ARTC 444 Fall 2007
Digital Video Art
Heather Elliott-Famularo

Project #4:
Direct or Observational Cinema: Dramatizing a Location

DUE: WEDNESDAY, November 14

cy-cle n.
  1. An interval of time during which a characteristic, often regularly repeated event or sequence of events occurs: Sunspots increase and decrease in intensity in an 11-year cycle.
    1. A single complete execution of a periodically repeated phenomenon: A year constitutes a cycle of the seasons.
    2. A periodically repeated sequence of events: the cycle of birth, growth, and death; a cycle of reprisal and retaliation.
  2. The orbit of a celestial body.
  3. A long period of time; an age.
    1. The aggregate of traditional poems or stories organized around a central theme or hero: the Arthurian cycle.
    2. A series of poems or songs on the same theme: Schubert's song cycles.

Using tripod camera work and ambient lighting and sound, shoot materials for a 4-5 minute video that compresses and captures the feel and mood of the location over a time span of at least 4 hours (can be longer!).

Possible Subjects: a train or bus station, a restaurant or cafeteria, a dormitory, a workplace, a construction site, a park, a street market, a plaza, a tattoo shop, a hair salon, a busy family home, a park, a smoking patio, a classroom, a studio, a gallery, etc.

Film examples: Koyannisqatsi (1983), Streetwise (1985), High School (1968)


1. RESEARCH: Choose a visually interesting public (or private) location with a strong cyclical life. Spend a few hours just observing and listening. You might want to zero in on a single character associated with the place or depict several. Make notes of everything that strikes you, paying special attention to expository detail (that is, what you must show to establish essentials of the location for your audience - where, when, why, who, what, how). Also pay attention to the sound in the location, and note which sounds you would like to record. Find one person in the space that you would like to interview.

2. PLANNING: Work over your notes and select the best images, actions, and sounds to show the life, people, and spirit of your location. From these, write a shot list or "script" that implies a structure and dramatic curve. Sketch out a storyboard of the shots. Pay special attention to depicting the beginning, middle and end of each cycle in the location's life. Also write up five-to-ten questions you would like to ask your interview subject.

3. SHOOTING: Return to the location and shoot scripted shots, conduct your interview, record sounds, and capture any "gifts" that come your way. Make sure you pay attention to capturing long takes of unique sound. You will want to add these in post-production to create a soundtrack. You will probably use a limited amount of "sync" sound. Also you can add music to the soundtrack (copyright free only!).


ASAP: RESEARCH: Scout your location and do the research needed for Proposal!!
Monday, October 29: Reading #8 Due! (Final Project 3 tape due)
Wednesday, October 31: Project #4 Script, Shot List / Storyboard AND interview questions Due! (2 items)
Wednesday, November 7: Progress Check Point - 75% finished, rough edited in FCP (grade received)
Optional Film Review #3 due (extra credit)
Monday, November 12: NO CLASS - VETERAN'S DAY!
Wednesday, November 14: FINAL VIDEOS DUE - Mastered to VHS prior to start of class. Critique.

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