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

INSTRUCTOR: Anthony Stagliano
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: M 12:30 PM 3:15 PM
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

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 professional film?

This course will provide you with an intensive overview of the entire filmmaking process as you work with a production unit to produce a short narrative or documentary film. 

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.

ParticipationParticipation 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
Preproduction and production packageThis will be the collection of the in-class exercises during the weeks of preproduction and production.15
Non-Fiction/Documentary project Students will be required to work individually or in small groups to produce a 5-10-minute non-fiction/documentary film on a topic of their choosing.25
Fiction project Students will be required to work in small groups to produce a 5-10 minute fiction film based on their own scripts.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
Screenings/CritiquesWritten critiques during the two screening of works. Screening attendance will be mandatory. 10

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. 

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.


Non-Fiction/Documentary Film Project

Week 01: Introduction to Non-Fiction Film Forms

Week 02: Pre-Production and Treatment

Week 03: Shooting and Framing

Week 04: Lighting and Sound

Week 05: Editing 

Week 06: Editing and Color Correction (rough edit due)

Week 07: Final Non-Fiction Film Screenings & Introduction to Fiction Film Forms

Fiction Film Project

Week 08: Creative Writing

Week 09: Script Development 

Week 10: Composition and Lighting

Week 11: Directing and Mise-en-scène

Week 12: Editing and Sound Design

Week 13: Editing and Graphics/Effects

Week 14: Editing workshop (rough edit due)

Exam Week: Final FIction Film Screenings