280 Video Storytelling

JRN/FLM F280 F01

Video Storytelling

Fall 2012

Bunnell 126

tuesday/thursday 11:30am-1:00pm

Prof. Robert Prince

Office: Bunnell 105C

Email: rob.prince@alaska.edu

 Required Reading:

Visual Storytelling, Osgood & Hinshaw, 2009

Course Description:

JRN F280 Video Storytelling (h)

3 Credits
Offered Fall

Basics of digital video production technology, composition, audio, lighting and editing as it relates to primarily non-fiction filmmaking. Students will conclude the course by producing their own short videos. Special fees apply. Cross-listed with FLM F280. (3+0)

Course Goals:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be expected to have a basic knowledge of how to technically and artfully produce short, non-fiction videos.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Capture attractive video images with useable audio
  2. Do basic non-linear editing in Final Cut Xpress
  3. Tell a good story using moving images and audio

Instructional Methods:

This course will be taught through lectures, class activities, and field production work.


Expectations of Students:

  1. Push yourself to do your best work for this class.  If you don’t do your best work now, when will you do it?  Remember who writes your recommendation letters.
  2. Arrive to class on time.  Tardiness will result in a reduced grade (see “Attendance/Tardiness” below) and may prevent you from taking quizzes.
  3. Make sure your cell phones are on silent.
  4. Laptops are allowed in class, however I reserve the right to close your laptop if I suspect you are using it for non-class-related purposes regardless of whether or not I have evidence to support that suspicion.
  5. Come to class prepared, having completed the required homework and ready to participate in class discussions.
  6. Attend every class.  Unexcused absences will results in a reduced grade (see “Attendance/Tardiness” below).
  7. Participate in every class.
  8. Check your Blackboard e-mail every weekday.
  9. Respect your peers.  Support and encourage them and offer constructive criticism of their projects.
  10. Ask questions during or after class when you do not understand something or are having a problem.  If you don’t understand something, chances are at least some of your peers don’t understand it either.
  11. Take notes.
  12. If you are having a problem outside of class that is affecting your ability to perform in this class, please let me know as soon as you can.  You do not need to disclose the details of your situation.  Although doing well in college is very important and you need to work hard, do not let the pressure overwhelm you.  Your personal health and sanity are more important than good marks.  I consider myself a very easy person to talk to and encourage you to come speak to me if you need to discuss issues course-related or otherwise.


Equipment Policies

Productions for this class will be all digital using Macs for the editing in this class. We will use Panasonic AG-HMC40 HD cameras for recording.  Access to the computers is on a first come, first serve basis.  Access to the editing room is available virtually 24-7.  You will need permission from us to have security let you in the building during the very late evening/holidays.


Cameras must be checked out and returned through the student equipment manager, the department administrator, Jason Lazarus or Robert Prince.  The Monday-Friday hours when you can do that will be announced as soon as possible.  We recommend that you reserve equipment well in advance of when you need it.  Cameras can be checked out for only one evening or the weekend. You have to sign a waiver before you can check out any equipment.  Cameras and editing equipment are also available for check out through the Rasmuson library.

The hard drives on the lab computers will be erased every Friday afternoon to prevent the buildup of excessive files on the drives.  If you need an exception from this, make sure to let Jason Lazarus or me know.

Building Access:

Access to the Journalism computer lab is virtually 24/7 with your Polar Express card.  As long as you can get into the Bunnell Building, you can access the lab.  You can remain in the lab after the building has closed.  The lab is not open to students when classes are meeting in the lab.  Those times will be posted on the lab door.  If you are in the lab when a class is about to begin, you will be asked to leave.  Note that some classes meet only occasionally in the lab and professors do their best to post those times on the door in advance of the class meeting time.

Bunnell Building hours vary.  Note that sometimes the south entrance by the Journalism Department is locked while one or both of the north entrances by the flags are open, so try the other doors if you cannot enter through the south entrance.

Final Grade Breakdown:

Attendance: 20%

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

—Woody Allen

Each unexcused absence in this class will reduce your final grade.  If you have six or more unexcused absences, then you will automatically fail the course REGARDLESS of if your other grades were high enough to allow you to pass the course.

Excused absences will not affect your attendance grade (though you will lose the extra credit).  An excused absence is when you have notified me before class that you will not be able to make it to class for a valid reason: sick, personal emergency, etc.  “I’m too busy” or “I can’t find a ride to class” are not valid reasons for missing class.

You must notify me BEFORE class for an absence to be excused.  Telling me hours or days later why you missed class will not excuse the absence.  Treat this class like a job.  If you don’t show up to work and don’t call in, you get fired.  The only exception to this rule is that I will accept a doctor’s note up to a week after you return to class as an excuse for an absence.

Students who have zero absences (excused or unexcused) and no tardies will receive extra credit in their final grade.  Any absence or tardy for any reason will remove this extra credit.

Make sure to contact me after an absence to see what announcements or assignments you missed.  I recommend you ask a fellow student for a copy of their notes from that class to see what material we covered.

“Twenty percent of success is showing up…on time.”

—Robert Prince

Because coming late to class disrupts class, at times can force us to wait for you, and can mean missing important announcements, every three times you arrive late to class I will add one absence to your grade.  Redefine “on time” to class in your mind to mean “five minutes early.”  If you do arrive to class late, make sure to see me after class to make sure I mark you as present and let you know about any announcements I may have made that day.

Here is how your absences will affect your final grade:

0 Absences (and zero tardies) = 110% for attendance (equals +2% extra credit)

Unexcused Absence = -10% from attendance grade per each

6+ Unexcused Absences = Automatically fail the course

Pop Quizzes: 5%

Cover the material in the course lectures and readings.  If you miss a pop quiz, it can only be made up if your absence was excused and it must be made up before you return to class.  If you are late to class the day of a pop quiz, you cannot take it unless your tardy was excused.

Exam: 25%

Covers the readings and lectures.

Production Assignment Basic Camerawork: 5%

Covers the basic composition skills.

Production Assignment Intermediate Camerawork: 5%

Covers intermediate composition skills.

Production Assignment Lighting: 5%

Covers the basics of three-point lighting.

Production Assignment Audio: 5%

Covers the basics of recording quality audio for video and using audio in storytelling.

Production Assignment Editing: 5%

Covers the basics of editing on Final Cut Pro.

Final Project: 25%

A short 3-5 minute video that demonstrates a cumulative knowledge of the subjects covered in the course.


Grading Guidelines:

A:  An honor grade that indicates originality and independent work, mastery of the subject and the satisfactory completion of more work than was regularly required.  To get an “A,” students in my classes need to impress me with the work they’ve done on an assignment and go beyond what I asked for in the assignment.

94%-100% = A, 90%-93% = A-

B:  Indicates outstanding ability above the average level of performance.  To get a “B,” students in my classes need to do exactly what I asked for in the assignment and do it well.

87%-89% = B+, 84%-86% = B, 80%-83% = B-


Implications of the Grade of ‘C’ (and below) for letter-graded

undergraduate courses which are:

–Prerequisites for other courses, or

–Degree major requirements, or

–Core courses

C+ (2.3): Satisfactory to Fair: satisfactory level of performance, with some

mastery of material.

C (2.0): Average: satisfactory level of performance and level of competency

in the subject. A minimum grade of ‘C’ (2.0) is required for all

prerequisites and major courses.

C- (1.7): Barely satisfactory: Minimum grade required for all Core (X)

Courses. A grade of C- (1.7) in a class which is a prerequisite for another

class or in a class required for a student’s major will result in the

student being required to retake the class.

77%-79% = C+, 74%-76% = C, 70%-73% = C-

D+ (1.3); D (1.0); D- (0.7): Below Average: Fair to poor level of competency

in the subject matter.  A grade of D+, D or D- in a Core (X) class will

automatically require the student to retake the class to receive core

credit, starting Fall 2011.

67%-69% = D+, 64%-66% = D, 60%-63% = D-


F:  Indicates failure to meet lowest standards.  To get an “F,” students in my classes will have missed major elements of the assignment and/or the content will be all—or nearly all—poor quality.

0%-59% = F

For additional grading policy information, see the UAF Catalog, pages 46-50.

Course Policies:

Late work or quizzes will be docked 15% plus an additional 15% for each class period it is not turned in after the due date.  Backup your work, reserve video equipment, and work ahead of deadlines so you can avoid these problems.  If you miss the midterm exam, you will need documentation proving the legitimacy of your absence to avoid the 15% grade reduction.

Projects can be redone only if there is sufficient evidence that a requirement(s) of the assignment was described in a way that a reasonable adult would find confusing or ambiguous and that unclear element of the assignment directly related to the student’s reduced grade.

All work must comply with the University of Alaska Fairbanks policies on student conduct found online at www.uaf.edu/catalog/current/academics/regs3.html.

All work must be original productions for this course and plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment, a possible F for the class, and potentially further academic discipline.  Ignorance of what it means to plagiarize will not be an excuse from punishment.  If you have questions about plagiarism, contact me before you hand in the assignment.

I will make reasonable accommodations for individuals with documented disabilities. Notify me within the first two weeks of the semester if you have any special needs.

Support Services:

I will make reasonable accommodations for individuals with documented disabilities, for example, providing an in-class note taker, providing a quiet and solitary test-taking environment, or other reasonable accommodations in line with your documented needs.  Disability services will provide you with documentary indicating what kind of assistance you need and, based on that evidence, I will implement that assistance to the best of my abilities. Notify me within the first two weeks of the semester if you have any special needs.

The departments listed below provide resources for students with disabilities, help writing papers, and help preparing for class presentations:

Disability Services

e-mail. fydso@uaf.edu

tel. 907-474-5655

tty. 907-474-1827

Whitaker Building Room 208


About Disability Services

At UAF Disability Services, our goal is to provide UAF students with access to academic classes and course materials through an interactive accommodation process.

UAF Disability Services provides accommodations to students on the Fairbanks campus as well as on the Bristol Bay, Chukchi, Interior Aleutians, Kuskokwim, Northwest, Community Technical College (CTC), Center For Distance Education (CDE), and College for Rural and Community Development (CRCD) campuses.

Students using community campuses or distance learning programs should contact Disability Services via telephone, fax, e-mail, U.S. postal mail, or in person to request and arrange for accommodations.

We enjoy supporting individuality, promoting independence and celebrating graduations.

Writing Center

Dept. Of English

801 Gruening Bldg.

(907) 474-7193


The Writing Center is a student-staffed, student-oriented service of the English Department. Our tutors, English Department teaching assistants and a few outstanding undergraduate students, can assist you in all phases of the writing process, including the following:

  • Brainstorming and generating topics
  • Organizing ideas
  • Developing research strategies
  • Use of citation styles — MLA, APA, and Chicago
  • Editing for clarity and correctness

We collaborate with each student on a one-to-one basis, and we will work with students at any phase of the writing process — planning, drafting, revising. We can also help writers discover ways of improving grammar, mechanics, and punctuation.

Tutorials. Tutorial appointments at the Writing Center are 30 minutes long, and we encourage you to call or stop by to make an appointment. Walk-in sessions are often available, but in the last half of the semester we are often booked.

Fax Tutoring. We provide a fax tutoring service for students enrolled in the College of Rural and Community Development (CRCD). Students can fax their papers to us (1-800-478-5246), and they will have a telephone tutorial with a tutor at a designated time. We offer fax tutorials Monday through Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Phone the Writing Center (907/474-5314) to make an appointment.


Speaking Center

Dept. of Communication

507 Greuning Bldg.

(907) 474-5470


What is the Speaking Center?

The Speaking Center is a student-oriented service provided to facilitate preparing public presentations. Students can recieve coaching in refining their presentation topic, in organizing their presentation effectively, and in practicing their presentation. The Center makes it possible to digitally record and to watch one’s practice presentation, receiving constructive feed back from a Speaking Center coach.


Who can use the Speaking Center?

The Speaking center is available to all students currently enrolled at UAF or at TVC.


Scheduling Procedures

Please call 474-5470 or e-mail fyspeak@gmail.com to schedule an appointment at the Speaking Center. Walk-ins are welcome, however, students can be served only if there are openings.

Individuals may schedule the Center’s practice room daily any time prior to Speaking Center hours.

About Your Professor:

I grew up in East Lansing, Michigan and graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in Telecommunications.  After college I went to work in Chicago for Kurtis Productions, producers of the Investigative Reports series on A&E.  I then was hired as a Producer/Director for the PBS affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I directed live and pre-recorded programs for local broadcast.  In 2000 I went back to Calvin to run the video production department.  While working there I earned my M.A. from Michigan State University in Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media.

In 2005 I moved to Fairbanks to teach video production and documentary filmmaking in the Journalism Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


Want more video classes?  Check these out:


JRN/FLM F290 Digital Video Editing

3 Credits / Offered As Demand Warrants / Prof. Prince

Introduction to the technical and aesthetic aspects of non-linear digital video editing. Students will go from little or no experience in non-linear editing to being comfortable with some of the advanced editing techniques. Address motion picture editing theories that are not bound to time or specific editing technology. Special fees apply. (Cross-listed with FLM F290.) (3+0

JRN/FLM F292 Hands on Documentary Production

3 Credits / MAYmester / Prof. Prince

Production of a short video documentary from start to finish on a subject to be announced. The class will work collectively to produce the film. Students will have the opportunity to work in various positions from director, producer, camera operator, sound, editing, etc. Special fees apply.  (Cross-listed with FLM F290.) (3+0)

JRN/FLM F480 Documentary Filmmaking (h)
3 Credits / Offered Spring / Prof. Prince
Basics of hands-on documentary filmmaking techniques, including preproduction, production and postproduction. Different documentary filmmaking directing styles and the process of distributing a documentary. Each student will produce a short documentary as the capstone of the course. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: JRN F280 or permission of instructor. (3+0) 

VIDEO STORYTELLING: Tentative Course Schedule

Date: Subject: Assignment Due:


Introduction to the course


Camera Controls / Tripods


Guts of a Video Camera Chapter 4: From Light to Electrical Energy


Camera Specs


Video Cables  


View Projects Production Assignment:  Basic Camerawork


Composition Chapter 5: Composition


Composition Activity  


Composition Activity  


View Projects Production Assignment:  Intermediate Camerawork


Lighting & White Balance Chapter 7: Lighting in the Field


Lighting Continued


Lighting Activity  


View Projects / audio SET-UP Production Assignment: Lighting


Audio RECODING Chapter 6: Audio in the Field


View Projects Production Assignment:  Audio


Editing as storytelling Chapter 8: The Aesthetics of Editing


Introduction to Editing Chapter 9: Post Production


Editing Continued


Editing Continued


Graphics & Effects Chapter 11: Graphics & Effects


In-class editing period  


In-class editing period  


View Projects Production Assignment:  Editing


Thanksgiving Break – No Class


Final Project Discussion / Exam Review




View Raw Footage Raw Footage for Final Project


In-class editing period  


Final Exam Period 10:15am-12:15pm View final projects