Undergrad students in this course were broken down into two groups. Each group spent the term creating a video for a Chicago-based non-profit organization. The two organizations were Latinos United and Inner Voice (video shown).

Fall 2003 – DePaul University
Instructor: Mike Nourse


Objectives. Fullfilling a need for a community-based non-profit organization, students will produce a short video documentary. Students will be responsible for all aspects of production, from pre-production (reseach and planning) to post-production (editing and mastering). The final format will be a MiniDV or DVD master.

Experience is the foundation for learning in this class. We have a rare opportunity to work directly with a professional staff and the local community. Because of this students can apply and test the relevance of theoretical, philosophical, and abstract concepts learned in class to real life situations and conditions.

In accordance with the Service Learning Center’s desired learning outcomes, students should be able to (1) come to an appreciation of the socio-political and historical context of the service organization in which they have provided service, (2) Relate course-based theories and conceptual frameworks to the service in which they have been engaged, (3) Appreciate and have respect for the role of diversity within the community, and (4) Reflect upon service and its relationship to career and their own lives.

Texts. There are no required books to purchase for this class. However, there will be weekly readings handed out, and discussions to follow. In order to accommodate production schedules, only two (2) responses are due by the end of the quarter. These responses will count towards the final grade, so do NOT dismiss this aspect of the course. Readings will come from the following list of…

Recommended texts:

Directing the Documentary - Michael Rabinger
Theorizing Documentary – Michael Renov (ed.)
The Documentary Conscience : a casebook in filmmaking – Alan Rosenthal
Documenting the Documentary – B. Keith Grant and J. Sloniowski (eds.)
Basics of Video Lighting – D. Lyver & G. Swainson
Video Field Production and Editing – R. Compesi & R. Sherriffs
In the Blink of an Eye – Walter Murch
Screenplay: The foundations of Screenwriting – Syd Field
The Easy Guide to Final Cut Pro 3 – Rick Young
Storyboarding 101 – James Fraioli
IMovie for Macintosh – Jeff Carlson

Group Supplies - Firewire Hard drive – 1 per group (either from school or supply your own)
- DVD-R discs, VHS Tapes, MiniDV Tapes (NO SONY TAPES!)
- Three ring binder
- Paper, Dividers
- Three hole-puncher

Method of Instruction. Classes will consist of discussions, demonstrations, screenings, and work time. Mornings will be used for discussions and demonstrations while afternoons will be used for production, either at the organization or on campus.

Attendance. Attendance will be taken every class. Students may miss one (1) class per quarter. Each absence beyond this results in a final grade reduction equal to one letter grade. Absences are defined as not showing up, or being more than fifteen minutes late. Being late twice translates into one absence. (Being late four (4) times will result in a letter grade reduction). If you have a problem with this policy, I respectfully encourage you to take another class.

Grading Attendance and Participation 10% (Individual)
Reading Responses 10% (Individual)
Reaction Paper 5% (Individual)
Site Notes 5% (Individual)
In-camera Footage 5% (Group)
Interview Footage 10% (Group)
Scene Footage 10% (Group)
Treatment 5% (Individual)
Mid-Term Reflective Paper 10% (Individual)
Production Proposal 10% (Group)
Final Group Package 10% (Group)
Final Individual Package 10% (Individual)

A= excellence A=95 A-=92
B= good work, well done B=85 B-=82 B+=88
C= satisfactory work, did the job C=75 C-=72 C+=78
D= unsatisfactory in some respect D=65 D-=62 D+=68
F= substantially unsatisfactory work F=50

Policies Assignments are due on dates listed. If not completed on time, a grade reduction of one letter grade per class will be applied to the assignment in question. In other words, if you turn in a project a week after it was due, the grade for the assignment will be depreciated by one letter grade.

Exceptions for assignment/grading policies will need to provide proof. (ex. medical note, accident report, letter from the president…)

Computer problems do not count as exceptions! Students must be prepared to deal with the unexpected. If needed, you can email me, consult textbooks, find online user groups…whatever it takes. My suggestion is to estimate ample time, then double it.

No Plagiarism, No exceptions. If you are in doubt about plagiarism, consult your student handbook

Cell phones must be turned off in class!

No food or beverages in the lab. This room is too valuable to risk for snacks. The digital media center has a lovely waiting area with chairs. If needed, snack there when appropriate.

DePaul University
Video Production + Community