The Story of Film: An Odyssey

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The Story of Film: An Odyssey
covers the history of world cinema, from the 19th century into the digital age.

Select an Episode and watch on Netflix streaming
1Birth of the Cinema2The Hollywood Dream3The Golden Age of World Cinema4The Arrival of Sound5Post-War Cinema6Sex & Melodrama7European New Wave8New Directors, New Form9American Cinema of the 70's10Movies to Change the World11The Arrival of Multiplexes and Asian Mainstream12Fight the Power: Protest in Film13New Boundaries: World Cinema in Africa, Asia & Latin America14New American Independents & The Digital Revolution15Cinema Today and the Future

Digital Filmmaking: Production REFLECTION

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Post this info for your Reflection on the Team Process

Your Name:
Project Title:
Collaborators and their roles:

Describe your own pre-production activities and tasks: (such as:
writing, sketching, storyboarding, character design, prop /costume
research, location scouting, test shooting, etc)

Part 2 : ON THE SET
Briefly describe each day of shooting.
What jobs did you do, what went well.
What equipment did you use? What shot choices did you make?
How did you light each shoot? How did you capture sound?
What challenges came up and how did you meet them?
How was the experience directing and working with actors?
How did you respond to unforeseen variables?

The Power of Film

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Some TED talks about cinematic storytelling

Playlist: The power of film
12 talks · 3h 12m · Curated by TED

Andrew Stanton:
The clues to a great story
TED2012 · 19:16 · Filmed Feb 2012

Panasonic Lumix GH3: Tips

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The White Balance, ISO and Exposure Compensation buttons are located on the handle, as is the front dial, which is used to navigate through menu features and select exposure parameters. When you select any of the three buttons, you can either navigate by using the touch screen or the dials atop or on the back of the camera.

Hint: To quickly select white balance, choose one of the manual WB settings, aim at a pure white, grey or black object in the scene, and press Select White Set on screen. Then hit the Menu/OK button, and your white balance is set.

Manual Video with GH3 camera

More GH3 video tips

The Bechdel Rule

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One of the most enduring tools to measure Hollywood's gender bias is a test originally promoted by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in a 1985 strip from her "Dykes To Watch Out For" series. Bechdel said that if a movie can satisfy three criteria -- there are at least two named women in the picture, they have a conversation with each other at some point, and that conversation isn't about a male character -- then it passes "The Rule," whereby female characters are allocated a bare minimum of depth...

Alison Bechdel's 1985 'The Rule' comicstrip

The Dollar-And-Cents Case Against Hollywood's Exclusion of Women

MSP Film Fest > Go See Something!


April 3 - 19 in Minneapolis

Browse the films, find one you want to see, and click the showtime of the screening you wish to attend. Ordering online is easy. You don't have to worry about printing out and forgetting your tickets at home - just bring the credit card with which you made the purchase to the box office.

Loads of Films to See, including Emerging Filmmaker competition

Emerging Filmmakers:
This juried competition recognizes new and up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world for their achievements in narrative filmmaking. A $2500 cash prize is awarded to the film that demonstrates standout excellence in creativity, storytelling, technique, and innovation in the narrative form.

Kodak 2014 Student Scholarship Program

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Attention Filmmakers: Kodak Is Now Accepting Submissions for 2014 Student Scholarship Program

The KODAK Scholarship Program is currently accepting submissions for the 2014 competition. The international program acknowledges and celebrates student filmmakers who demonstrate exemplary filmmaking skills and creativity at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The award consists of a cash tuition prize along with KODAK Film Product grants to assist recipients with future projects. Get your reels together because the deadline for entries is May 16.

April 1 at Zinema

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Plan to catch these local short films! It's Free!!

2015 Sundance Short Film Challenge

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Attention aspiring filmmakers:
Here's a chance to make a short film about people overcoming poverty.

5 entries will be featured at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival:

Create a unique, compelling, and personal Short Film that explores an empowering person or an optimistic story about individuals and communities who are overcoming poverty and hunger, combatting disease, or improving health.Your Short Film can be narrative fiction or documentary, imaginative, unorthodox, daring or simple -- the style and structure are completely up to you but you must touch on economic inequalities.

Music in Cinema


Walter Murch


What is the future of film?

...a master of picture editing and sound design, Murch has worked with, among others, director Francis Ford Coppola on such cinematic milestones as The Conversation, The Godfather I, II and III, and Apocalypse Now.
"Walter Murch: From The Godfather to the God Particle"

Walter Murch on Editing:

Exercise 3: Creativity in Motion


Exercise 3: Creativity in Motion
With an artist and creative process as your subject, shoot a montage portrait of an artist at work, use a variety of shots and camera movements. Light deliberately. Edit to 30-60 seconds with simple sound or music.

Post Link to Project on Vimeo by Tuesday after Spring Break
Include in your blog post:

Title: Full Name of Artist who is subject of your video

Video by : Your Full Name

Any other credits (music or sound)

Student Examples (2013):

Also: View The Playlist, local public television spots on artists

GO SEE OSCAR Nominated Shorts at Zinema!


Playing at Zinema this weekend!

Extra Credit to anyone who attends and posts to the blog...

Prep Your Pitch


On Thursday Feb 20 we will meet again to hear the pitches in MPAC 155.
Feel free to meet with other students to develop your idea, or work independently on an idea to pitch that day. Post ideas to the Brainstorm page on the blog. Run your ideas by Tom and Joellyn if you want feedback.

Each student (or story team) will have 5 minutes to pitch an idea for a collaborative short film to the class. Prepare an enthusiastic and engaging presentation of an idea for a film you would like to work on. Follow the checklist of points to cover in your pitch. Please keep your pitch under 5 minutes. Your pitch must offer an idea that is realistic within the timeline, technical tools, and financial limitations of our class. Each story idea must integrate the GLASS as a visual element into the film. Stories may also integrate Glensheen as a shoot location. Films can be shot in multiple locations, but be realistic about the time it takes to plan and shoot. Each film idea must have clear roles for 2 or 3 actors, offering them a chance to bring their character to life through closeups, actions and emotions that fit your story. Scripts will be developed and refined to include speaking lines for each of the actors.

Make sure you include this info in your Pitch.









VISUAL PLAN: (optional, bring printed images of locations to support your pitch)


SCHEDULING ISSUES times of day you prefer to shoot:

Suggested / Pitch Checklist

Teaser Pitch
Story Pitch
Optional Visual Plan (5 - 10 images to show during your pitch)
Outline or Script (optional)

1. Teaser Pitch starts off with the hook of the story. You have to sum up the storyline of your idea in around 25 words or less. In the teaser pitch, the first sentence introduces the characters, the next sentence illustrates their conflict, and the final sentence can allude to the genre or visual style and leaves listeners wanting more.

2. Story Pitch is much longer than the teaser pitch, but still try to keep it short. The story pitch starts with your hook and then you run down the rest of the story. Be sure to articulate those crucial elements ... the heroes, their goals, the conflict, what's at risk and why they're fighting to save it, any pivotal events or emotional turning points, and the conclusion. Your story pitch for your short film idea can be less than 200 words.
Keep it simple.

3. OPTIONAL: Visual Plan is where you give us a sense of your cinematic storytelling sensibility. Show us some images (image stills, location shots, storyboards, color swatches, etc). You can show a few images from existing films as examples, but you must also show us some original images. This is where you need to express your aesthetic choices and the overall visual style of the proposed project. Bring prints to share during your pitch.

4. Script (also Optional at this time) Prepare an outline of the plot or key shots that will makeup the short film. The film can be very visual, but it must also include dialog. An outline of the main action and key shots is all that is needed for this short pitch. A more complete shotlist and / or screen play will be generated if your idea gets selected. Don't plan to read a script during the pitch, simply
outline the key moments in the plot.

Students will vote on their favorite ideas after all the pitches.
We will do our best to select an interesting range of projects to go into script development and production.
Tom will have final say on casting. Joellyn will have final say on film crews.
Teams will include about 3 filmmaking students and 2 acting students for each project.

Exercise 2: Capturing the Light


Exercise 2: Capturing the Light
Using only easily available light sources or natural light to illuminate your subject, create a simple narrative using a variety of visual strategies to capture and exploit the light. What low-budget light sources can you test? Light through window at various times of day, simple table lamps, candle light, flash lights, car headlights, fire light... See what your camera is capable of capturing. Make sure you have at least one person and one object in your scene.

Suggested location: a place you want to shoot at later this semester. Try to use a variety of shot types, as in previous exercise. You must use a tripod for at least half of your shots. At least half of your shots should keep the camera still. Work on focus, and be deliberate about what is in focus in each shot. Don't use any zooming motion. When using motion, limit use of hand held camerawork. If you have a fluid head tripod, use it for smooth pans!

Edit to 15-30 seconds / optional simple sound. Sound must be copyright free or cleared.

Exercise #2 Capturing the Light ....
Should be posted to Vimeo and the link posted here by

Please show rough clips / in process next week.

We will view this film :

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography

Duluth Underground's / Short Shorts Film Festival!


You are cordially invited to The Underground's 9th Annual Short Shorts Film Festival!

February 8, 2014 at 7:00pm.

This festival brings together amateur and professional filmmakers from across the globe, all for a chance to win cash prizes. Tickets are only $10 and are available online, or via phone at 733-7555. Advanced tickets recommended as this event always sells out.



Notes from Class Brainstorm today:


Working Title: Matched Set

In this collaboration, Acting for the Camera Students will propose characters and Visual Narratives students will propose locations and visual moods. Students will work together to create stories and short scripts that integrate: glassware object, Glensheen Mansion, Duluth settings. Scenerios will be brainstormed and developed. 5 teams will shoot 5 different scripts, each featuring at least 2 actors in speaking roles. Each storyline can vary in time period and core conflict, but must integrate the glassware object.


Filmmaking students have been scouting locations around Duluth. See 2 pages of images here...

Locations / Scenerios that you may want to expand into a short film project. What location are you most interested in? What era? What time of day? How might this location connect to Glensheen mansion storyline?

What film genre inspires you most? What conflicts or human interactions would be at the heart of the story? What mood or visual look are you interested in creating? How might you integrate the antique glassware object?

What characters would you like to develop? How might you interact with the glass object? What conflicts or motivations would most engage your character? How might your character change over the arc of a short narrative? What era or setting most appeals to you?

Enter the Yeti!


Enter the YETI film festival at UMD:

Categories Include:
30 second short
Music video
On Campus Theme - Must be filmed on campus

Submission deadline is February 9th.
Submit via email to (Seth Tufte). Or via flashdrive to the KPB office in KSC 115.

Overall best-in-show - $250
Overall runner up - $100
Overall in each category - $50 each

Screening on Wednesday Feb 12th at 6pm in Chem 200
Award ceremony Thursday Feb 13th at 6pm in Chem 200

Blog Assignment #2: 5 Short Films


What makes a good short film? What types of stories and characters can be captured in this short format?

Please view at least 5 Short Films over the next week and take notes using the format below. Find quality short films... like Oscar Nominated Shorts, and other award winning short films. View others you find on the web. Be selective. Join Vimeo to help you start a list of your favorites. If possible, find works that relate somehow to your own creative work, as inspiration for a technique or look you hope to achieve. Try to use films that are longer than one minute and shorter than 15 minutes (though the definition of a short film may vary).

Make notes on your favorite shorts, type your reflection and post to the blog once you have viewed 5 shorts. Your blog must note all of this info for each film (some of this info can be found online and pasted into your reflection):

Run time:
Link to the film : (URL of website, dvd, tv or movie theatre)
Story Synopsis:
Visual strengths:
Use of Light / Color:
Digital techniques:
Use of Sound / Music:

See links to Short films...

Emerging Photographers Exhibit


Come out and support UMD photo students
Opening Thursday January 23, 5 - 7 PM

Emerging Photographers
Featuring Work from UMD's Photography Department
Sponsored by Jen Dietrich & Lew Connor
Corridor Gallery
January 23 - March 27, 2014
Gallery Celebration: January 23, 5 - 7 PM
Gallery Discussion: March 27, 5:30 PM

The Duluth Art Institute's annual Emerging Photographers show is a showcase for the amazing talents coming out of the University of Minnesota Duluth's Photography department. This year's participants are Sara Hughes, Daniel Badhwa, Lauren Budge, Jordan Hoeft, Dane Pedersen, Steve Pestalozzi, and Marissa Murdy. These seven students work in mediums as diverse as anthotypes and cyanotypes, black and white and color, applying their chosen medium to a diversity of subject matter is well worth a viewing.

Tutorials on


There is so much good support for your learning online.

Please make sure to do at least 8 hours of training over the semester.
UMD users will log in using their University Internet ID and password in order to access training videos available on's vast library is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and contains thousands of professional-grade Windows and Mac video tutorials.
Use your UMD log in to Lynda training tutorials:

Video Tutorials > Learn about videography and motion graphics, including tutorials on storyboarding, color correction, lighting, and video editing in After Effects, Premiere Pro, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro.

Photo composition

Project Imagination / a model for collaboration


Project Imaginat10n launched with a photo contest, inviting the masses to interpret 10 storytelling themes through photography. After receiving tens of thousands of submissions, the 91 winning photos were announced. Then, the 5 Celebrity Directors and 5 Film Contest Winners each chose 10 photographs, one from each theme, to inspire their films. Watch them all here...

Exercise # 1 : Composition, Shots, Angles


Exercise 1: Composition, Shots and Angles
Edit to 10-15 seconds / no sound.
We will work on this Thursday Jan 30 in class
DUE Tuesday Feb 6

With a simple object, person or PLACE as your subject, test camera composition strategies. Assemble a very short montage using shot list to include at least 10 different shot types and camera angles.
(see examples )

EXPLORE A SENSE OF PLACE / Use this project to explore a location that you are drawn to as a potential setting for a longer project. This should be an interior or exterior location that you have access to in town or near by. Save stills and motion clips for future reference.

Blog #1 If this was...


If this was a movie about my life, it would be a ___________________ (genre / style), created by _________________________________ (artist/ director).

The story about my life would be ____________________ ________________________________________ (describe visual qualities and emotional tone). It would be set in _______________ (era) in ___________________ (location). The pace of the story would be _________________. The Director of Photography would be ______________, the camera work would be ______________________(describe shot types and look of cinematography)___________________ .

It would be the story of _______________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
(short synopsis). In the project, my ________________ (family member) would be played by _____________________ (actor) and __________________ (actor) would play the love interest. The main conflict in the story would involve ___________________________.
In the climax of the story, _________________________ would happen. This scene would feel very ______________(emotion) and be visually _________________ (look). The audience would be most surprised by the ending, when I _________________________________________________________.

Use this story template to reveal something about who you are and what you love in cinema. SAVE your story to post to the blog.

David Bordwell on Constructive Editing


Sundance Film Fest > New Frontier


Movies to catch on Netflix

Movie List: Must-Watch Films You Might Have Missed
by BLOUIN ARTINFO 01/01/14 7:59 AM EST

"Frances Ha" - Directed by Noah Baumbach

"To the Wonder" - Directed by Terrence Malick

"Something in the Air" - Directed by Olivier Assayas

Short Films + Online Posting?

Short films and online posting / film festival eligibility...

and more interesting stuff on Short of the Week

Open Culture > Free movies online


Red Parasol Projects on Vimeo


University of Minnesota Duluth digital art students collaborated with acting students in Spring 2013. The unifying constraint: each short video project needed to integrate a Red Parasol. Five project storylines went into production, each featuring 2-3 student actors from UMD's Acting for the Camera class. Each production team also included 3 students from our Digital Filmmaking class. Each small crew needed to cover all the pre-production concept development and location camerawork for their production. Students took turns directing shots and covering various tasks on location in Duluth. Each filmmaking student edited their own version of the Red Parasol Project, using the characters, settings, storyline and video captured by their small team. The resulting 15 short films were screened at our final exam.

KendraJaeger Final April from Kendra Rae on Vimeo.



April by Kendra Jaeger

April by Missy Smetana

April by Bethany Bourgoin

Anamnesis by Ryan Holmquist

Anamnesis by Sam Hagen

Anamnesis by Vivian Otoo

The Mystery Man by Brady Roy

The Mystery Man by Marissa Murdy

Mystery Man by Kate Bendel

Daydream by Keri Koskiniemi

Daydream by Sarah Heil

Daydream by Emyli Gudmundson

Crimson and Cerulean by Rick McLean

Red + Blue by Brittany V. Hecker

more about cast + crew of Red Parasol Project...

The Cutting Edge > Editing Plan


We'll be watching this DVD in class. Plan to blog about it here.
As you prepare to edit your final project, what aesthetic and technical choices do you plan to make to create a unified story? What is your plan for the use of pacing, shot types, cuts, continuity, and sound in your final edit? Use a specific example from The Cutting Edge of an editing choice you might try in your own project.

Short Film Project Reflection


Please post to blog by Final Exam / Friday May 17:

Some buzz about the Panasonic Lumix GH3


Panasonic Lumix GH3 user group on Vimeo

In the Digital Arts program at UMD we have invested in the Panasonic Lumix GH2 camera as a good tool for artists who want to shoot both still and video at high quality. We will be getting some of the newer GH3 cameras too. Here are some links to photographer's discussing the mirrorless hybrid camera:

Small Camera Big Picture is the resource for everything on mirrorless-hybrid photography and the modern photographer's lifestyle. Learn how big things come in small packages at Giulio also contributes to the hybrid photo, video and audio site

elliptical editing... in a film by Agnes Varda


Bordwell and Thompson's textbook, Film Art: An Introduction explores key concepts in cinema--mise-en-scène, lighting, cinematography, sound, and editing--through examples. Their examples are short and to the point, here is one showing elliptical editing in Agnes Varda's Vagabond ...

More about filmmaker Agnes Varda

Bordwell's blog
Bordwell's website

Early color film test


Moviestorm software for our labs!


Moviestorm is a software application that lets anyone make 3d animated movies on their computer. Great News...We are going to be able to acquire this software for use in the Digital Arts area and the Multimedia Hub. The Moviestorm software will be a cool addition for students interested in interactive storytelling, game design, filmmaking, and machinima!

View Movies made with Moviestorm:

More info here:

Erik Loyer Lecture > 6pm Tuesday March 5


Erik Loyer will be a visiting artist on UMD campus on TUESDAY...
His Lecture is OPEN to the PUBLIC Tuesday March 5th at 6pm in Montague Hall

Erik Loyer is a media artist and creative director working at the intersection of interactivity, story, music and animation. As a digital media artist he often works in collaboration on creative projects that use emerging media such as iPads and game systems for innovative digital narratives and interactive poetic works... like STRANGE RAIN:

His work has been exhibited online and internationally at venues including Artport at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Digital Gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Prix Ars Electronica; Transmediale; and IndieCade. Loyer's award-winning website The Lair of the Marrow Monkey was one of the first to be added to the permanent collection of a major art museum, and his serialized web narrative Chroma went on to win the Best Digital Creation award at the Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media.
As Creative Director for the experimental digital humanities journal Vectors, Loyer has designed over a dozen interactive essays in collaboration with numerous scholars including the Webby-honored documentary Public Secrets, and his commercial portfolio includes Clio and One Show Gold Award-winning work for Vodafone, as well as projects for BMW, Sony, and NASA.
He is the founder of interactive design studio Song New Creative, and develops story-driven interactive entertainment under the Opertoon label, including most recently a critically-acclaimed iPhone application entitled Ruben & Lullaby. A recipient of a Rockefeller Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowship, Loyer has a B.A. in Cinema/Television Production from the University of Southern California.

View his work here:

Spring 2013 Vimeo Links


Please set up your own vimeo account (free) to share your short digital video project.
Please post a link to your VIMEO site to the comments here.

More info here:
Vimeo Help Center / Frequently Asked Questions
Vimeo Video School
HD Channel

Beasts of the Southern Wild


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Anyone interested in cinematography and video editing should see this film from director Benh Zeitlin. It took home the Grand Jury Prize and Best Cinematography award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Expected to win some oscars next.

Movies about Photography


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