Will Luers

Will Luers

Welcome to the class. I am your guide through the world of electronic literature.

Narrative Time

The Classical Hollywood Style:

  • objective camera (no looking at lens)
  • cause and effect editing (narrative time experienced as continuous movement in space)
  • goal or desire and an obstacle to goal (time pressure)
  • closure – plot resolved

Aristotle’s Poetics, 335 BC:

  •  plot = “the arrangement of the incidents” into a whole
  • drama vs. narration / show vs. tell (mimesis)
  • unity of action (cause and effect chain)
  • complex plot: reversal and recognition
  • tragedy arouses pity and fear and then purges them (catharsis)

Freytag’s Pyramid

Continuity as Narration:

His Girl Friday, 1940 – directed by Howard Hawks

Continuity determined by character quirks: gestures, glances, reactions…

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Pocket Cinema

I would have been more successful if I’d left movies immediately, stayed in the theatre, gone into politics, written, anything. I’ve wasted a greater part of my life looking for money and trying to get along, trying to make my work from this terribly expensive paintbox which is a movie. And I’ve spent too much energy on things that have nothing to do with making a movie. It’s about two percent movie-making and ninety-eight percent hustling. It’s no way to spend a life.” -Orson Welles 

The cost of Movies pushed the industry towards more control: star system, clear story arcs, spectacle.  Little room to fail.  The Hollywood Studio System defined the new system of storytelling – The Classical Hollywood Style (David Bordwell).

Evolution of the Moving Image Camera:

Black Maria, Thomas Edison’s studio – 1893




Image result for Cinematograph






Image result for movie cameras in 1920s

Mitchell Standard Model A 35 mm, 1920s



Image result for movie cameras in 1950s

Paillard Bolex, 16mm, 1960s




Image result for video cameras 1970s

Sony DV-2400 Video Rover, 1970s


Image result for vx1000 sony

Sony DCR-VX1000 (first prosumer digital video camcorder) 1990s


Image result for iphone

iPhone > smartphone – 2007 


GoPro (Hero) 2006


Image result for Sony Cyber-shot RX0 II

Sony Cyber-shot RX0 II, 4k = 3840 × 2160 resolution, 2018 


What Does Smaller Cameras mean for Cinema Arts?

same “language”: camera movement, position, editing…

Cinema = Frame>Shot>Scene>Sequence>Act – shaping the experience of space, time and movement.


 Night Fishing by Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong


Digital Video Documentary: Visual Evidence

GoPro, micro-cameras

160 Characters from Victoria Mapplebeck 


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Film Essay: using the cinema to explore, investigate,  “essay” the world and experience.

Michel de Montaigne – “essai”
1) an attempt or effort
2) personal writing on a particular subject
3) open ended (not like traditional college essay)



Capturing the mundane real, “pure cinema”

Rain, Joris Ivens, 1929


Poetic real, surreal documentary

A propos de Nice – Jean Vigo, 1930


Fact and Fiction

F for Fake – Orson Welles, 1973


Combinatory, exploratory, travel

Sans soleil, Chris Marker, 1982


Video Essays


Personal Essay/Documentary 

Victoria Mapplebeck

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.

Making a Video Essay: A film essay grows out of a process where the image and text come together. It could start with an image that you notice or capture with your camera. Or it could start with a few sentences. You gather image and text and weave them together to find your subject.

  1. What is your central idea or argument? Write it down in one sentence. Or try to capture media related to your idea.
  2. What form will it take? Voiceover, text with image, pure audio/visual sequence without language? 
  3. Write a very rough draft. Be loose and exploratory in thoughts. This is not a school “essay.”
  4. Storyboard ideas from rough draft.
  5. Collect media with YouTube downloads and/or go out with your camera. (cite sources for the post and in the credits)
  6. Assemble clips in timeline for visual evidence.
  7. Rewrite rough draft for chosen clips.
  8. Edit a rough cut of images, sound and text.
  9. Lay first track of voice-over. (Premiere’s audio tracks have a record button for laying audio directly)
  10. Edit final cut
  11. Finalize with voiceover in a more casual voice.
  12. Add title, credits, mix sound/music. 

Student Work:

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Exact Repetition

short-term memory =  under 20 seconds

beginning > middle > end

semi-static (infinite loop)


complex loops – variable duration of each shot



loops in new media – movement and interactivity

FilmText, by Mark Amerika

Zoe Beloff


Simultaneous Loops

spatial montage = “coexisting temporalities” (Lev Manovich)

Flora petrinsularis by Jean-Louis Boissier 1993

Interactive Cinema, by Uda Atsuko http://www.iamas.ac.jp/~makura/index_old.html


Sequential Loops

Eric Loyer calls “temporal polyrhythms”

The temporal map of the comic’s inter-panel progression with the various nested intra-panel movements.


“Our Toyota Was Fantastic” -Gilles Roussel a.k.a. Boulet

Interactive Cinema, by Uda Atsuko http://www.iamas.ac.jp/~makura/index_old.html


Nested Loops

an asynchronous assemblage of nested loops offers a picture of fractal time;

simultaneous temporalities of different scales, rhythms and durations.


Cinemagraphs (portion of image is in movement)

3 Loop Exercise

adobe premiere

insert a loop into a blog post with vimeo or youtube

(video src=”url” loop=”on” autoplay=”on”) – only with square brackets not parentheses!




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Visual Evidence

View Montage assignments…

discontinuous > continuous
collision (contrast) vs  linking (spatial/temporal) 


Visual Evidence

Discuss Hampe readings: Visual Evidence, B-roll, Interview

Visual Evidence in Documentaries

Harlan County, USA


The Interview


Job/Hobby Profile Assignment (10%):
Rough Cut Due in two weeks

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, montage 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 basic shot list for visual evidence.
  • Then set up a time/place with your subject and conduct a sit-down interview at a good location (related to work/hobby) 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.

Interview (A roll)  + Visual Evidence (B roll)


  • talk to subject without camera, find the story
  • use interview to support, not replace, visual evidence

Plan the Story:

  • make an outline of the story: hook, intro, complication, climax, resolution
  • make a shot list for the visual evidence
  • make a list of questions for the interviewee.  remember, no simple yes/no questions

Camera Setup:

  • find a good location with decent visuals, good lighting for the subject and minimal or no background noise
  • use a tripod or keep is still if you have the camera on a monopod
  • change camera angle/zoom between questions for shot variety, but keep to standard medium shot (leave enough head room)
  • follow rule of thirds for framing (leave some space on the side interviewee is angled)
  • pay attention to the background (give a sense of place)

Mic Setup:

  • get external mic close to the subject. three feet is ideal (or aim directional mic)
  • test your levels
  • remember to push record!
  • no bumps, ticks or hisses near mic
  • do not let subject hold mic
  • here is the manual for the Zoom H1


  • find a good key light to fall at an angle on the subject’s face.  near a window or lamp, for example. try to avoid overhead of fluorescent lighting
  • With a basic DIY light set up, have a Key Light and Fill Light at a slightly higher angle than the subject. And then, if you have another light, use it for the Background Light. See Lighting on the Fly
  • never shoot a subject in front of a window!
  • “bounce” lighting off the walls for fill and backlighting, or use reflectors
  • avoid heavy shadows
  • down-and-dirty-lighting-kit

The Interview:

  • start with getting full name (perhaps spelling) and other relevant info (position, title, job)
  • let people talk. keep silent for a few moments after a question has been answered. when you are silent, interviewees will fill the void with something perhaps more authentic

Visual Evidence (B roll):

  • do not direct actions, follow and anticipate
  • don’t move the camera off the talking subject when they are showing/pointing to something. you can get the shot later
  • look for visual evidence at location of interview, capture “telling” details
  • vary the camera angles and positions: long, medium, close-up, over-shoulder, close on hands, cutaways, establishing shots
  • ask questions while shooting visual evidence
  • listen and be attentive to your subject

Covering an Event/Action:

  • Cover what you can of an event and always look for opportunities for continuity cuts.
  • Move around the subject(s) and vary your camera framing: tight (CU), medium and wide (establishing).
  • For covering processes -like somebody making something- think of five shot variations for each sequence:

Michael Rosenblum’s 5-Shot-Sequence

  1. A closeup on the hands of a subject – showing WHAT is happening
  2. A closeup on the face – WHO is doing it
  3. A wide shot – WHERE its happening
  4. An over the shoulder shot (OTS) – linking together the previous three concepts
  5. An unusual, or side/low shot – providing story-specific context


Previous Student Job Profiles:

In-class assignment: VMMC Haunting


Moving the Camera

Static Camera (locked-off) :
-staging and blocking talent
-dynamic framing and editing

Moving Camera:
-handheld, panning, tracking, etc.
-the long take
-planned  vs. spontaneous  (handheld)

Pan, Tilt:
– unnatural, motivate the move
– start  frame (10 sec.) , movement, end  frame (10 secs)
– plan shot, practice with tripod head or monopod swivel

– skateboards, cars, bicycles and wheelchairs
– gopro attached to moving vehicals

Handheld (with monopod):
-swish pans
– wide angle, adjust focus
– tai chi movements ( from the center)

– iphone smoothee, flowmotion, etc.
– DIY – hang a weight



Blair Witch Project, 1999, Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez


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Cinema Narration

The Classical Hollywood Style:

  • objective camera (no looking at lens)
  • cause and effect editing
  • goal or desire and an obstacle to goal
  • closure – plot resolved
  • time and pace for story effects and information

Aristotle’s Poetics, 335 BC:

  •  plot = “the arrangement of the incidents” into a whole
  • drama vs. narration / show vs. tell (mimesis)
  • unity of action (cause and effect chain)
  • complex plot: reversal and recognition
  • tragedy arouses pity and fear and then purges them (catharsis)

Continuity as Narration:

His Girl Friday, 1940 – directed by Howard Hawks

Continuity determined by character quirks: gestures, glances, reactions…

Documentaries and Narrative Continuity

Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s ‘Listen to Britain’ – Illusions of Continuity

Cinema Narration:

The Lunch Date is a 1989 American short films directed by Adam Davidson.
– selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
-won Short Film Palme d’Or in 1990 Cannes Film Festival.
-won an Academy Award in 1991 for Best Short Subject.


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Networked Video

Video Blogging 2001-2008:

cinema without show business

Youtube (2005) , purchased by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion

YouTube Statistics

  • over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet
  • You can navigate YouTube in a total of 76 different languages (covering 95% of the Internet population)
  • More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
  • YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
  • Number of channels earning six figures per year on YouTube is up 50% y/y
  • 1 hour of new video every second / 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!
  • Approximately 20% of the people who start your video will leave after the first 10 seconds. Create a damn good intro.
  • The youngest YouTube star Ryan Toys Review who is six years old made $11,000,000 in 2017.






Viral Videos:

meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme.  A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.

Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. 

from wikipedia


“YouTube personality Kevin Nalty (known as Nalts) recalls on his blog: “A few years ago, a video could be considered ‘viral’ if it hit a million views”, but says as of 2011, only “if it gets more than 5 million views in a 3–7 day period” can it be considered “viral”.”

from wikipedia


220,270,352 views = about $ .5- 1 million

cost per 1,000 views (CPM) = $0.25 – $4 range

1 view = around 16 seconds


Related image

Image result for sneezing panda the movie

Web Series (webisodes)

“YouTube takes a 45% cut and sometimes the YouTuber also has Multi Channel Network representing who also takes around 45%. So the YouTuber, who gets on average 600k+ views a week, will end up with around $1-3k a week from CPMs [cost per thousand impressions – technically, “cost per mille”]” – Chasing their Star on YouTube 

DisneyCollectorBR earns $1.4 and $21.9 million each year


June 2006 to August 1, 2008,

season 1

Haunted Sunshine Girl


Vimeo VOD


Everybody Street


Strategies for Youtube Creators/ from Creator’s Academy

  1. shareability
  2. conversation
  3. interactivity
  4. consistency
  5. targeting
  6. sustainability
  7. discoverability
  8. accessibility
  9. collaboration
  10. inspiration/authenticity
  • Build Plan
  • Create Great Content
  • Schedule
  • Optimize
  • Promote
  • Amplify
  • Measure

YouTube Stats

Google Analytics of “Greg Hanson a Collage Artist”



Cinema and Big Data > Netflix

What Netflix tracks:

  • When you pause, rewind, or fast forward
  • What day you watch content (Netflix has found people watch TV shows during the week and movies during the weekend.)
  • The date you watch
  • What time you watch content
  • Where you watch (zip code)
  • What device you use to watch (Do you like to use your tablet for TV shows and your Roku for movies? Do people access the Just for Kids feature more on their iPads, etc.?)
  • When you pause and leave content (and if you ever come back)
  • The ratings given (about 4 million per day)
  • Searches (about 3 million per day)
  • Browsing and scrolling behavior
  • Netflix also looks at data within movies. They take various “screen shots” to look at “in the moment” characteristics. Netflix has confirmed they know when the credits start rolling; but there’s far more to it than just that. Some have figured these characteristics may be the volume, colors, and scenery that help Netflix find out what users like.

from https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-netflix-uses-analytics/

Netflix Stats:

  1. Netflix earned $403 million in net profit in Q3 of 2018.
  2. Netflix has set up 1,300 recommendation clusters, based on our viewing preferences.
  3. Netflix is responsible for 8% of all time spent on watching videos worldwide.
  4. Netflix is the second most used video streaming service in the US. Youtube has 197.5 million monthly users on average; Netflix has 72.9 million.
  5. In January 2018, Netflix US offered 5,559 unique titles.
  6. 58% of US users state Netflix Originals as the main reason for a subscription.
  7.  Netflix reported $10.4 billion of debt at the end of 2018.
  8.  Netflix has over 76,000 hidden TV show/Movie categories.
  9. Netflix earned 112 Emmy nominations in 2018.
  10. Currently, Netflix facts show they have 5,500 employees.
  11. Netflix’ expected 2020 revenue in the US is $7.2 billion.


from https://techjury.net/stats-about/netflix/


Discuss/Plan/Pitch Final Projects

View/Edit Job Profiles


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Pixel Cinema


Job Profiles…

Discuss Lev Manovich “What is Digital Cinema?“…


New ways to depict space – multiple, discontinuous, mixed media
– newspaper and paint
– photography and drawing
– text and image


The Dream, 1908 by Pablo Picasso

Picasso, Pablo
Guitar, 1913 by Pablo Picasso




Film Compositing

– multiple images in single frame
-painting on film
-matte effects (split screen), painted sets/ backgrounds
-titles, text on screen

Video Compositing

– multiple layers of video
– effects (pixels as information)
– green screen – swap pixel colors
– the pixel grid

New Media (HTML) – each piece of media is discrete, not a composite


Machine Learning

Google’s Deep Dream software– machine learning




Cloverfield, green screen effect







COMPOSTING (layers of tracks)


ROTOSCOPING (painting on video)

Waking Life, by Richard Linklater


CMDC student Haley Zach



SCREEN CAPTURE /DESKTOP SPACE (text and multiple frames)

There are many option for screen capture. On a Mac use the free Quicktime: File>New Screen Recording

Noah, by by Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg as a class project

NightWatch-ComeToMe NightWatch-NoStop NightWatch-hurrydoll

Green Screen In-Class Exercise


ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Tuesday
Hybrid Space (5%):
Create a 30-60 second video that explores a hybrid cinematic space: a screen space made of multiple layers of video, text, graphic imagery and/or image effects 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).

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Time Frames

Building blocks of cinematic storytelling: Framing (moving camera), Continuity Editing, Montage and Mise-en-scène

Framing: distance from subject, angle, diagonal lines, foreground-middleground-background, depth, light/shadow, focus/unfocus, focal length, depth of field, rule of thirds, moving frame, duration

Continuity Editing: extended cinematic space – screen movement + narrative momentum + viewer imagination – the motivated shot, screen direction, 180 degree rule, 30 degree rule, match on action, graphic match, eyeline match, POV

Montage: juxtaposition of discontinuous shots: rapid cuts, rhythm, emotional sequences, thoughts, ideas, summary of events, passage of time, voice-over sequence, associational thinking, commentary, evidence, split screen

Time, narrative and editing…


Discontinuous Continuity

Parallel Action:


Forever with Maya Rudolph sequence – narrative rhythm…

Temporal Montage:

screen time <= story time

Illusion of Continuous time: screen time <= story time


Compressed time:  screen time < story time

Long takes:  screen time = story time

The Cranes Are Flying – by Mikhail Kalatozov


Expanded time: screen time > story time


Alternating Expanded and Contracted time

160 Characters from Victoria Mapplebeck 


Post-continuity or “Chaos” Cinema



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Database Logic, Lev Manovich

database: a structured collection of data
nonlinear, multilinear, branching
encyclopedia, catalogs, index/search
HTML, Video Games – an interface to a database
narrative shell masks the algorithm of a game. the key to the game experience
databases < interface > algorithms
narrative = cause and effect chain, character, event



Peter Greenaway, The Falls


Interactive Cinema

Kinoautomat (1967)
“At nine points during the film the action stops, and a moderator appears on stage to ask the audience to choose between two scenes; following an audience vote, the chosen scene is played.”

Hypertext > Hypermedia > Flash > Video Games > Transmedia

Olia Lialina – My Boyfriend Came Back from the War (netcinema) 1996








Branching: YouTube annotations:

Student Work:




HTML5 media

In-class HyperCinema Exercise:

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.


Final Projects:




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Soviet Montage

Kuleshov Effect

Dziga Vertov– Man with a Movie Camera

In this sequence of Man with a Movie Camera, the impression of  busy city life is conveyed through fast montage of varying discontinuous shots.

Five Methods of Montage

Sergei Eisenstein‘s methods of montage

1. Metric 

where the editing follows a specific number of frames (based purely on the physical nature of time), cutting to the next shot no matter what is happening within the image. This montage is used to elicit the most basal and emotional of reactions in the audience.

2. Rhythmic

– includes cutting based on the action within the frame – such as match -on-action, creating visual continuity from edit to edit.


3. Tonal

– a tonal montage uses the emotional meaning of the shots—not just manipulating the temporal length of the cuts or its rhythmical characteristics—to elicit a reaction from the audience even more complex than from the metric or rhythmic montage. For example, a sleeping baby would emote calmness and relaxation; billowing sails and the calm before the storm.


4. Overtonal/Associational

-the overtonal montage is the cumulation of metric, rhythmic, and tonal montage to synthesize its effect on the audience for an even more abstract and complicated effect. This is the Eisenstein’s famous Odessa Steps sequence (revisited in the Untouchables).


5. Intellectual

uses shots which, combined, elicit an intellectual meaning. you put the idea together by the collision of shots.


French Pre-War Montage 

Coeur Fidèle (1923, Jean Epstein)

An Andalusian Dog, by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí – 1929 (tonal, rhythmic, false continuity)


Other Examples:

Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky – metric, tonal


City of God – metric, tonal, rhythmic

Tree of Life, Terence Malick  – overtonal/associational

I Wish, Hirokasu Koreeda


Jump Cuts for Effect:


Nonlinear, Chaos and Post-Continuity Editing

Cinema in the Digital Age, by Nicholas Rombes 

-replications and loops
-digital degradation, errors and glitches
-nonlinear editing and chaos cinema
-random access of database
-malleable time, nested time, time shifting

  • Classical = linear cause and effect , illusion of 3D space, material invisible (theater)
  • Digital = nonlinearity, repetition (loop), manipulation of time and space, materiality foregrounded (device screen)
  • Information space (Interface) and Narrative Space (Immersive world)

Chaos Cinema 1, by Matthias Stork
Chaos Cinema 2 by Matthias Stork


Steenbeck Editing

Nonlinear Editing

timeline> sequence > tracks >clips> audio sync/linked  > transitions


Compositing/Spatial Montage/Effects/Color Manipulation



Spatial Montage:

Jean-Louis Boissier’s Flora petrinsularis. – the interface

Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Mike Figgis – Timecode



ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Class 


Start to formulate an idea for the final project. Propose the idea to in person or as an email.

Final Project (30%)

rough cut due – last two weeks of class
final cut due – last class

With consideration of the assignments, readings , screenings and class discussions, create a final project that explores/exploits at least one feature of “digital cinema”: looped video, glitched video, composited video, networked video, hyperlinked video, database video, etc.  You may create a fictional, non-fictional or abstract project. However,the project must be made of video (moving digital images originally captured as video), incorporate cinema language (thoughtful continuity editing and/or montage) and you must engage with the class ideas in the conception of your project. Your grade we will be based on the quality and effort of your creative work as well as its conceptual foundation.

Some suggested ideas:

  • a mini documentary
  • a profile of a person, company, product or institution
  • a fictional short video
  • a video essay
  • a Youtube web series
  • a series of video loops
  • a work of hypercinema (HTML5)
  • a mashup or series of mashups,
  • an experimental video that creates a hybrid space with composting, spatial montage and other effects
  • a multilinear database narrative

Group projects are possible.

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Evolution of Cinema Language

Cinema Form/”Language”

  • mise en scene – world depicted/in front of the camera, faces, landscape, gesture, costume
  • framing – camera position and lens, moving camera
  • editing – continuity and montage, order, rhythm, syntax/grammar
  • sound – voice, music, effects, 3d space

Cinema Space > Storytelling

Continuity Editing: connecting shot to shot so that there is momentum in the narrative telling and a seamless narration of causally connected events. All edits are discontinuous. Story and character drive the editing and the sense of continuity.


Eadweard Muybridge – motion studies (1878)

Thomas Edison – Kinetoscope, movement, sensational (1896)


Lumiere Brothers- outside (light), portable, travel, “documentaries” (1895)


Melies – theater, vaudeville, fantasy, special effects, illusion (1909)


HER TRUST – D.W. Griffith (1912)

D.W. Griffith

“A shot of a whole battlefield would be incomprehensible because looking at real things, the human vision fastens itself upon a quick succession of small comprehensible incidents like a mosaic out of such detail- the director counterfeits the operation of the eye with his lens and varies the length of shots to avoid the hypnotic affect.” – Griffith

Continuity Editing (The Classical Hollywood Style)

objective camera, invisible editing, dramatic tension (desire and obstacle), cause and effect chains


  • 180 degree rule
  • Cut in
  • Match on Action
  • Parallel action
  • Motivated Pov shot
  • Eyeline match
  • Flashback
  • Multiple camera set ups
  • Close up
  • Extreme long shot/Establishing shot
  • Cross cutting, intercutting / Parallel Action
  • Visual Dramatic climax. Form=Content


  • production design
  • mise en scène: set /costume / acting/ facial expression/gesture
  • pan
  • tilt
  • camera angle
  • lighting effect
  • fade
  • dissolve
  • iris shot
  • mask
  • split screen
  • soft focus
  • matte shot



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Sound Recording/ Sound Design  >  storytelling

Recording Sound for Video

  • keep silent! (important for interviews)
  • mic within 3 feet of subject (boom, directional, lav, hidden, phone)
  • record “room” tone or ambient noise (30-60 seconds) to cover edits
  • keep the mic away from bumpy surfaces and direct wind (wind cover)
  • if necessary, redo shots just for the sound with the mic close to subject 
  • add sounds in post-production (foley)
  • mix sound, voice and music to emphasize story, subjectivity, mood, etc

View : “Munich” – Steven Spielberg and Ben Burtt (Sound Design)

Documentary Sound


Creating rhythms with synchronous sound:



subtle uses of ambient sound:



Asynchronous sound:

dai sugano portfolio

Window by Ryszard Waśko, 1971


In-class sound assignment:  

Sound resources: download mp3, aif, or acc sounds and music for FREE!




Gasland – 20min

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Editing Issues?

Adobe Tutorials

shoot 720p, edit by dragging clip into timeline

Premiere export in codec .H.264, format .mp4
Presets for Vimeo and Youtube

Upload to Vimeo
compression guidelines

Upload to YouTube
compression guidelines
creative playbook


Look at Framing Assignments…



“Rules” Continuity Editing (and Shooting):

  • Establishing shot 
  • 180 degree rule
  • 30 degree rule
  • Cut in / Match on Action
  • Motivated Pov shot
  • Eyeline match/ Shot Reverse Shot
  • Empty frame
  • Graphic Match
  • Parallel action/ Crosscutting

Movement through spaces driven by the narrative.

Continuity Clips: North by Northwest – Alfred Hitchcock, cafeteria scene…

In-class Exercise: Blocking shots for Continuity 

In-class Editing Exercise:  Skyfall

Premiere keyboard shortcuts

Download Youtube video – get Firefox Addon – 1-Click Youtube Downloader or use https://keepvid.pro/




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“Fake Continuity”

All edits are discontinuous. Editing is a trick of condensing and expanding illusions of space and time for story effects. Story effects are built from the juxtaposition of discontinuous units: Frame-Shot-Sequence-Act-Story.

Continuity editing creates the illusion of continuous space and time in a documentary and should be considered as an opportunity for making fluid connections and not as a set of strict rules never to be broken.

Cover what you can of an event and always look for opportunities for continuity cuts.

Move around the subject(s) (within 180 degrees) and vary your camera framing:tight (CU) , medium and wide (establishing).



Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s ‘Listen to Britain’







Jump Cuts – Godard, Breathless

Celebration – documentary style cutting / dogma manifesto





Continuity Assignment (5%) – due by next class

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. 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. Here is an idea if you can’t come up with a mini-story:

  • 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 short assessment of your video from the standpoint of framing and continuity editing. What works and what doesn’t work to tell the visual story?




For covering processes -like somebody making something- think of five shot variations for each sequence:

Michael Rosenblum’s 5-Shot-Sequence

  1. A closeup on the hands of a subject – showing WHAT is happening
  2. A closeup on the face – WHO is doing it
  3. A wide shot – WHERE its happening
  4. An over the shoulder shot (OTS) – linking together the previous three concepts
  5. An unusual, or side/low shot – providing story-specific context


Student Continuity Work:




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Framing (camera position)

Variety of camera positions and angles keeps the eyes busy and interested, evokes the space and psychology of characters. Maintaining a single angle or distance reinforces a point of view.

types of camera positions:

ELS – extreme long shot (landscape)

LS – long shot (full body)

MLS – medium long shot (from knees up)

M – medium (from waist up)

MCU – medium close-up (from chest/shoulders up)

CU – close-up (face)

ECU – extreme close-up (portion of face)

lens length:

wide angle = opens space, more distance, more inclusive

telephoto/zoom = collapses space, more intimate, separate from background.

types of camera angles:




types of subject compositions:

3/4 front
left/right profile
3/4 back – over the shoulder, POV
profile two shot
direct to camera two shot
over the shoulder two shot
headroom, look room
subjective/objective styles

rule of thirds in shot composition


Keep Track of Camera Framing:


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