Introduction To Film

Introduction To Film
Maya Deren

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Course Description and Syllabus

Introduction to Film Making
Ph 299
Ethan Berry, Instructor
This course is designed to introduce the student to 16mm filmmaking through hands on training. It covers the necessary skills needed in the production of a non-sync film (a film where sound and image are separate elements) from concept to completion. This includes screenwriting; working with the Bolex or other 16mm camera; choosing film stock for the project; knowledge of continuity, coverage and composition; lighting; working with the laboratory; analyzing the success of the dailies screened in class; logging footage; editing; sound editing; and preparing the negative or positive for the final print. Students must develop, write, shoot and edit a    short non-sync film outside of class time, using equipment reserved by the students through school. Students are expected to work together on each other’s films. Prerequisites: Photographic Media I or Permission of Instructor Fulfills: Photography Elective (Photography Students), Time-based Media Elective (Photography Students); Studio Elective

This course is focused on the basics of filmmaking. The camera, the film material and the construction of films from that material. The primary point of departure is experimental and Avant Garde and Experimental film practice from the 1900’s’ until the present. This practice is relevant because it parallels the development of major ideas in modernist and post modernist art making.

The medium we will be exploring is 16mm and to some extent, super-8 film. These materials have had a robust life in the art world especially in the hands of artists. Film is tangible and durable, it is rigid and at the same time it is flexible and responsive to hands on actions.

The camera we use is the hand wound Bolex camera which can be used with a variety of lenses or none at all. We will edit the film itself and also transfer it into digital form for editing with digital editing software.

You will learn about planning a project, photographing and generating images, organizing those images, and presenting those images in time. You will reference other films, poetry, literature, popular culture, photography, writing, sound, dreams, games, stories and theories. You will make short films (around one to three minutes) to try out your ideas. You will make one film that is generated from one of these shorter films and is a further development from it. or expansion on it.

You will often work in teams trading roles. You will also work by yourself on projects.

We will present the films you make in real space by projecting them either alone or with other images and  objects. We will look at and discuss a lot of films by a variety of filmmakers. We will create a context and a language through which we can talk about these films.

In the end you will have had a significant encounter with your own ideas, the critical language of film and the material of the film itself.

Criteria for Credit.
Grade for assignments take into account the degree to which you successfully apply film tools and technology to the realization  of your ideas. The degree to which you have engaged the idea of the assignment, and the timely-ness of the completion of your assignments. 

You are expected to complete all of the assignments.
You are expected to be at every class. (More on this in class)
You are expected to work between classes (homework).
You will make a presentation to the class about a film and a filmmaker.
You will be expected to attend film screening outside of class time.
You will be expected to contribute to group projects
Emphasis will be placed on the inventive and creative use of the film medium.
Class participation is essential since you will be working collaboratively.

Course outline

Week one Film Viewing -Notes on Marie Menken. Discussion of the camera as a tool.

Week 2  Film Viewing- Stan Brackage Naomi Uman, Gordon Nelson. Discussion; The Handmade Film.
            Studio;The Exquisite Corpse- a group project shot and processed in class.

Week Three Film Viewing,  Ernie Gehr, Michael Snow, Tara Nelson, Discussion; The Structural film. Student Film Critique
Studio; Organizing, Editing and Digitizing Projecting film.
Sound for film.
Sync. Sound Demo
Week 4 Film Viewing Maya Deren, Dimitri Kirsanoff. Paul Turano, Hollis Frampton. Saul Levine.
            Studio; Lighting for film, Studio Project films.
            Evening film showing

Week 5 Film Viewing Student Film Critique. Moholy Nagy, Hilary Harris, Shirley Clarke. DzigaVerov Discussion; City Symphony
             Studio;The Moving Camera, Camera Supports.
            Other 16mm cameras

Week 6 Studio Project Films continued, Film Viewing Bruce Connor, Naomi Uman, Luther Price. Jody Mack, Discussion; Found Footage, Experimental Animation.
             Studio: Handmade and Found footage Films.
            Studio; found Footage, Handmade Films.

Week 7 Student Film Critique; Found Footage, Handmade films.
            Studio; bleaching, contact printing rephotographing.

Week 8 Final Project proposals due; Titles, text and copy work.
            Copy stand collaborations, x3
Studio; Continue collaborations
Group Portrait Assignment

Week 9 Project meetings, Studio Work.
            Studio; Projects, Collaborations,
 Multiple projections.
            Presenting sound

 Week 10 Student Film Critique
            Studio; Collaborations
            Group Portrait shoot.

Week 11 Film viewing and Critique
Studio; Collaborations,
            Group portrait
Final Projects

Week 12 Film Viewing and Critique
            Studio; Portrait
Week 13 Last Class presentation
            Evening Film Festival. TBA

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