Course Description

When we have clarity and concentration of our own experience we can accurately manufacture it for others with dramatic effect. In the context of this course, Focusing Techniques has a double meaning. The first is the formal aspects of moving image production — focus, exposure, frame rate, shutter speed, camera movement, sound, and editing. These are the tools to convey our conceptual, experiential, and technical intention for the work. The second meaning of the course title is the capacity to witness our sense experience of sight, sound, touch, emotion, and thought.

Class Structure

Classes will consist of lecture, demonstrations, work periods, a field trip, sensing practices, projects, and group discussion / critique.
Expectations and grading structure
Late assignments may be accepted, but points will be deducted from the score.
All projects are evaluated on how well they demonstrate an understanding of the material, as well
as their originality and aesthetic qualities. Feedback will be primarily qualitative through discussion
and numeric scores will also be given for all work. Participation means punctuality, focus,
articulation of your ideas, and contribution to class discussions.
More than two unexcused absences will lower your final grade by one unit (i.e. an A will become an
B). With each additional unexcused absence, the grade will drop an additional unit.
Class starts at 9:00. If you are over 10 minutes late, you will receive a tardy. Three tardies is
equivalent to one absence.

If there is an emergency and you will be late or absent from the class, please email me to discuss
the situation.

No cellphone use in class. No checking personal e-mails, Facebook, IM, etc. during class.
About critique

Critique is held with intention in our class. Our agreement is that we can speak about anything that comes from our experience. There is no art directing allowed. The goal is that we become very good at monitoring our experience as it arrises, and articulating that experience after we have witnessed it. The artist benefits from hearing what their work elicits and we benefit from engaging in the work, deepening our practice of clarity and insight.

Class Portfolio Website

Upload your works to the class drop folder and the class website as they are completed. Contact Lee for assistance.

Suggested reading and viewing List

  • Notes On Cinematography, Robert Bresson
  • Christopher Doyle interviews:
  • part 1 on the artistic process
  • part 2 on mistakes & engaging with filmmakers part 3 Being There / Ready, Harris & Gus
  • Poetics by Aristotle (we will speak about this regarding narrative)
  • Daily concentration and sensory awareness practices (first 15 minutes of class) Attentional resources
  • UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) guided meditations

Field trip TBD

Ask questions, make comments, contribute to discussions.
Learn from your peers; the class is a collaboration.

If you feel frustrated or you come across other problems, please communicate with me directly and quickly.


Project One: The potential of editing (30-45 sec)

The student demonstrates use of video editing, and the ability to manipulate meaning. Students must appropriate an existing work of moving image and reconstruct it to become a dramatically new piece through manipulation of sound, timing, placement, and juxtapositions.
Project Two: Cinematography and concept (30-45 sec)
Students identify and recreate an existing short form piece (music video, video artwork etc). Structurally and technically it stays the same, yet key details must change.
Project Three: Narrative, anti-narrative, or non-narrative (1:00 - 3:00 min)
For the final project, students choose from three varieties of video production to create their own work from conception to realization.


Week 1
Introductions, overview of course
Watch excerpts from The Cutting Edge + The Shining Redo
Project assignment 1: Identify an existing work you would like to change the meaning of. Rip and bring in that content to class on Tuesday to begin editing.
Week 2
Demonstration and class studio time:
Basic editing with Premiere CC + Color correction
Start working on restructuring content into new meaning
Class studio time:
Last day to work in class on re-crafting content into new meaning
Week 3
Project 1 due.
Present to class, discuss/ critique.
Workshop: Camera and lenses Assignment: watch Visions of Light

Week 4
Discuss Visions of Light
Lighting basics (interior and exterior) Project assignment two
Presentations of project two reference with story board of your changes
Week 5
Presentation overflow In-class studio time
In-class studio time
Week 6
Assignment two due
Group critique and discussion
(Overflow) Assignment two Group critique and discussion
Week 7
Lecture: Narrative and non-narrative consciousness
Assignment: Prepare storyboard + mood board + arch drawing of narrative, anti-narrative or non- narrative short work
Field Trip
Week 8
Present storyboard of narrative, anti-narrative, or non-narrative Group critique and discussion
Workshop: working with wild sound, foley sound, and voice recording
Class work day editing your narrative work and getting individual assistance and feedback.
Week 9
Class work day editing your narrative work and getting individual assistance and feedback.

Rough cut due (Jesse and Lee meet one on one with students)
Week 10
Project Three due
Group critique and discussion
Project Three due
Group critique and discussion
Class Exhibition

Our Purring Team