Schedule- Fall 2018

T 8/21

Digital Cinema / Introduction

Syllabus, Blog sign-up, equipment

Email me at from your WSU account with:

  • information about your background if any in video
  • video equipment that you own personally
  • what your aims are in the class
  • your major and areas of professional interest


Blog Set-Up: Introduce yourself to the class. What is your background or interest in video? Post one or two favorite videos (from youtube/vimeo) that is in a style or approach to video you would like to pursue in this class. Tell us why.

WATCH: Devil’s Playground

Discuss realism/artifice, objectivity/subjectivity, intention/automatism in documentary form

T 8/28

Pocket Cinema

Read: how-your-smartphone-is-changing-cinema

Watch:Michel Gondry iPhone short


Read the article above and view some of the shorts and trailers mentioned in the article, as well as the short by Michel Gondry. Are these iPhone “movies” trying their best to be like film? Or are they creating something new based on the unique qualities of the iPhone?

Today we rely on general terms such as “moving images” to reference all types, formats and hybrids of moving image technology. Youtube, a digital medium, is an archival history of these moving image technologies: super 8 film, black and white tv, technicolor film, early camcorders, iPhone video, etc. And yet, each of these technologies contributes unique, medium-specific qualities or “automatisms” (automatic or unconscious uses of a technology) to the evolving idea of “cinema” – an art form that is about capturing movement and light.  For example, large format film cameras lend themselves to stationary, well-composed shots; handheld video cameras to dynamic movements.

What are some “automatisms” of digital video today? How do you “use” digital video as both creator and consumer? Is is about entertainment, knowledge, human connection, wonder? How do these conditions of making and viewing digital video, on a mobile phone for example, change what might evolve as digital cinema automatisms? In other words, what does digital video want to be as an expressive form today?



    • schedule and assignment change
    • equipment demo/checkout
       (smart phone, compact cameras, DSLR, Red Raven)
    • Final Projects – conception stage, pre-production, production, post-production
    • new Gutenberg editor in WordPress – how to
    • Pixel>Frame>Shot>Scene>Sequence>Acts
    • Pocket Cinema – discuss
    • Evolution of Film Language > continuity editing>cinema space
    • Framing/composition

Class Notes – Evolution of Cinema Language


Class Notes- Framing

Storyboard template

Assignment (Due Next Class):
Framing for visual evidence (5%):
no more than 30 seconds!

In visual storytelling, establishing a setting is very important for narrative context. Where are we? When is it? And what is the story about? The first shots of scenes in documentaries, as well as fictional movies, often provide the viewer with a wide context and then essential details.

In this assignment, you are to make a “Who Dunnit?” sequence. No “actors” or dialogue, just a sequence of shots that presents the aftermath of an event and the possible clues for what happened. This does not have to be a crime. It could be an accident caused by a child or pet.  Use at least 5 different framing compositions (long shot, medium shot, close up, etc.). Shoot, edit, compress and upload these videos to or Present the assignment to the class with a  blog post.

T 9/4

Narrative Space

Do: Search for a favorite movie scene or sequence (no animation please) on YouTube. Select a part of a scene if it is made of many shots. Take screen grabs of each distinct shot in the scene or sequence.

Blog: Post these screen grabs in sequential order to the blog. Then for each image provide a description for the kind of shot (long shot, medium shot, close up, shakey, pan, etc) it is. Use Class Notes- Framing for reference. Discuss how the scene is held together as a narrative whole through the camera framing and editing.



Frames assignment…

Class Notes – Narrative Spaces

Assignment: Due Next Class
Continuity (5%) :
no more than 60 seconds  

Shoot and edit a short video that follows the principles  of continuity to create the illusion of continuous space and time.  Try to vary the angles and distances of your shots:  establishing shot, medium-shot, close-up, extreme-close-up. Sound may be an element here, but please do not include talking, music or verbal explanations. We are working on visual explanations, depicting continuity of action. Below are some ideas.

  • Making or Doing Something:
    Document someone making something or doing some focused activity. The process may take 3-30 minutes, but the final video should be no more than 60 seconds. Document a single continuous action (making art, playing sports, cooking a meal, walking a dog) and edit it into a sequence that is between 30-60 seconds. 
  • “Lunch Date” redux:
    Using continuity editing, narrate a 30-60 sec. story about a character suspecting another character of taking something belonging to them.

Post your Continuity Assignment with a Vimeo/Youtube embed (place the url on its own line) and write a 500 word assessment of your video from the standpoint of framing and continuity editing. What works and what doesn’t work to tell the visual story?


TH 9/11

Narrative Time

Read: Time Frames, by Scott McCloud 

Blog: The art of cinema involves the manipulation of experienced time. The duration of a shot is like a temporal framing.  In “Time Frames”, McCloud describes the various comics techniques for creating different temporalities.  Reading McCloud, consider the framed panel in a comic as a cinema shot.  Wider or longer panels are like shots with longer durations (“long takes”).  Smaller panels are like shots of shorter durations. The main difference between comics and film is that with a page of arranged panels, the reader has a “time map”  in the simultaneous frames. In cinema, shots are mostly sequential and present an unfolding now.  Discuss some aspect of McCloud’s visual essay that makes you think of the possibilities of  time manipulation in digital cinema. 



Continuity assignment…

Class Notes – Time Frames/Temporal Montage

    • time and narrative
    • continuous > linear
    • discontinuous > fragmented/multi-linear/nonlinear
    • scale > long take, nested time frames
    • temporal order > past, present, future
    • simultaneity > parallel action, multi-frame

ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Class 

Temporal Montage (5%):
no more than 30 seconds

As an element of film language, montage (the juxtaposition of images) can be a powerful tool for storytelling: getting across ideas or emotions, summarizing events, conveying the cyclical or simultaneous, making poetic associations and creating rhythm and tension. Because juxtaposed images act on our subconscious, montage is effective in propaganda and marketing as well as storytelling. In other words, be free to juxtapose images for narrative/expressive effect, but be aware and sensitive to how those juxtapositions will be perceived.

In this assignment, you are to use montage to summarize an event or series of events in time. You may use any type of montage association – rhythmic, metric, tonal, intellectual, poetic – but the subject must be about the passage of time. You may use natural sound or keep it silent, but please no music tracks for now. I want you to find the rhythm and pacing of your edits in the narrative, not in external music.

T 9/18



The video loop or animated gif is a new temporality that in some ways combines the stillness of photography with the illusion of motion in film.

Search for three video loops, or gif animations that originated as video, which portray the experience of time in an interesting way. Post the videos/gifs and discuss what you see as possible narrative uses of loops.



Continuity assignment…

    • shuffled time > random access, generative, fractal
    • loop > repetition, cyclic, pause, hints at before and after
    • loop exercises together in frame
    • HTML5 loop

Class Notes – Loops

WATCH:“Run Lola Run” (1991), by directed by Tom Tykwer

ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Class 

Three Loops (5%):
no more than 10 seconds per loop
Shoot and edit 3 video loops (6-10 second mini-narratives) that depict,  emphasize or evoke different subjective experiences of time: cyclic, slow, timeless, frantic, rhythmic. In one loop try to incorporate continuity editing – POV shot, match on action – to maintain unity. In another, try out a more discontinuous/montage style. In the third, attempt a perfect/infinite loop. Create a variety of shot lengths for emphasis. A 4-second shot sandwiched between 2-second shots, will seem to stretch time.

T 9/25

Post-Continuity Editing

Watch (for in-class discussion) :
Chaos Cinema 1, by Matthias Stork
Chaos Cinema 2 by Matthias Stork

Cinema in the Digital Age, by Nicholas Rombes (free Scribd trial membership): read chapters:Introduction, Nonlinear, Simultaneous Cinema, Time Memory, Time Shifting

Blog: What are some of the cinema and narrative techniques used in the movie “Run Lola Run” (1991)? In what ways can this movie be said to have a digital aesthetic as discussed in the readings from Nicholas Rombes’ Cinema in the Digital Age.” How is the narrative space – the spatial and temporal arrangement of story elements – different from most conventional movie narratives? How are certain techniques similar to the Classical Hollywood style? How is time manipulated, stretched and compressed? How is a sense narrative continuity and order maintained with all the jumps in time and space? Please quote from the readings!



Loop assignments…

Class Notes – Montage and Chaos Cinema

    • Discuss Run Lola Run
    • Chaos vs. Classical Cinema – how nonlinear editing has changed movies
    • Nonlinear Editing  – workflows
    • timeline> sequence > tracks >clips> audio sync/linked  > transitionsCompositing
    • Spatial Montage > picture in picture
    • Synch and Asynchronous sound

ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Class 

Spatial Montage (5%):
no more than 60 seconds

Create a 30-60 second video that has at least two distinct video frames simultaneously on the screen. Think about the relationships between each frame’s content (for continuity or montage effects), the relationship between each frame’s editing rhythm, the combinations of their sound tracks and the similarities or differences in the proportions and positioning of the frames themselves.

T 10/02

Visual Evidence

Read: Visual Evidence, A/B Roll Editing” and “A Short Sermon about Interviews” (PDF)

Blog Prompt: Imagine you are given the job of making a short documentary about the Eagle Creek fire and its aftermath. What story would you pursue? Who would you interview? And, most importantly, what visual evidence would you seek out? Reference parts of the reading in your response.



Class Notes – Visual Evidence

    • View Montages…
    • Discuss readings – visual evidence
    • Principles of interviewing
    • Lighting and Sound for interviews
    • Practice interviews
    • Voice-Over Narration

ASSIGNMENT: Due in Two Weeks

Job/Hobby Profile Assignment (10%):
no more than 2 minutes 
In this assignment, you will do a 1-2 minute profile of a person at their job or doing their hobby, like gardening or painting. What does this person do at their job or hobby?  What is the activity? How often do they do it? What experience are they getting? What experience did they need before getting the job or starting on the hobby?  If the person works at home, how do they manage home life and their work? How might you tie the job or hobby to larger questions about work or creative activity? 

The two areas of focus in this assignment are 1) moving with the camera and 2) conducting an interview, but you should of course pay attention to continuity and framing. So choose a subject that does not spend the day sitting in front of a computer, even though most jobs do include some of this.

    • First, have a pre-interview discussion with your subject. Find out some things about them and their job.
    • Prepare a story outline, interview questions and a shot list for visual evidence.
    • Then set up a time/place with your subject and conduct a sit-down interview at a good location for lighting and sound recording.
    • After the interview, get the visual evidence you need by following the person at work or, even better, as they work on a particular project. Continue to ask questions while following the subject with the camera. You may find that the answers are more interesting than in the sit-down interview.

T 10/09

Hybrid Spaces

Read: What is Digital Cinema?, by Lev Manovich


Blog: After reading Lev Manovich’s “What is Digital Cinema”, discuss the digital aesthetics of one or two works listed above. What kind of spaces are depicted in these videos and hybrid  art? How is the “indexicality” of traditional cinema (it truthfulness in capturing images of bodies in a three-dimensional world) altered, manipulated or challenged? What kind of spaces are these? Do they inspire you to create your own Hybrid cinema? Please quote Manovich in your reflections.


In-Class Topics/Activities:

Montages, Job Profiles…

Class Notes – Hybrid Spaces

    • collage > remix
    • screen > interface
    • text > titles, subtitles
    • effects >  glitch, green screen, color correction, mask, picture in picture
    • downloading YouTube videos, screen capture
    • mobile cinema – Cardiff
    • augmented, layered space and time
    • green screen


Hybrid Space (5%):
no more than 60 seconds

Create a 30-60 second video that explores a hybrid cinematic space: a screen space made of multiple layers of video, text and/or graphic imagery. There are many techniques you can combine to create a hybrid space: compositing (layering of video tracks), green screen, video effects, spatial montage, etc.  The only rule is you must  incorporate the “indexicality” of video (your own or remixed from other sources). 

T 10/16


Bring an “assembly edit” or “rough cut” of your job profile to class. We will work on basic sound mixing, noise reduction, effects and color correction.


View Hybrid Cinema assignments…

Job Profile final edits

  • fine-tuning cuts
  • effects and transitions
  • sound editing/mixing
  • noise reduction
  • titles/credits



ASSIGNMENT: Complete Job Profile

T 10/23

Networked Cinema


Blog: Read the article about SKAM and then skim around the Facebook video series. What are your thoughts about a networked “tv” series or “webisode” with social media interaction with the audience? What ideas do you have for such a networked interactive series?



CLASS CANCELED – see next week

T 10/30



Blog Prompt: Watch the above video essays (and Ted Talk) and share your thoughts/opinions about the use of language with image.  How are voice-over, text, sound, graphics and video combined to explore an idea or make an argument? How would you begin “writing” a video essay?

Also, describe your final project idea. Please address the following questions:

  • In two or three sentences, what is your subject, idea or story? 
  • What form will it take? (YouTube series, 2-3 minute video, interactive video)
  • Which two class modules are you exploring in this project?
  • What will you need in the coming weeks to shoot/capture video? (actors, locations, permissions)




View Hybrid projects

View Job Profile

Classnotes- Networked Video

Classnotes – Cinema Writing

Video Essay (5%):

Due next week

Make a 30-60 second video essay about any subject. Draw on various techniques from course modules. Use text and/or voice-over, clips from other videos or games, your own footage, graphics, still images.  A video essay may also include personal anecdotes and have a unique style. Although there are video essays without language, please include some written text and/or voice over.

Scott Allen, 2017

T 11/06


Read:  Database Logic – by Lev Manovich


Blog Prompt:   Although the idea of interactive cinema existed well before digital media, the web allowed for a new type of networked and hyperlinked video. From HTML to Flash to mobile apps with video- the language of clicks, taps and swipes on the moving image has become quite sophisticated.

Select one of the database or interactive works  from the above list and discuss how narrative and storytelling work to organize the discrete media elements (video, stills images, text, sound, maps, etc.). How does the interface create context for exploration and discovery? Are these works narratives or something else? How are they cinematic? How do they use cinema language?



View Video Essays…

    • Discuss Manovich- Database Cinema
    • Watch: Softcinema
    • cinematic space > frames are continuous, simultaneous or sequential
    • montage or hybrid space> frames create associations
    • Hypertext > Hypermedia > Video Games
    • HTML5 media
    • Interactive Cinema
    • hypervideo template

Class Notes – Interactive Cinema, Hypervideo and Database Cinema

In class interactive project.

HyperCinema (5%):

Due next week

Using the hypervideo template 1 | demo  or hypervideo template 2  | demo I provide, shoot some short loops (under 10 seconds each) that are connected as a multilinear narrative through hyperlinks. What can you do with such a structure? What kind of cinema narratives can you invent? You can create new html pages to add more video or use javascript/jQuery to change the videos dynamically.  Make sure you keep the video file size low (under 400px width) and export to the aspect ratio you want to use. You can do this in the Premiere export settings.

T 11/13

Final Projects



View HyperCinema projects

Work on Final Project

View Rough Cuts

T 11/20


Work of Final Projects



TH 11/27

Final Projects

Work of Final Projects



Work on Final Project

View Rough Cuts

TH 12/04

Final Projects



Work on Final Project

View Final Cuts

Final Projects Due next Tuesday