ARTC 4440, Fall 2009
Digital Video Art
Heather Elliott-Famularo

Project #1:
Artist / Performer / Observer

DUE: Wednesday, September 7

The focus of this course is to learn to think critically and creatively within a time-based medium. This does not always mean using the computer. You must therefore think conceptually about an event, narrative, person, or place using the camera in this ANALOG (non-digital) assignment. Using only your camcorder, create a short (2-5 minute) video. Your piece can be a one-take (turn the camera on, shoot, turn it off - where the story happens on screen, like being "on stage") or an in-camera edited (a series of shots in sequence) piece. (i.e. NO digitizing or digital editing)

This assignment forces you to think about shooting as the critical part of production. You must also begin thinking about "cuts" and how meaning might be read or understood from the juxtaposition of shots.

Conceptually, this piece should give us some kind of insight about YOU - your personality, your world, your physical space, your ideas, how you see things, how people see you, either as performer, director, artist (observer), or a combination of the three. It will be a great way to introduce yourself and your "style" to your classmates! Video is often collaborative by nature because a professional production needs many hands!

We will screen the work of many video artists who have included themselves in their videos: (Wegman, Benning, Montano, Gibson, Kucher, Acconci, Nauman, etc.) We will also look at historic video art works that were created long before non-linear editing. I want you to begin considering the medium of "Video Art" as its own genre - NOT film, TV, music videos, news, etc. What makes "video" different than film? What qualities does it have that have drawn artists to create very personal artworks with it? Some works we will screen are short glimpses into the artists' lives. Some artists have created personas or characters to portray. How do we know what is 'staged' and what isn't?

Remember that the early artists used simple in-camera edits. Only recently have artists had the luxury of using non-linear editing systems. What does this mean? PLAN AHEAD! Spend a few days shooting to understand the camcorder, then start thinking of your SCRIPT. Storyboard your idea, as you will need to shoot this IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, performing simple LINEAR editing. Planning Ahead is essential when you have no room for error!

Get to know your camcorder! Read the manual, try all of the functions. Video tape is CHEAP! Don't worry about "wasting" it on a shot you're not sure about. GO AHEAD! You've got 60 minutes on each tape.

Technical RULES / Requirements:

  1. You must use a Tripod when shooting.
  2. You must use the Manual Focus when shooting.
  3. You must White Balance your camera before each shot.
  4. No digitizing or digitally editing - it MUST be put together in an analog, linear method.
  5. You must have TITLES / Credits on your piece. How can you be creative with titles without a computer? You'll need to decide this FIRST!
Suggested Concepts / Starting Points:

Suggested Techniques:


Wed 8/26: Reading #1 Due: Chapter 8 in The Art of Technique: An Aesthetic Approach to Film & Video Production by Douglass and Harnden and additional examples (handouts)

Mon 8/31: Due: Detailed, Professional Storyboard and/or Script for Project #1

Wed 9/2: Reading #2 Due: Part 1.1 Origins of Video Art in A History of Video Art: the Development of Form and Function by Chris Meigh-Andrews (pp 1-18)


PROJECT #1: DUE Wednesday, Sept 7 - cued and ready to show on mini-DV or VHS tape.

Mon 9/14: Reading #3 Due: Read handout #3: pp. 3-23 in Nonlinear 4: a guide to digital film and video editing by Michael Rubin

Camcorders Available at:

  • School of Art Media Cage, 1024 Fine Arts Center, Mon-Wed 8am-9pm, Fri 8am-3pm (5 MiniDV and 9 Hi-8)
  • StudentTech, 127 Hayes Hall, Mon-Wed 8am-8pm; Fri 8am-3pm, 372-9277

    Video Tapes:

  • BGSU Bookstore, MiniDV
  • B&H Photo Video, MiniDV $1.99+ each depending on quantity

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