In this course we study the language of modern cinema as shaped by two forces. The first is the aesthetics of cinematography, as contributed by many cultures. The second is digital film production, which has proved both empowering and constraining. The modern filmmaker succeeds only through understanding both forces. The structure of the course is similar to a writing workshop. We begin with close reading of isolated scenes from influential films, which we compare and critique in writing and discussion. We augment this with cinematic and image processing theory, solidified through experiments in Photoshop and Premiere that reveal how digital technology shapes a director’s choices. We then create our own short scenes using these tools and consumer video recorders. We refine our film fragments in the context of group critique. Topics covered include: framing and composition, pace, storyboarding, blocking, lighting, transitions, perspective, sensors, quantization, compression, visual effects, Internet streaming, and color spaces. Studied films include those by Georges Méliès, Stanley Kubrick, Joris Ivens, Barbara Kopple, Martin Scorsese, Sarah Polley, Orson Welles, David Lynch, Fritz Lang, Michael Haneke, Hayao Miyazaki, Spike Lee, Sophia Coppola, and Ken Burns. This course explores diversity through comparative study of how different cultures variously render similar themes, and through a larger investigation of film’s ability to make audiences identify with potentially alien points of view.
Format: Studio. Evaluation will be based on video production activity, computational exercises in Photoshop, script and storyboarding exercises, participation in discussions, and essays.
Prerequisites: A 100 level English course, or a score of 5 on the AP Exam in English Literature or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate; or permission of instructor. Preference will be given to sophomores; Computer Science and English majors.
Distribution Notes: Meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL or ARTH; meets Division 3 requirement if registration is under CSCI.
Course webpage: Click here!
205-01 (STU) TR 9:55-11:10