[Field-Homework 3] Control City-Rooftop




Living under the world of hypocrisy, all mankind is controlled by the society, we have been asking to reform as the person that society intends to become, from a little kid with big dreams, to a rowdy, insolent teenager, to a university student, to a future member of the society…Our lives seem to be barred in this fixed reincarnation.

Hong Kong is a densely-populated metropolis, a fast-paced society, and a concrete jungle…

Hongkongers are labeled as hard-working and overtime working as an inexorable “machine”, and we require fast in various aspects, eating, working, learning, transporting, etc. We are desperate to get the outcome as soon as possible. We fear that we would be eliminated by this ruthless, cold-blooded society, but have we actually slowed our pace down and feel the ambiance?

We eat fast.

We work fast.

We learn fast.

We lost our souls fast.

The outbreak of Covid -19 has been burst for 2 years, and the pandemic keeps wild spreading among the world causing a catastrophe. And finally, we slow our pace down and break the controlled fate.

And I think Rooftop is a great place to respite ourselves.

Why rooftop?

The rooftop is the tallest place on buildings in which Hong Kong is a well-known metropolis, concrete forest. Rooftop is everywhere, but people seldom notice their surroundings. Every day, we will pass through the countless mansion, and buildings, yet we are always busy watching out for what is just ahead of us that we don’t even take time to enjoy where we are. Rooftop is a spectacular site for reflection, a hidden gem inside the hustle and bustle of the city. A place without humans interrupting, allows us to take off the masks, breathe some fresh air, take a break and talk to ourselves. Also, the apical site comes with a unique bird’s eye view bringing us extraordinary cityscapes and seeing the world from a different aspect. There is a Chinese old saying called “Going up one more storey to see things a thousand miles away”, it indicates people couldn’t see the whole picture until we breakthrough or reflect on ourselves.

Research – What is the usage of rooftops in Hong Kong?

During the research, most of the rooftops are being forebitten for security reasons and the outbreak of covid 19. So, I used the drone to visit the site. From the drone video and some rooftop visits, I discover that most of the rooftops from Tong Lau (唐樓) are semi-open spaces yet are not occupied or turned into rooftop housing, maybe people are afraid of the poor security, hygiene, or fire safety. And resident from Tong Lau is more likely to utilize rooftop to dry out their cloth after laundry, installing an antenna and a water tank. And most surprisingly, under the limited space of Tong Lau, people manipulated the space creatively in order to fit their needs, they dried out the food to extend the shelf life, built some furniture, etc. On the other hand, the modern high-rise buildings are usually empty and not interested. The rooftop is locked up for security reason and seldom allow people to step in. I think it is a waste to not make it meaningful. yet, I can understand why people cannot be directly exposed to the potential risk of a catastrophe or poor outdoor weather.

How do I film this video?

At the beginning of the video, I chose to use the footage of walking upstairs because I think it is crucial to showcase the way to the rooftop and try to create a mysterious vibe. And most of the videos are using drone shots from Kowloon city and Sai Ying Pun that provide a bird’s eye view and easier to let the audience to spot the situation on the rooftop. Also, I added some footage about the MTR environment and the footage from the Mong Kok sidewalk as these places are crowded with numerous people every day. Because I intend to make a contrast between a hollow rooftop and the packed space from the ground floor the rooftop can be a place to unleash the stress accumulate from our life. I have shot some footage on HKU rooftop with a view to visualize that we are surrounded by a concrete jungle and hard to respite. Then I recorded some time-lapse videos to emphasize that we are living in a fast pace and controlled city.

Fung Ching Hin (3035864211)




Ackbar Abbas, “Building on Disappearance: Hong Kong Architecture and the City,” Public Culture 6 (1994):445; 448.

Eugeni, R. (2012). First person shot. New forms of subjectivity between cinema and intermedia networks. Analisi Monografic, 19-31.

Perec, G. (1998).Species of spaces and other pieces. Penguin Classics.

Pérez Igualada J. (2015). The metro and the city: interaction with the urban landscape







3 thoughts on “[Field-Homework 3] Control City-Rooftop

  1. ZimengFan  says:

    WOW, absolutely jaw-dropping, I am so amazed at how you filmed these clips, especially these drone shots. After seeing these drone shots I could not believe that it is the same Hong Kong that I went to, it gave me a whole different view of Hong Kong. Also, I like the way how you linked the structure of the city with our daily life.
    p.s. I just want to say I loved the music you chose, especially the part “these streets, have way too many names for me”, that was nice edited haha.

  2. RishimaMathur  says:

    Awesome video, some of these shots are really spectacular! The drone shots were of-course great, but I also really liked the colour grading of the one of people walking and from the housing estates. I really appreciate how these range of shots gave a clearer top-down view of Hong Kong, especially to look at rooftops. By combining the shots of individual experiences with these large scale views of the city, and lastly to the metaphorical link to daily life, I think the video was very very effective!

  3. Jen Lam says:

    Appreciate your effort in getting the drone shots. I wonder why you have particularly chosen Sai Ying Pun and Kowloon City as your sites for flying drones? Is it because of the heights of the buildings? It would be great if you have a close-up of a roof to show us how people do not utilize the space, as right now, the drone footage looks like an overview of the area instead of thorough observation of the roof.


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