This is an outline that I made up for my Intro to Film courses. For more examples of film scripts and writing by Bob Shepherd, go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/film/
Film, Course Outline |Robert Shepherd
Note: Emphasis throughout will be on applying the techniques and concepts taught to the production of original work. The typical modus operandi of the course will be: definition of technique or concept, illustration of concept in film shorts and stills, application of the concept in original work by the student.
Preliminaries: Intellectual Property
Preliminaries: The Basis of Film
Cognitive/Perceptual Bias: Persistence of vision
Cognitive/Perceptual Bias: The Phi Phenomenon
Cognitive/Perceptual Bias: Blurring as the Basis of Smooth Motion
Cognitive Bias: The Kuleshov Effect
Automaticity, Manipulation, and Propaganda:
Why Lenin and Hitler Both Started Film Studios
W. Griffith and Continuity Editing
Fixed camera shots in early film
Editing to show continuous action, based on narrative
Fills in gaps between locations
Sergei Eisenstein’s types of montage
Metric (editing based on the clock)
Rhythmic (cuts based on length of time action takes)
Tonal (cuts to establish mood)
Overtonal (using all of the above)
Intellectual (cuts for symbolic or other intellectual purpose)
Vsevolod Pudovkin’s types of montage
Contrast (cuts between two different things or actions)
Parallelism (cuts between similar actions)
Symbolic (cuts between a thing and a symbol of the thing)
Simultaneity (cuts between events happening at same time)
Leitmotif (cuts to significant item to which film returns from time to time)
Continuity versus ellipsis
Preliminaries: The Language of Design
Color and light
Additive (RGB projection) versus subtractive (CMYB printing) color
Tone and Value
Form, or Volume
Symmetry and Asymmetry
Raster versus vector images
Composition and the Frame
Academy standard (old films) 1.375: 1 (11:8)
SC TV 1.33: 1 ( 4 x 3)
HDTV 1.78: 1 (16 x 9)
Film (European widescreen) 1.66: 1 (5 x 3)
Film (current U.S. film standard, widescreen) 1.85: 1
Film (U.S. widescreen, anamorphic) 2.35: 1
Focal Length and Field of View
Telephoto (compresses z dimension, makes things look closer together)
Wide-angle Lens (extends z dimension, makes things look further apart)
Aperture, f-Stop and t-Stop, and Depth of Field
Aperture controls depth of field (amount in focus)
Smaller aperture increases depth of field/larger decreases it
Full stop halves or doubles the light (higher f-Stop, smaller aperture)
- Fill the frame.
- Save the symmetry for objects; if you use it with people, there must be a compensating element.
- Use balance across vertical, horizontal, or diagonal planes.
- Avoid distracting foreground/background overlaps.
- Use asymmetrical balance.
- Include lead and head room.
- Follow the Rule of Odd Numbers.
- Avoid lining objects up horizontally and vertically; use diagonals.
- Include objects to indicate scale.
- Frame the shot
- Don’t use the unreal or unnatural unintentionally.
- Avoid crowding or clipping objects unintentionally.
- Avoid unintentional crashes.
- KISS: Focus on the subject; unclutter the foreground and background.
- Lead the eye.
- Use negative space.
- Put the horizon high or low, but not in the middle.
- Have one point of primary focus.
- Use the Rule of Thirds.
- Use the Golden Ratio.
- Use the Golden Triangle.
- Shoot from an interesting angle, high or low, but not straight on.
- Arrange things geometrically, especially in triangles.
- Use color symbolically.
- Use “follow the eyes” to focus attention.
- Align things, but not overly obviously.
- Make it natural.
- Use wabi-sabi.
- Use varying planes to create depth.
Film Flow and Editing
The Master Shot method
The master shot, cover shot, or A roll
B-roll, or overlay
Coverage and the turnaround (going to the next shot)
The Establishing shot
Clean frame entrances and exits
The Freeform method
Types of cuts and transitions
On action (while subject is in motion)
Cutaway, or insert
Cross-cut (back and forth, as in telephone conversation or parallel events)
Content or continuity cut (takes one seamlessly from one scene to another)
POV (cutaway to what actor is looking at)
Morph (one changes to another)
Iris (opening and closing an aperture)
Wipe (up, down, left, right, diagonal)
Smash cut (abrupt transition)
Match cut (same shape, different content)
Verbal match cut (new completes the sound)
Dissolve (blending one shot into another)
Cut hidden in black, object crossing, invisible
Zero (overlap of A and B roll)
Jump (cut between same shot, violating 30-degree rule)
L-cut (audio carries to next shot)
J-cut (audio starting before cut)
Fade (to white or black or from white or black)
The 30-degree rule
The 180-degree rule
Follow shot, or Tracking shot
Types of Shots
Wide shot, Full Shot, and Long Shot, or WS, FS, LS
Medium shot, or MS
Medium close-up, or MCU
Close-up, or CU
Big head CU
Extreme close up, or ECU
The Two Shot
The Three Shot
Dialogue establishing WS
Over-the-shoulder, or OTC
Answering shot, shot reverse shot
Types of Eyeline matching
Other types of shots
Setting, landscape, natural and artificial objects (set pieces)
Key lighting (fundamental coverage)
Visual/Conceptual metaphor and symbolism
Rules for mise-en-scène
The Rule of Simplicity (KISS)
The Rule of Time and Place
The Rule of Sufficient Illumination (key, fill, and backlighting)
The Rule of Contribution to the Dominant effect
The Rule of Focus
Via hue, saturation, and tone
Via depth of field
The Rule of Stylistic Integrity
The Rule of Continuity
Eye tracking studies
Effects of multiple viewing
Ways of telling a story
Mimesis (acted out)
Parts of a Narrative
Internal versus external
Individual versus group
The fourth wall/reality and unreality
Theory of mind
Ascription of motivation
Cognitive Bias: The Fundamental Attribution Error
Static (no arc)
Point of view
Acting in Film
Elements of vocal character
Pitch and Intonation
Stress and rhythm
Articulation and Enunciation
Diction (word choice)
Illocutionary force, performatives
Body language and movement
Asymmetry and Focus
Entrances and Exits
Hierarchy of needs
Moral foundations theory
Sanctity or purity/degradation
Method acting technique
Being the character
What’s in his/her pockets?
Select Genres of film
By theme or topic
By target audience
Tween and teen
By type and cost of production
Styles of film
Music and sound effects
Visual and special effects
Scenery and set pieces
Backdrops and screens
Bullet time, stop motion, and go motion
Wires and wire removal
Film Editing using Camtasia
Master shot method
Adding and editing music
Adding and editing sound effects
Script format for screenplays
The hero’s journey
Plot point 1
Plot point 2
Tag, or Denouement
Comparison of Rod Serling stories and scripts
Comparison of treatments of a single work (Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet)
Approaches to film criticism
Auteur theory/intentional criticism/New Wave
Lacanian and Existentialist Criticism
The Look, or Gaze
The Future of Film
Sonar 3D mapping
Interactive plotting: forking paths
Virtual reality: Immersive, mixed reality environments via wearables
Remote presence live action
Exponential decrease in barriers to entry: The future is indie
Careers in Film
Semester 1: Educational film-making project (Khan Academy-style short)
Semester 2: Short dramatic film project
Copyright 2014, Robert D. Shepherd. All rights reserved. Feel free to copy and use this outline, but please acknowledge its source (e.g., adapted from Intro to Film Course Outline by Robert D. Shepherd). Thanks!