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FILM 3480 - Rusnak

Course Guide FILM 3480-01 Art of Cinematography, Spring 2021 Stacy Rusnak

Course Information

Course Information

Class Details

Course Details: FILM 3480-01, 3 Credit Hours

Class Time: 3:30-4:45, online

Course Location: This class will meet completely online.  We will use Blackboard Collaborate for online “virtual classroom” video conferencing sessions and collaboration activities. Some or all of the sessions may be recorded. The recordings will only be available to students enrolled in this course.  In the event that we find that we need to use Microsoft Teams or Zoom, changes will be announced well in advance. 

Course Description

This course provides students with the terminology and concepts of cinematography, and gives studentshands-on experience working with shot composition, camera movement, lighting techniques, and overall story and visual design.

Course Prerequisites

FILM 2700 and FILM 3010 both with a grade of “C” or better.

Course Resources

Required Texts

There is no textbook for this course.  All readings will either be proved to you via email (another reason to check your email often), or accessible through the GGC library or other online source. 

Recommended Texts


Additional Resources

This class will require you to have access to Netflix.  If you do not, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.  You will also be asked to use several library databases through Galileo, Kanopy, Academic Video Online, Films on Demand, and other library resources as noted in the syllabus.

Course Goals and Objectives

Students taking this course will learn to: 1) Describe and demonstrate the duties and responsibilities of a cinematographer; 2) Identify and discuss the major contributions of selected cinematographers; 3) Understand and begin to apply the aesthetics of visual communication through cinema; 4) Analyze and discuss the art of cinematography, including but not limited to: style and technique through framing, composition, camera movement, depth of field, and lighting from films screened; 5) Design, experiment and create personal expressions through cinema to show skills in characterization and story telling; 6) Deliver and receive effective critiques of work in progress; 7) Appreciate the diversity of aesthetic styles in diverse films and in diverse cinematographers’ works; and 8) Show ability to collaborate in group settings.

Course Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: 1) Identify the responsibilities of the cinematographer; 2) Discuss the art of cinematography and the historical contributions of select cinematographers; 3) Utilize the components of cinematography to experiment and create visual stories; 4) Engage in critical analysis of their own works, as well as those of their classmates; 4) Recognize the diversity of film styles through the analysis of different films and cinematographers’ styles; and 5) Collaborate with others inside and outside of the classroom to develop a creative project. 

Course Requirements and Grading

You can expect to access the course materials and grades via our course in Brightspace (Desire to Learn). Students should check this Brightspace course regularly, as changes will always be announced and recorded on the course site.

Grading Scale

A (Excellent) 90-100

B (Good) 80-89

C (Fair) 70-79

D (Poor) 60-69

F (Failure) 59 and below

Grading Percentages

Grading Category

Percent Weight

Reading Worksheets




Scene Recreations








Late Work Policy

I do not take late work unless there is a verifiable excuse such as a verifiable college event, religious holiday or illness.  If you become sick during the semester, I am more than willing to work with you to either help you complete your assignments or to apply for an Incomplete, should it come to that.  We need to maintain clear communication through the semester. If you do NOT turn an assignment in, please reach out to me and we can discuss any issues.  In general, if an assignment is not turned in on the day indicated on the syllabus, there will be a 10-point deduction on the assignment for each day that it is not turned in.  Again, communication is key here.  It is your responsibility to keep me informed of any missed assignments.  There are NO make-up assignments for group projects, D2L posts, or oral presentations. 

Missing Assignments and Your Grade

Please note that your grade in the class is the grade you earn, not a grade I give you.  At the end of the semester, if you have a C (for example), it is because you earned the C.  I cannot give you credit for a B or A at that point.  Also note, if your final grade is 89.1, this means you earned a B.  If it is an 89.5 (.6, .7, .8, .9), this means your grade is an A.  I can make an exception for a student who has really worked very hard during the semester, but if you have an 89.3 and you have 1 ZERO in the grade book, you will still have a B. So, be sure to check your syllabus, the calendar, D2L and turn in ALL of your assignments on time.

Assessment Tools

Reading Worksheets, 15%: You all will complete a short reading worksheet for the readings indicated on the syllabus.  You should complete these as you read.  You will be asked to include bibliographic information for each assignment to help you get familiar with the MLA citation style, which will be used in all of your CMAP classes (where applicable).  The worksheet can be found on D2L.  It is the same worksheet for each reading.  This sheet will help guide you as you read through the material.  It will help you organize your thoughts, which should directly impact your ability to actively participate in class discussions.

Presentations, 15%: These will be individual presentations on either a cinematographer or a film technique.  If  presenting on a cinematographer, the student will provide a) bio background information and b) an analysis of a scene from the film we watch, commenting on the cinematographer’s use of framing, composition, lighting, camera movement and transitions.   If presenting on technique, the student will choose any 3 images to highlight technique covered under the specific topic.  The student should use: a) correct terminology to highlight the technique and b) provide an analysis of how the technique is used to create mood, tell a story, or heighten emotional impact.

Scene recreations, 20%: Each of you will complete 2 scene recreations based on specific films we watch.  You’ll be asked to recreating framining, composition, camera movement, and transitions (if applicable).  We’ll present these in class with peer evaluation.  ½ of the class will present each time.  You can use your own equipment or your cellphone.  I would prefer that we leave the school’s equipment for the students in the upper level production courses.  But, if in a bind, we can discuss using the school’s cameras.

Mid-term, 20%: You will do a 2-3 page scene analysis of one of the films we’ve watched up until the midpoint. 

Final, 20%: You will do a final 4-5 page scene analysis of one of the films we watch after mid-term.

Active Online Participation, 10%.  For each class online, I will keep a rubric for each student’s contribution to the class discussion.   It is not enough to just appear online.  You will also need to contribute to the class discussion and to group work in the online environment.