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An introductory course in film-style production. Instruction includes pre-production planning, scriptwriting, image capture, sound, lighting and editing. Students will produce a series of exercises and a short finished video.


Through the project-based work of this course, the student will:

  • articulate possibilities and limitations of the moving image as a means for expressing messages.
  • convey messages by making and employing informed aesthetic and technical choices.
  • use the elements of digital video production to communicate that message.
  • identify the pre-production activities that govern digital videomaking—including pitches and funding, budgeting, production design, location scouting, scriptwriting, casting, storyboarding, and scheduling.
  • engage in storyboarding, production design, location scouting, scheduling, budgeting, casting, and scriptwriting for the purpose of making a digital video.
  • record moving images according to those principles.
  • light subjects according to those principles.
  • articulate the principles of audio recording that support digital video production.
  • record sound according to those principles.
  • edit digital video footage and sound according to those principles.
  • store a finished digital video and prepare it for distribution.
  • support creative collaboration with safety, protocols, and etiquette in the studio and on-location.
  • direct and respond to the direction of others.


Substantiating paperwork (storyboards, lighting plots, scripts, talent releases) tends to be rewarded with higher grades if presented professionally (i.e., typed in easily-navigable folders or binders).  Written work submitted by e-mail should be formatted as .pdf (not MS-Word) files.

The majority of Video Production coursework will take the form of practical performance and projects.   If you are not present in class when your name is called to undertake a task, your work will be considered late.  If your work is submitted incomplete or otherwise outside the assignment’s specified format parameters, it will be returned to you for correction.  Upon resubmission, it will be considered late work.

Late work can earn no more than a maximum of 64 points. Work is considered late if it is submitted (or, in the case of e-mail, time-stamped) after lecture begins on the due date. If, because of extreme and prolonged sickness, you miss a deadline and are able to substantiate a claim of incapacitation with a note from a reputable doctor or College Health Services, the grades of your remaining assignments will be given greater weight to compensate. Otherwise, you will receive a zero for the assignment. Examinations must be taken when scheduled.

Syllabus deadlines are the date and time an assignment is due in its final version. The nature of filmmaking is such, however, that you should plan on soliciting your professor’s feedback on at least two intermediate versions of each project. While this is not a requirement, you ignore this recommendation at significant peril to your grade.

Quizzes may be given without warning to encourage attendance and affirm content mastery throughout the term.

Participation will be evaluated throughout the semester by professor and peers based on student contribution to class community. Assigning the grade, I am chiefly concerned with the following questions:

  1. To what degree and in what ways does the student demonstrate respect for his/her audience and co-laborers?
  2. To what degree and in what ways does the student model dependability and responsibility?
  3. In what ways has the student participated in work load, idea generation, and leadership — apart from the work necessary to complete his/her individual assignments?
  4. Of what value are the student’s criticism and suggestions for improvement valued by his/her peers?

Coursework will be weighted as indicated:

Projects 60%
Final Exam10%
Quizzes & Assignments10%

Assignment grades will be based on the following scale:

77-79C+< 60F

Responding to students’ desire for the most immediate feedback on their project work, grades and comments are reported via Moodle. It is therefore the responsibility of students to regularly consult Moodle for the most current report of their grades.


In addition to lectures and demonstrations during class meetings, assigned readings will aid you in learning the material covered in this course.  Assignments will be made from the following required text:

Kindem, Gorham and Robert B. Musburger: Introduction to Media Production: The Path to Digital Media Production.  Fourth Edition.  Burlington, MA: Elsevier, 2009.

Readings should be completed prior to the class date for which they are assigned.

This class will usually meet in Room 025 of the DeVos Communication Center, Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 – 9:50 am.

The following should be interpreted as a general timetable governing the subjects to be covered in this course.  Class discussion, pace — even fluctuations of student attendance and enrollment — often dictate additions, deviations, and omissions.

T Sep 04Discuss: Expectations; Strategies for Success; Group Communication
Read: Kindem/Musburger, Chapter 2
W Sep 05Individual Assignment: Personal Introduction Phases 1 & 2 (due 11:00 pm)
R Sep 06Discuss & Demonstrate: Lighting; Facilities & Equipment
Individual Assignment: Personal Introduction Phase 3 (due 0800a)
T Sep 11Discuss & Demonstrate: 3- and 4-Point Lighting (Studio and Location Kits)
Individual Assignment: Personal Introduction Phase 4 (due 0800a)
Read: Kindem/Musburger, Chapter 7
R Sep 13 Discuss & Demonstrate: Intro to the Grip Cart
Group Assignment: Collaboration (due 0800a)
In-Class Group Assignment: Studio Lighting (due 0950a)
T Sep 18 Workshop: Location Lighting
Group Project: Location Lighting (due 0950a)
R Sep 20 Discuss & Demonstrate: Lenses, Irises, & White Balance
Read: Kindem/Musburger, Chapter 8 & 9
T Sep 25 Discuss: Composition: X, Y & Z
R Sep 27 Group Assignment: Composition Pre-Production (due 0800a)
Workshop: Composition
F Sep 28 6:00 p.m. Dinner and a Movie @ Fuller's House
CAS 190 class members and their guests invited
T Oct 02 Group Project: Composition Production (due 0950a)
R Oct 04Discuss & Demonstrate: Primary and Secondary Movement
T Oct 09Group Assignment: Movement Pre-Production (due 0800a)
Workshop: Movement
R Oct 11Group Project: Movement Production (due 0950a)
T Oct 16Individual Assignment: Conversation Transcript Phase One (due 0800a)
R Oct 18Group Assignment: Conversation Transcript Phase Two (due 1100pm)
T Oct 23Academic Advising: No Class Meeting
R Oct 25 Group Assignment: Conversation Transcript Phase Three (due 0800a)
T Oct 30 Group Assignment: Location Dialogue Pre-Production (due 0800a)
Discuss & Demonstrate: Recording Location Dialogue
Read: Kindem/Musburger, Chapter 6
R Nov 01Group Project: Location Dialogue Production (due 0950a)
T Nov 06Discuss & Demonstrate: Logging & Capturing Footage
R Nov 08Individual Assignment: Capturing Footage (due 0800a)
Discuss & Demonstrate: Non-Linear Editing
Read: Kindem/Musburger, Chapter 10
T Nov 13 Workshop: Post-Production
Individual Assignment: Post-Production (due 0950a)
R Nov 15 Discussion: Editing Aesthetics
T Nov 20Workshop: Continuity Editing
Individual Assignment: Continuity Editing (due 0950a)
R Nov 22Thanksgiving Recess: No Class Meeting
T Nov 27Discuss: Scheduling, Storyboards, and Scripts
Read: Kindem/Musburger, Chapter 2
Final Exam: Pre-Production (due 0800a)
R Nov 29Final Exam: Production (due 0800a)
Workshop: Final Film
S Dec 014:00 p.m. Christmas Party @ Fuller's House
All Media Production Students and their guests invited.
T Dec 04 Final Exam: Rough Cut (due 0800a)
R Dec 06Workshop: Final Film
Final Exam: Distribution Final Film (due 1200n)
S Dec 08Final Exam: Screening (0700p)
M Dec 10Final Exam: Assessment (0630p)
All student work must be removed from the Unity Server.



Where’s Brian when we need him?  Is it really okay to call him at home in the middle of the night?

The classroom setting is such that not all needs can be met within it.  I encourage you, therefore, to visit my office often.  It is my pleasure to discuss grades, attendance, notes, lectures, or anything else which will make you a better student.   Your grades can only benefit from regular communication with your professors.  I will gladly work with you to arrange meeting times convenient to us both. Feel free to contact me:

  • by e-mail at mail@brianfuller.org [good].
  • by phone or voicemail at 616.498.4336 (49.VIDEO) [better].
  • in person [best].


Can I leave early to get to my next class across campus?  What happens when I miss a class?

If you write a good essay or fail a math exam, you do so as an individual.  But the success of a video production is often a collaborative endeavor that begins with attendance.  You jeopardize any group project for which you show up late (or not at all).  Reflecting the emphasis Media Production professors place on collaboration, strict attendance is required.  Students will be penalized for late arrivals and early departures.

I’ve got tickets to leave early for spring break.  Can I reschedule work to accommodate my travel plans?

Classes will not be held on holidays officially recognized by the college. All other days of the term are fair game for lectures, quizzes and assignments. Those students who plan to leave early for or return late from holiday breaks may not reschedule exams or other work.

Can I take class notes on my iPad?  What are the professor’s expectations for electronic etiquette?

You’re encouraged to use smart phones, tablets, and laptops in disciplined ways which accomplish the work of the course.  It’s considered rude, however, to engage in private communiqués (facebook, twitter, IMs, texts) during class.

Oops.  My phone started ringing in class.  Probably Mom calling…

The professor reserves the right to answer any cell phone call received by a student during class time.  From a practical standpoint, you’d hate to ruin an otherwise fabulous take on location with a Justin Bieber ringtone.


I’m dissatisfied with an assignment grade.  Any chance I can have it changed?

Because there are no “right” and “wrong” answers in this field of study, I am open to a certain amount of discussion with regard to the grade awarded any given assignment. Appeals should be made in a timely fashion, within two class periods of grade notification/posting.  You may be notified of a grade by the return of paperwork or, more usually, in the posting of grades and comments to Moodle.   Appeals should be made face to face (not by phone, in writing or by e-mail) and offered with rhetorical and presentational clarity (After all, this is a communication class).


I downloaded a great new song on iTunes.  Can I use it in the soundtrack of my class film project?

The current edition of our college Code of Student Conduct notes that “the student-faculty relationship is based on trust and mutual respect which can be seriously undermined by the suspicion or reality of academic dishonesty.”  It elsewhere defines plagiarism as “the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment.”

Though expected to abide by the document as a whole, Media Production students may benefit from specific awareness of conduct proscribed by Article IV of the Code:

  • Cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty.
  • Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys or other access devices to any College premises or unauthorized entry to or use of College premises.
  • Use of computing facilities and resources in violation of copyright laws.

The standards of honesty and the penalties of dishonesty apply equally to words, ideas, visual images, auditory images, and all electrochemical means of storage and communication.

I will vigorously pursue prosecution of academic dishonesty to the very limit of sanctions allowed by the college (Article V, Sections D and E), up to and including failure of the course and expulsion from the college.  I will just as vigorously work with student to prevent even unintended lapses of integrity.  If you are uncertain about how to avoid plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty, please consult a member of the English faculty, the most recent edition of The Little, Brown Handbook,or (preferably) ask me.

While student media producers retain copyright ownership of their respective work, enrollment in this course constitutes your permission to let the college, the department, the professor, their representatives, and successors, exhibit and distribute for promotional purposes those media projects submitted in fulfillment of course assignments.  Without any effect on your grade you may withhold or limit such permission by indicating your wish to do so in a note to your professor signed, witnessed, and dated, before the course’s drop date.


How can I arrange to work after-hours in DeVos?

Because college policy governs the after-hours use of the building and its basement level production facilities, your professor recommends your familiarity with the college’s established schedule of access to academic buildings. Exceptions to the policy require a note of permission from a faculty member, submitted electronically to Campus Safety at least 24 hours in advance.  To address concerns of personal safety and security, it is suggested that a minimum of two students remain in the building together.

Subject to responsible use, students of CAS 190 and 250 are permitted key card access to the Video Editing Labs (DeVos 055). Students of CAS 249, 290, and 351 are permitted key card access to the Video and Audio Editing Labs (DeVos 045). Access to other workspaces must be scheduled in advance with the Chief Engineer.

I really like using the editing software on my laptop.  Can I edit class projects in my dorm?

To maximize opportunities for collaborative learning, the college offers Media Production instruction in a pedagogically-informed, server-based post-production environment. When student teams edit video and audio projects from shared files to common workflow standards, they are learning organizational and interpersonal skills that will benefit them in the workplace and in other relational settings. While we understand and support students’ preference for many different hard- and software combinations, project work for Media Production classes will be done on facilities and equipment in the DeVos Communication Center (approved by the CAS Media Production Faculty in May 2011).

How might a disability affect my performance in this course?
The college will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.  Students should notify the Coordinator of Services to Students with Disabilities located in Student Academic Services, HH455.  Students should notify their instructors within the first two weeks of class (statement adopted by the College Faculty for inclusion in all syllabi).


How do I arrange to borrow equipment for this weekend’s shoot?  Can I borrow equipment to shoot my cousin’s wedding?

Media Production lab aides are available in DeVos 025A (hours posted there) to check out equipment for class projects.  It is often advantageous to alert them to your equipment needs several days in advance.

The Media Production Faculty approved the following equipment loan policy in March 2009.
Governed by the following priorities, equipment and facilities are available to those students currently enrolled in Media Production classes:

  1. Priority shall be given to equipment loans which support class project assignments and faculty scholarship initiatives.
  2. Production equipment will support in-class instruction as well as out-of-class project work. Return deadlines will be carefully monitored.
  3. Certain equipment is designated for use by each class. Thus, cameras, lighting, and grip equipment set aside for advanced instruction may not be available to students in introductory-level courses (and vice versa). Not even Production Lab Aides should assume free access to all equipment.
  4. Understanding that Media Production majors may not be enrolled in production classes each semester, those declared majors are nevertheless encouraged to engage in project work for their continued improvement (video festivals, competitions, a senior capstone piece, even personal projects). Requests for equipment to support such projects must be made in advance to the Chief Engineer. As a rule, equipment and facilities tend to be more readily available early in the semester. Requests must include (a) a project summary; (b) a detailed equipment wish list; (c) crew list; and (d) desired loan dates.

As in the regular semester, instruction, scholarship, and maintenance, regulate equipment use over breaks, vacations, reading recess, interims, and summer. Exceptions follow the same guidelines enumerated above.