St. Louis Community College at Meramec
Welcome to the study of a fascinating and demanding subject.
The purpose of this course is to teach you to use the super-8 film medium
effectively and creatively and for you to learn to shoot properly exposed and
imaginatively composed images. If you work hard and apply yourself, you should
Understand and use the Kinoflex super-8 camera including
correctly loading cartridges and using the camera’s features, including the
zoom lens, single frame exposure, slow and fast motion capabilities.
Correctly load and use super-8 projectors.
3. Evaluate, choose
wisely among and competently execute various camera moves
from panning and tilting to
tracking and zooming.
4. Understand the nature
and use of both silent and wild sound super-8 films.
5. Storyboard, produce,
direct, edit and exhibit silent and wild sound super-8 films.
6. Use a computer
7. Edit your footage as
film and on the Avid Xpress DV (digital nonlinear editing).
8. Analyze and critique
your own and other students’ films.
This is an introductory course in filmmaking, so I will assume you have
not previously shot super-8 film. You will discover this medium is demanding
in terms of energy, time, thought and discipline. This class should be very
enjoyable, but it is a college-level course. You must be conscientious in
fulfilling all the requirements and completing each project on time in order
to make satisfactory progress and receive a passing grade.
1. ATTENDANCE: You are expected to attend every class. Since this is a
demonstration, discussion and production class, your attendance is extremely
important. Your absences will affect your grade and your progress. If you miss
more than two meetings, you are excessively absent and can not receive above a
C for this course. If you miss more than three, you can not receive
above a D. Your own and your fellow students’ progress depend upon
your involvement in all our discussions and analysis.
Note: There are no excused absences. When you are not present
for any reason, you are absent. If
you miss class, you are responsible for any changes in assignments. If you are
absent, call or see me before our next class.
Class begins promptly. Repeated lateness will count against
TEST AND QUIZZES: You will have one exam at mid-term (week 8). It will cover
your text, handouts, lectures, in-class films and discussions.
You will have two quizzes. One quiz will be in class (week 3)
on camera features and the exposure roll and one quiz on Blackboard on editing
(week 7). These quizzes and the mid-term will count for 20% of your final
Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. A student who deliberately or
unintentionally submits as his or her own work anything which is in any part
taken from another person without proper acknowledgement (use of quotation
marks, inclusion in the credits, etc.) is guilty of plagiarism. A student
guilty of submitting plagiarized material for any course at Meramec may be
dismissed from the course, given an F for the assignment, an F as the final
course grade, and reported to the appropriate deans for disciplinary action. I
will pursue all of these actions if you plagiarize or cheat.
CLASS PREPARATION AND PARTICIPATION:
You are expected to complete the assigned film production materials
(storyboards, post-production analysis, etc.) and video summaries by the dates
listed. This entails considerable planning since you must factor in lab
processing and mail delivery. In addition you must calculate your own editing
time. Plan ahead. You will be evaluated on your ability to meet deadlines in
this class as you will be in any future film work you may do.
Late films will lose one full grade.
Learning, like filmmaking, is a collaborative venture.
We will screen and analyze your films in class, so you have a serious
responsibility to each other. You must be ready to be involved in discussions
because you will learn a great deal from each other by providing your own
unique insights. This is important enough for class participation and
preparation to count for 10% of your final grade.
4. FILMMAKING PROJECTS: The major portion (65%) of your final grade will be determined by your three film projects. These projects provide a series of learning experiences that should develop your ability as a filmmaker. In the course of performing them, you will acquire a considerable degree of technical knowledge and mechanical expertise. However, film that is perfectly exposed may be nothing more than a formal accomplishment. What you must also master are the imaginative, creative aspects of filmmaking to challenge yourself. Then you can truly call yourself a successful filmmaker.
Cameras and tripods, as well as all necessary editing and projecting
equipment, are provided. You must buy your own film and pay for its
processing. We will go over check
out procedures during class. You must be extremely conscientious about
following the procedures and returning equipment on
time. Other students’ shooting schedules depend on this. Failure to
follow procedures will lower your course grade one full grade; this is that
JOURNAL: A production journal should be kept of all your film work.
This journal includes storyboards, lighting diagrams, camera placement,
light meter readings (if you use one), type of film, etc. Take very good
notes--be precise about every detail so you can learn from your successes and
mistakes. Hand in your production journals with each film.
I--CAMERA AND EXPOSURE TEST ROLL: See Page 4 for the detailed directions and description.
To prepare yourself, watch the Exposure Roll CD or log on to the Blackboard
web site for explanation and demonstration of each of the following
requirements. For Blackboard, directions will be handed out in class.
PROJECT II--STORY OR THEME: Shoot a silent film of a simple action or theme
under your control and direction. The film should be visually clear without
verbal or written explanation. An understanding of movement and light are
important. Originality in choice of subject matter and your treatment of it
will count in your grade for this project. There is no required length. We’ll
talk about this in class.
Storyboard this film before shooting and shoot TITLES for it. The focus
is on the shooting and editing of this film. You may choose to add wild sound
as well, but that is not required. You may also use animation in this film.
III: YOUR CHOICE:
You may create a narrative or experimental, live action or animated movie.
This film must be storyboarded, edited, and accompanied by wild sound. The
focus is on improvement in composition, editing, and the addition of sound.
There is no required length.
If you have any questions about these projects at any time during the
semester, please talk with me before you guess. You will probably save
yourself time, aggravation and money if you clarify your work before exposing
film. I also offer my help in solving any problems you encounter. Feel free to
catch me any time during office hours, any time we can arrange, or any other
time you find me on campus.
Good luck with all your shooting. Take your time and enjoy
the filmmaking process.
EXPOSURE: Set up a shot on a tripod, indoors or outdoors. Try to
include a broad range of tonal values or colors in your frame. Include a live
subject, if possible. Expose a short (10 second) sequence at your automatic
metered aperture. Record that f-stop. Then
“bracket” the exposure by stopping down (underexposing the shot) one
f-stop and shoot another 10 seconds. Next open up (overexpose) the same shot
one f-stop and shoot another 10 seconds. Note: be sure to keep very good notes
on each of these shots as you proceed and “slate” every shot. Include the
f-stop and identify the shot (for example, underexposure) on a card or sheet
of paper. Write in thick magic marker. Ballpoint ink will not photograph
Shoot 10-15 seconds with a normal lens setting (the zoom lens in the middle
position). Note carefully the boundaries of your scene through the viewfinder.
Zoom to a wide-angle shot and hold this briefly, then zoom to a telephoto shot
and hold this. Then begin with the same wide-angle setting and scene. This
time, dolly in to your telephoto setting and stop there for a couple seconds.
Use a normal lens setting. Shoot a medium distance shot of one person walking
toward you. Keep the camera as steady as you can and maintain a constant
distance between the subject and camera throughout this shot. Now repeat the
shot with the lens at a wide-angle setting. As always, slate the exposures.
TRIPOD SHOT: PAN: From a medium distance, shoot 5-10 seconds panning
(following your subject left to right or the reverse) with the camera mounted
on a tripod. Plan your shot so
that you move your subject from a brightly lit area to a darker area or the
reverse. Lead your subject and, as usual, slate the exposure.
TRIPOD SHOT: TILT: Direct your talent to walk up a stairway or a hill.
With the camera mounted on a tripod, tilt up to keep the subject in clear
focus and view. Lead your talent, that is, keep the same amount of headroom as
the subject moves. Next, reverse the shot and tilt down as the talent walks
down the hill or stairs. Hint: If you shoot with a telephoto setting, the tilt
is more dramatic.
RACK FOCUS: Set up a scene with something in both foreground, midground
and background. Use a normal lens setting. Rack focus (by turning your
distance scale) from background to foreground or the reverse. This works best
with a shallow depth of field, usually found in shaded or darker areas, and
with a telephoto setting.
If you have any film left, experiment.
Shoot anything, any way you want, but keep careful records of what you’ve