Digital Media E-5: Exploring Digital Media
Harvard Extension School
Spring 2020
Assignment 1: Making a Scene
Due 4:00pm ET on Friday, January 03
Submission details TBD

Part 1

You can count your lucky stars that you’re getting into film editing in this day and age and not back when one actually had to splice and tape the physical film together! Now, as technology progresses, the manipulation of high resolution digital video can easily be done on a laptop.

We have shot and made available 4 difference versions of a scene, scenarios A, B, C, and D. There are several camera angles in each scenario that you can use to put together your scene. The scenarios all revolve around the exchange between two people of something in an envelope. Our actors give different performances in each scenario. We have not told you what was in the envelope. We have left literal blanks in the script. You only need to edit together 1 scenario, so it’s up to you to choose how you will tell the story.

Additionally, please download the script, and there are some additional “pickup” shots and “insert” shots which you might find helpful in your editing. Find them in the link above as well.

While we showed Shotcut in class, you are welcome to use any editing software you like! We do not require the use of Shotcut. Please note that these are big files (about 3 GB each) so please allow ample time to download. Once complete, unzip the downloaded file to see the following inside (sample from scenario A):

  • scenario_a
    • this directory contains the raw camera shots you’ll work with Filenames take this format:
  • aw1-2a.mp4
    • a (the first a) refers to the scenario, either a, b, c, or d
    • w refers to the “wide” shot, there are also “m” shots for coverage of Michael and “j” shots for coverage of Jesse (refer to the script).
    • 1-2 refers to the number of takes in the clip. Generally there are 3 takes in each video file, separated by 1 second of color bars. One version has six takes and is labeled 1-6.
    • a (the final “a”) refers to the camera angle. There were 3 cameras rolling on each take, so you will have angles a, b, and c. Each one offers something different.

We intentionally over-covered this scene so that you, as the editor, must decide which shot to cut to. Think about why you might use a close-up shot, or a wide shot. What do they say about the scene?

Part 2

Once you have downloaded the media, you’re ready to start. Your task for this assignment is to make an edit from the raw media. We shot the footage in a generic way so that you can impart your own meaning to the story (which shots you choose, which reaction shots you use, how quickly you make cuts, and more!).

We want to see your creativity! You are not required to use all of the shots and you are welcome to download multiple scenarios to mix and match. If you are an experienced editor, we challenge you to consider combining scenarios. We want you to have fun with this assignment and really explore the power of editing. Feel free to change the storyline from the script, what the story becomes is your decision!

Requirements

  • Of the provided shots, you should use at least 3, but as many as you like.
  • Your final edit should not exceed 4 minutes.
  • Your story should have a narrative arc and make sense to the viewer. You should not turn this into an abstract film or a music video.
  • You must export your final version and upload it to YouTube as an unlisted video.
  • You must log into OpinionCity and “import” your YouTube video. Create a new account if you don’t have one.
  • You must submit by the OpinionCity link by the project’s deadline to the submission URL at the top of this file. Simply copy/paste the URL that is generated after the import)
  • You do not need to use Shotcut if you are comfortable in another Non-Linear Editor.
  • You are not required at this point to add music or sound effects.

As always, please email us with any questions!