Su I 2005



Steve Lipkin

217 Sprau Tower

Office Hours: TR 10:30-12:00

Office Phone: 387-3153



COM 355 gives you the opportunity to plan, script, shoot and edit videotape productions. Your projects will originate in the mini-DV format; post-production work in this course is nonlinear, using Final Cut Pro software.


Basic Course Objectives:


1. To relate an understanding of video technology to production practice.


2. To develop pre-production skills.


3. To make short tapes demonstrating basic camera techniques.


4. To make short tapes demonstrating abilities to edit a variety of image/sound juxtapositions.


5. To plan, produce, and assemble for exhibition a seven to ten minute final production.




Compesi and Sherriffs, Video Field Production and Editing (6th ed), 2003.

Rick Young, Final Cut Pro 4 (2004)





1. Written lab exercises 5-10 points


2. Quizzes 10 points


3. Short tapes:

a. Camera Operation 10 points

b. Applied Camera Technique 25 points

c. Edited Applied Cam. Tech. 25 points

d. Dialogue Scene or News Story 50 points


4. Treatment/Script final tape 25 points


5. Final production 100 points


6. Final exam Tuesday 6/21 100 points


Class sessions for this course are such that they cannot be "made up" outside of class time; consequently, your attendance at each class is required. After one (1) unexcused absence, your final grade in the course will be lowered one letter grade for each subsequent unexcused absence.


All work for this course must be shot and edited on COM equipment during the semester of enrollment.


Final exams must be taken on the day they are assigned. I will allow make-up exams only in the most extreme cases of severe illness or a death in the immediate family. This also applies for "Incomplete" course grades. Final exam date and time is non-negotiable.



Grading: Quiz and Exam Policy:


1. The grading scale for this course (both for individual assignments and for your final grades) is based on the following percentages:


94-100 A 70-75 C

88- 93 BA 64-69 DC

82- 87 B 58-63 D

76- 81 CB


2. I will drop your lowest 10-point quiz grade in computing final grades for the course.


3. Unannounced quizzes may not be made up.




The course will provide camcorders, editors and work space. You are responsible for providing your own mini-DV video cassette(s) and the other costs (if any) of your own productions.


Course Overview: Preliminary Project and Readings Due Dates:*


5/3 Pre-production planning; Equipment introduction have video cassette for next class)


5/5 Camera Operations: shoot and critique; discuss Chapters 1, 2, 5, & 15.


5/5 Applied Camera Techniques (ACT) treatment due (to be shot 5/10-5/11).


5/10 Shoot ACT; discuss Chapter 3, 4, 6, and Appendix 2 and 3.


5/12 View and critique Applied Camera Techniques tapes; discuss Chapters 7, 8, 14, and Appendix 1.


5/17 Discuss Chapters 9, 10, 13 (skim 11 and 12); Young 2-96; FCP tutorial.



5/25 Edit Applied Camera Techniques tapes


5/24 Treatment, script, shot diagram due, 3-5 character Dialogue Scene; Young 99-182


5/26 Edited Applied Camera Techniques assignment due.


5/31 Treatment, Script, budget, production schedules, and shot diagrams for Final Production due.



6/6 Shoot and edit Dialogue Scenes.



6/7 Completed Dialogue Scenes due



6/16 Final Production due





*Check each assignment for final due dates.



Assignment: Short Tape: Camera Operations


For your first tape you will practice basic camera operations on whatever subject you find at hand in or around the classroom and Resource Center.


Your tape should show:


1. Clear, crisp focus


2. Balanced composition


3. Smooth, justified camera movement: PANS; TILTS; TRACKS in and out


4. Shot differentiation: XLS, LS, MLS, MS, MCU, CU, XCU


5. Automatic ZOOM in and out; manual ZOOM in and out at varying rates


6. FADE in and out


If necessary, refer to the camera manual to work on perfecting each of these basic operations.




This assignment should be completed during class time 5/5.


The class will break down into small groups, with one cam corder checked out to each group.


Each group member will work on camera operations in turn. The other group members will provide moral support and scintillating subject matter.


In-class screening, critique: 5/5.



Assignment: Short Tape: Applied Camera Technique


You will shoot a short (3 or 4 minute) documentary tour of an environment familiar to you. The immediate purpose will be to demonstrate your ability to use basic camera techniques, but your larger goal should be to communicate whatever you feel is essential or characteristic about the subject you choose. You should explain your analysis of your subject in your treatment.


You can, if you wish, work in pairs--each member of a pair must shoot his or her own production. If you work on the same subject, your approach should still be individual--it should express whatever it is you have decided to say about your subject. One member of each team will be responsible for checking out and checking in equipment.




1. Write a short treatment (to hand in Thursday, 5/5) - this should be typed and in the form specified in class.


2. Work out the continuity in advance. You will not be required to hand in a shooting script. You will edit in sequence by starting and stopping the camera.


3. Your tape should demonstrate the successful application of all the basic camera operations you worked on for your first tape, including:

a. Shot differentiation

b. Clear focus

c. Smooth camera movement (all types)

d. Camera angle: low, medium, and high angles

e. Automatic and manual ZOOMS

f. FADE in and out

Due Dates:


Treatment: 5/5

Shoot: 5/10-5/11

Viewing & Critique: 5/12