For your final project, you will be required to produce a video essay (however you choose to define that) on any aspect of film. You can browse the various examples we looked over this semester to gather some inspiration and some successful models.
1. Must engage with film in some capacity
2. Must be a video essay
3. Must make use of the skills practiced in class
4. Can take any form of video you like (supercut, video essay, something more creative, etc.)
5. Give a 10-12 minute presentation on it in the last 3 weeks of class (10% of final project grade)
6. Post short blurb about it and link to it on your blog by the time of our last meeting
Final Project is worth 40% of your final grade.
Your proposal should sketch out what you want your project to accomplish. It should answer the following questions and ideally the answer for each question will inform the other ones. Please post your project proposal on your own blog by March 10th (5pm) so that we can discuss them in peer review next week.
What do you want your project to focus on? (HOW/WHAT/WHY)
What type of video essay will you create? (VIDEO STRUCTURE)
What raw materials will you need for the project?
Who will be the audience for your project?
What skills/software do you expect to use?
Additionally: which skills and software tools would you like to have a better handle on?
What do you expect to work on in each of the coming weeks? (TIMELINE)
Any help/feedback you’d like from your peers or myself?
You will be tasked with offering an oral presentation about your project in the last few weeks of November. You want to walk your classmates through your project as well as your own process of production (what software did you use? what are the greatest challenges you anticipate or have already encountered? what kind of feedback would help make your project better?, etc.)
Sign up sheet is up here.
1. Roughly 10 minutes
2. Preview (or explanation) of your project
3. Explain the What/How/Why
4. You can screen a portion of your project (or all of it if it’s ready)
5. Purpose is to help you critically think about why you’re producing your project…
6. …as well as to PEER REVIEW it; expect feedback!
Final Project Rubric
For next week’s class (March 5th) please come prepared to share the main idea (or ideas) you’re considering). Jot down a couple of thoughts on your blog by March 3rd. Think of it as the “rough draft” of your proposal.
Find the best film-centered supercut you can find on the web. Embed it into a post on your blog and be ready to share and present it to the class. What makes that supercut so strong? What argument is advancing? What tools does it use to be successful? How broad/narrow is its focus?
Here’s a short demo on how to embed your Desktop Documentary on WordPress via your Google Drive.
Just remember to make it publicly available (by sharing it) first:
You may notice it’s not available right away. It takes a bit to process but you can still SHARE IT.
When sharing it hit ADVANCED.
Where it says PRIVATE, hit CHANGE
Here’s where you make it PUBLIC ON THE WEB
And now you can embed it; check out the demo.
Be sure to post your desktop doc on your blog by Tuesday. See you next week!
Last couple of weeks we’ve been looking at the ways voice-overs can help strengthen a video essay by allowing you to comment directly on what we’re watching. For the next two weeks we’ll be looking at how to present arguments and information without the use of voice-over audio.
First up, we’ll be looking at what’s been dubbed the “Desktop Documentary” format by looking at another of Kevin B. Lee’s videos:
TRANSFORMERS: THE PREMAKE (a desktop documentary) from Kevin B. Lee on Vimeo.
To record your screen you’ll need Quicktime and you can follow the instructions here.
Assignment (Due March 3rd 5pm): Create your own “desktop documentary” (no voice-over, just screen recording) to showcase your Top 5 Movies of all Time. Upload to Google Drive and embed it onto your own blog by Tuesday March 3rd.
Her (2013) Dir. Spike Jonze
For the past few weeks we’ve been studying Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her and we created a number of video essays that look at pivotal scenes from the film.
As we watch all of these, be sure to think about how you’d answer the following questions both about your own video but also about those of your peers:
– What was the most challenging part of creating this video?
– What proved to be the easiest/hardest part of this assignment?
– What would you do differently if you had another try at making this video?
SCENE 01: “Want to go on a Sunday adventure with me?”
Mike, Brian & Jasmine
Laura, Skylar & Tanei
SCENE 02: “I’m just looking at the world.”
Chelsea & Melissa
Michael & Andy
SCENE 04: “I’m yours and I’m not yours.”
Sophie & Micah
Michael & Khirsten
Dom & Nicole
Today we’ll be working on two separate things concurrently.
1. The Her Scene Study Assignment
You will have time to review your script (focus on making sure it can be adequately timed against the length of your scene) and from 2:00-3:30pm we’ll be going up in groups to the Plangere Culture Lab to record the voice-over. We will use Audacity from one of the laptops there unless you want to use another program in which case, you’ll have to record using your own laptop. Please save your file (export it as .wav) and send it to yourself via email.
We will then work on laying that audio track over the scenes using iMovie (though again, you’re welcome to use any other video editing software you’re more comfortable with). The aim is to finish these Scene Studies in class so as to upload them to Google Drive and share them with me (email@example.com). We will screen them all next week during class.
While other groups work on recording, we will also be working on breaking down Tony Zhou’s style of video essays.
2. An exploration of Tony Zhou’s video essays
Individually, choose any one of Zhou’s video essays and write an annotation of it (discuss its title, its organizational structure [Introduction/Title Card/Background on Film, Credits, etc.], what tools it uses — is it a voice-over? does it use music? is it heavily edited? does it use graphics? — what is focused on, what argument it is making, how effective it is, how long it is, how many films it uses, what techniques it depends on, etc.). Be as thorough as you can be, keeping in mind that we want to begin answering Kevin B. Lee’s question “What Makes a Video Essay Great?” Embed the video essay into your post and post an image (screenshot) of it. 500 words or more.
GROUP Assignment (Due Feb 19th Midnight): Choose one scene from Jonze’s Her and create a scene study of it. Script/Storyboard must be approved in class Feb 12th before recording/editing.
For the next two weeks we will be working on crafting a video essay study of four scenes of Spike Jonze’s Her (2013). You will be working in groups of 2 or 3. You can take cues from the various Scene Studies we looked at this week or go over to the New York Times and watch a couple of their “Anatomy of a Scene” work to get you inspired.
You will work on crafting a script to be read as a voiceover over the scene in question. The script (which should aim to include cues as to how to match up specific points with specific images on screen) is due next week (on Tuesday as usual, posted to each group member’s blog).
Bear in mind that, on average, 130 words translates to 1 minute’s worth of talking.
To book time in the Plangere Culture Lab, email either Paul Bielecki or Jess Gonzalez (our multimedia tutor). They will work with you to try to match you with open time that will fit their schedule, but they cannot, and will not accommodate students who show up without any prior email contact.
You will then have next week (if you choose to book one of the mics from upstairs) and the following weekend to record your voiceover (you can choose whether you all participate or whether one of you is “the voice” in your piece). You will have time on Feb 17th to mix the two parts of your assignment (video and audio) so don’t worry about needing to have that done by class.
[[As for checking out equipment the Snowball USB mics cannot be taken out of the PCL. Students needing to do any type of audio recording with the Snowballs will need to fill out equipment reservation form online. This form should be used for reserving cameras and microphone equipment.]]
You can find all four scenes here and a sign up sheet for each here.