VSAR 304: Advanced Video Production

Wed 3 - 8:15 p.m.

Location: Arts 340

Instructor: Tony Allard

Office hours: 2 - 3 pm, Wednesdays

Phone: 1-619-517-8696 (cell)

email: antalla@cox.net


Technical Assistants

Technician: Chad Huggins; cehuggin@csusm.edu; cell phone: 760-591-8917

Assistant: Albert Rascon: rasco001@csusm.edu  or  alrascon@hotmail.com

Required texts:

Course description:

In this course, we will explore the theory and practice of video within the context of art and culture including such topics as video art's relationship to television and other mainstream media, queer video, feminist representation, community access video, appropriation, the nature of the documentary and video diaries, video and poetics, improvisation, and humor, and commercial video.  This advanced video class is designed for students who can work independently, scheduling time outside of class to make work, present work in progress in class, and complete research. Class time will be spent screening work, discussing readings, participating in workshops and developing your technical skills. We will concentrate this semester on:

·       idea and structure development-starting with a simple premise and developing it conceptually and technically over a period of weeks

·       audio design-how to create a sound track which gives the work psychological and physical impact

·       continue to learn beginning and advanced functions of the Media 100xe and Media 100xr editing systems.

·       learn about compositing software, such as AfterEffects, and streaming video on the web

·       Learning the operation of advanced digital cameras

·       research historical and contemporary video art

·       review off-line editing, time code and how to set signals

·       I will also present information about funding, showing your work, access, jobs, internships and other professional concerns.

Journal/Three Ring Binder Notebook

Each student is responsible for keeping a three-ring binder notebook/journal in which all handouts, notes, sketches, storyboards, ideas, etc. will be compiled. I will periodically ask to see the notebook, especially during individual meetings and critiques in order to better understand your ideas and to make reference to technical information.



Your grade will be based on attendance, completing all assigned work and readings, participation, the completion of two finished projects plus one off-line project, the use of your notebook/journal, learning new technical skills, and a short paper/presentation. A successful class relies on motivated students involved with self-teaching, peer mentoring, contributing to the overall quality of the class, and helping maintain the equipment. Your grade for your projects is based on both content and form.

30% Project 1 (including showing work in progress and turning in timelines, etc)

30% Project 2 (including showing work in progress and turning in timelines, etc)

10% Off-line project

10% Research Presentation

20% Participation, (in the form of discussing readings,  completing quizes, attendance, etc)



>Please attend each class. I expect you to stay for the entire duration of the class. Leaving before the end of the class or not taking advantage of lab time when scheduled will constitute a missed class. Attendance is taken  with a sign-in sheet at the beginning of each class. After the class has started, you may not sign in. Four missed classes constitutes a failing grade.


Materials and Checkout

You will be responsible for supplying your own videotapes. Tapes range in kind and price, but you will mostly need Hi8, Mini DV, vhs, svhs, and possibly DV Pro or BetacamSP. Only use new tapes. Used tapes can seriously damage the equipment. Tapes can be bought from San Diego Audio Video (call for prices: 858-541-0500). Hi8 and MiniDV tapes can be bought locally, such as at Good Guys. I recommend to start with: 1 x 60:00 Hi8 MP or Evap tape OR 1 x 60:00 MiniDV tape (or one of each) and 2 x 60:00 SVHS tapes.

·       Cameras, with the exception of our Sony Hi8 HyperHad advanced camera and our advanced DV Pro Cameras are available at Media Services on the fourth floor of Craven Hall. Check with them for their policies.

·       All other equipment, such as new tripods, microphones, cables, lighting kits and audio recording equipment are available through our program reservation policy. You can reserve the equipment in advance through Chad Huggins, the program technician. Please email Chad a  few days in advance when you want equipment (cehuggin@csusm.edu), or sign up in the annex. There is a sign up sheet on the door of the black cabinet. If you reserve in advance you are guaranteed to have the equipment. Equipment can be checked out for up to three days.

·       You are responsible for all equipment you check out. DO NOT EVER LEAVE IT IN YOUR CAR UNATTENDED.  Do not force parts. Handle with care. Do not leave in dusty, hot, or freezing places. Keep dirt away. All of the equipment is expensive and fragile. Please be very careful handling it. Sand, dirt, dust are the worst. You will be responsible to repair or replace damaged or broken equipment.


Production of Two Videos

You will be expected to complete and present two major video projects during the semester, one due at midterm and one at the end of the semester. Both should have well-developed ideas, and be well-executed in an appropriate manner to the idea. Presenting work in progress will be essential to earning a good grade. (see Video Assignments  and Project Proposal below)

Video Assignments

You will be expected to complete two video pieces during the semester, each taking approximately seven weeks to complete. For students in the second semester of this class or with prior experience, plan to create works which are between 8 – 12 minutes. For students with no prior experience, plan to create works between 3-5 minutes. You may, of course, do as many as you like, especially as you are learning new technologies and techniques. However, two pieces should meet the following criteria:

>At least one of these pieces should be made for screening. The other may be a quicktime quality work made for the web or multi-media, or a tape edited to be played in a video installation (I will discuss this last option in more detail on the first day of class). Although I will not be directly teaching digital video for the web or multi-media, I will be glad to consult with you on your overall project. One may also be for an installation or performance.

> Both tapes should have well-developed ideas and be well-executed, with subject matter significant to a broad cultural community. You can develop ideas about things you've read, experienced, about philosophy, history, etc. All finished work should have color bars (:30), black (:10), titles and credits, followed by black. Please dub a copy on a class compilation reel for credit.

>Collaborations in which all members of the team are contributing vital and unique components are encouraged, especially if they draw from other disciplines (music, theater, film studies). Please speak to me if you are thinking of working collaboratively with anyone inside or outside the class.



Project Proposals

When working creatively, one idea you start with is often transformed into another during the process of making work. However, it is a good practice to write a project proposal before you start. You must submit a typed project proposal and timeline for each video project. It may be revised over time. A project proposal should include:

·       a project summary, 2-3 sentences (what the work is about) (i.e. "I plan to create a 10:00 video which is about my grandmother’s immigration to the U.S. In it I plan use interviews, re-enacted footage, still photographs from archives, as well as experimental footage which is intended to convey the fears and hopes of immigrants.”)

·       a project description, 1-2 pages: a more in depth description of the content, how you will execute the work, what type of work it is, what media you will use, how your plan to edit it, what is your audience, where you will show it (if it is an installation, for instance), what kind of research it involves, if you need actors, how you will find them, the methods you might use in working with them

·       storyboards, sketches, shot lists, audio ideas, writing which would help to explain your project further

·       what materials and equipment, including tapes, you think you might need

·       a timeline: this is an outline week to week of what you plan to do in order to produce the work in a seven week period. (Writing, research, shooting, editing, mastering)


Research and Presentation

Everyone in the class will give a short (10:00) presentation on video art or film. For those of you who are new to the class, during the semester, you will give a short class presentation on any video you select from the collection in Media Services called "Surveying the First Decade". For those of you have already explored “Surveying…” during another semester, you should look at contemporary video art, film art or digital art from a wide range of sources. I have put some tapes on reserve for you to look at, but there may be more. Also, feel free to ask me what I have in my own collection. In conjunction with this presentation, everyone will turn in a five page paper which discusses the piece in relationship to the issues surrounding the origins of video art, media theory, performance art, feminism, technological advances, etc. Cite at least three essays you have read in the body of your paper. (see handout with information on these video tapes.)


End of Year public screening/Video Show
At the end of the semester you will present your work during the End of Year Video show. After you have completed your final project you will add your video to a class reel which will then be used for the screening. This is an annual event and has been well attended in the past. It is an excellent opportunity to get your work out in the public and get feedback. In addition to your work being shown there will be work by students working in sound and dance. I will give a more detailed explanation of the show as the semester progresses.




Week 1

February, 7

·       Introduction to the class

·       Screening of selected video works

·       Re-Introduction to cameras

·       Assignment: Start thinking about the topic of Project #1 (not the short off-line assignment)

·       buy text books at bookstore or online


Week 2

February 14

·       Review of audio and video equipment online and offline equipment: dubbing, setting signals, mixing, timecode, etc.

·       How to write a project proposal-examples

·       Discuss possible ideas for first project proposal

·       Warm up assignment: Short project using the off-line equipment (see assignment sheet). Make this no longer than 3-4 minutes. Experiment with off-line and in_camera.  Get together in groups tonight to discuss first assignment

·       Discuss sign up board

·       Read: begin reading "In the Blink of an Eye"

·       Screening: “Man with a Movie Camera”, Dziga Vertov; Muybridge Studies


Week 3

February 21

·       Due: off-line project finished on Mini DV tape; screen for class

·       Questions about lab?

·       Overview of Final Cut Pro HD

·       Assignment: Meet together in small groups to complete FCP HD Tutorial during the week . If you have already completed the tutorial, please review the basics for FCP. I will be giving a FCP hands-on quiz next week.


Week 4

February 28

·       First project proposal due; briefly present your proposal to the class

·       Turn in typed proposal to me

·       Media 100 hands on quiz—based on what you learned in tutorial

·       Reading due for today: Chapter 1, New Media in Late 2oth c. Art, Michael Rush

·       Video screenings (works by video performance artists):- Montano, Acconci, Burden, Angelo;“Tom’s Flesh”, and others


Week 5

March 7

·       Demo: Media 100—using key effects, picture in picture, saving your composited work

·       Questions about Media 100?

·       Screening (video effects and documentary): “Zapatista”, a Big Noise Film


Week 6

March 14

·       First work in progress due: bring in video you have shot or edited, cued up to a five minute section which you feel represents your work and ideas. Be prepared to present your ideas and images, and ask for feedback.

·       Reading due for today: Chapter 2, “Video Art”, New Media in Late 20th c. Art

·       Screenings (approaches to personal narratives): Sadie Benning, Selected Works; Bill Viola, “The Passing”; Elizabeth Subrin, “Swallow”


Week 7

March 21

·       Reading due for today: Chapter 3, “Video Installation Art”, New Media in Late 20th c. Art

·       Presentation of installation art by Bill Viola and other artists

·       In class  project: making a live video mix that is broadcast on closed circuit video installation. In this in class project, we will use the MX30 audio and video mixer, cameras, monitors and a projector to experiment with video installation and to learn cables and connectors. Before coming to class, while reading the chapter, sketch in your notebooks some ideas for possible closed circuit projects using two or three cameras, monitors and a projector.


Week 8

March 28

·       Video #1 Due for Screening : copy your finished piece onto your own master and on to the class compilation reel. The dub must have 20 seconds bars, 10 seconds black, title, program, credits, and 30 seconds black) If your work is long, and you do not have enough disk space to redigitize at high res, leave work low res for now. Redigitize over the break.


Spring Break: March 29 –April 7


Week  9

April 11

·       Second project proposal due; present to class; turn in typed copy to me

·       Presentation by Chad Huggins of his work using AfterEffects

·       Demonstration of AfterEffects, software for compositing video

·       Visit website before coming to class and look at digital videos:

·       http://www.belief.com/

·       http://www.belief.com/un/un.htm

·       Visting Artist: Kristine Diekman will discuss her work.

Note: Please have a one – two page write up which addresses both the content and form of the artist’s work. Turn in to me on May 2, week 12.

Week 10

April 18

·       Introduction to audio art and sound design: Wojnarowicz, Hutchinson, Fluxus and Dada work

·       Audio workshop-listening, recording, demo of microphones, mixer, field recording equipment

·       Assignment: choose an environment with an array of directional sounds. Listen carefully over a short period of time, paying attention to the kinds and quality of sounds, amplitude (how loud), dynamic quality (relative loudness and softness), direction (left, right, behind, in front), duration (how long), etc . Creating your own notation, recording on paper what you have heard. Bring these notations to the class (on April 30). Be prepared to present your system of notation, explaining what you were hearing, how it made you feel or what it made you think of, how you might reproduce this audio mix, how the audio may lend structure to your work, and what kind of video it might evoke.


Week 11

In-class Groups Assignment: Foley Project: You will take a pre recorded video animation and record and edit new audio (Stereo) for the animation. You will split up into groups and work together for the final video. I will give a more detailed description in class.


Week 12

May 2

·       Brief presentation of audio notations and listening exercises to class. Turn in your work to me.

·       Work in progress for Project #2; have a five minute clip prepared to show to class for discussion and feedback.

·       Screening: videos by Dan Reeves, “Mosiac for the Kali Yuga” and Gary Hill, “Incidence of Catastrophe” and other video artists using audio as a structural force in their work

·       Discuss Visiting Artists; please have a one – two page write up which addresses both the content and form of the artist’s work. Turn in to me.


Week 13

May 9

·       Research Presentations tonight!  Present the video/film clip to the class along with a synopsis of your research. Research papers due today to be handed in. For details of this assignment, please see supplementary materials I handed out first day of class.


Week 14

May 16

·       Project #2 due for today. Please have complete on SVHS class reel, as well as your own copy. If you think you need to make special arrangements for extra drive space, please talk to me before this date.

·       Discuss end of year show.


Week 15

May 23

·       END OF YEAR VIDEO SHOW!  7pm – 9 pm. Everyone invited. Bring food, drinks. Arrive at 6pm to set up and organize the space.