Genre Study


In your group you will create a lesson of about 10 minutes for your class about your selected Genre of film. You will first do some in depth research about your Genre.

As well as books from the class room and the library here are some online references to help you:

ISM Film Custom Search

The FIlm Site

Strictly Film School

The Guardian

The Criterion Collection

Senses of Cinema


To see a detailed outline of assessments for this unit including assessment rubrics click here


Choose one of the clips below from the genres we have learned about in class. You will complete a formal analysis of the clip using the criteria which can be found here.


Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese. 1980)


Rocky ( John G. Avlisden. 1976)


Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood. 2014)

[youtube][/youtube]The Big Sleep

(Howard Hawks. 1946)


Chinatown ( Roman Polanski. 1974)









Cinematography Basics




Here are the three exposure settings on your camera which will help you control the light when shooting. NOTE: they also control depth of field, motion blur and crispness and film grain – or image noise.

How to avoid image noise or grain when using the CANON VIXIA – as there is no ISO setting  you have to AUTO GAIN CONTROL 

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White Balance

White Balance is all about colour temperature. Different kinds of light have different colours so you need to change your the white balance on your camera depending on the light in your location.


Although the AWB  (auto white balance) on the DSLR is pretty good it is always better if you can custom set the white balance for your location manually. This video shows you how. You can use a white piece of paper. Always change your white balance when you change your location as the light colour temperature will change. 


Here are some videos to help you improve your cinematography skills.

Ignore the accent – the advice is good!

Depth of Field

Controlling Depth of Field, focus and sharpness of image. This will also help you when you are trying to focus during Camera Movements.


Aperture image

Shooting in Low Light Conditions


Remember the 4 Rules of Filming in Low light:

1 – ISO – Highest setting should be 1600 to avoid grain.Do some test shots at 800 and 1600 and see how they look on your computer – hard to see grain on camera screen.

2- Shutter Speed between 1/30 and 1/50. 

3. Aperture – 1.2 – 5.6

4. Reduce the Contrast on your camera. Do this on Cannon D600 by going to Menu – picture style, choose a style press ‘info’ button and lowering the scale right down.


Photo Story

What is Mise en Scene  and how can it help you to create richer more meaningful films?


How is Mise en Scene used in this scene? How does it work to build a sense of character? How is sound used in support?


Look at this beautiful video. Again, cinematography and sound work hand in hand to tell a story.


Sound Knowledge

Any filmmaker will agree that capturing sound correctly is just as important as capturing great images. Sound can make or break a professional or amateur production, so making sure you know your way around a microphone can’t hurt. So let’s go over some basic ways to capture sound and take your video to the next level of awesomeness we all know it can be!

The sound from your camera does not always suck! it depends on how far you are from your source of sound. The camera mic is ok as long as you are about 10 feet or about 3 metres away.


Any more that that and you need to use an external Microphone and maybe even an external recorder.





Check out some of this equipment and see how learn how to use it with your team.

Sound Tips:

    • Microphones that
      have a 3.5mm stereo mini jack normally require some type of separate power source, so make sure you have batteries!
    • XLR microphones normally use the power given off by the camera or device they are connected to, but double check to see if it requires it’s own power source before recording.
    • Before recording, try taking a 5 second video clip and playing it back with headphones. This will give you a good idea of how the camera or recorder is picking up sound, that way you can decide if you need to change locations, sound levels or mics, etc.
    • Finally, make sure your microphone is on and the camera is set to use it! If your microphone isn’t turned on, you won’t capture any sound. The same thing will happen if you don’t tell your camera to use the external microphone (normally located in the cameras settings, however newer cameras detect the microphone automatically and don’t need to be told about it).

Sound Poem Challenge


Finding the way


Emotional Anarchy

These were created using Garageband. Get to know the basics of Garageband by having some fun experimenting with the software. Gather some sounds from the school import them into Garageband and have some fun manipulating them.

CREATE YOUR OWN 30 second Sound Poem about ISM  to be played to the rest of the class

You will learn how to use Garage Band in Class but this video might give you some ideas too.


Film History

Man with a movie Camera








Why Study Film History? 

As an art form that has only developed in the last 120 years, film is relatively new. Why then do film makers, film writers and historians find it important to study Film History?


You will be given a decade of cinema history to investigate. Through research,  you must explore key developments in the film during your decade.

a) What were the important films of the decade? Why – were they critically acclaimed for their style, acting, editing, sound track, special effects? Did they challenge conventions of film making or epitomize a particular film movement or genre? Who were the dominant directors and actors?

b) What technological advances dominated your decade? E.g. coming of sound, colour, 3D etc. How did these impact on individual films? Use examples from later films that show this impact.

c)    Investigate the commercial and industrial context of the films in your decade. E.g. were films being made within the studio system or independent of it? Was it a decade of blockbusters? Was the film industry financially threatened by other entertainment industries e.g. television,  VHS recorders, DVD, internet. How did the film industry respond?

d)   Historical, social and political trends. What were the key events happening outside of the industry e.g. Vietnam War, rise in feminism, AIDS, revolutions, peace movements, 9/11 attack, space exploration. How were these reflected in films of the time?

Things to consider:

  • You must go beyond Hollywood. Explore at least three national cinemas e.g. UK, France, Germany, Russia, Korea, China, India.
  • You must use at least 3 different text book sources and 3 internet sources (from reliable sights.)
  • Produce a documentary using visuals and voice over. This will be viewed by the rest of the class to help them to understand each decade of film history.  It will also be shared via Google docs.
  • Your research and your production will be graded (See Rubrics for Knowledge and Understanding and for Transfer of Learning in film history folder) You must cite all of your sources for images and information.

Some suggestions for internet searches:

Customized ISM Film Search Engine

BFI – British Film Industry Webpage


University of Minnesota


Story boarding


Story Boarding Tips

Planning you film is arguably the most important part of the whole process. Though storyboarding is not compulsory it helps you to think visually and make sure that every member of your crew is working towards the same cinematic goals.


Here’s how storyboards work in the movies:


Story boarding is not easy, especially if you are not a confident artist. Here are some resources to help you make the most of your storyboards.



Tips from Dreamworks

Storyboard basics

Post it note Storyboards



POP Video

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What is your favorite Pop Video? Show it to your classmates. What makes you love it? Make a list                                                                                     of what makes a great Music Video.


Add you favorite Video to the google+ pop music site. Add the band or artist, the year  and try to find out who directed it. What other Music Videos did they make? Do they have a particular style?

In class we have looked at the structure of Music Videos and uncovered the way they all use the following elements in some way or another:

Performance, Narrative, Themes and Symbols.


Now create a case study using a video from the Pop Video Timeline. Make a presentation which you will share with the class. Include all elements above and include how it effected the evolution of the pop video.

Video Case Study Instructions Here

Some resources that might help you:


Video Production Instructions Here