Schedule- Fall 2019

T 8/20

Digital Cinema / Introduction

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

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



Cinema & Signs

Deepfake Video:


WATCH: Devil’s Playground

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

T 8/27

Pocket Cinema

Read: The Rise of the iPhone Autuer, how-your-smartphone-is-changing-cinema

Watch:Michel Gondry’s Detour and Night Fishing by Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong. Two different iPhone short films.


Read the article and view the two iPhone shorts (above). Are these iPhone “movies” trying to be like traditional film? Or are they creating something new based on the unique qualities of the iPhone? What are these qualities?

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?



    • Blogging/equip issues
    • Bring camera and earbuds to class
    • Final Projects – conception stage, pre-production, production, post-production
    • Pixel>Frame>Shot>Scene>Sequence>Acts
    • Pocket Cinema
    • Evolution of Film Language > continuity editing>cinema space
    • Framing/composition

Pocket Cinema

Class Notes – Evolution of Cinema Language


Class Notes- Framing

Storyboard template

Assignment (Due Next Class):
Framing (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. Or, alternatively, starting on a detail and proceeding to reveal something in the wider context.

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 9/3

Making Space: Continuity Editing

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.



View Frames assignment…

Class Notes – Continuity

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. 

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 9/10

Time Frames

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 assignments…

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

Class Notes – Narrative Time

Class Notes – Loops

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

ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Class 

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, etc – to maintain unity. In another, try out a more discontinuous/montage style by contrasting edited shots – dark/light, fast/slow, close-up/long-shot. In the third, attempt a perfect/infinite loop.  Create a variety of shot durations for emphasis. A 4-second shot sandwiched between 2-second shots, will seem to stretch time.

Set YouTube to loop on playback. Or host the short videos in your DTC directory and add it using the wordpress shortcode for video. Do NOT set to autoplay.


T 9/17

Cinema Narration

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”? 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?  These questions are only “prompts” for your own thoughts about the narrative style of the movie.



Discuss story world of Run Lola Run

Watch Loop assignments…

Discuss McCloud…

Class Notes – Time Frames/Temporal Montage

Classnotes – Cinema Narration 

In-class Assignment – mini-story loops

Prep Job Profiles…

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

As an element of film language, montage (the juxtaposition of discontinuous images) can be a powerful tool for storytelling: narrating events, 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 (discontinuous editing) as well as continuity editing to summarize an event or series of events in time. The subject must be about the passage of time. Use natural sound, 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.

Ideas: your morning routine or a commute, boredom while waiting for something, the short summary of a trip.


T 9/24

Breaking Space: Montage 

Read: Sergei Eisenstein – Methods of Montage (PDF) (read also the wikipedia summary)

Blog: Search on YouTube for a Montage sequence the demonstrates one of Eisenstein’s methods of montage. Paste the video into a post and describe how the techniques in the sequence fit one or more of the methods and how you think the sequence works on the viewer’s emotional understanding.



Loop assignments…

Class Notes – Montage and Chaos Cinema

    • Soviet Montage
    • 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 

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

Create a 30-60 second video (with sound) that associates different and discontinuous shots around a main idea. This could be a dream-like association of images and sounds. Or images and sounds that collectively express an abstract idea or that have an emotional impact. Use contrast between shots to make the viewer work at understanding.  Use similarities between shots to build connections. 

Ideas: a montage of a rainstorm, mobile phone addiction, a student experience at WSU, fear or anxiety, peace or calm.


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.

Ideas: portrait of a place, coverage of an event from multiple points of view

T 10/01

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 framing, sound, continuity editing and/or montage. 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 10/08

Pixel Cinema

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 with altered-pixels breaking illusion of cinema space? How is the “indexicality” of traditional cinema (it truthfulness in capturing images of bodies in a three-dimensional world) manipulated or challenged? What kind of cinema spaces are these? Do they inspire you to create your own “pixel” cinema? Please quote Manovich in your reflections.


In-Class Topics/Activities:

Montages, Job Profiles…

Class Notes – Pixel Cinema

    • 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


Pixel Cinema (5%):
no more than 60 seconds

Create a 30-60 second video that explores a hybrid cinematic space by manipulating the pixels of a video image: 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 10/15

Job Profile Post-Production

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 Pixel Cinema assignments…

Job Profile final edits

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


ASSIGNMENT: Complete Job Profile

T 10/22

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?



Job Profiles –  final cut

Classnotes- Networked Video


T 10/29



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 Job Profile

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.


T 11/05



Most of these works are made in Flash and will soon disappear from the web. Use Chrome and enable Flash when prompted.

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 story or narrative fragments 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… and other works

    • Discuss Interactive/Database Cinema
    • Watch: Softcinema
    • cinematic space > frames are 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

Watch: TBA 

T 11/12

Final Projects



Sound notes

Work on Final Project

View Rough Cuts

T 11/19

Final Projects

Work of Final Projects



Work on Final Project

View Rough Cuts

T 11/26


Work of Final Projects



T 12/03

Final Projects



Work on Final Project

View Final Cuts

Final Projects Due next Tuesday