Fundamentals of Digital Filmmaking
FUNDAMENTALS OF DIGITAL FILMMAKING
THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, TWIN
Professor: Hisham M. Bizri
Course hours: T 2:30-5:15
Voice: (612) 625-8460
Course location: Nicholson Hall 135
Office hours: T&TH 1-2 (146A Nicholson Hall)
CSCL office: 235 Nicholson Hall
This course is an introduction to the practice of digital filmmaking. The main focus of the course will be practical, affording students ample time to write, direct, shoot, and edit (including post-production) original works of film using digital and optical means. In doing so, students will begin to master the use of digital and optical tools such as the camera, optics, light, color, and the computer to tell stories. We will inform this practical focus by attending to how films are made is terms of space, light, action, dramatic structure, montage, and the overall visual vision of master filmmakers. Our productions will also be shaped by our own life experiences as well as other art forms such as music, painting, theater, photography, sculpture, and poetry.
To teach the fundamentals of digital filmmaking. Our goals would here be to:
1. Study the technical
aspects of digital and optical filmmaking.
2. Analyze filmmaking techniques.
3. Learn how to construct narrative and non-narrative strategies.
4. Discover formal aspects of filmmaking.
5. Study the relationship between filmmaking and other forms of art making: painting, music, and literature.
6. Expand and sharpen our viewing and interpretive skills.
7. Make short films.
· Mandatory class attendance and participation. Students are not allowed to arrive late or leave early.
· Technical workshops: various workshops dealing with technical and aesthetic aspects of film. There will be in-class demonstrations, viewings, and discussions.
· Readings (average of 50 pages per week). The technical and aesthetic aspects of film are vast. It is up to you to decide what to master. However, you are required to acquire all basic concepts and technical know-how of filmmaking.
· Filmmaker's journal: this includes your notes on the technical and aesthetic aspects of the course, your stories, treatments, scripts, shooting scripts, production notes, sketches, and daily dreams and reveries. You are required to review it with me at the end of each month.
· Filmmaker's creative reference book: you are to collect in this book a vast data of your favorite poems, photos, paintings, music, newspaper stories, etc. You are required to review this with me as well at the end of each month.
· Two 3-minute films (groups of two, developing one's own creative voice): a self portrait (silent) and a sound film inspired by a story from the current Minnesota newspapers.
· One 5-minute final film (individual creative vision): must be a fiction and not a documentary
· All films must be accompanied by a written report discussing the technical, aesthetic, and overall concept behind the film and why it was made; two pages long
You will have access to equipment at: http://studiob.cla.umn.edu. A handout will be given out on the first day of classes on where and how to check out equipment. However, you need to buy your own external hard drive. We recommend that you buy a 1TB of Western Digital MyBook Essential or My Book Studio Edition. You also need to buy your own DV tapes; please buy three Sony PR (DVM-60). They are all available at the U bookstore.
(Available at the U bookstore; additional handouts in class)
· Blain Brown, CINEMATOGRAPHY: THEORY AND PRACTICE (Focal Press, 2002)
· Blain Brown, MOTION PICTURE AND VIDEO LIGHTING, Second Edition (Focal Press, 2007)
There will be several handouts throughout the semester on the craft and method conceived by master filmmakers, cinematographers, editors, set designers, and music composers.
· INTOLERANCE (D.W.Griffith, 163 minutes, 1916)
· STAGECOACH (John Ford, 96 minutes, 1939)
· CITIZEN KANE (Orson Welles, 119 minutes,1941)
· ROME, OPEN CITY (Roberto Rossellini, 100 minutes, 1945)
· THE BIG SLEEP (Howard Hawks, 114 minutes, 1946)
· THE TARNISHED ANGELS (Douglas Sirk, 91 minutes, 1958)
· LA GLACE A TROIS FACES, aka THE THREE-SIDED MIRROR (Jean Epstein, 33 minutes, 1927)
· ANGEL (Joseph Cornell, 3 minutes, 1957)
· FABLE FO FOUNTAIN (Joseph Cornell, 6 minutes, 1957)
· EAUX D'ARTIFICE (Kenneth Anger, 12 minutes, 1953)
· CHRISTMAS, U.S.A. (Gregory J. Markopoulos, 13 minutes, 1949)
· THE END (Christopher MacLaine, 35 minutes, 1953)
· KISS, (Andy Warhol, 50 minutes, 1963)
· THE DEAD (Stan Brakhage, 11 minutes, 1960)
(Assignments must be completed on time; late work will not be permitted)
1. Filmmaker's journal and
reference book (30%)
2. Two films (40%)
3. Final film (30%)
A+ = 97-100%; A = 93%; A- = 90%
B+ = 87%; B = 83% ; B- = 80%
C+ = 77%; C = 73% ; C- = 70%
D+ = 67% ; D = 63%; D- = 60%
F = 59%
If you don't attend regularly, doing so for the entire duration of each class, you will get an F even if you complete all assignments. This is a production course and missing any workshop will prevent you from completing your films properly.
September 8 [Introduction to the course]
What is the course about; what is my teaching approach to filmmaking in this course; what is expected of you.
Overview of equipment
Filmmaker's journal and reference book
Bordwell and Thompson, FILM ART, "The Significance of Film Form" (available at: http://lingo.uib.no:8000/1646)
September 15 [The frame #1]
Schools of visual space
Cinematography, "Filmspace" (pp. 1-28)
Cinematography, "Visual Language" (pp. 29-44)
LA GLACE A TROIS FACES, aka THE THREE-SIDED MIRROR (Jean Epstein, 33 minutes, 1927)
September 22 [Lighting #1]
Schools of lighting
Final Cut Pro basics
Motion Picture and Video Lighting, "Fundamentals of Lighting" (pp. 35-57)
Motion Picture and Video Lighting, "Basic Scene Lighting" (pp. 58-85)
Cinematography, "Lighting as Storytelling" (pp. 157-166)
September 29 [Editing #1]
Schools of editing
Final Cut Pro revisited
Cinematography, "Cinematic Continuity" (pp. 79-102)
October 6 [Writing for the screen #1]
Schools of writing
From treatment to script
October 13 [The frame #2]
Visual function of the frame
Optics and video shooting
Newspaper story (Pre-production)
Cinematography, "Lens Language" (pp. 45-60)
Cinematography, "Camera Dynamics" (pp. 61-78)
Cinematography, "Optics" (pp.177-192)
October 20 [Lighting #2]
Visual function of lighting
Exposure and color
Newspaper story (Production)
Cinematography, "Exposure" (pp. 103-126)
Cinematography, "Color Theory" (pp. 127-140)
Motion Picture and Video Lighting, "Lighting HD, DV, and SD Video" (pp. 86-98)
October 27 [Editing #2]
Visual function of editing and the construction of space
From Final Cut Pro to DVD Studio Pro
Newspaper story (Post-production)
Cinematography, "Set Operations" (pp. 241-253)
November 3 [Writing for the screen #2]
Script and shooting script
Visualize word and action
Newspaper story (DUE)
November 10 [Sound Design #1]
Schools of sound design
Final film (Treatment)
November 17 [Sound Design #2]
Visual function of sound design in studio and location films
Sound in Final Cut Pro
Final film (Pre-production)
November 24 [Thanksgiving week]
INTOLERANCE (D.W.Griffith, 163 minutes, 1916)
December 1 [Final Film]
View and critique rushes
December 8 [Final Film]
View and criqiue final cuts
All films are due in CSCL office by noon. They need to be on DVD and labelled.