TCF 140 Film/Video Narrative Production

Fall 1997

Instructor: Jeremy Butler Office: 430C Phifer

Office hours: TT 3:30-5:00, & by appt. 348-6350

E-mail: WWW:

Objectives: An awareness of the creative potential of filmed/taped narrative through "hands on" experience with image, sound, and editing. An understanding of the conventions of visual narrative and the tools necessary for film/video narrative production.


Gross, Lynne and Larry Ward, Electronic Moviemaking. 3rd Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1997.

Butler, Jeremy G. "Narrative Structure: Television Stories." In Television: Critical Methods and Applications. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1994. Pages 15-35 only. Available on Reserve in the Communication Reading Room (Phifer Hall).

Final Projects: The class will be divided into four groups, each of which will create a ten-minute narrative videotape. These four projects will be based on scripts selected from the planning reports (see below). Each student will be assigned a specific crew position on these tapes. The students whose scripts are chosen will be the directors.

Pre-Production Scripts: Each student will prepare a treatment (due 26 September) and shooting script (due 17 October) for a ten-minute narrative videotape. The four final projects will be selected from the shooting scripts.


Exam OneSeptember 23

Gross/Ward, chs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, & Butler

Exam TwoNovember 25

Gross/Ward, chs. 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14

An approximate reading schedule is indicated below. Make-up exams will be arranged at the discretion of the instructor.

Grading: Exams will count 50% (25% each). 10% of your final grade will be determined by an evaluation of your pre-production scripts (5% each). Class and lab contributions will count 5%. The final project will be worth 35%. A grade of F will be given to a student who has (1) not returned departmental equipment, or (2) not arranged for the repair of departmental equipment he/she has damaged.

Incomplete Grades: Due to demands on equipment, incomplete grades will be given only in the most dire of circumstances.

Grading scale:

A 93-100 C 73-77

A- 90-92 C- 70-72

B+ 88-89 D+ 68-69

B 83-87 D 63-67

B- 80-82 D- 60-62

C+ 78-79 F 59 and below

Academic Misconduct Policy: All acts of dishonesty in any work constitute academic misconduct. The Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Policy will be followed in the event of academic misconduct.

Equipment: The TCF Department provides cameras, tripods, and editing and lighting equipment--which may be checked out from the Video Equipment Room. You are financially responsible for all equipment you use. Please treat it with care. We have no insurance. If you have access to your own VHS camcorder, please feel free to use it on class projects. (It must be VHS format, though, or else the tapes will not work with our editing equipment.)

Lab/Project Videotape: Each student will provide one high-grade VHS videotape for use in class projects. Please bring your tape to class by 12 September.

Attendance: You are expected to attend every class. Roll will be taken. Your grade will be adversely effected by unexcused absences, especially during lab exercises and projects. In addition, students who are absent from the Final Exam period will have five points deducted from their semester grade.

Disabilities Accommodation Policy:

Every effort will be made to accommodate students with disabilities. Please notify Jeremy Butler at the start of the semester if you require such accommodations.

Course Schedule (subject to revisions announced in class):

August 21 Introduction to narrative production (view student films/tapes)

26 Camera basics [chs. 3, 4]

28 Lens basics: focal length, depth of field

September 2 Lighting/exposure, filters, film/tape formats [ch. 6]

4 Pictorial continuity: the basic scene [ch. 5, 12]

9 Narrative structures [Butler, pp. 15-35]

11 Lab Exercise 1

16 Analyze results of Lab l

18 Pre-production: planning, scripting [chs. 1, 2]

23 Exam 1: Introduction, chs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, & Butler

25 Lab Exercise 2

Treatment Due

30 Analyze results of Lab 2

October 2 Lighting design [ch. 7]

7 Post-production: editing [chs. 10, 11]

9 Lab Exercise 3

14 Analyze results of Lab 3

16 Lab Exercise 4

Shooting Script Due

21 Analyze results of Lab 4; Final Project selection [ch. 3]

23 Sound basics [chs. 8, 9, 13, 14]

28 Special effects [review ch. 10]

30 In-Class Narrative Project 1

November 4 Groups 1 & 2 edit In-Class Narrative Project 1 tapes

6 Groups 3 & 4 edit In-Class Narrative Project 1 tapes

11 View/discuss In-Class Narrative Project 1 tapes

13 In-Class Narrative Project 2

18 In-Class Narrative Project 3

20 View In-Class Narrative Projects 2 & 3

25 Exam 2: chs. 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14

27 Thanksgiving Holiday

December 2 Groups A & B begin editing Final Projects

4 Groups C & D begin editing Final Projects

12 Final Exam Period8-10:30 A.M. (Friday)

View/discuss final projects

Final Exam Absence Policy: Students who are absent from the final exam period will have five points deducted from their semester grade.