MASS 302 – CRN 21317 Production and Context Spring 2008
Asst. Prof: Jonathan Berman Office: Craven 6217 Phone: 760-750-8085
Office Hours: In Craven 6127: Mon. 2:30PM & Wed. 1PM In ACD 211: Thurs. 4:30PM
Class Meeting Location: ACD 211 Meetings: Thursdays, 5:30PM – 8:15PM
MASS302 Production and Context operates as both a lecture and a production class, the aim of which is to
provide literacy in the “reading and writing” of motion pictures. The course will provide an introduction to
1) the acquisition and post production tools for video projects 2) the language of motion pictures 3) ideas on
the critical analysis of media representation. You will learn how to conceptualize, acquire, and manipulate
video and audio that powerfully represents your own perspectives on the human condition.
• “Read” video, through the analysis and critique of popular, alternative, and your own films
• “Write” video, by learning how to shoot and edit creative video projects
• Explore concepts of structure, style and voice while creating these works
At the end of the course you will have learned how to:
• Use digital video cameras
• Work with sound and image
• Edit with non-linear digital video software
• Critically deconstruct images and sounds
• Conceptualize a short video
• Appreciate various forms of motion picture media
Required Texts and Equipment
• Michael Rubin The Little Digital Video Book, Peachpit Press, 2001
• Scott McCloud Understanding Comics, Harper Perennial, 1993
• Other texts online and handouts
• 3 or more 64-minute mini DV tapes ($8 each) and 3 DVD-R ($10). Note: These may be provided by the lab
fees. We will discuss in class.
Mini-DV format cameras and tapes are necessary for this course. There are many Mini-DV cameras
available from the Daniels Communication Lab (DCL), and through the Kellogg Library. Make sure you
read the manual over and get to know the camera you are using. The use of Hi-8, Video8, VHS, VHS-C, or
disc based cameras is not allowed for this course.
Grading (1000 points total)
Attendance/Participation Due: 150
Quizzes Feb 28 & Mar 27 300 (150 x 2)
Exercise #1 Feb 21 100
Treatment for Exercise #2 Mar 6 50
Exercise #2 Mar 20 150
Treatment/Script for Ex. #3 Mar 27 50
Exercise #3 May 1 200
Participate in the class by doing the reading and working to the best of your ability with your partners.
Explore the world, don’t only shoot in your apartment. Take risks. Make sure you bring at least one question
to each class based upon either the reading or on your experiences in creating these works.
Filmmaking is a collaborative art. If it becomes evident that one partner is doing most of the work, the other
partner's grade will be affected. If your work partner is repeatedly not available, you may choose to make
other arrangements, but please contact me first on this. Please keep all emails and correspondence with your
partner to document each other’s workload.
No more than one unexcused absence. Absences after the first are -3%, (2n absence), -5%,(3rd absence).
Three absence or more will result in a failing grade. Attendance may be taken at beginning or end of class,
be in class for the entire session. Turn assignments in on their due date. Each day late is -2% points.
There will be two quizzes each worth 150 points. The material will come from our two textbooks, as well as
class lectures and discussions, therefore it will be valuable to take notes in class, and make sure you
understand the concepts presented, asking questions if you don’t.
¹Exercise#1: Documenting an event(s): (in camera, no edit) 3-5min
Record an event and edit in camera. You should have a beginning, middle, and end in the piece.
¹Exercise#2: Documentary Portrait 5-7min
Find a person (can be alive or in memory) who has made an impact on your life, can be good or bad, but
should be a strong impact. What does this person mean to you and how does their story affect you? The
dynamic relationship between the subject and filmmaker should be developed in the structure and format.
One possibility for this project could be a professor who has influenced your life.
¹Exercise#3: Open Project 7-10m
This will be a longer project that shows everything you have learned about mis-en-scene, sequence, story
structure, etc. Could be fictional, documentary, or avant-garde. This project will be edited and with titles.
Treatments & Proposals
Your Exercise #2 Portrait Proposal (2 or more pages) will include a paragraph or so on each of these: a
summary and description of your project, how you will stylistically approach the subject, what is the
targeted audience and how the work relates to them; the rationale or importance for the project.
Your Exercise #3 Proposal or Treatment will vary depending upon what you want to do. If you are doing a
documentary project, follow the guidelines above. We will either examine or I will provide examples of
fiction and avant-garde proposals and treatments.
Class Schedule & Assignments by Week
Please be aware schedule may be modified depending upon workload etc.
0. Jan 21 INTRO
Assignments: Print the DCL Handbook, Read pgs 1-7
Read Ch. 3 in Understanding Comics, “Blood in the Gutter.”
Read Ch. 1 & 2 in the Little Digital Video Book, “The Basics & Your Camera”
1. Jan 31 CAMERAS AND THE SHOT
Intro to class and each other. Forming into two person teams.
Lecture: cameras and the shot, the basic unit of the moving picture.
In-class exercise: 1) Camera Basics 2) Tripods 3) Shots
Assignments: Read Ch. 3 Again in Understanding Comics
Read Ch. 3 in the Little Digital Video Book, “Shooting.”
2. Feb 7 CAMERAS AND THE SEQUENCE
Six types of sequences and “coverage.” Viewing footage from films.
In-class exercise: shoot WS, MS, CU, and ECU’s in class/ around campus w tripod
Assignments: SHOOT Exercise #1 Due next week.
Read Chapters 4 & 5 in Understanding Comics, “Time Frames” & Living In Line.”
3. Feb 14 SCREEN EXERCISE #1
Screening and Class Critique of Exercise #1
About Treatments for Video Projects
Assignment: Brainstorm and write a 2 or more page treatment for Exercise #2, a video portrait.
Read Ch. 4 in the Little Digital Video Book, “Organizing Your Video.”
4. Feb 21 VOICE
Developing Your Own Voice: Viewing of Past Student Work and Selected Shorts
In-class shooting exercises– Moving the camera; creating better sequences/coverage.
Review for the Quiz
5. Feb 28 SOUND WORKSHOP
QUIZ #1 TODAY
All about audio recording for video.
Logging your work on paper.
Assignment: SHOOT exercise #2
Read Ch. 5 in the Little Digital Video Book, “Getting Ready To Edit.”
6. Mar 6 PREPARING FOR AND INTRO TO EDIT
Log and Capture Your Footage on Computer.
Assignment: EDIT exercise #2
Read Ch. 6 in the Little Digital Video Book, “Editing.”
“Show and Tell” “The Six Steps”
7. Mar 13 INTRO TO EDITING
Edit Basics, Assemblies and Rough Cuts
Assignment: FINISH exercise #2
8. Mar 20 SCREEN EXERCISE #2
Review for Quiz #2
Form into groups of 4-5 people for the final exercise.
Assignment: Brainstorm and Write Treatment for Exercise #3
9. Mar 27
QUIZ #2 TODAY
Present your treatment or proposal on Exercise #3 to the class for suggestions and critique.
10. Apr 10 SUPER 8MM & HAND PROCESSED FILM
Special Presentation. Working with small format film (not videotape) with visiting media filmmaker,
Megan Hessenthal. She will screen films and discuss.
Also: Workshop on April 11th, 10-4pm, Space to be TBD • How to DIY for shooting and processing
small format film. You email me to request to sign up for the workshop email@example.com
There will be an EXTRA CREDIT (50 points). Space is limited.
Shoot Exercise #3.
11. Apr 17 SCREEN RAW FOOTAGE AND ASSEMBLIES
Individual Consultations on Final Project
Assignment: Edit Exercise #3
12. Apr 24 FINISHING TECHNIQUES
Picture Lock. Titles, Color Correct, and Audio Edit and Mixing.
Assignment: Continue and Fine Tune Edits
13. May 1 SCREENING OF EXERCISE #3
Screenings of Exercise #3 and Party
14. May 8 LAST CLASS
Course Review, Critique on Exercise #3, Next Steps
NO FINAL IN THIS CLASS
Write the email and phone numbers for partners (for Project #1 & 2 and team members (for Project 3) here:
Other Information About the Class and CSUSM
Given diverse nature of modern media, it is probable that we will watch, discuss, debate, and write about
material that deals with controversial and adult subjects. While done within a freethinking, yet respectful
spirit of collegial inquiry, it is possible that the material may not be aligned with your religious or other
personal beliefs. If this is problematic, please discuss or email me ASAP, so you may drop the course within
these opening weeks if you so choose.
Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations must be approved for services by
providing appropriate and recent documentation to the Office of Disabled Student Services (DSS). This
office is located in Craven Hall 5205, and can be contacted by phone at (760) 750-4905, or TTY (760) 750-
4909. Students authorized by DSS to receive reasonable accommodations should meet with me during my
office hours in order to ensure confidentiality.
Students will be expected to adhere to standards of academic honesty and integrity, as outlined in the Student
Academic Honesty Policy. All written work and oral presentations must be original work. All ideas/material
that are borrowed from other sources must have appropriate references to the original sources. Any quoted
material should give credit to the source and be punctuated with quotation marks.
Students are responsible for honest completion of their work including examinations. There will be no
tolerance for infractions. If you believe there has been an infraction by someone in the class, please bring it
to the instructor’s attention. The instructor reserves the right to discipline any student for academic
dishonesty, in accordance with the general rules and regulations of the university. Disciplinary action may
include the lowering of grades and/or the assignment of a failing grade for an exam, assignment, or the class
as a whole.
Incidents of Academic Dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Students. Sanctions at the University level
may include suspension or expulsion from the University. All assignments must be done exclusively for this
class. If you want to do work for two classes at the same time, you must explicitly request permission from
Spring Film Festivals in San Diego
18th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival, Feb 7-17, 2008
15th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival, March 6-16, 2008,
UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center
Schedule of Spring 2008 Visiting Media Maker Series
Film Director Lawrence Blume Presents “Martin and Orloff”
Monday, February 11, 5:30pm, Markstein 102
Film director and technologist Lawrence Blume screens his independent dark comedy Martin & Orloff
(2002) which features the Upright Citizens Comedy Brigade, with appearances by Janeane Garofalo, David
Cross, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Andy Richter. Blume will discuss directing feature films, the comedy
genre, and the future of film and TV technology.
Paper Tiger Reads Paper Tiger Television
Tuesday, February 12, 3pm, Arts 101
A new documentary on Art, Activism and Analysis Smashing the myths of the information industry for 25
years! An early innovator in video art and public access television, PTTV developed a unique aesthetic that
experimented with the television medium combining art, academics, politics, performance and live TV
Guilherme Marcondes, “Tyger”
Tuesday, March 11, 2:30pm – 4:30pm, Arts 340
Award-winning Brazilian Filmmaker, Macondes, will present his animated film, “Tyger”, based on William
Blake’s poem of the same name. Placed in Sao Paulo’s chaotic urban landscape, the film utilizes a
fascinating mixture of puppetry, digital animation, and live video. Marcondes will discuss his process in
making this work and other animations. This event is sponsored in association with The San Diego Latino
Hand-Made Films Screening and Hand-Processing Workshop with Brooklyn Filmmaker, Megan Hess
Thursday, April 10th, ACD 102, 6pm
Screening of Hand-Made films curated by visiting media filmmaker, Megan Hessenthal. Work screened will
include short films "Dirt" and "Make Me" by Megan Hessenthal.
April 11th, 10-4pm, Space to be TBA
Sign up to learn and make a unique one of a kind, hand-processed super 8mm
film. Instructor will be visiting hand-processing filmmaker,
musician, and teacher, Megan Hessenthal. Please contact Minda Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kristine
Diekman (email@example.com). Space is limited.
Megan Hessenthaler is a personal experimental/documentary filmmaker who lives and works in Brooklyn,
New York. She works primarily in super 8 and 16mm film editing and manipulating her analog images by
hand. Educated at Emerson College in Boston, MA Megan has worked on both coasts in a bevy of
areas pertaining to the film industry. Her first film 'Dirt' has screened nationwide, her next film 'Make Me' is
expected to be complete by early 2008.
All events are made possible by a generous grant from the IRA and the participation of the Communication
and Visual Performing Arts Departments of CSU San Marcos.