High School Video Production Assignments Definition

Film/Coms 27a & 27b
Beginning Digital Film/Video Production
Office Hours: W 3:30-4:30 & 5:30-6:30
Thurs 4:30-5:30 Thursday May 18 (If you have a scheduling conflict, you can either take the test on Tuesday or Thursday)

FINAL EXAM TIMES: Tuesday Class 12:45-2:45 Tue May 16
Thursday Class 12:45-2:45 May 18
(If you have a scheduling conflict, you can either take the test on Tuesday or Thursday)

Final Project: turned in to the dropbox by
6pm Thursday May 18

Office Hours Final Exam Week: Thursday May 18 3-6

Skip to Class Schedule:
Grades, Tests and Assignments:

Course Description
Addresses the theory and practice of film/video production. Students will be expected to understand: camera operation, audio control, basic directing, lighting, and editing.

Students will also be expected to learn the terminology of video production/post-production and use this terminology competently.

Students enrolled in COMS 27A must be concurrently enrolled in COMS 27B. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Corequisite: COMS 27B: Provides practical, hands-on experience in video production. Students will be expected to become proficient in all production roles: camera operation, audio control, basic directing, lighting, and editing.

Lectures Links can be found below along with powerpoint presentations (which also serve as study guides.) There will be no lectures in class. Midterm and Final Exams will be given during lab time and will be primarily based on the online lectures and powerpoints.

Homework assignments can be found on Sac Ct. These also will be based primarily on the readings, powerpoints and online lectures.

Lab time will be spent on disucssions, demos, project completions, and film screenings.

Textbook & Course Materials

Required Text:

Professor Know-It-All’s Illustrated Guide to Film and Video Making (BROWN)

Course Requirements

Internet connection (DSL, LAN, or cable connection desirable)

Access to SacCT


Jump Drive

Optional: External Hard Drive for Editing (Should run at 7200 RPM)
This one is my favorite for students

This course will be delivered partially online through a course management system named SacCT.

To access this course on SacCT you will need access to the Internet and a supported Web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari).  To ensure that you are using a supported browser and have required plug-ins please run the Check Browser from your SacCT course.  Refer to the SacCT Browser Tune-up page for instructions.

Technical Assistance

If you need technical assistance at any time during the course or to report a problem with SacCT you can:

·                     Visit the SacCT Student Resources Page

·                     Review SacCT Student Tutorials

·                     Visit the SacCT Student FAQ’s Web Page

·                     Submit a SacCT Problem Form


Introduction to Course (Explanation of Labs and lectures)
Article: The Most Important Question of Your Life

Week 2 9/5-9/6
Link to Lecture
Lab: Login to computers
File management
Go over camera and first assignment

Link to Lecture
Lab Handout 1
Lab Handout 2
Brown: 76-102
Barebones: 1-3

Online Reading:

Online Reading 1
Online Reading 2
Online Reading 3
Basic Editing: File Management
The last hour of lab we will look at the cameras and tripods from the equipment checkout.
Homework 1 Due 2/2 Midnight

Proper Shooting Technique, Composition and Lens
Link to Lecture
Pres 2 Powerpoint
Lab Pres 1
Lab Pres 2
lab handout
Go over Camera Angles Assignment and answer questions
Brown: 37-74
Barebones: 13-20
Rule of Thirds Film

Continued online reading from last week
Online Reading 1
Online Reading 2
Online Reading 3
Online Reading 4
Online Reading 5
Online Reading 6
Online Reading 7
Online Reading 8
Online Reading 9
Lab: Intro to Camera Angles Assignment Work on
Homework Due 2 Due: 2/9 Midnight

Continue with:
Lecture Link
Pres 2 Powerpoint
lab handout
Proper Shooting Technique, Composition and Lens
Brown: 37-74
Barebones: 13-20
Online Reading 1
Online Reading 2
Online Reading 3
Online Reading 4
Online Reading 5
Online Reading 6
Online Reading 7
Online Reading 8
Online Reading 9
Lab: Work on Camera Angles Assignment

Lecture Link
Pres 2 Powerpoint
Lecture Link
Pres 3 ppt
Brown 1-35 Brown: 37-74 104-116
Barebones 6-11
Online Reading 1
Review and Homework Questions
Lab: Editing Lab Interface: Color Correction
Homework 3 Due 2/23 Midnight

High Key vs Low Key Lighting
3 Point Lighting Tutorial
Cinematography 1
Emmanuel Lubezki
Lighting Presentation
Soundcoud Link
Brown: 118-128
Barebones 72-79
Online Reading 1
Online Reading 2
Online Reading 3
Lab: 3 point lighting
Lab: Project turn-in
Homework 4 Due 3/2 Midnight

Project Critique
Camera Angles Assignment Assignment Due: Turn In Instructions


Midterm Exam. Please bring 882E Scantron and pencil.
You will have 1:15 minutes to complete 50 questions
Class will reconvene at 2:30 Storyboard to Screen Assignment Given
Homework 5 Due: 3/26 before Midnight

Spring Break 3/21-3/23

Pres 7
Soundcloud Lecture
Breaking down a script (watch until 5:50)
Online Reading 1
Online Reading 2
Shooting to Edit
The Basic Sequence
Barebones 45-48
Breaking Down a Script
Work on Storyboard to Screen Assignment
Homework 6 Due 4/6 Midnight

Lecture Presentation 8
Online Reading 3
Online Reading 4
Online Reading 5
Online Reading 6
Online Reading 7
Obtaining Smooth Transitions
Barebones 49-55
Lab: Editing, using shortcuts
Editing Interview and B-Roll (Bring headphones or earbuds trust me!)
Storyboard to Screen Due: Critique
Final Project Assignment Given
Homework 7 Due 4/13 Midnight

Continued Editing Laboratory

Open Lab: I'm here if you need me
Homework 8 due 4/20 Midnight

Pres 9
Lecture Presentation 9
Shooting to Edit Continued
Online Reading 1
Online Reading 2
Online Reading 3
Online Reading 4
Online Reading 5
Online Reading 6
Online Reading 7
Barebones 49-55
Homework 9 due 4/27 Midnight

Everything You Hear on Film is a Lie
Editing and Sound
Working with sound in Premiere
129-142 Brown Audio Production
Pres 10
Lecture Presentation
Sound Basics (Production and Post)
Sound Basics
Audio Terms and Techniques (Basic)
Basic Color Grading
Open Lab for Project
Homework 10 5/4 Midnight

Open lab to work on projects

FINAL EXAM TIMES: Tuesday Class 12:45-2:45 Tue May 16
Thursday Class 12:45-2:45 May 18
(If you have a scheduling conflict, you can either take the test on Tuesday or Thursday)

Final Project: turned in to the dropbox by
6pm Thursday May 18

Office Hours Final Exam Week: Thursday May 18 3-6


Important Note: This syllabus, along with course assignments and due dates, are subject to change. It is the student’s responsibility to check SacCT for corrections or updates to the syllabus. Any changes will be clearly noted in course announcement or through SacCT email.

Upon completion of this course students will be able to

Understand the basics of camera operation, direction, lighting and non-linear editing

Demonstrate competency in non-linear editing software

Use the terminology of video production/post-production competently.

Demonstrate proficiency in camera operations including framing, exposure, focus and movement

Understand the relationship between photo-chemical processes and digital forms

Recognize the significance of film history, theory and criticism in her/his own digital film practice

You will meet the objectives listed above through a combination of the following activities in this course:

Complete two Video Projects to the proper specification

Complete a Midterm and a non-cumulative Final based on the lectures and the readings

Note about calendar/schedule. While it is important to clearly indicate the schedule for your course, there are many places where you may do this. You may include a topic outline/schedule (like the examples shown above) in your syllabus, make a separate link to a schedule document in your SacCT course, or use the SacCT calendar tool. Regardless of which you choose, be consistent, and keep your calendar up-to-date to help students follow along, reduce confusion, and emphasize time on task.

Part 4: Grading Policy

Graded Course Activities






Camera Angles Assignment


Homework on Readings

25Storyboard to Screen
50Final Exam
25Final Assignment
300Total Points Possible

Late Work Policy

Example: Be sure to pay close attention to deadlines—there will be no make up assignments or quizzes or late work accepted without a serious and compelling reason and instructor approval.

Viewing Grades in SacCT

Points you receive for graded activities will be posted to the SacCT Grade Book. Click on the
My Grades link on the left navigation to view your points.

Letter Grade Assignment: Grade Breakdown: This grade breakdown refers to total points i.e.
if your total points are 240, then you will receive a B-

Letter Grade




 279- 300

Excellent Work



Nearly Excellent Work



Very Good Work



Good Work



Mostly Good Work



Above Average Work



Average Work



Mostly Average Work



Below Average Work



Poor Work



Failing Work

Important note:
For more information about grading at Sac State, visit the academic policies and grading section of the university catalog



Film has proven its power to engage us for over 100 years; radio for over 70 years, television for 50, and computer media, the new kid on the block, is proliferating faster than its predecessors. Students watch it all. Integrating media production in your curriculum can help you find new access to students and help them find new access to the material. Media production engages and excites; it leads to unexpected discoveries, increased self-awareness and esteem, sharpened critical thinking, analytical skills, group work skills, and ability to communicate ideas. Media production demands writing and rewriting, research, group effort, and clarity of thought. Media production offers a means for students to talk to whomever they think is an important audience. It does all this because students want to say things that have meaning to them - authentic production comes from authentic learning.

Here are is an abbreviated list of activities for your classroom . Whatever you do not know about the equipment can probably be figured out by your students. Experiment and invent new activities. Exchange ideas with other interested teachers and students. But first, there are two commandments to engrave in your mind:

First Commandment for Using Any Gear
Be gentle with the equipment. Do not force anything together or apart. They are just tools, but rather pricey tools.
Second Commandment
If you don't know, ask someone. Life offers special bonus points for asking questions and not pretending knowledge.

Learning the Basics

Media are built things. Understanding that media pieces are constructions enables students to understand what a particular piece is trying to say, who the audience is, and why the piece has been made the way it is. Understanding that movies and television are built, one step at a time, enables students to imagine their own pieces.

Shots and Scenes. The simplest element in video and film is the shot, an image resulting from a single continuous running of a camera. Turn it on, turn it off; you have a shot. Though a scene can be done in one shot, usually shots are juxtaposed (edited) to make a scene.

Define a "shot." Watch any film or tape with your class and ask them to identify where the shots begin and end - the edit points. Ask them to raise hands and call out "edit" every time they see an edit point.

What's In, What's Out? If a scene is made of a series of shots, what happened before the start of the shot? Imagine what happened in the world of the story (which may be explained by the scene) and what happened where the filming was done in order to make the shot-i.e., the actors, the camera crew etc. In the case of news or documentary footage - what was going on before the camera started rolling? What was going on after it stopped?

What's In, What's Out of the Frame? Television and movies, says the old cliché, provide a window on the world. As with any window, there is a wider world beyond the edges of the frame. Use toilet paper tubes or frames made of construction paper for viewfinders. Students should look around them and choose an image through their frames. Ask them to draw a simple stick figure picture of what they have chosen. What was their image about? What story can you tell with it? What is most important in their frame? Where is that important thing in the frame? What other things are in the frame? What do those other things tell about the main subject of the frame.? Everything in a frame becomes related by being in that frame.

But what is outside of the frame? Is there a bigger or different story going on outside the frame? Look at a tape or television show and ask the same things. Why are the things in the frame chosen to be there? What message do they connote?

Storyboards. Movie makers draw simple schematics of frames (as the students did above) but use them to plan how they want to tell a story. This is called a storyboard. The frames in a storyboard show relative positions of significant objects or actors and the camera's position - close-ups, wide shots, high angle, low angle, and point-of-view" shots. How does changing these things change the message of the frame? You can find examples of storyboards on the Internet. Use keyword "storyboard" with your search engine.

Comic Books as Storyboards. Comic book frames share many elements with movies and storyboards; point-of-view, camera angle, relative proximity to the subject, proximity of the elements in the frame, etc. Find a comic book with a whole scene, or whole story, told on two to three pages. "White-out" all dialog and text and copy these pages for each student or group of students. Cut the frames of the story apart and give a complete set to each group. Their assignment is to order the frames to tell a story, writing their own dialog. They can leave out frames and they can copy frames, but they cannot draw new ones.

Beginning Video Exercises

These first exercises are designed to familiarize students with the gear, to stimulate creative thinking and group cooperation. All the editing on these first two assignments happens in the camera-shots are taped in the order in which they will finally be shown.

Video Alphabet: Students work in groups of two to four. Illustrate the alphabet with individual shots or whole scenes. Be literal, be poetical, or be metaphorical. "A-Apple," or "A-Awkward Moment." This can become a game-the production crew sprinkles clues for the letters in their shot and the other groups compete to identify the correct letter.

Video Metaphor: Provide an enigmatic or provocative phrase that student production groups must translate into video. You can make up something for the occasion, use a line of poetry, a crossword puzzle clue, a phrase from a song, or a phrase from the daily paper.

Treasure Hunt: Bring back a visual jewel from the everyday world. Picking a particular point of view, moment in time, and unusual proximity can allow us to see something extraordinary in something ordinary. Students have one hour (or overnight if more convenient) to bring back an image they have discovered.

Advanced Video Projects

Have students provide a project proposal before doing any of these assignments. The proposal should include who is doing the work, what the jobs will be, a one to two page description of what the program will actually be, who the audience will be, and why this project should be done. You may also ask them to write guidelines by which their project can be evaluated. You can tell them that these guidelines will be the actual rubric by which their grade is determined.

A New Ending: Students, in groups, write a new ending or a scene to follow the last scene of a story, novel or event. Act it out until they feel they have it right. One student can record the acted out version as a script. Storyboard the script. Shoot the script.

Portrait: A video portrait of a person the production group decides upon together. The subject can be a family member, a community member, a peer. Encourage students to show the subject's everyday activities as well as interviews. What other elements in that subject's life might tell us more about the person?

Adapt a Scene or Story: Similar to writing a new ending, Students do their version of a scene from an existing book, story or movie.

Alien at the Mall: Most of documentary filmmaking is based on watching what people do from a different perspective - finding the startling or revealing within the life around us. Ask students to spend half a day at a shopping center or other place where many people gather. Ask them to pretend they are from another planet and have no idea why people do what they do. Ask them to take notes, make observations about what people are doing and to write their notes up as a report. The report could become a narrated video documentary. It may be helpful to try this first in your classroom.

The above examples tend to focus on video. There are several very good and relatively inexpensive editing programs now available for computers. But there are many other ways to use and produce media as part of your teaching.

Non-Video Exercises

Audio Illustration: A group of students write a one-page story together. Have them go back through the story and mark all of the actions in the story. Let them choose a sound effect for each of theses actions. Record a reading of the story with the sound effects added, performed in the classroom or prepared outside of class. If you find a cooperative radio production studio you may also be able to get a field trip to the studio and have an engineer record the story with your students picking out sound effects from an effects library.

Family Photos: Ask students to use 3 to 5 family photos in sequence to tell a story. The subject of the story should relate to material you are now studying in class. For example, vacation pictures might tell a surreal story related to "Moby Dick."

How Would You Shoot This?: A version of the idea of translating a scene from literature into a tableau. Take a scene from literature you are currently studying. Assign a student to be the director and other students to play the story characters. How would the director block the scene? Where would the characters be, how would they be standing in relation to each other? Where would the camera be? Would the shot be close or wide? Why? Since framing connotes emotional content, why do they choose the shots they do?

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