Video Art Projects

Cinematography/Videography Project

An example of hard cut, montage editing "Up in the Air", the movie:

This project is intended to increase your shooting skills, while at the same time introducing you to simple hard cut and montage editing techniques. You will produce a one to two minute video in which you will shoot and then edit footage of preparing, eating, and cleaning up after a meal. You may choose another activity for this project, but it must be an activity that has clear, discrete steps that lead to a finished outcome, such as assembling a piece of furniture from IKEA, making your bed, or doing a farm chore like splitting and stacking wood.

Within the one to two minute time frame of the video, you will be conveying a scene of a sequential event. Keep in mind that, even though the subject of the video might be very ordinary, you may ask yourself questions about this event such as: does this event convey an overall feeling? Why is this scene important? Does the scene support some kind of dialogue, and if so, what is the subject of the dialogue? What might you want to convey with/through this scene beyond the representation of a sequential event in time?

Part 1: Shooting:

Before you begin shooting, you will first create a simple story board and basic shot list. This story board/shot list will also include shot compositions--i.e., how the subject is framed in each shot, how movement within the frame is composed, and also how movement is composed from shot to shot. Below each image/shot on your storyboard, indicate what type of shot it will be, such as a wide, medium, close up, or macro.
 The following are the requirements for your video shoot.
>  The actions you are depicting must be broken down into wide, medium, close up, and macro shots (refer to the article on types of shots we discussed in class).
When you develop your story board, you will need to determine which parts of the scene should be covered with wide, medium, close up, or macro shots.
>  In addition, you must also include these four types of camera movements: pans, tilts, zooms, and tracking shots. Keep in mind that a combination of two of these types of camera movements makes for a more informative and compelling experience for the viewer. For instance, you could pan the camera at the same time you are also zooming in on your subject.
>  You must also include different types of focusing such as rack focus (change of focus within the shot), or a shallow depth of field shot in which only a very small area of your subject is in focus, while the rest is blurred out.
>  Sound must be diegetic (no sound used that is not present in the scene).

Part 2: Editing

Once you have completed the production stage of the project, you will then complete Part 2, editing. When you begin to edit your footage keep in mind the same questions you asked during your shoot, such as: why is this scene important? Does the scene support some kind of dialogue, and if so, what is the subject of the dialogue? Does this event convey an overall feeling? What do you want to convey with/through this scene?
The following are the requirements for editing your footage
>   Video must not be shorter than a minute, nor longer than two.
>  The footage must be edited sequentially in order to convey the linear sequence of preparing, eating, and cleaning up after a meal (or another sequential event).
>  Hard cuts only! No transitions (although, a hard cut edit is a transition).
>  No shot may be used more than once.
>  All sound must be diagetic (only sound that was present in the room during the shoot).

Part 3: Outputting your video as a Quicktime
When you have completed your editing, you will then export your completed project as a Quicktime file (.mov) from FCP. I will demonstrate how to export your project as a Quicktime on the class before the project is due.


The Interview Project

In this assignment you will continue to build on your shooting and editing skills by learning how to use lighting and microphones, how to shoot an interview, and how to edit an interview. Choosing your interview subject is very important to the success of your video, and therefore, think of a person who might be interesting on camera, and can tell a good story. You can work in groups (no more than 3 to a group) or solo. Based on your production and post prodution experience, we will determine if you go solo or are part of a group.

This five-to-seven minute long video will follow a standard talking heads format for an interview, which is typically set up/staged in advance in a recording studio, or in the person's living or work space. There are other interview formats, such as a cinema verite-style which is much less staged and has the subject placed more naturally in his or her environment; there is a Guerilla TV style interview
in which the interviewers hit the streets with their camera and choose a subject(s) at random. These last two interview formats are much more difficult to do because there are a lot more variables in the situation that you have to contend with that could ultimately compromise the quality of your recording. Thus, this is the reason why I have you do a standard, staged, talking heads style interview.

Production Schedule
Your production schedule needs to be submitted via Cougar Courses email and include the following:

A) Production schedule calendar that includes the completion of both the production (shooting) and post production (editing) phases of the project. You should include, among other important dates, the pre-interview site visit date, the work-in-progress due date, the date you/your group will actually finish the editing and outputting as a Quicktime, and of course, the due date of the project itself (these last three dates are posted on the week-to-week schedule).

B) A brief description of your interview subject, the location where you will be shooting the interview and the list of questions you will be asking during the interview. Think carefully about who your subject is before you write up the questions, because this will allow you to generate more compelling questions and thus prompt a more engaged response from your subject. It is a nice courtesy, if you can, to send the interviewee your questions before the interview takes place.

C) Shot list. When you write the interview questions you have the beginnings of a shot list. What you add to it is how the shots will be framed and constructed, paying particular attention to the need for a range of wide, medium, and closeup shots. This shot list should also include B roll. B roll is shots that you will cut away to in your editing as the person continues to speak. B roll gives the viewer more information about the person and about what they are talking about. Use B roll judiciously, not overdoing it. B roll can also be used to cover a bad shot by cutting away to a shot of interest while the person continues to speak.

In some cases, additional B roll is needed and is shot during the post production phase—however, I recommend getting all the B roll you need the first time around because you may not get a second chance to go back to the location of the shoot. B roll can also include incidental information about the site of the shoot and the subject’s relationship to the site.

NOTE: If you need a Depiction Release form for your subjects to sign, download here. We can discuss the various reasons why you might have the subject sign the release form, but in general, it gives you the video maker the right to use the interview footage in your project which may be shown publicly.

Screenings of Interviews:
--"Stanley", Steven Matheson 
--"Interview with the Prophet of @: "Onward", and other student work


Text & Image Project
In this assignment you will be working with text and image as creative, experimental, poetic, humorous or political elements. The video must be at least one minute in length and no longer than three minutes. Choose or write a piece of text which you like. This can be a poem, words you see on signs, scraps of paper, texts from books, or anything else that inspires you. Combine text and image in ways which are compliment or contradict each other. Words can be abstract and flow into the image, or they can be large and graphic explicitly modifying the image. Use the tools of filters, motion, titles and graphics to be as creative as possible. Also, keep in mind that you do not have to use the computer / applications to generate the texts. They can be written on objects, your body, etc.

Some suggestions for Text and Image project
--I strongly recommend not using the lyrics of a song as your text, and then editing your video to the rhythm, melody, and lyrics of the song. The reason being is that the rhythm, melody, and lyrics are so specific to the song that they significantly limit your creative editing potentials. If you do use the lyrics of a song and the song itself, I strongly recommend a non-linear, even random use of the text, because otherwise if you create a wooden, one-to-one correspondence between your edited video and audio, or in other words, it can become just an illustration, or just another music video.
--The same can be said about using a poem. If you do use a poem, think about non-linear, alternative presentations of the text in relationship to the image and sound.
--With the above two points made, you can prove me wrong, and creatively and conceptually amaze me with a one-to-one correspondence between the text and the song / poem.
--This is an excellent opportunity to use audio creatively by making your own sound design for the project. One way to make the sound / design your own is to record and mix all the sound yourself, and not use pre-recorder material.

--Text & Image, additional Screening Text and Image videos by Tom Kalin, Subrin, Diekman.