Film Techniques Assignment

The objectives of this assignment are to:

  • Learn about basic film techniques related to shooting and editing the film.
  • Gain a basic understanding of how audio-visual elements can be used to communicate ideas.

Assignment Overview

In groups of 4, create a video (30 seconds to 1 minute; wmv format) demonstrating ONE of the following aspects of filmmaking. Each group class should focus on a different aspect. The video should be based on videos (or photos) you shot yourself. You may use background music only if your group was able to successfully complete the Video Quote assignment. Aspects marked with a ‘*’ are more basic, so you might want to focus on these. The video should make use of subtitles and/or voiceover to identify different features of filmmaking (e.g., extreme close-up).

You do not have to worry about creating a dramatic scene. For example, you can just show a classmate dribbling a basketball and demonstrate the different ways of showing the same scene.

Basically, you are doing something like this, but instead of covering all the topics, you are only focusing on one thing:

Shooting and Framing
a)* Different camera angles: bird’s eye view, high angle, low angle, eye-level, oblique angle
b)* Basic camera movements (pan, track or dolly, zoom, tilt)
c)* Types of shot (i.e., distance of subject from camera and size of subject within the frame): extreme long shot, long shot, medium shot, over the shoulder shot, close-up, extreme close-up
d)* Types of shot within one scene (e.g.,  starting with an establishing shot before moving to a medium shot and then a close-up)
e)* The rule of thirds
f)* Different ways to shoot two people talking to each other
g)* Framing (i.e. deciding how much and what parts of a scene to include within the frame of the shot) (this group should also cover the issue of headroom)
h)* Lighting; using natural indoor lighting, the best time and conditions for outdoor shooting, shooting people outdoors in shadow, night, etc.
i) Different ways to shoot four people having a conversation
j) Shallow focus vs deep focus (you would need to use a DSLR camera for this; you can also try looking at more advanced techniques such as rack focus)
k) Steady (tripod) vs monopod vs handheld shooting (incl. how to hold  a camcorder to reduce shaking)
l) Use of costume, make-up and sets

Shooting and editing
m)    The 180 degree rule

n)* Different types of edits: cut, jump cut, dissolve, fade, etc.
o)* Continuity editing (i.e., showing relationships between two or more shots) example include cutting to continuity, eye-line match, match on action, match according to shape and/or colour), cross-cutting, shot-reverse/shot, montage). You may not have time in your video to show some of the more complex ones.


p) Fast and slow motion (If you are using moviemaker, you will need to use the old 2.6 version of Moviemaker)

q) The difference between diegetic music and non-diegetic music.
r) Mickey-mousing

Getting Started

You can find the information you need on the Internet, and if you cannot understand the principles, you can ask one of the teachers. If you are using are school video cameras, you can refer to these pages on our project website to learn how to get the video out of the camera:

Further Viewing

Framing and the Rule of Thirds

Shot Types

Editing Techniques

Cinematography and Editing in Fight Scenes (video by STR)

Editing: Transitions Between Scenes

The Magic of Movie Editing Part 1

The Magic of Movie Editing Part 2


Student Submissions

To see some of the the finished videos, go to: Film Techniques Assignment: Student Submissions

Return to the Video Projects Main Page



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s