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COURSE NAME: "Foundations of Digital Video Production"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Jenn Lindsay
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: M6:30 PM 9:15 PM

This course introduces students to the technical, conceptual, and aesthetic skills involved in video production through the single camera mode of production. Still the most dominant mode of film and video production, the single camera mode places an emphasis on using the camera to fullest capacity of artistic expression. In addition to the multiple skills and concepts involved with the camera, the course also introduces students to the principles and technologies of lighting, audio recording and mixing, and non-linear digital video editing. Special focus is given to producing content for successful web distribution.

This course will answer some of the most pressing questions repeatedly asked by first­time and amateur filmmakers: 

How do you effectively and efficiently transform an idea first into a story, then into a screenplay, next into a production schedule, and finally into moving images and sound that emotionally transport an audience? How do you operate a camera, record clean audio, and generally make your actors look like they’re in a semi-professional film? What can I do with Final Cut or DaVinci Resolve that I can’t do with iMovie? 

This course will provide you with an intensive overview of the entire filmmaking process, from soup to nuts, as you work with a production unit to produce a short narrative and documentary film for web distribution. 

Class Structure 

- Discussions based off of assigned readings and viewings and in-class film screenings 

- Conceptual and technical demonstrations

- Studio time (planning and production)

- Presentation of works (critiques) 

Course Home Page 




By the end of this class, you will understand how a film is made from conception through distribution, and you will know how to develop a story for maximum audio-visual impact. You will gain hands-on experience of all stages of film production and all the skills necessary to begin producing professional-level work for the media industry as well as a polished piece of work for your demo reel. 

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Women vs Hollywood: The Fall and Rise of Women in FilmHelen O'HaraRobinson978-1472144447  Hard Copy  

Preproduction and production package This will be the collection of the in-class exercises during the weeks of preproduction and production. 15
Documentary project Students will be required to work individually or in small groups to produce a 5-10-minute documentary on a topic of their choosing. 25
Response TextsIndividually written “Response Texts” will follow each project. The texts will explain the student’s personal vision and technical challenges encountered while creating the work. The texts will also note key course elements––including but not limited to screenings, lectures, readings, labs and discussions.10
Final screenings There will be no midterm or final exam, but there will be two screenings during the semester where student films are shown. Attendance will be mandatory, as well as the submission of a peer critique form. 10
Participation and Attendance Participation is not simply a question of attendance and raising your hand in class. In order to receive your fifteen points, you must attend class and ask questions AND you must contribute significantly to group members' productions. To get credit, the director/producer of the project must turn in a call sheet with your signature.15
Narrative film project Students will be required to work in small groups to produce a 5-10-minute narrative film based on their own scripts.25

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


This course requires an extraordinary amount of work to be completed outside of class hours. Students who expect to travel frequently during weekends are strongly advised against registering for this course. 

Three late arrivals (more than 10 minutes) are counted as one unexcused absence. Two unexcused absences will result in a full letter drop in the final grade and three unexcused absences will result in failure. Due to the once-a-week meeting schedule for the course, missing one class can mean missing out on a major technical or conceptual lesson plan, which can affect the quality of your projects and those of your fellow students. In the case of excused absences due to documented illness or family emergencies, please present a Dean's note as soon as possible. 

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. 




Different digital recording equipment will be used for each project and these will be available from the Digital Media Lab. You all have access to the digital equipment JCU has on reserve for the course. You can check out gear from Thursday afternoon with gear needing to be returned Monday morning. 

Out of Pocket Materials 

Students enrolled in this course should provide their own external USB hard drive (250-500GB) to store and archive captured material and video projects. These drives must be Mac-formatted. 

Office Hours 

I am available to discuss any concerns or questions outside of class time. Please do not hesitate to email me to schedule a meeting. 

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



Please note that this schedule is subject to change. The course Moodle site will be the best place to get current course information. 

Non-Narrative–Documentary Film Project 

Week 01: Introduction to Non-Narrative Film Forms 

Week 02: Pre-Production and Treatment

Week 03: Shooting and Framing; Lighting and Sound 

Week 04: Editing 

Week 05: Editing and Color Correction

Week 06: Rough Cuts workshop 

Week 07: Rough Cuts screenings

Week 08: Final Non-Narrative Film Screenings


Narrative––Fiction Film Project 

Week 09: Creative Writing 

Week 10: Script Development

Week 11: Directing and Mise-en-scène / Composition and Lighting review

Week 12: Editing, Sound Design, Graphics/Effects 

Week 13: Rough Cuts screening

Exam Week: Final Narrative Film Screenings