Having the entire project in one software with Resolve makes it far more intuitive as ‘performance art’ keeping the focus and conversation around artistry rather than technical jargon,” concluded Fung. “As a cross-discipline, free software, there's little barrier to entry with Resolve, and it has allowed more than a few community members to try Resolve for themselves and follow along. But most of all, it's just a powerful, comprehensive package that meets all this project’s needs.”
About Christopher Fung
Christopher Fung is a Brooklyn-based, creative director. He creates and collaborates across a wide range of projects, including music videos, installation art, experience design, interactive media, animation, and traditional filmmaking. With a diverse, multi-disciplinary background, Fung excels at bringing together disparate partners to find unconventional ways to tell creative stories.