As winter goes by: the behind story of the anti-epidemic documentary in Wuhan

Photograph of the director, Wan Xing
Image: Wan Xing

My friends Kang Chengye and Wan Xing are directors and made a documentary series to present the real scenario of Wuhan during the worst time of the COVID-19. They have been to hospitals, snack shops, airports, and many other places in Wuhan, using cameras to record impressive stories.

Source of information

The documentary called “As winter goes by” has been first published on Youku which is one of the biggest Chinese video platforms and soon became wildly popular on the Internet. It has also been released on YouTube by the Youku Official channel to enhance its effect in the worldwide. In addition, it gained a high mark of 8.3 on Douban, the most influential web 2.0 websites in China.

The documentary: As Winter Goes By
(can’t play on this page due to the author setting, but can help to transfer to YouTube)


The documentary was promoted by Youku platform

They have been reported by some Chinese official media, including China Daily and Xinhua net. However, these reports are more like hard news that disclosed a few information about the backstage team. Besides discussing the original film content, I think the shooting process is also interesting and newsworthy that can attract public attention.

On the other hand, there is no English report on this production team yet, so this article will have possible to be the first report to express the real situation of the Wuhan Film and Television team in this epidemic.

A background feature for this documentary

I plan to interview the video directors and to generate a background feature about the shooting. As far as I know, they have suffered a hard time. At the beginning of the project, it is difficult to find cameramen as it was the most dangerous time of Wuhan; When they risked their lives to film in the hospital, they wear protective clothing for more than eight hours like medical staffs; They also met some people who obstructed their work.

The team was shooting medical workers (Photo by: Wan Xing)

A selfie of team members wearing protective cloth (Photo by: Wan Xing)

The structure I’d like to apply is the flashback, using a sense of recalling to make the audience involve in the story. I will start the feature from the current feeling of the interviewee and choose the three most impressive aspects to expand, moving forward by timeline, and back to reality at the end.

The planning structure of the feature. (Copied from Developing writing techniques, Tanner, S. (2008a))

Publication and target user group

Since Wuhan is the focus of this global epidemic, I think this article will have an international influence and the target audiences for this news are more interested in international news. The Guardian might be a suitable platform because its readers care about coronavirus and worldwide stories. People’s Daily Online Australia is another appropriate press due to the background of my story is in China.

Multimedia, hypertext and interactivity

I plan to include the following tips in my news feature:

  • A well-cut video of interviewees and the documentary
  • Stills of the production team
  • Hyperlinks to recent news and YouTube channel
  • Relevant tags like COVID-19, Wuhan and so on

I haven’t decided how to enhance the interactivity and I think it might depend on what my finished work like.

About Bolun Zhang 4 Articles
Honor bachelor degree of Materials Science and Engineering in Monash University. Now studying master of media practice in the University of Sydney

1 Comment

  1. Hi Bolun,

    This is a really interesting topic you’ve chosen. I think you have correctly identified The Guardian as the most appropriate publication for this due to their international focus.

    A suggestion I would have on how you could engage with the interactive side of things, you could consider optimising your story for a mobile platform and have small clips or gifs from the film or production footage play as the user scrolls. Or, you could do something similar to this article ( from the ABC, which inserts a range of gifs, images and tweets really nicely.

    Either way, I’d be very interested to see what you come up with.


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