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Film and Video Course List

View titles & descriptions for the Film and Video department's courses.

Click a Course's Title to read its description .

Course # Course Title Credits
FILM 200 Moving Image I 3 credits
Through workshops, screenings and readings students explore the diverse ways moving images are used in fine arts and the cinema. Students develop basic skills in high definition video field production and editing. Assignments explore the diverse ways moving images are used for individual expression, entertainment and social & intellectual inquiry.
FILM 210 Film I 3 credits
Students make films that deal with composition, camera movement, editing and time/space manipulation. Topics covered include the use of 16mm camera and film editing. The development of a visual language of film and creative uses of the medium are stressed. All equipment is provided except film and processing. Expect to spend between $250 and $300.
FILM 230 Story 3 credits
Japanese director Akira Kurosawa said "with a good script, a good director can produce a masterpiece, but with a bad script, even a good director can’t possibly make a good film." This course will focus on the art of storytelling, exploring the building blocks that make a strong story. Students will study examples in literature, graphic novels, radio programs, animation, television and the cinema. Students will have a number of short assignments in these areas but also work on a semester long story in a medium of their choosing.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 271 Video Diary 3 credits
With the availability of newly affordable consumer video technology in the 1980's, a simple yet powerful tool emerged in the form of the video diary. This approach, responding to the radical objectivity of Cinema Verite and informed by controversial subjectivity of New Journalism, quickly gained popularity as artists sought to record their own perspectives as well as to place them in a larger social and historical context. In this course we will look at early as well as more contemporary video diarists, including the work of Sadie Benning, George Kuchar, Chris Marker, Agnes Varda, Michael Moore and others. Students will also produce their own video diaries.
FILM 278 Experimental Film and Video 3 credits
Many artists have utilized both film and video to tell personal stories, explore the formal qualities of the medium, and invent new and unusual methods to express different realities. The class views, discusses, and analyzes the histories, philosophies, and structures of experimental film and video, and students make experimental films and videos.
FILM 284 Action Media 3 credits
When does art become propaganda? How do individuals, governments and corporations use media to encourage action, or discourage it? Why are some forms of media more persuasive than others? We'll explore these questions, uncover the history of harnessing art and media to a mission, and produce our own media and art pieces informed by the techniques of AIDS activists, Soviet propagandists, and contemporary practitioners like Witness, MoveOn.org and others.
FILM 300 Moving Image II 3 credits
Students learn professional high definition cameras and advanced production techniques while working both individually and in groups. Readings and screenings explore artistic uses of moving images and continues to develop a sophisticated understanding of the language of the cinema. Each student creates a final project that involves shooting with a crew.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 305 Film Marketing & Distribution 3 credits
Film Marketing and Distribution instructs students on what happens to a film after it is completed. In this course, students will devise marketing and distribution plans for one of their own films. Students will work with social media, plan film festival submissions, create a promotional trailer, write loglines, compose synopses, and put together a press kit. Students will be introduced to film budgeting for DIY, independent and Hollywood films. They will learn to create their own budgets for marketing and distribution expenses. Students will be introduced to the growing number of distribution platforms, including theatrical, broadcast, DVD/BluRay, and VOD. The semester will culminate in a public showcase of the students’ promotional materials and marketing/ distributions plans with guest filmmakers.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200 & FILM/VID 300

FILM 307 Video Art 3 credits
Artists have been using video since 1965 when Sony released its first portable video camera. Artists have used video as sculpture, produced single-channel works, and integrated it into their performances. This course explores video as a fine arts medium. Students produce a number of works that explore video's rich possibilities.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 310 Film II 3 credits
This course is will be intensive production workshop focused on the Super 16mm film medium, a format widely used in independent feature (The Hurt Locker) and tv production (The Wire and Friday Night Lights). Super 16mm is a widescreen format which shares the same aspect ratio as 35mm film. At one third the cost of 35mm, Super 16mm is a more economic budget option and transfers full frame to 35mm for theatrical release. Using synch-sound film and audio equipment, the course will follow the professional workflow of shooting in the field, while recording digital audio. Students will follow the laboratory procedure of processing and transfer of film to High Definition video. The editing segment of the class will familiarize students with synchronizing film and sound. Class projects will include shooting in controlled lighting situations and also shooting verite style in the field. Ultimately, the class will prepare students to be able to shoot and edit film as it is currently done professionally.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 210

FILM 312 Video Production 3 credits
Through workshops and group projects, students learn advanced techniques in lighting and camera technology. Various production strategies are explored, including working as a crew and studio productions.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200 & IA/IDA 202

FILM 313 Projected Light 3 credits
This studio course offers students an environment for the investigation of the use of projected light in three-dimensional space. This is a broad arena that may include many interpretations and responses to the term projected light. Some of these may be video, film, photographic slides, fire, natural light, fiber optic and digital technologies, to name but a few of the potential ways that projected light can be used. Students are expected to expand and develop their own approaches to installation that utilize light as a primary medium. Intensive hands-on studio work is balanced with slide-lectures, screening, readings, discussions, critiques, and trips to museums and galleries. NOTE: Students will be required to view materials outside of class time and participate in online discussions.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200 or IS 200 or PH 232

FILM 314 Video Post-Production 3 credits
Covers the technologies used to finish a video. Skills covered include color correction, audio sweetening, DVD authoring, and moving edit lists between Final Cut Pro, AfterEffects, and ProTools.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200 & IA/IDA 202

FILM 317 Documentary Production 3 credits
Explores a wide variety of documentary styles and genres with an overview of the history of documentary film-making. Topics will include pre-production planning, shooting interviews and recording sound in the field. Students will produce several short projects.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 320 Special Effects 3 credits
Personal computers have provided a low-cost method for previously high-cost video post-production. Through invention and with patience one can develop unique visual effects. This class will explore 2-D animation, matting, keying and visual effects utilizing Adobe AfterEffects.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 325 Adv. Edit and Post Production 3 credits
Film editor Walter Murch (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) says that "editing is now something almost everyone can do, but to take it to a higher level requires the same dedication and persistence that any art form does." Through screenings and seminars students will study the art of editing in experimental, documentary and narrative genres while developing a vocabulary to discuss both the function and art of the cut. Additionally, this course will teach advanced editing and finishing techniques including the basics of high definition media formats, frame rates, color correction techniques and working with Photoshop and After Effects. The entire post production work flow will be covered from input to editing to output. Exercises will be part of the course and students are expected to work throughout the semester on one project. Students Students will learn and have the opportunity to work on AVID's Media Composer. Other edit platforms will be demonstrated including FCP X and Adobe Premiere.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200 & FILM/VID 300

FILM 326 Video Installation 3 credits
Explores the theory and practice of installation of design and interactive media with an emphasis on the completion of self-defined interactive projects. Students will work with both software and hardware solutions, such as MAX/MSP/JITTER, Basic Stamp Microcontrollers, MIDI and Serial communication.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 327 Narrative Filmmaking I 3 credits
This pre-production Bootcamp for student filmmakers from JHU and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), provides intensive training in the crucial aspects of preparing to shoot a successful narrative film. Students work with a professional screenwriter, allowing students to hone and improve their existing screenplays, practice the elements of writing for film, and learn how to do a script breakdown. Workshops on working with actors, taught by a professional actor, will teach students the ins and outs of casting and directing. Supplemental workshops will cover elements of pre-production such as budgets, production schedules, call sheets, and legal issues. Screenings with Maryland Film Festival personnel will train students to see films as festival curators do, with an eye toward what constitutes exciting, innovative filmmaking. This course is the prelude and prerequisite to Narrative Filmmaking II, a six-credit production course during which students from JHU and MICA will collaborate to shoot a short narrative film based on a student screenplay.
FILM 328 Experimental Documentary 3 credits
Introduces the different voices of documentary film and video. Through a combination of theoretical discussion, hands-on technical training, and completion of short personal works, students explore documentary modes of representation. The class investigates such subjects as ethics and objectivity, cinematic subjectivity, and the power relations of the producer and the subject. The documentary form has had trouble historically with its various claims to represent the truth. Rather than simply critiquing these forms, this class will look at ways to use them by re-representing, re-thinking, and blurring the genre of documentation. Students produce and edit projects that are screened and discussed in class, and are expected to complete assigned readings.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 330 Community Arts & Documentary 3 credits
Today artists are living amidst the ever-growing need for community service and social justice. If you are interested in learning how to build a bridge between community arts and documentary production this 3-credit course is for you. All course work will be directly connected to the Finding Our Wings Community Documentary Program and its subsequent documentary production. The Wings program focuses on video skills as a support system for girls ages 13 to 18, to graduate high school amidst their challenged neighborhood with a greater than 60% dropout rate. The documentary production focuses on how seven East Baltimore girls discover solidarity while navigating the challenges of budding womanhood amidst the pressures of pregnancy and gangs in their neighborhood. MICA students may choose to collaborate with the teen girls, which includes teaching video skills and helping the girls to produce their own narrative productions. Or, MICA students may choose to work as a cinematographer and/or editor on the documentary. Learning to create visually compelling media that bears witness and sustains community outreach is the ultimate goal of this course. Students must interview for a seat in the class.
FILM 337 Narrative Filmmaking II 6 credits
Students participate in the production of a short narrative film. Students are required to present one to two short scripts at the beginning of the course. Two to three of these screenplays will be selected for production. The class divides into production teams focused on one of the chosen scripts. Through a series of workshops on production design, directing, cinematography, and art direction, each group sees their project through to completion. The class also includes a number of screenings and workshops with film-makers. This course is a collaboration between MICA and Johns Hopkins. Students from both institutions are eligible to enroll. The course will be co-taught by cinematographer Allen Moore and independent feature filmmaker Matt Porterfield. Recommended Prerequisite: It is recommended that students take Narrative Filmmaking I offered at JHU during the Winter Intercession.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200 & FILM/VID 300

FILM 340 Cinema History for Filmmakers 3 credits
This studio course will survey the history of world cinema, from the silent era to the present, spanning over 125 years. Students will create films in response to particular historical genres, styles and production methods. Through extensive readings and screenings, students will explore how filmmakers influenced each other, how contemporary events shaped films and how filmmakers challenged established techniques and developed new technologies to enhance the cinema. Students will come to appreciate the many parallels in "global filmmaking" linking the past to the present and linking cinema from all over the world, that of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as the West.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200, FILM/VID 300, and FILM/VID 364

FILM 360 Camera-less Films 3 credits
Put away your camera and explore the aesthetic possibilities of film and video as a tactile material and explore the techniques of appropriation. This course will examine the historical and artistic use of collage, montage and compositing as seen in cinema, television and fine art. Drawing from a vast array of open source films and videos, studio projects will include hands-on and digital alterations of the moving image (software including: FCP, After Effects, Motion, and Photoshop). Come together for productive discussion, lectures, screenings, exploration, and the making and showing of work.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 364 Cinematography & Lighting 3 credits
A comprehensive, hands-on studio course, exploring the technical and theoretical dimensions of motion picture cinematography and lighting, using both 16mm film and mini-DV videotape as creative formats. The course will not only cover the practical aspects of camera and lighting techniques as applied to a variety of genres (documentary, narrative and experimental), but will also screen and analyze a wide range of film and video material as examples of creative cinematography. Students will be expected to complete several shooting exercises for presentation in class. Prerequisite: Film I or Video I

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200 or FILM/VID 210

FILM 374 Advanced Cinematography Wkshp 3 credits
This course is an in-depth exploration of the most advanced HD camera technology available in the industry today. Students will be immersed in the highly technical levels of video camera set up and menu adjustment. Hands-on exercises will experiment with complex camera shooting situations. Assignments will include working with available light and in low light. There will be a collaborative project choreographing an extended shot where light and focal point changes. The goal of the course is to maximize the camera, light and environment to render a beautiful image.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200 or FILM/VID 210

FILM 380 Junior Video Seminar 3 credits
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Film and Video Majors Only

FILM 385 Blockbusters and Small Tales 3 credits
The same mythological structure shows up globally in any narrative, documentary or experimental film where the protagonist, whether human or animal embarks on a journey to seek an answer, goal or treasure. Mythological structure will be examined via Hollywood Blockbusters and International Indie films. Everyone from Akira Kurosawa to Maya Deren to George Lucas is fair game for mythological examination! This course will enable students interested in dreamlike, magical, or science fiction type formats to understand the universal structure that holds these types of tales together while allowing for enticing continuous development. Note: Semester long project in conjunction with a written Film Treatment and Shot List.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 398 Film & Video Independent Study 1.5-3 credits
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Prerequisite: students at the Junior/Senior level with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 3.000

FILM 399 Special Topics in Film 3 credits
Students will have the opportunity to explore topics in film and video that are not typically offered continuously within the department. The topic is chosen by faculty members and varies by semester.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 399A Road Movies and Travelogues 3 credits
Discover the knowledge that can only be communicated through travel along the open road. Searching for Utopia: Road Movies and Travelogues is constructed as a two part course that begins with the investigation of twentieth century's western expansion; as told through Woody Guthrie's ballads, Jack Kerouac's Beat journey's, and depictions of counter culture history portrayed cinematically as the Road Movie. In addition, a portion of this class will be spent traveling and exploring the open road. Students will focus on specific thematic quests while documenting their trip. This experience will culminate as a film festival/gallery opening where work created during the journey will be publicly exhibited at a partnering institution. Course fee: $250, for road trip expenses

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 399C Destination Moon: Sci Fi 3 credits
An investigation into the phenomena of the SciFi film and its impact on contemporary art. Lectures, screenings, and readings will investigate various SciFi themes and their cultural significance. For the studio portion of this cours students will create videos or other artworks that respond directly to a selection of SciFi topics covered throughout the course.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 399D Comedy and its Discontents 3 credits
Sigmund Freud argued that jokes were an avenue to the unconscious. On the other hand comedy can question authority and destabilize social norms. Lectures, screenings, and readings will exam humor as an artistic practice in film, performance and fine art. Students will execute a number of projects based on silent film comedies, political pranksters and social satirists. Students working in all media are welcome to take the course. NOTE: Students will be required to view materials outside of class time and participate in online discussions.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 399F A Sense of Place 3 credits
This Moving Image production course will immerse students in the process of creating live action visual material in order to poetically interpret several physical locations in and around Maryland. The class will begin with a survey of a wide range of artistic interpretations of landscape, from early American landscape painters like Thomas Cole, Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt to natural landscape photographers like Paul Strand, Ansel Adams, Robert Glenn Ketchum and Joel Meyerowitz. Where painting and photography have been bound primarily to the individual, static frame, video and film have the added dynamic of movement, the passage of time and sound. Students will pursue a variety of exercises experimenting with all the dimensions of video and film, as they learn to better see the light in the exterior world around them. Through this course, students will be inspired to find their own personal approach to interpreting natural light in both man-made and natural contemporary exterior landscapes. Students outside the Video and Film Arts Department are welcome in this class.

Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 425 JR/SR Video Film Thesis 3-6 credits
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Prerequisite: FILM/VID 200

FILM 453 Alternative Narrative 3 credits
Jean-Luc Godard said he likes "a film to have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order." This course will look at the ways that contemporary art, including Film has taken Mr. Godard at his word. Students can expect to look at a wide range of Video Art, Installation, Sculpture and Film which tell a story outside more traditional filmic methods. Students will produce projects in a variety of narrative forms. Students working outside of Film and Video are encouraged to take the course.
FILM 498 Film & Video Senior Thesis I 3-6 credits
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Senior Film and Video Majors only.

FILM 499 Film & Video Senior Thesis II 3-6 credits
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Senior Film and Video Majors only.