Digital Filmmaking: Telling Stories Through Technology

NYUSPS at NYU Shanghai High School Academy 2018

Course Number: HSAD-NI110

General Course Information

Instructor: Jiwon Shin [ ]

Class Dates: July 16th – July 21st, 2018

Class Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Class Location: 824 – 8th floor

Course Description

China has the second-largest film market in the world, with some experts estimating that this growing industry will surpass the American market by 2018. Today, no matter where a film is produced, most movies are shot digitally. If you are considering a career in filmmaking, this program will introduce you to the essential skills needed for advanced study in college. This course will allow you to gain a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of this digital art form including lens usage, light metering techniques, blocking, and professional conventions. You will work in small production crews and share different responsibilities, learning about writing, producing, storyboarding, cinematography, audio recording, and editing. In addition, you will explore how to develop creative concepts and how to capture them digitally—from the first shoot to the final edit. Morning and afternoon sessions will provide hands-on instruction, which will conclude in a showcase screening of your final film. You will shoot outdoors at local venues in Shanghai, gaining valuable experience and a finished digital portfolio piece.

Course Prerequisites

Attendance is a prerequisite to participation in this course. All students are expected to arrive to class on time and remain present for the duration of the class.

Course Structure / Method

This course contains a combination of lectures, workshops and field work. Please refer to the schedule section for exact details of the structure of each day's class.

Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Develop a fundamental skill set for producing video and audio assets
  2. Develop an understanding of storytelling fundamentals
  3. Learn how to use production processes to take an idea and make it come to life
  4. Gain experience and confidence working with media production equipment and software
  5. Gain experience collaborating with others in both creative and technical processes

Communication Policy

Please contact me at for any questions or concerns that you may have in regard to your assignments and/or final project. All inquiries will be answered within 24 hours.

Course Expectations
  • Attendance is mandatory. Every class builds off the previous one so it is vital to be present for every lesson. Unexcused absences or habitual lateness will negatively impact the knowledge gained from this class. If you are going to be late or absent, please email me in advance. If you have an emergency, please let me know as soon as you can.
  • You are expected to attend and participate actively in all lectures, workshops and field work. Absence in Day 2's workshop will prevent you from being able to use the filming equipment essential for this class. There are no exceptions to this.
  • Be prepared to work in groups on the assignments.
  • You are expected to present your work in class. Explaining your work to other people is a great way to better understand the material and answer questions for yourself.
  • Ask questions. If you do not ask questions, I can only assume you understand the material completely.

Final Project:

The final project is an opportunity to show what you have learned this past week. We expect your project to:

  • Only uses footage that was taken by yourself or group members.
  • Credit music or any materials that aren’t yours at the end of the video.

It is very important that everyone in the group is equally involved in the development of this project. The final project deadline is 9AM, 21 July.

Required and Recommended Material

Adobe Premiere: will be provided for in-class use.

Grading / Assessment

Students will be graded on a Pass/Not Pass basis; final grade will be either P (Pass) or NP (No Pass). Under this grading option, students will receive a final grade of P for work that is clearly passing, i.e., which would earn a letter grade of C or better. For work below this level (i.e., equivalent to C-, D+, D, D-, or F), students will receive a grade of NP.

Your grade will be based on the following:

  • 20% Participation
  • 20% Mobile Video Assignment
  • 10% Storyboarding Assignment
  • 10% Production Planning Assignment
  • 40% Final Project

Course Policies

Equipment Policy:

All filming, lighting and sound equipment will be checked out from the IMA Lab. Checked out equipment must be returned at the end of each day. It is your responsibility to take care of the equipment that you have checked out. You will be asked to replace any broken or missing equipment. Please email the instructor for any issues / concerns.

NYUSPS Policies

NYUSPS policies regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Academic Integrity and Plagiarism, Students with Disabilities Statement, and Standards of Classroom Behavior among others can be found on the NYU Classes Academic Policies tab for all course sites as well as on the University and NYUSPS websites. Every student is responsible for reading, understanding, and complying with all of these policies.

The full list of policies can be found at the web links below:


Day 1: Monday, 16 July

Morning Session:

  • Introductions: Course Syllabus Review and Get to know each other
  • Lecture: What is Storytelling?
  • In-class Exercise: Storytelling Exercise (part 1)
    • Prepare to tell a short story (1 - 3 minutes) about yourself.
    • You can introduce yourself to class and talk generally about what kind of person you are. What do you like to do in your free time? What are your interests and hobbies? You can also talk about a specific meaningful or interesting experience you have had.
    • Think of this exercise as telling a short verbal autobiography.
  • Lecture: History of Film

Afternoon Session:

  • In-class Exercise: Storytelling Exercise (part 2)
    • Tell your story that you told for the Storytelling Exercise (part 1) through a video. The video version of your story can be as detailed, abstract or literal as you want.
    • Create the video ONLY using your mobile phone. This means you will be recording your footage on your mobile phone as well as editing your recorded footage.
    • Recommended video editor apps:
    • Upload your finished video to youku (or any other online video platform of your choice) and email your instructor with the link by 4pm.
  • Presentation: Show the video version of your story.

Day 2: Tuesday, 17 July

Morning Session:

  • Introduction to the Final project
    • Theme: "Change - the old & the new"
    • Divide into teams
    • In-class Exercise: Beginning brainstorming for the final project with your teammates.
  • Lecture: Storyboarding
  • In-class Exercise: Create a storyboard for your final project. Be prepared to share these with the rest of your classmates tomorrow.

Afternoon Session:

  • Practical Workshops: Canon 6D DSLR, Lighting and Sound
  • In-class Exercise: Hands-on practice using camera, light and sound equipment

Day 3: Wednesday, 18 July

Morning Session:

  • Presentation: Share your final project idea using your storyboards
  • Lecture: Prepping for your production
  • In-class Exercise: Production Planning
    • Plan out your film shooting tomorrow by dividing roles, planning out your equipment and creating a shot list.

Afternoon Session:

  • Practical Workshop: Video editing using Adobe Premiere
  • Lecture: Using external resources & giving credit
  • In-class Exercise: Finish and submit your production planning

Day 4: Thursday, 19 July

All day shooting

Day 5: Friday, 20 July

All day editing:

  • Practical Workshop: exporting your video

Day 6: Saturday, 21 July

Presentation Day: Please have your final project file ready by 9AM to submit to instructor.