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Art of Technique : An Aesthetic Approach to Film and Video Production

Art of Technique : An Aesthetic Approach to Film and Video Production - 96 edition

ISBN13: 978-0205142484

Cover of Art of Technique : An Aesthetic Approach to Film and Video Production 96 (ISBN 978-0205142484)
ISBN13: 978-0205142484
ISBN10: 0205142486

Cover type: Paperback
Edition: 96
Copyright: 1996
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
Published: 1996
International: No
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Art of Technique : An Aesthetic Approach to Film and Video Production - 96 edition

ISBN13: 978-0205142484

John S. Douglass

ISBN13: 978-0205142484
ISBN10: 0205142486

Cover type: Paperback
Edition: 96
Copyright: 1996
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
Published: 1996
International: No

This book provides teachers and students with a teaching tool not currently available. It fills a gap in the literature by going beyond simple discussions of hardware usage, basic technical knowledge, and descriptions of technique to in-depth discussions of how this knowledge can be applied in a coherent approach to production. Using an easy to understand, building block approach, the book begins by isolating elements of film and television into twelve discussions of production techniques, represented by the book's twelve chapters. By learning hands-on skills and techniques, students learn to create significant works with a high degree of craft. Once basic instruction on theme and treatment, mood, and characterization is completed, Douglass and Harnden discuss symbols and significance, informing students how to design meaningful, moving works on film. The Art of Technique teaches students to create believable, significant films and videos, and helps them to develop a sophisticated and mature visual approach.

Describes how students can achieve satisfying production results, even with limited equipment, by teaching them professional production values.

Shows students how to use basic techniques for creative purposes, in order to achieve high-quality, effective, and intelligent work.

The book provides a comprehensive range of knowledge, from formulating ideas, to developing storylines and treatments, through determining techniques and approaches, and offers technical information on how to execute film and video techniques.

Includes end-of-chapter exercises, experiential exercises, story development diagrams, and characterization charts which help students put techniques and methods into practice.

Includes many visual examples from contemporary and classic films to illustrate points made about technique.

Concludes with a filmography of films and videos on videotape, offering examples of concepts discussed in the text.

Author Bio

Douglass, John S. : The American University

Harnden, Glenn P. : The American University

Table of Contents


1. Treatment and Interpretation.


Treatment of the Subject
Determining Purpose
Discovering Theme
Employing Technique
Exercising Imagination and Originality.

Virtual Reality.

Treating Reality in Documentary.


The Written Treatment
Interpreting the Script.

Personal Style.

2. Ideas.

The Story Tellers.

Conflict and Mood.

Jack the Giant Killer
Prince and the Pauper
Clash of the Titans
The Peacemaker
Triumph of Courage
Tempting Fate
Role Reversals
Fish Out of Water
Strange Bedfellows
Buddy Pictures
Ship of Fools
The Quest


Your Experiences
Other Sources for Story Ideas
Stories for Episodic Television

Lack of Inspiration.


Story Research.

Location Research
Library Research.
Synthesizing Research.


Motifs and Symbols.

3. Point of View.

The Points of View.

POV Shots

First Person
Second Person
Third Person.
Character Point of View

The Audience's Point of View.

Defining the Audience.

4. Story/Narrative Structure.

The Rules of the Game.

Beginning, Middle and End.

The Beginning
The Middle
The End.

Rising Action.

The Inciting Incident
The Crisis
The Point of No Return
The Climax
A-Story and B-Story/ Plots and Subplots.

Other Formats.

A Day in the Life
A Special Place.

Constructing the Structure.

Structuring and Idea.

Log Lines: The TV Guide Version
Beats: The Story Steps.

Structuring the Production.

A Real Time Medium.

Creating Expectation

Sequences: The String of Pearls.

5. Mood.

Treatment of Mood.
Location and Setting.
Color, Texture, and Design.
Camera Framing, Angles and Movement.
Lens Focal Length.



Sound Effects

Performance: Talent and Direction.
Putting It All Together.

6. Characterization and Portraiture.

A Question of Balance.
The Quest for Personality.

Physical Features
Sociological Situations
Psychological Profile
Vitality and Power
Lasting Relationships
Secondary Characters.

The Treatment of Character in Production.

Preproduction: Casting

Other Characters, Narration and Commentary
First Action
Image Size and Camera Movement.

7. Mise en Scene and Design.

The Philosophy of Mise en Scene.

The Material Content of Shots.

The Production Elements of Mise en Scene.

Evocative Locations and Photographic Opportunities.

Creating a Catalog of Visuals.

Visual Story-Telling
The Look of the Production
Designing the Frame.

Shooting Mise en Scene.

Day Exteriors
Night Exteriors
Set Dressings and Props

Contrast Ratios
Lighting Ratio
Hard and Soft Lighting.


8. Using the Camera for Interpretation.

Lensing the Image.

The Eye of the Beholder.

Inside the Fourth Wall
Visual Variety.

Camera Placement.


Wide, Medium, and Close-Up Shots.


Frontal Angles
High and Low Angles.

Focal Length

Short Focal Length
Normal Focal Length
Long Focal Length.

Focal Length and Portraiture.

Camera Movement.

The Moving Point of View.

Specific Compositions
Motivating the Move.

Executing the Move.

Complex Moves.

Camera Mountings.

The Hand-Held Camera


Dynamic Composition
Rule of Thirds
The Compositional Triangle.

Point of View.

9. Editing for Interpretation.

Salvaging the Production.
Creating Materials to Edit.

Shooting for Continuity Editing.

Off-Screen and On-Screen Action
Cut-Ins or Inserts
The Match-Cut
Intentional Jump-Cuts
Master Scene
Multiple Camera
A Marriage of Styles.

Shooting for Montage Editing.

Montage Theory
Montage Editing
American Montage.

POV and Other Setups.

Confusion vs. Mystery.

10. Lighting for Interpretation.

Lighting Designs versus Lighting Setups
High Key and Low Key Lighting Designs
Lighting Instruments and Shading Devices.

Hard Light and Soft Light.

Lighting and Contrast.

Contrast Ratios
Lighting Ratios.

Lighting Setups.

Narrow Lighting Setups
Broad Lighting Setups
Cross- Lighting Setups
Set Lighting.

Lighting for Movement.

Exterior Lighting.
Scene Duplication Exercise.

11. Symbols.

Film as Symbolic Expression.


Symbolic Communication.

Symbolic Expression
Significant Detail.

Denotative and Connotative Symbolism.

Cultural Icons.

Creating Internal Symbolism.
The Surreal Landscape.

12. Significance.

Significant Events.

Gut Reaction
Events That Arouse Passion.

Audience Conflict.

Meaning in Events.

Portents and Importance
The Mirror of Production.


The Dark Side
The Lighter Side
So What?
Creative Vision and Coherent Productions.

The Power of Performance.

Plastic Reality.


Production as Artifact
The Role of Dialogue.

Once is Enough.
Making Moving Pictures.

Appendix I Electricity.

The Formula.

Appendix II Measuring Light.