Film

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

Copyright

Fair use

 

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

 

Preliminaries: Montage

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

Design Elements

Color and light

Hue

Additive (RGB projection) versus subtractive (CMYB printing) color

Saturation

Tone and Value

Line

Resolution

Shape

Form, or Volume

Pattern

Texture

Balance

Symmetry and Asymmetry

Raster versus vector images

 

Composition and the Frame

Aspect Ratio

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

Normal Lens

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)

The Rules

  1. Fill the frame.
  2. Save the symmetry for objects; if you use it with people, there must be a compensating element.
  3. Use balance across vertical, horizontal, or diagonal planes.
  4. Avoid distracting foreground/background overlaps.
  5. Use asymmetrical balance.
  6. Include lead and head room.
  7. Follow the Rule of Odd Numbers.
  8. Avoid lining objects up horizontally and vertically; use diagonals.
  9. Include objects to indicate scale.
  10. Frame the shot
  11. Don’t use the unreal or unnatural unintentionally.
  12. Avoid crowding or clipping objects unintentionally.
  13. Avoid unintentional crashes.
  14. KISS: Focus on the subject; unclutter the foreground and background.
  15. Lead the eye.
  16. Use negative space.
  17. Put the horizon high or low, but not in the middle.
  18. Have one point of primary focus.
  19. Use the Rule of Thirds.
  20. Use the Golden Ratio.
  21. Use the Golden Triangle.
  22. Shoot from an interesting angle, high or low, but not straight on.
  23. Arrange things geometrically, especially in triangles.
  24. Use color symbolically.
  25. Use “follow the eyes” to focus attention.
  26. Align things, but not overly obviously.
  27. Make it natural.
  28. Use wabi-sabi.
  29. 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

Bridging shot

The Freeform method

Continuity

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

Conceptual (idea-based)

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)

Intertitle

The 30-degree rule

The 180-degree rule

Follow shot, or Tracking shot

Pan

Zoom

Storyboarding

Superimposition

 

Types of Shots

Character Shots

Wide shot, Full Shot, and Long Shot, or WS, FS, LS

Full Shot

Cowboy

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

50-50

Dialogue establishing WS

Over-the-shoulder, or OTC

Answering shot, shot reverse shot

Clean single

Dirty single

Cutaway

Jump shot

Types of Eyeline matching

Other types of shots

Insert

Connecting shot

Transitional shot

Iris shot

Angles

Straight-on

Low

High

Dutch

 

Mise-en-Scène

Character(s)

Setting, landscape, natural and artificial objects (set pieces)

Properties

Costumes

Lighting

Key lighting (fundamental coverage)

High key

Low key

Fill lighting

Background lighting

Sound Effects

Special Effects

Music

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 position/geometry

Via hue, saturation, and tone

Via depth of field

The Rule of Stylistic Integrity

The Rule of Continuity

Eye tracking studies

Saccades

Fixation

Scene-driven

Audience-driven

Effects of multiple viewing

 

Narrative

Ways of telling a story

Diegis (narrated)

Mimesis (acted out)

Parts of a Narrative

Conflict

Internal versus external

Individual versus group

Inciting incident

Exposition

Rising action

Pinch points

Crisis

Climax

Falling Action

Denouement

Foreshadowing

Flashback

Dream sequence

Subplots

The fourth wall/reality and unreality

Theory of mind

Ascription of motivation

Cognitive Bias: The Fundamental Attribution Error

Character complexity

Flat, Stereotypical

Round

Character arcs

Static (no arc)

Dynamic (arc)

Character types

Hero

Villain

Antihero

Supporting

Incidental/extras

Point of view

Omniscient

Limited

Third person

Second person

First person

 

Acting in Film

Elements of vocal character

Pitch and Intonation

Stress and rhythm

Length

Pace

Volume

Timbre

Articulation and Enunciation

Diction (word choice)

Heightening

Expectation

Silence, pausing

Movement

Register

Dialect

Tone/Emotion

Paralinguistic vocalization

Speech acts

Propositional content

References

Illocutionary force, performatives

Assertives

Directives

Commissives

Expressives

Declarations

Perlocutionary acts

Persuading, convincing

Scaring

Insulting

Inciting

Body language and movement

Dress

Respiration

Facial Expression

Eye Contact

Gesture

Stance

Posture

Proximity

Contact

Movement

Gait

Flexion

Fighting

Dance

Blocking

Cues

Marks

Crosses

Covering

Upstaging

Asymmetry and Focus

Entrances and Exits

Motivation

Appeals

Ethos

Logos

Pathos

Hierarchy of needs

Physiological needs

Safety

Social

Esteem

Self-actualization

Moral foundations theory

Care/harm

Fairness/cheating

Loyalty/betrayal

Authority/subversion

Sanctity or purity/degradation

Character continuity

Character growth

Dynamic characters

Static characters

Method acting technique

Constantin Stanislavsky

Being the character

Techniques

Line-by-line motivation

Sensory memory

What’s in his/her pockets?

Total recall

Backstory

 

Select Genres of film

By setting

War film

Western

Space opera

By theme or topic

Sci fi

Sports drama

Crime drama

Legal drama

Bildungsroman

Action/adventure

Road Trip

Generational Saga

Epic

Literary

Musical

Documentary

Mockumentary

Educational

By mood

Comedy

Romantic comedy

Romantic tragedy

Illness-of-the-week

Horror

Film noir

By target audience

Children’s

Tween and teen

Women’s

By type and cost of production

Big-budget blockbuster

Hollywood

Bollywood

Indie

Short

Animation

B-movie

By format

Analog

Digital

35 mm

16 mm

8 mm

Aspect ratio

Mixed genres

 

Styles of film

Realism

Box drama

Expressionism

Surrealism

Dada

 

Music and sound effects

Establishing

Ambient

For continuity

For transition

For punctuation

Theme

Sound editing

 

Visual and special effects

Mechanical effects

Properties

Scenery and set pieces

Animatronics

Masks

Pyrotechnics

Atmospheric effects

Prosthetic makeup

Multiple exposure

Mattes

Green screen

Miniatures

Backdrops and screens

Rear projection

Traditional animation

Bullet time, stop motion, and go motion

Wires and wire removal

Laser printing

CGI

Hand coloring

Layering/rotoscoping

CGI Animation

Motion capture

Morphing

3D models

Laser printing

 

Film Editing using Camtasia

Master shot method

Adding titles

Adding credits

Adding stills

Adding transitions

Adding and editing music

Adding and editing sound effects

 

Screenwriting

Script format for screenplays

Cover

Title

Scene headings

Scene descriptions

Character names

Dialogue

Stage directions

Believable dialogue

Story structures

The hero’s journey

Three-act structure

Hollywood Paradigm

Opening image

Act 1

Exposition

Inciting incident

Plot point 1

Act 2

Pinch 1

Midpoint

Act 3

Pinch 2

Plot point 2

Showdown

Resolution

Tag, or Denouement

Adaptation

Comparison of Rod Serling stories and scripts

Comparison of treatments of a single work (Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet)

 

Approaches to film criticism

Formalism

Auteur theory/intentional criticism/New Wave

Feminist criticism

Post-colonial criticism

Structuralism

Semiotics

Paradigmatic relations

Sign

Signifier

Icon

Symbol

Index

Syntagmatic relations

Synchronic

Diachronic

Diatopic

Lacanian and Existentialist Criticism

The Look, or Gaze

Deconstruction

 

The Future of Film

Giant widescreen

Sonar 3D mapping

Interactive environments

Interactive plotting: forking paths

Virtual reality: Immersive, mixed reality environments via wearables

Haptics

Digital actors

Drone-mounted cameras

Holographic film

Remote presence live action

Crowd-sourced development

Exponential decrease in barriers to entry: The future is indie

 

Careers in Film

 

Semester Projects

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!