MEDIA102-20B (HAM)

Film Production 1: Telling Stories

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Arts
Screen and Media Studies


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Paper Description

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This paper introduces students to both theory and practice of creating moving image. It emphasizes that moving image production is a process that requires physical awareness, team work, communication skills, creative thinking as well as general technical and theoretical knowledge.

This paper emphasises moving image production - a process that rarely happens in isolation. There are many different elements that combine to make moving image a powerful medium. The assignments in this paper are geared to invite each individual student to appreciate the creative possibilities of various techniques and develop skills that will be applied in Film Production 2 and 3, and onward into graduate studies and our 'digital cinema' specialisation. Workshop sessions will start students on their journey to becoming competent users of essential production equipment and will help them hone their critical sensibilities by reacting to their classmates’ work.

The paper will cover the chronological aspects of moving image production: pre-production, production and post-production. Areas of knowledge will include:

  • camera
  • sound
  • lighting
  • audio-visual digital editing
  • mise-en-scène

Paper Aims and Objectives

  1. Develop a practical understanding of technical requirements and processes inherent to (digital) audio-visual production
  2. Acquire new production skills and apply methods and techniques learned to create audio-visual works
  3. Recognise the influence of audio-visual narrative conventions and how they are applied in fulfilment of the grammar of filmmaking
  4. Collaborate and communicate effectively and respectfully with peers to support a critical process attached to refining and developing work
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Paper Structure

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Lectures will be delivered face-to-face on Campus. Those studying remotely will have access to materials. However, it is expected that students attend workshops in-person as assessments are group-based.

(a) Details of the lecture timetable, rooms, streaming arrangement etc.

Lectures will introduce fundamental terms and concepts associated with audio-visual production. Students will be assessed on their comprehension, and recall of lecture content in assessments (in a class test and audio commentaries that will accompany film submissions). Students are therefore expected to bring notepaper and a pen to lectures in order to develop their note-taking skills. Mobile devices and laptops should be turned off during lectures and workshops. Anyone with devices on during the lectures will be asked to leave and marks deducted from their overall grade.

Within the workshops, students are expected to develop their technical understanding of camera, lighting, sound equipment, and editing software. To successfully pass this paper and progress onto Film Production 2, each student will need to actively engage with, and employ the tools of film-making in their participation and contribution to group work. Production in this context does not include acting in films or organising groups via Facebook/email. To gain marks towards assignments, students will instead be required to operate cameras, edit footage, set up lighting, capture sound etc.

(b) Attendance

Attendance at lectures and labs is necessary to attain the information and assessment criteria to pass this paper. Active participation in workshops will be reflected in the grade for assignments.

Note #1: If you have a paper scheduling clash, it is unlikely that you will gain enough experience or knowledge to pass this paper. It is unlikely that the convenor will agree to late arrival or early departure as a result of a clash with another paper.

Note #2: that you will remain in the same Lab session and with the same tutor for the duration of the paper/semester and group allocations WILL NOT be changed.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, if alert levels change, plans are in place for students to complete the paper without interfering with the learning outcomes.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of the technical process inherent to digital audio-visual production
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Acquire production skills and apply methods and techniques learned
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Recognise the value and influence of audio-visual narrative conventions and apply them within the creative process
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Engage in critical discussion and evaluation of audio-visual projects with peers
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Develop a practical understanding of production equipment and workflow (camera, sound gear, lighting techniques, digital editing)
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Learn to work and communicate effectively with peers during the production process
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Apply critical thinking to cinematic practices to examine the relationship between sound and image
    Linked to the following assessments:
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The written and practical assignments attached to this paper allow students to demonstrate that they have the adequate level of knowledge, skill and competence to begin making films in Film Production 2. Through the assessments students will demonstrate a practice-based understanding of the production process attached to meaning making from utilizing moving image.

In order to assess student learning, students will be tested on

1) their comprehension and understanding of the conceptual components of the grammar of film making as covered in the lecture content,

2) competence operating and using production kit in a purposeful and intentional manner and

3) develop the ability to enhance film making using post-production techniques.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Individual Editing and After Effects Test
21 Aug 2020
4:00 PM
  • Hand-in: In Lab
2. Group Work: Script to screen
28 Aug 2020
4:00 PM
  • Hand-in: In Lab
3. Class Test
1 Oct 2020
2:00 PM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
4. Group Work: Short (Final) Film & Group Audio Commentary
9 Oct 2020
4:00 PM
  • Other: Hand in before screening on USB as detailed below
5. Individual participation in workshops and lectures
  • In Class: In Lab
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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No required readings for this paper
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Recommended Readings

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  • Film Art: An Introduction - Bordwell, D. & Thompson, K. (2013) - Available in the library
  • Digital Filmmaking - Figgis, M. (2007) - Available in the library
  • Lighting for cinematography : a practical guide to the art and craft of lighting for the moving image - Landau, D. (2015) - Available in the library
  • The power filmmaking kit : make your professional movie on a next-to-nothing budget - Tomaric, J. (2008) - Available in the library
  • The University has access to Kanopy, a streaming resources of rare, experimental, world and blockbuster cinema. Many film clips used in the paper are available on this site:
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Online Support

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There is an online Moodle community for this course. Moodle can be accessed via iWaikato. Videos resources, Lecture presentations, tutorial exercises, assignment details, important dates and the paper outline are all available from this site.

Important information:

In your second Lab we will introduce students to the camera equipment. Before students are able to take a camera out from ITS, they will need to demonstrate a basic level of competence in set up, use and pack down. This test is compulsory for health and safety reasons. Only on completion will students be able to obtain a signed blue card that permits the borrowing of audio-visual equipment. Everyone in a group will need to pass this test for the group to access equipment. You will then be able to take equipment off campus and overnight.

On Moodle you will find short videos that focus on the equipment made available to you by the University of Waikato. Please watch these short movies to prepare for this test.

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4 contact hours per week (lecture and labs) in which students will gain the information they need and the time and guidance to begin work on assignments.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: SMST112

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