Media Arts

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In this year-long course, students will learn the fundamentals of video production, including lighting, cinematography, sound recording, and editing. Although the class is intended for the novice filmmaker, experienced students are welcome, and projects will be adapted to challenge their individual skill levels. Class time will be primarily devoted to student- and instructor-designed projects that may include video poetry, music videos, public-service announcements, short features, and documentary projects. Our emphasis will be on developing projects from concept (preproduction) through construction (production and postproduction) to culmination (screening).


Unit Essential Questions Content Skills and Processes Assessment Resources Multicultural Dimension Integrated Learning
Media Arts

Who is your audience?

What is the message you want to convey?

How do the choices you make in composition, sequencing, and pacing impact your audience?

What stylistic conventions in cinematography, sound recording and editing are best suited to your purpose?

  • Script development & storyboarding
  • Camera operation
  • Studio and location lighting
  • Sound engineering
  • Video editing
  • Animation
  • Media storage / management
  • Production management

Project-based learning and class exercises that emphasize


  • Shot composition (angle, framing)
  • Lighting design (key, greenscreen, cucalorus, 3 point light system)
  • Camera choreography (moving around a subject / location)


  • Animating still images and title sequences
  • Sound engineering (music, voice over, foley)
  • Audio recording (garage band, audacity, external microphones for varied locations)
  • Editing (marking in / out points, cutting to beat, incorporating effects, working with multiple layers of video /  audio for blended results)

Stylistic Conventions explored to support understanding of:

  • Adaptation
  • Appropriation
  • Entertainment
  • Education
  • Persuasion




process critiques


instructor conferencing

blog entries

online distribution & comments


festival competition



  • (techincal tutorials)
  • Digital Video Production Cookbook (O'Reilly)
  • The Media Student's Book (Branston / Stafford)
  • Videomaker Magazine
  • Student Filmmaker Magazine
  • Visions of Light: The History of Cinematography (DVD)
  • The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (DVD)
  • youtube, blip, vimeo, etc.

In-depth and ongoign discussion about the politics of representation - how shot framing choices establish relationships between audience and subject - establishing power dynamics that are replicated in the broader culture.  We address this in an applied manner during the client video unit where students are engaging with the idea of extending audience to being a more inclusive one.  


The poetry project invites collaboration with poets in the larger CGS community and often extends to sister-school partnerships (Maru a Pula, etc.) where their work becomes the basis for student films.  The project is also often a direct collaboration with the Modern Languages department.

The client video is a direct collaboration with a community-based organization, school department or classroom where student videographers create promotional video to further an organization's outreach and mission.  In the past we've collaborated with organizations like The Children's Healing Art Project (CHAP).

The public service announcement is a research-based video where students promote awarness of a cause.  These videos often require students to draw upon research skills developed in history and science classes for forming hypotheses and gathering and analyzing data to support their claims.