ARTC 3440, Spring 2015
Digital Video Art
Heather Elliott-Famularo

Project #1: In-Camera Edit
DUE: Monday, February 9th

To understand more of what in-camera editing is, the following comes from Videomaker Magazine:

"While the differences between editing in-camera and shooting to edit are many, the main difference between the two is a matter of sequence. When you shoot to edit, you can shoot your scenes out of order (out of continuity), since you're going to re-arrange them in post production anyway. When you edit in the camera, however, you need to shoot all of the scenes in order (in-continuity). Because in-camera editing requires that scenes be shot in the order, you might have to do some leg work to produce a scene that requires more than one location."

Practice, Practice, Practice

"When you edit in the camera, you will need to be sure of every shot before pressing that record button. Because you won't be able to trim shot later, you'll have to shoot it at just the right length. Not too long, not too short. Mastering your timing can be challenging. It is difficult to make precise edits in the camera. Practice makes perfect when shooting to edit. Prepare your shot as much as you can before you record. You get only one shot."

"There will be times, however,when you'll screw up a shot while editing in-camera. What do you do then? One solution is to rewind, re-cue the tape and try again. In many cases it's the only option."

The focus of this course is to learn to think critically and creatively within a time-based medium. Time-based does NOT equal digital. 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. (NO digitizing or digital editing). Prepare a simple storyboard (under ten shots), which can be communicated using continuity editing in-camera. Keep it simple, maybe avoid dialogue, and think of a scenario that is possible in the school or home environment, using existing props and lighting;

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 could 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.

We will screen the work of many video artists who have included themselves in their videos: (Wegman, Benning, Montano, Gibson, Acconci, Nauman, etc.) We will also look at historic video art works that were created long before non-linear editing existed. 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 inherent 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 and used the camcorder to record performances. Only recently have artists had the luxury of using non-linear editing systems. What does this mean? PLAN AHEAD! 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.

Part 1: Synopsis / Proposal (Due Monday, January 26th) – Grade Given::
A good synopsis is critical in helping sell your video - kind of like an artist statement. A synopsis is a plot summary, usually of around 250 words, that is riveting, clear - easy to understand, tells the story, but leaves the reader enticed for more. It should contain the setting, (time and place), be written in present tense and in third person. It should present the protagonists and the story - not a play-by-play, but rather explain the story.

Part 2: Storyboard (Due Wednesday, January 28th) – Grade Given:
Use the template (SD or HD) to sketch out your storyboard. Remember that this should be around 10 shots or so, so it should be around 2 pages, depending on the camera movements/action. Be sure to include descriptions of the Action/Plot, camera movements, audio, and timing in addition to drawings.

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, since you’ll shoot it first!
Suggested Concepts / Starting Points:

Suggested Techniques:

IMPORTANT TECHNICAL ISSUE: When shooting this, you should hit RECORD, then PAUSE in order to prevent a break in the timecode. If you stop and rewind, then you risk creating a break in the tape that will make it difficult to record, particularly on the Vixias. If you do need to reshoot, you can rewind, but be sure to pause it before the blue screen appears.


Wednesday 1/21: 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)

Wednesday 1/21: Scavenger Hunt shots due (tape handed in)

Monday 1/26: Project #1 Synoposis due (emailed)

Wednesday 1/28: Due: Detailed, Professional Storyboard and/or Script for Project #1

Wednesday 1/28: Reading #3 Due: pp. 3-23 in Nonlinear 4: a guide to digital film and video editing by Michael Rubin

Monday, February 9th : PROJECT #1: DUE - cued and ready to show on mini-DV tape.

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