BTS of rewriting Wigner’s friend

This… Is silly. No matter how many times I reread my own script, relisten the violin cover, or rewatch the video, I can’t help to think, how silly it is. I feel silly because my conversation design is weird, my sound is too deep for the voice recording, my acting is not natural, and the violin cover just sounds out of tune. However embarrassed I am, I feel like I should promote the video, since it is the efforts of many that helped making it successful.

The suggestion to enter the Quantum Shorts competition was made by my supervisor. There, he suggested several ideas, including contextuality, Wigner’s friend, Kochen-Specker Theorem and free will theorem, more or less circling around the idea that “quantum observables don’t have values until we measure them and what we measure depends in a way on our own free will”. I offered to be the scriptwriter, drawing inspirations from his personal perspectives on some issues. However, the first script was a total failure (and luckily I insisted not to show the first script during the group meeting).

The idea of my second script came from his comment, “Just outside, Wigner’s friend tries to understand this group of people called QuEST trying to do a Quantum Shorts… It feels impossible, it’s not impossible, is it impossible, say that its possible… To do the Quantum Shorts?” It was during my driving trip back to my home that I had the idea of breaking the fourth wall to achieve what he said. Having the idea was easy; On the other hand, designing the conversation and scenario was difficult. Since none of us are actors, plus we have limited resources and less than 5 minutes to demonstrate a quantum concept, the easiest way is to reconstruct the whole discussion that we had before. That’s how the second script was written.

We took a day to do the filming and roughly two days for post production, before sending the final product for competition entry. I think the post production team is giving me too much credits. They probably spent more efforts on editing the video and matching the audio than me just writing the script. One of the many reasons I wanted to write this post is to shout out to them. Of course, credits should also be given to the actors that spent the day to do the shooting.

Often, we are asked by many, what is your contribution (to the society/community) with your work? In fact, I ask this to myself a lot that I sometimes lose sense of direction in my studies: I enjoy what I study, but it would seem that if I can’t contribute something, my studies are then deemed useless. In a sense, this post resonates to me quite well. But ultimately, I don’t think everything has to have its own meaning, at least not immediately. While the video might not have added any values to everyone involved, I do see that it sparked creativity, commitments and hidden talents among us. To me, these kind of values are harder to be quantified, but far more valuable than other quantifiable contributions.

Enough rambling. Enjoy the video here.


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