SJ5042 - Film and Television Practice (2018/19)
|Module specification||Module approved to run in 2018/19|
|Module title||Film and Television Practice|
|Module level||Intermediate (05)|
|Credit rating for module||30|
|School||School of Computing and Digital Media|
|Total study hours||300|
|Running in 2018/19||
This module will enable students to explore a range of film and television moving image texts through practical exercises, experimentation, observation, analysis and documentation. Focusing on a series of key texts, through screenings, lectures, workshops and seminars, students will gain an enhanced understanding of how the key construction aspects – production development, cinematography, design, performance, sound, television studio work, editing, post-production and effects – shape a work’s narrative, language, genre, ideology, construction of reality, appearance and reception contexts.
Equally, this module will engage with a range of aspects of television production, providing the opportunity for students to experience television studio operation. This will include opportunities to assume specialised operational and technical roles required in ‘live’ television and gallery production, such as director, floor manager and camera operator. The module also takes account of freelance operating models and emerging technology. This practice-led work will be underpinned by a carefully critical approach to television conventions and analyses of television products, in order to extend students' theoretical knowledge. Students will be encouraged to work as self-motivated reflective practitioners, operating effectively within the team to produce a live television programme.
The main aims of this module are to:
• enable students to investigate a range of key construction aspects in film and television, research and development, cinematography, design, performance, sound, television studio production, and post-production
• foster a critical and analytical approach to practical work, enabling students to gain further understanding (through practice) of critical theories arising on courses within the School of Media, Culture & Communications, including Film and Television Studies, with respect to narrative strategy, film and television codes and conventions, genre markers, ideology, construction of reality, and audience contexts
• introduce students to a range of appropriate digital video techniques for contemporary video production, and interactive and online media, enabling them to build on existing skills in cinematography, sound and post-production
• introduce students to various studio techniques in relation to contemporary television studio production, in order to develop student knowledge and understanding of television production roles and enable students to build effectively on knowledge and skills in all aspects of production
• enable students to work effectively as part of a production team and encourage them to recognize the importance of effective communication and co-operative working strategies for the development of film and television projects
• enable students to gain and develop a range of transferable skills in audio-visual production, and in working effectively with critical concepts in a practice-led context
The first half of the module will focus on a series of key texts, selected to enable students to explore a range of narrative/alternative moving image texts, through practical exercises, experimentation, observation, analysis and documentation. Through lectures, screenings, workshops and seminars, students will analyze the aesthetic and formal properties of a range of film genres, including the silent film, melodrama, science fiction, new independent cinema, the social realist text, experimental film, ‘Dogme’ and contemporary documentary, as well as more mainstream narrative production. Module content will build on the study of narrative structure undertaken by most students at Level 4.
This first phase of the module will use key film texts as a base to concentrate on key construction aspects: including cinematography, performance, sound, editing, post-production and effects, analyzing how these shape a work’s narrative strategy, language, genre markers, ideology, construction of reality, appearance and reception context. By studying these elements and strategies, students will be introduced to a range of approaches to learn about aspects of film and digital video through practice.
Throughout this process, students will have opportunities to develop and extend transferrable production skills in camera work, working with performers, design, lighting, sound recording, editing, digital post-production and archiving. In addition, the regular critical reflection involved in textual analysis, peer critique, and application of effective documentation and research methodologies - observing and documenting these processes - will also, therefore, offer very useful transferrable employability skills in observation, documentation and primary research.
In the second half of the module, the main practical production task will be a live television show, enabling students to gain a solid grounding in various aspects of conventional gallery and studio floor-based production work, with the opportunity to operate in a range of roles, including floor manager, vision mixer, lighting technician, camera operator, etc. Students will learn about studio lighting, vision mixing, and sound recording and directing practices, firstly in a series of workshops and subsequently on the production of the main programme. They will also be encouraged to help devise and contribute programme elements, thus learning to operate as self-motivated, freelance practitioners. This part of the syllabus will place an emphasis on developing professional communication skills and effective team-work, working very tightly throughout to time schedules and incorporating ‘disaster’ planning in simulations of ‘live’ TV.
Students will also learn about distinct conventions of television, as differentiated from film production practices. They will be introduced to the historical development of television practices and theoretical perspectives on television and will be encouraged to adopt a critical and analytical approach to codes and conventions as reflective practitioners. Theoretical and critical material will continue to be integrated with practical production elements throughout the course, following a ‘theory/practice’ model.
Learning and teaching
This module will be taught using a range of strategies including film screenings, lectures, directed reading, seminars, discussions, group and individual tutorials, with practical exercises in aspects of video production and research. Following each of the practical video and research exercises, there will be opportunities for informally presenting work in class and students will be able to benefit from peer critique and tutor feedback. All teaching materials will also be co-ordinated and archived on WebLearn.
Students will be supported, through one-to-one tutorials, in devising relevant theoretical underpinning for their various production activities. Practical skills, including cinematography, working with performers, production planning, editing and digital post–production will be taught via a series of workshops in Mac lab and television studio. There will also be practice exercises in observation, documentation and primary research skills.
The main items for assessment will be produced both individually or in pairs, and in small groups. There will be a focus on transferrable skills such as co-operative working, communication and working with others. Tutors will offer feedback in these important employable skills during simulated working situations and students will have to document how they have worked with others in the course of their television production work. Students will be expected to document the processes of all their planning and will be assessed on working process and development of appropriate material via their participation in pre-production presentations during the year, and via their individual written reflections.
On successful completion of this module, students will have acquired the practical skills necessary to:
• gain knowledge and make effective use of video production equipment, including cameras, lights, sound recording, green screen work, editing and a range of post-production techniques produce, in order to edit digital video and audio material
• gain extended knowledge of the aesthetic and formal properties of a range of film and television genres and will have been able to focus on specific examples in practice
• work competently and effectively in at least two technical and/or operational studio roles and collaborated as a team member in live television gallery work, including the correct employment of television studio and programme-making terminology
There will be FOUR assessment items for all students, including theoretical and practical work:
Assessment 1: all students (in individuals or pairs) will have to compile a presentation (10%) of their practical and theoretical planning for a 1 min. silent film.
Assessment 2: all students (in individuals or pairs) will be expected to produce a one-minute silent film sequence (25%); plus 500 word individual written reflection (10%) on how their film has fulfilled the aims outlined in their planning presentation.
Assessment 3: all students (in small groups) will complete a ‘practice/theory’ presentation + pitch (10%) for a television show.
Assessment 4: all students (in larger production groups) will be expected to produce a live television show (30%); plus 1000 word individual written reflection (15%) on how the television show has fulfilled the aims outlined in their planning/pitch presentation.
Productions will be individually assessed, but students are expected to work co-operatively as crew, as appropriate to specific production tasks, on each other’s projects.
Allen, R.C. and A. Hill, The Television Studies Reader (London: Routledge, 2004)
Ascher, S. and E. Pincus, The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (N.Y.: Dutton/Plume, 2nd edition, 2007)
Bignell, J., An Introduction to Television Studies (London: Routledge, 2007)
Bordwell, D. and K. Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, various edn (N.Y.: McGraw Hill)
Comer, S. (ed.), Film and Video Art (London: Tate Publ., 2009)
Creeber, G., The Television Genre Book (London: BFI, 2002)
Cury, I., Directing and Producing for Television (Burlington, Mass: Focal Press, 2007)
Dovey, J., Freakshow: First Person Media and Factual Television (London: Pluto Press, 2000)
Eisenstein, S., ‘The Dramaturgy of Film Form’, in Braudy, L. & M. Cohen (eds.), Film Theory and Criticism, Introductory Readings (N.Y./ Oxford: OUP, 2009), pp. 24-40
Fowler, C. (ed.), The European Cinema Reader (London: Routledge, 2002)
Hayward, S., Key Concepts in Cinema Studies (London: Routledge, 1996)
Huber, D. M. and R.E. Runstein, Modern Recording Techniques (Boston: Focal Press/Elsevier, 2010)
Kahn, D., Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Voice, Sound and Aurality in the Arts: A History of Sound in the Arts (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001)
Le Grice, M., Experimental Cinema in the Digital Age (London: BFI, 2001)
Light Honthaner, E., The Complete Film Production Handbook (London: Focal Press, 2010)
Manovich, L., The Language of New Media (Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 2001)
Millerson, G., Lighting for Television and Film (Oxford: Focal Press, 1999)
Musburger, R.B., Single Camera Video Production (Burlington, Mass: 2010)
Tomlinson, H., Sound for Digital Video (Burlington, Mass: Focal Press, 2013)
Utterback, A.H., Studio Television Production and Directing (Boston: Focal Press, 2007)
+ various online links/resources, e.g.:
BFI Screenonline: http://www.screenonline.org.uk/index.html
Future Shorts website: http://www.futureshorts.com/
Adobe Premiere Pro DV editing tutorials: https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/tutorials.html
BBC Academy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/page/about
Dependent Films: Tools & Utilities for Filmmakers: http://www.dependentfilms.net/files.html