CP470b/MCMA543 Proto-Cinematic Production: Explorations from Still to Moving Images

CP 470b & MCMA 543
Proto-Cinematic Production: Explorations from Still to Moving Images
Wednesdays 1 – 4:50     COMM 1116
email: drleigh@micheleleigh.net or mleigh@siu.edu
Office: 1121L, Communications Bldg.
Office hours: Dr. Leigh – M 10-12pm, T/TH 1-3pm
Required Texts:
All readings will be available here.

Course Description:
Cinema was not invented in one day, with one invention, or by one person. Cinema, as we know it today was several hundred years in the making. This production course explores the pre-history of cinema through several of its various modes of production. We will explore major historical shifts in visual modalities, concepts and practices by making the objects in question. We will interrogate humankind’s propensity for narrative storytelling. We will investigate and interact with the materials and techniques of these key moments in cinema’s pre-history by making and using various objects such as: the camera obscura, stereoscopic slides, Muybridge inspired flip-books, the zoetrope and praxiniscope, among others. We will learn and experiment with rudimentary image making ranging from sun prints to Méliès style in-camera editing. We will also discuss curation methodologies as we plan a final class exhibit. Students will finish the course a body of work that builds on and adds to their film/photographic portfolios.

Course Goals:
Students in this course will:
* discuss theoretical approaches to proto-cinematic production
* understand the historical the evolution of cinema and its intersection with narrative
* create various examples of proto-cinema
* critique the work of their fellow classmates
* develop and curate an end of semester exhibit of their work

Students are expected to attend class sessions, participate in class discussions, and complete all assignments and projects on time. Active participation means prior reading of assigned materials and sharing of relevant thoughts and experiences both in class and on-line. Students are encouraged to bring to class examples of visual material from a variety of sources to further class discussions. Assignments are due as indicated on the course calendar. Late assignments will lose 10 points for each day they are late. ALL assignments MUST be turned in, regardless of how late they are. Failure to turn in an assignment will result in an F for the course.
All cell phones MUST be turned off prior to entering class. Texting and IMing during class are NOT permitted. Please be considerate of your fellow classmates.

Class Assignments:
Sketchbook – Each student is required to have a sketchbook for class (size is up to you). Your sketchbook is the place where you note ideas/sketches/plans for current and future projects. Sketchbooks will be turned in to be graded at midterm and at final time. Please bring your sketchbook to class every week.

Blog Postings – Each student is required to post comments on any course readings, prior to the week they are assigned (check the website regularly for updates). This will prepare you for discussions in class. Additionally, students should also document their creative process, and artistic development within their blog. Students should also comment and make suggestions on your fellow classmates postings.

Production Assignments – You will be given several assignments that will introduce you to some of basics of proto-cinematic tools and techniques. These will be simple assignments that will provide you with some appreciation for the work involved in the creation and evolution of early narrative cinema. There will be several group assignments, where students will be required to work cooperatively to build and/or update a proto-cinematic device/concept. In addition to building these pre-cinematic objects you will also be creating art work with these objects.

Final Project –Each student will be required to complete a final project utilizing one or more of the proto-cinematic devices covered in class. By week 10 you will have to submit a written proposal, with designs, projected costs and completion schedule.

Participation – Occupying a seat does not constitute participation, though attendance will affect your participation grade. Students are expected to have read the course readings and to participate in discussions. Students are expected to actively and constructively participate in classroom critiques. Participation is also required to construct and curate an exhibit of the class work during finals week.
GRADUATE Students:
Class Presentations – you will each have to research and give a presentation on a proto-cinematic device, its history, its uses and how we might imagine using it today. Presentations should be 20 minutes in length, no longer.

Curation of Final Projects – Grad students will work together to select and curate class projects as part of a final exhibit of class work, date TBD.

Undergrad Grades:
Sketchbooks 5%
Blog Postings 10%
Participation 15%
Production Assignments 40%
Final Project 30%
Total 100%

Graduate Grades:
Sketchbooks 5%
Blog Postings 10%
Participation 15%
Production Assignments 35%
Class Presentation 5%
Final Project 30%
Total 100%

ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY! Many of the materials shown in class come from my personal collection. The library does not own them and therefore they cannot be put on reserve. However, you are responsible adults, if you should happen to miss class; you are responsible to getting notes from fellow classmates. Missing class however, does not exempt you from completing work that was due.

Course Calendar:
Week 1 Jan 20               Introduction    Cave Paintings – Readings  Assignment
Week 2 Jan 27               Hieroglyphs – Readings
Week 3 Feb 3                Cabinets of Curiosity  – Readings  – presented by Charles Scott
Week 4 Feb 10              Camera Obscura – Readings
Week 5 Feb 17              Panorama  – Readings
Week 6 Feb 24              Pinhole Camera
Week 7 Mar 2               Thaumotropes and Flipbooks  – presented by Su Yeon Kim
Week 8 Mar 9               Magic Lantern      – presented by Kit Paulson
Week 9 Mar 16 – SPRING BREAK
Week 10 Mar 23          Magic Lantern
Week 11 Mar 30          Stereoscopic SlidesReading – presented by Addison De Lisle
Week 12 Apr 6            Chronophotography  – presented by Natalie Hendricks
Week 13 Apr 13          Zoetrope/Praxiniscope
Week 14 Apr 20         Phenakistoscope/Fantoscope   presented by Kate Rutecki 
Week 15 April 27       Lab and Critique
Week 16 May 4th Final Projects Due

Final Exam Friday May 13th 2:45 -4:45 pm

Student Creative Process Blogs

2016 Course work

Artists of Interest

Samples of previous course work