Editor's note: The second season of the documentary "Super Equipment" produced by the CCTV Documentary Channel of the main station has been widely praised after its premiere on CCTV-9. The total number of Weibo topic readings has exceeded 200 million, and the entire network has been searched 18 times on various platforms. The documentary hit list ranks first on CCTV-9 and fifth in the country, and has been rebroadcasted several times recently. The film realizes the narrative innovation of popular science documentaries at multiple levels, and presents a new civilization form behind the scientific and technological power condensed by domestic cutting-edge equipment. The director's notes, written by Han Jing, the chief director, chief writer, and professor of Shanghai Normal University, recorded the creative ingenuity of the film.
Super Gear 2 poster
"Super equipment" is the "device" that infiltrates thoughts, emotions and dreams
On the morning of January 18, 2021, a major event occurred at the Lianyungang Petrochemical Base in Jiangsu Province: the crawler-type lifting equipment with the strongest lifting capacity in the world was required to lift the petrochemical vacuum distillation tower. This "Super King Kong" level machine has a boom length of 216 meters, which is equivalent to the height of a 72-story skyscraper. The lifted vacuum distillation tower weighs 1,600 tons, which is equivalent to the total weight of six Airbus A380 aircraft.
Lifting vacuum distillation column
The lifting started, 60 steel cables with a diameter of 4 cm were taut, and one end of the vacuum distillation column was slowly lifted. The angle between the original recumbent tower and the ground began to change, 25 degrees, 40 degrees, 75 degrees, until it was erected vertically...
This scene has become a representative scene of the second season of the documentary "Super Equipment" using images to present the majestic and majestic "Super Equipment".
The second season of "Super Equipment" involves five fields of energy, medical care, infrastructure, transportation, and rescue, focusing on 18 cutting-edge equipment at the forefront of China. Therefore, "equipment" is the main body that does its part, and "getting to the point" is the first priority. But equipment is inorganic, reinforced and iron bones, high-cold and hard-core, and equipment is created by people, and people have warmth. How do we make "inorganic" machines look "organic"?
Since the first season of "Super Equipment", the film crew has entered the factory and the workshop many times, and they have seen many breathtaking industrial manufacturing scenes. However, it is rare to achieve the shocking force of making a 4,000-ton crawler crane.
The boom with a length of 216 meters can only be divided into parts and manufactured in sections. The entire boom consists of 72 steel segments, the largest segment is equivalent to the size of a 42-square-meter room. The huge welding workshop is full of boom segments, and countless welders are countersinking. They deal with welding guns every day, their clothes are of course dirty. Welding flowers splashed down day after day, forming tear-like bumps on the ground.
Therefore, in addition to the main story of hoisting the vacuum distillation column, we have laid a sub-line: the manufacture of the crane jib.
Under the high-speed shooting of the camera at 200 frames, the layered and flickering welding flowers are like golden snowflakes, blooming, falling, and extinguishing in the rough workshop. A welding flower is opened from the bottom of the welder's heart.
In the gentle music like the warm sun in winter, in the affectionate and restrained narration, "the bright welding flowers bloom in the ordinary life of the builder, supported by hope and perseverance, in the expectation that the super equipment will be born soon. ,Bear fruit……"
That moment makes us believe that one day, machines will have hearts, iron and stone will blossom, sweat will condense into nectar, and years will fold into glory.
Only by "embedding" people into the industrial manufacturing scene, and casting people's wisdom, dreams and blood into steel mechas, can "inorganic" equipment be photographed with an "organic" texture. "If you want to do good work, you must first sharpen your tools." Equipment is what the Chinese call "tools". "Super equipment" is "tools" that infiltrate thoughts, emotions and dreams. It is a "chimera" of man and machine. .
When grand equipment and "tiny" people are in the same frame
In order to chase a talking white rabbit with a pocket watch, Alice, a little girl, accidentally fell into a rabbit hole and entered a magical kingdom: mushrooms grew as tall as trees, roses as big as a washbasin, and Alice become a little man...
Before we met "Taihang", we didn't even think that "Alice in Wonderland" would become a reference for hardcore popular science documentaries.
The second season of "Super Equipment" involves five fields of energy, medical care, infrastructure, transportation and rescue. The second episode, "Wisdom Leads Kindness", tells the story of China's most cutting-edge cutting-edge medical equipment.
blood test equipment
The "Taihang" blood test equipment with original intelligent slide machine, nucleic acid fluorescence staining combined with three-dimensional analysis technology, consists of five boxes less than one meter square. This clear, "story-less" appearance drove the team crazy, because any superb photography skills were useless in front of it.
However, when they learned that it is a miniature blood testing factory composed of 60,000 precision parts and capable of accepting 1,000 blood samples per hour, the team immediately realized that revealing its intricate and intricate inner world might be the interest of the audience. where, because this is a scene that has never been seen before.
We thought of "Alice in Wonderland" and decided to refer to the space ratio between Alice and Wonderland - since we can't make the rig bigger, the only thing we can do is to "shrink" ourselves so that the camera lens can enter it. , to walk in the miniature universe, that is, to obtain a "microscopic perspective".
After obtaining the approval of the research and development unit and removing some of the outer wall panels, the photography team used a special lens shaped like a "probe" to penetrate into its interior, capturing the intelligent and efficient mechanical movement of the micro-factory, which is difficult to see from normal viewing angles. the hidden universe.
Inside the blood test kit
However, even if the "probe" can travel in miniature "streets", the reverse side of some parts is still difficult to reach. The photographer then attached a small mirror to the back of the parts, and by shooting the mirror image, the audience could closely observe how the blood test factory stains, counts and analyzes blood cells, and understands the "blood test reports" on the blood test report in daily life. How did the "arrow" come about?
Shooting precision equipment is difficult, and the presentation of large equipment is also challenging. Because when all the "grand", "huge" and "huge" are trapped in the 16:9 format, no matter how majestic and huge the machine is, it is difficult to break through the limitations of the format. The solution is to find a frame of reference for large equipment.
We found "people"!
When the towering equipment is in the same frame as its creator, the "small" person, the extreme contrast in volume has the effect of "silence is better than sound at this time". Not only that, the frame of reference also fully manifests the power of "people" and becomes the hard core manifestation of the essential power of "people".
When the towering equipment is in the same frame as its creator, the "tiny" person
In addition to the contrast between "grand" and "small", there is also a contrast between "extraordinary" and "ordinary". The equipment is high-cold and stalwart, and the domineering side leaks, but the person who created it is mediocre. Most of them are taciturn, not embellished, and some even face the vicissitudes of life. When facing the camera, he made no secret of his hard work to improve his family's life, but at the same time he couldn't hold back his inner pride, because he participated in the modernization of the motherland.
It is these "ordinary" people who have achieved great achievements in the world who have given their spiritual genes of "choosing one thing for the rest of your life, not for prosperity and ingenuity", and equipping the equipment with the "power to the sky, loyalty to people and never knowing." Tired" endowment.
Our mission is to simplify the complex and return to the figurative
When the American female writer and educator Helen Keller was young, her teacher Sullivan put her hand into the spring water to let her feel the coolness of the water, touch the fallen leaves and feel the softness of the petals. Later, Helen Keller wrote, "My spring is a rose garden..."
Spring water and flowers are figurative, but people's feelings about "spring" are abstract; spring water and flowers are simple, but people's feelings about "spring" are complex. From figurative to abstract, from simple to complex, is the only way for us to understand the world.
December 1, 2020 was an unforgettable pre-collection. In order to explain the "principle of hydrogen atomic magnetic resonance" to us, 13 engineers and technicians walked into the conference room one after another. They were very patient and explained in as much detail as possible, but we, the liberal arts students, were still confused. I still remember that scene. The teachers looked at us with puzzled faces. The subtext was, "Why don't you understand such a simple truth?" 13 puzzled faces formed a book of revelation, which made me understand our What is the mission.
The second season of "Super Equipment" is a key project of the CCTV Headquarters Film and Television Documentary Center. At the beginning of its creation, it received the full assistance of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, the National Health and Health Commission, the Ministry of Transport and other ministries and commissions. Recommend by experts organized by ministries and commissions, and then select 18 cutting-edge equipment. All of them are the crystallization of the highest level of human wisdom, full of scientific principles, technical terms and boring data, which is its "natural nature". To make these "higher abstractions" understandable to ordinary audiences, our mission is to simplify the complex and return to the figurative.
But it's not easy!
If expertise is likened to a tough "hard bone", it's not that we break the bone and the audience will understand. Because it is broken again and again, it is still "bone", and its properties have not changed. Instead, we have to eat the "bones" and secrete a large amount of "digestive enzymes" to decompose and digest them, eventually turning them into easily absorbed "nutrients". The "digestive enzyme" is the creator's long-term accumulation of knowledge, experience and imagination.
Therefore, "knowledge transformation" is not a simple physical process, but a complex chemical process.
Deep Sea One
Therefore, on the 100,000-ton semi-submersible energy production platform "Deep Sea No. 1", the abstract data of "120 meters high and over 50,000 tons of total weight" was transformed into "equivalent to the height of a 40-story building, projected on a plane" It has the size of 2 standard football fields and the displacement is equivalent to 3 medium-sized aircraft carriers”.
Therefore, in the Baihetan Hydropower Station, the data of "the dam height is 289 meters, the dam length is 709 meters, and it takes more than 8 million cubic meters of concrete to pour it" was transformed by us into "the dam body is equivalent to more than three times the volume of the Egyptian Khufu Pyramid". .
The volute inside the hydro-generator set is made of "yield 780" special steel. According to the abstract information of "its compressive strength is 780 MPa per square centimeter", we first convert the "780 MPa pressure" into "8 tons weight" ”, and then according to the weight of each adult African elephant of 3-5 tons, the pressure bearing capacity of the volute is finally converted into “equivalent to two adult African elephants standing on the cover of a human fingernail”.
The imagination and transformation again and again make us seem to have also experienced the reverse growth process of returning from the abstract "spring" to the figurative spring water and flowers. If life is a journey, making a documentary is a wonderful adventure.
Do documentaries really move people?
I asked Lao Fan, "If there is an afterlife, would you still choose this career?" Lao Fan suddenly had red eyes and was silent for a moment, then he said, "If there is a choice, I will choose a job closer to home. Take good care of the old mother and the child..."
Before he finished speaking, he turned his back and wiped away tears with his hands. After listening to Lao Fan's answer, my tears couldn't help flowing. I didn't ask any further questions, I just stayed quietly beside the camera, waiting for him to slow down.
Lao Fan is the engineer of "Deep Sea No. 1", responsible for the installation and commissioning of the huge "subsea tree". As a senior expert in the field of offshore oil, he is well aware of the importance of subsea production systems to platforms. For the sake of engineering, he floats at sea all year round and rarely returns home.
After Lao Fan pulled away from his emotions and returned to the interrupted interview, I asked him, "Have you thought about running away?" He replied, "No, because I'm also an old party member."
By the end of the interview, there were still tears in my eyes. In the world of documentaries, we meet a lot of people, and maybe my question will touch their pain points and make them open up. But few people know that they actually touched me deeply and touched the softest corner of our heart. Even if I no longer remember their names, or even forget their appearance, this feeling will not fade.
The description of the "great body" of the super equipment is undoubtedly a difficult and complicated task. This task includes the deconstruction of the gigantic body of the equipment, the characterization of extreme abilities, the description of the nervous system, and the ability to perceive the outside world. But while accomplishing this daunting task, one question kept bothering me.
Equipment, people, everything that the naked eye sees, what is the relationship between them? If our images only stop at the depiction of the "great body" without touching its soul, can documentaries really move people?
In the "steel floating city" moored by 16 "Dinghaishen needles" in the vast sea, in the Baihetan dam where the cable machine shuttles, in the manufacturing park of the brain pacemaker that carries the patient's life for decades with its own weight of 37 grams, those " What are the busy people thinking? Keeping the ordinary and enduring loneliness, what is their "poetry and distance"?
Every interview, I spend a lot of time, hoping to open their hearts. We approached them with respect, believing that a great body must have an extraordinary soul. While showing the fullness of the material world, we want to show the power of the soul.
Interview with Huang Lingcai (left)
"Kunlong" AG600 is an advanced large-scale fire-fighting/maritime rescue amphibious aircraft. When interviewing the chief designer Huang Lingcai, I found that he answered every question calmly. Obviously, with a wealth of interview experience, he will not open his heart to others easily. Until I asked him, "What were you doing the night before the first flight?" He said, "I was still at the scene after 1 in the middle of the night. I have to keep my children away from home. I rarely cry in front of outsiders..." He couldn't hold back the tears again as he spoke.
These contents, which constitute the most touching part of the documentary, are placed in the "Easter Eggs" at the end of the film. The documentary must first complete the outline of the "great body", and the "soul" should stay quietly in the "body". The equipment is displayed in 95% of the space, and the "Easter Egg" only takes two or three minutes, because the two are not in the same narrative dimension.
Different from the narrative dimension of the feature film, "Easter Eggs" have behind-the-scenes, internal and supplementary meanings. Placing the "soul" in the easter egg, the "alienation" generated by another narrative dimension, not only avoids the "overwhelming", but also expands the overall thickness and strength of the documentary.
To place the soul, it only needs a little space, because the power of the soul is enough to move a thousand pounds! I believe what really moves people is the organic, soulful and never-before-seen scenes.
(The author is the chief director and chief writer of the "Super Equipment" series, a professor at Shanghai Normal University, and a senior editor at Shanghai Film Group. This article is slightly edited)