Filmmaking

The syllabus for The Blake School filmmaking course

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Filmmaking by Mind Map: Filmmaking

1. Course info

1.1. Filmmaking - Semester 1, 2021

1.2. Instructor Name: Joseph Jolton

1.3. Email: Canvas Inbox

1.4. Support Questions: Use the Help Discussion to post questions or issues

1.5. School Phone Extension: 3789

1.6. Office/Room Number: 294

1.7. Calendly Link (for scheduling meetings)

2. Course Description

2.1. Learning Outcomes/Essential Understandings

2.1.1. Click the grey dot to the left of any topic that has one to see or hide additional details

2.1.2. If you have ever wanted to learn how to express yourself through filmmaking, this course is a good place to start. Students will produce a number of short films throughout the semester and will develop skills in camerawork, editing, and sound. Students will learn how to shoot using best practices for camerawork and composition, and then bring them into Final Cut Pro X, learning the tools and techniques used by professionals. Class projects present unique opportunities that challenge each student’s creativity. Student work will be presented on Blake’s Vimeo channel and in gallery shows. The course includes film screenings for inspiration and study of filmmaking techniques including lighting, composition, editing, and sound design.

2.1.3. Demonstrate Camera Skills

2.1.3.1. stabilization

2.1.3.2. focus

2.1.3.3. use of lenses

2.1.3.4. use of camera movement

2.1.3.5. use of light

2.1.3.6. composition

2.1.4. Demonstrate Editing Skills

2.1.4.1. cutting

2.1.4.2. transitions

2.1.4.3. timing

2.1.4.3.1. speed ramping

2.1.4.3.2. pacing

2.1.4.3.3. precision

2.1.4.4. color balance

2.1.4.5. color correction

2.1.5. Demonstrate Sound Design Skills

2.1.5.1. sound recording

2.1.5.2. sound editing

2.1.5.3. sound replacement

2.1.5.4. sound post-processing

2.1.6. Creative Skills

2.1.6.1. understand + apply tone to films

2.1.6.2. understand + demonstrate use of typography in titles

2.1.6.3. understand + apply identity to films

2.1.7. Project Management

2.1.7.1. demonstrate time management + resourcefulness

2.1.7.1.1. logistics

2.1.7.1.2. creative problem solving

2.1.8. General Course Skills

2.1.8.1. understand and demonstrate proper submission guidelines

2.1.8.2. understand and demonstrate finishing touches

2.1.8.3. file naming conventions

2.1.8.4. archiving conventions and practices

3. Prerequisites/Requirements

3.1. none

4. Required Texts & Materials

4.1. No required texts

4.2. Smartphone

4.2.1. You will need a smartphone with a camera - any generation from within the past five years will be fine. All other equipment will be provided (see Equipment Checkout + Return for additional information about course equipment).

4.3. Software (via self-service)

4.3.1. DaVinci Resolve

4.3.2. Audacity

4.4. Software (phone)

4.4.1. Filmic Pro

4.5. Other Equipment/Tools

4.6. External hard drive (recommended but not required)

5. Course Assignments and Grading

5.1. Summary of Units

5.1.1. Exercises: assignments designed for getting familiar with the tools and basic techniques you will need to do the skill tree unit (click the white dot to the left to see more).

5.1.1.1. titles / basic editing

5.1.1.2. camera / composition

5.1.1.3. circles

5.1.1.4. continuity / basic sound

5.1.1.5. faces

5.1.1.6. sound design

5.1.2. Workshops: in-class learning activities where we’ll demonstrate and practice techniques and processes that will further your skill development (click on the white dot to the left to see more).

5.1.2.1. screenings

5.1.2.2. titles, effects, and animation

5.1.2.3. packaging your films

5.1.2.4. shooting

5.1.2.5. transferring footage

5.1.2.6. archiving

5.1.2.7. editing

5.1.2.8. submitting films

5.1.2.9. critiques

5.1.2.10. sound design

5.1.2.11. color correction

5.1.2.12. animation

5.1.3. Skill Trees: a series of self-selected projects you can choose from four categories: camera, editing, sound, and generalist; you can switch skills trees or stay on track to develop your abilities in one area.

5.1.3.1. Have a look at the skill tree here

5.1.4. Final Film: an opportunity to demonstrate your skill development across the term in a film that offers a more complicated challenge.

5.2. Evaluating Performance

5.2.1. I asses your work against your own previous performance and critique feedback from your peers. I look at the skills you’re expected to understand and demonstrate with each exercise or skill tree project and mark you according to where on the rubric your demonstrations best align.

5.2.2. I also look for application of your previous skill learning to your newer projects - my expectation is that you will use your previous skills in current and future work to refine and develop each film you make.

5.2.3. I look for where you find opportunities to use inspiration, model work by other filmmakers, and/or learn other techniques and processes not covered in the class. This is what I consider to be performance at an outstanding level.

5.2.4. Finally, I evaluate your participation in critiques. This is where you demonstrate your critical thinking and creative problem solving skills. Be proactive, be engaged, be respectful, constructive, imaginative, specific, detailed, and prescriptive. That’s what I look for, and more importantly, it’s what your peers look for and need.

5.2.5. I consider work done at basic expectations to be C-level. B- and A-level grades come when you try to exceed my expectations, take risks, experiment, use inspiration, and find your own way. Surprise yourself, and you will surprise me!

5.2.6. All grades will be posted on Canvas. You are required to check Canvas regularly to monitor your ongoing performance in the course; if you have a question or a concern about a posted grade or other performance feedback, please contact the teacher as soon as possible to discuss.

5.2.7. Your final term grades are marked in Veracross, not Canvas. Canvas may be used as an in-progress reference for skill development and proficiency, but the final grade entered in Veracross is considered the grade of record.

6. Course Policies and Procedures

6.1. Equipment Check-Out/Return and Replacement

6.1.1. I will check out three items to you for the course duration

6.1.1.1. tripod

6.1.1.2. BeastClamp

6.1.1.3. lens kit

6.1.2. They are your responsiblity

6.1.2.1. You cannot share them with other students

6.1.2.2. If you or anyone else loses or damages it, it’s your responsibility.

6.1.2.3. I do not advise traveling with them

6.1.2.4. equipment must be returned the last day of class in a term or as required by instructor

6.1.3. Lost or broken equipment policy

6.1.3.1. You (meaning your caregivers) will be billed for the replacement cost.

6.2. Submission Protocols

6.2.1. Work is always submitted via Google Drive

6.2.2. For each exercise or skill tree film, I will post a shared Drive link for you to submit your work

6.2.3. The file naming convention for each of your films will follow this pattern:

6.2.3.1. first name_lastname_assignmentname.mov

6.2.3.2. For example: rachel_adams_exercise1.mov

6.2.3.3. For example: ben_simmons_skilltree3_movingcamera.mov

6.3. Communication Protocols

6.3.1. I prefer to use Canvas for all of my communications. You can use the Inbox feature, the chat feature, or the Instructor Discussion page to engage with me. I discourage using my Blake email for student communications, so please don’t use that. I get notifications for all of my Canvas messages, and I will try to respond within at least 24 hours.

6.3.2. I will be keeping office hours on Fridays, 2:25 - 3:00 in room 294. You’ll be seen on a first-come, first-served basis unless you’ve scheduled time with me in advance via Calendly. I can also take Zoom calls in the evening, also with prior arrangement through my Calendly page (see the Course Info section)

6.4. Attendance

6.4.1. I expect you to attend all class sessions, whenever possible. I give frequent classroom demonstrations, so I expect classes to begin on time. Bathroom breaks, water refills, etc. are your responsibility during passing time. Once I begin class, you will need take the initiative to find out what you missed and what you need to catch up. Your presence and participation benefits both you and your classmates. Additionally, when you miss class, you miss important information and discussion that is important to your learning.

6.4.2. Critiques are a crucial aspect of this course. Participation is mandatory and I expect your full and proactive engagement. See the Evaluating Performance section for more details (click on the arrow to the right to go there).

6.4.3. If you are absent, you are responsible for checking Canvas for assignments and for learning the material that you missed. If you have an excused absence, you will be permitted to make up coursework and assessments (or complete an equivalent assignment as determined by the teacher).

6.5. Late work and/or Retests

6.5.1. We don’t have tests in this course - you demonstrate your progress and skill development in the films you make.

6.5.2. You can always re-do your films for an improved grade. However, you will need to discuss this with me so I can review your existing work and you can note what my expectations are for the resubmission, as well as arrange a deadline. Be aware that I do not discuss work in terms of grades but in terms of skill development and practice, so never come to me asking “how do I get a better grade?”

6.5.3. I only penalize for late work under two conditions.

6.5.3.1. If you don’t communicate with me at least 48 hours before a deadline to let me know of any issues or problems requiring an extension. You can email me, see me before/after class, or during office hours, and I’m always happy to make new arrangements.

6.5.3.2. That said, any work submitted past the assignment deadline that has not been discussed with me will have 5 points deducted from the calculated grade for every day late until the grade reaches 65, at which point it will remain at that grade. If it remains unsubmitted past that point, see below.

6.5.3.3. If anything is missing by interims or by the end of the quarter - a point where enough time has elapsed to give you the opportunity to reach out to me and arrange a new deadline - any unsubmitted work will be marked a 0 and will not be accepted past that point.

6.5.3.4. Bottom line: keep me in the loop, communicate with me, and we can avoid all of that.

6.5.3.5. Additional note: Final Cut does not delete files or lose saves - work is automatically saved as you go; anything that gets lost is the result of deliberate action on the part of the user - if you’re not sure whether to delete something or not to save space, check with me first

6.6. Learning Support + Resources

6.6.1. Browser Resources

6.6.1.1. There are two browser add-ons that can help with processing the content on the Canvas pages

6.6.1.1.1. For Firefox

6.6.1.1.2. For Chrome

6.6.2. Mary Kirchoff - PK-12 Director of Learning Support Services, Learning Specialist

6.6.2.1. Email: [email protected]

6.6.2.2. Phone: 952-988-3775

6.6.2.3. Office: US U341 Learning Support Office

6.6.3. Jody Thacker - Learning Specialist

6.6.3.1. Email: [email protected]

6.6.3.2. Phone: 952-988-3767

6.6.3.3. Office: US U341 Learning Support Office

6.7. Academic Integrity

6.7.1. Click the arrow to the right to see the All School Academic Honesty policy