Schedule- Fall 2017

TH 8/24

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 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.

What Was Cinema? reading… index,indexical, medium-specificity, automatism, essentialism

WATCH: Devil’s Playground

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


TH 8/31

What Was Cinema?

Read: What Was Cinema, by D.N. Rodowick

Blog: In the reading “What Was Cinema?”, D.N, Rodowick  addresses the hydrid nature of digital media today. On the one hand, he accepts that “film” is a dead medium and that we must now use a broad term such as “moving images” to reference all types of digital hybridizations of moving image technology. On the other hand, he argues that film, video, and the digital each contribute unique, medium-specific qualities or “automatisms” to the evolving idea of “cinema” – an art form that is about capturing movement and light.  

What are some “automatisms” of digital video today? How do you “use” digital video in your life? Is it about 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 automatisms? In other words, what does digital video want to be as an expressive form today? 

Use at least one quote from the reading in your response.



  • equipment needs
  • make Groups
  • discuss Devil’s Playground
  • Frame>Shot>Scene>Sequence>Act
  • What Was Cinema? – discuss
  • Evolution of Film Language > continuity editing

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, 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.

TH 9/7

Narrative Spaces

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 Something:
    Document someone making something to completion. The process may take 3-30 minutes, but the final video should be no more than 30 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 250-500 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 9/14

Time Frames

Read: Time Frames, by Scott McCloud

Blog:   In “Time Frames”, Scott McCloud demonstrates that the spatial juxtaposition of static comic panels, like the editing of cinema shots, can portray complex experiences of time. For example, an elongated panel can suggest a “long take”, radial panels can create the sense of cyclic time (loop), forking paths in panels can introduce nonlinear (hypertext) readings. With digital cinema, the video loop or animated gif is a new technique that in some ways combines that static panels of comics and the stillness of photography with the illusion of motion in film.

Search for three cinematic gif animations that portray the experience of time in an interesting way. Post the gifs and, using the reading, discuss what you see as possible narrative uses of loops in new hybrid forms of cinema/comics.



Continuity assignment…

Class Notes – Time Frames

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

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

ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Class 

Time Frames (5%):
no more than 10 seconds per loop
Shoot and edit 3-5 video loops (6-10 second mini-narratives) that depict, emphasize or evoke different subjective experiences of time: cyclic, slow, timeless, frantic, rhythmic.

In some of the loops, try to incorporate continuity editing – POV shot, match on action – to maintain unity. In others, try out a more discontinuous style. Also, create a variety in shot length for emphasis. A 4-second shot sandwiched between 2-second shots, will seem to stretch time.

TH 9/21

Montage and 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!



Montage assignment…

Class Notes – Montage and Chaos Cinema

  • Discuss Run Lola Run
  • Chaos Cinema – how nonlinear editing has changed movies
  • Nonlinear Editing  – workflows
  • In-class Remix assignment
  • timeline> sequence > tracks >clips> audio sync/linked  > transitionsCompositing
  • Spatial Montage > picture in picture
  • Temporal Montage – time passage, surrealism
  • Soviet Montage Theory – Eisenstein
  • Asynchronous sound
  • text and image montage


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.


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

Create a 30-60 second video that expresses an idea, a feeling or complex subject through the juxtaposition of images.  You may use natural sound or keep it silent, but please no music tracks. I want you to find the rhythm and pacing of your edits in the narrative, not in external music.


Movie Trailer Remix (5%):
no more than 60 seconds

Create a 30-60 second video remix of movie trailers. Download 3-5 movie trailers and/or scenes from movies. You will get the most humorous results if you mix different genres! Bring these videos into Premiere and edit your own trailer of an imaginary movie. Try to use continuity editing, montage and sound editing to create the illusion that your remix references a real movie.

TH 9/28

Visual Evidence

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

Blog Prompt: You are assigned by a community news site to make a 5-minute story about some aspect of the Eagle Creek fire and its impact on the community. Who do you interview? What is your “B-roll”?  What will be the visual evidence for your story?  Please quote from the readings.



Class Notes – Visual Evidence

  • 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.

TH 10/05

Hybrid 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 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
  • Godard, Amerika


ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Thursday
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). 


TH 10/12


Bring a “rough cut” of your job profile to class. It can be in the timeline of Premiere. Come prepared to work on a “final cut” in 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


TH 10/1

Networked Cinema

Read:  Create Great ContentGrow Your Audience, Make Money

Blog: Look through some of the Google resource material for YouTube creators. In a blog post, discuss what makes a successful web series based on the “success” criteria (eyeballs and attention) established by Google.  Share a favorite Youtube web series or pitch your own idea for a YouTube series or channel that follows or challenges the guidelines in some way.




Hybrid projects…

  • video blogging 2001-2008:
  • YouTube
  • webisodes
  • strategies for YouTube
  • analytics
  • annotations

Classnotes- Networked Video


Interactive Cinema (5%):

Using the hypervideo template | demo  I provide, shoot and edit at least 5-10 short videos (10-60 seconds) that are connected as a multilinear narrative through hyperlinks.  Multiple hyperlinks or hotspots on any given video to any other video in the enclosed network should create multiple pathways for the user. What can you do with such a structure? What kind of cinema narratives can you invent?


DUE TH 11/02

TH 10/26

Interactive Cinema

Read: 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?



Hypervideo assignments…

  • 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

Discuss final projects. Brainstorm.


TH 11/02



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)



Final projects


Video Essay (Extra Credit 10%):

Take a topic or module from this class  – continuity, montage, youtube series, interactive cinema etc. – and make a 1-3 minute video essay that demonstrates your thoughts about the subject. Use text and/or voice-over, clips from other movies, your own footage, graphics, still images. Analyze a scene, style of editing or cinematography, explore a common thread between movies or genres, explore issues of bigotry and stereotyping, introduce a favorite genre of video. 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.


TH 11/09

Final Projects

Work on Final Projects – bring something to work on in class

more Interactive Projects, Video Essays


Editing Basics:


Past Final Projects:


TH 11/16

Final Projects



Work on Final Project

Present Final Projects


TH 11/23




TH 11/30

Final Projects



Work on Final Project

Present Final Projects

TH 12/07

Final Projects



Work on Final Project

Present Final Projects

Final Projects Due on Wed. December 13