Introduction to Media

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Location: University Center #202 (on the corner of Meyers & Gilman Drive)


UC San Diego Media Teaching Lab

The Media Teaching Lab is dedicated to providing media production facilities, equipment, and technical assistance for undergraduate and graduate students.

Website: About the Lab

Website: Media Lab Tumblr

Equipment Checkout: Reserve Equipment

Website: Workshop Schedule

Week 1: Composition & POV

Production Crew Roles


Composition & Rule of Thirds

Week 1:

Consider the elements of a shot (composition, lighting, color, rule or thirds, etc.),

how does this impact the intention of the moving image?

Think about pre-production stages: planning, organizing and storyboarding each scene,

as in arranging certain elements in the frame, thinking about plot or purpose of video.

Consider the conventions of media, how they have become the “vocabulary”

of the moving image?

Production Crew Roles

Director / Leader: controls production elements on a production set

Cinematographer: handles camera, responsible for shot composition

Sound Operator / Mixer: handles sound recording equipment, responsible for sound & volume

Video Editor: collects & reviews video footage, edits footage into A-shot and B-shot sequences

Sound Editor: collects & reviews sound files, designs sound based on footage sequences

Gaffer: responsible for lighting choices & design setup

Assistant: assists each of the above roles as needed

Each production group will act as producers, which means crew members

will work together to greenlight project ideas and produce video projects.


Exposure is a reference to how much light and how long that light is exposed to the camera’s sensor when the camera shutter is pressed. In simple terms, the camera's exposure setting determines if an image will be too light, too dark, or correctly exposed.

Exposure basics: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO (Gain)

You’ll have to select the proper combination of exposure settings based on environmental conditions in order to create the preferred quality of a moving image. There is more than one combination of exposure settings to make a properly exposed image.

Video: Pillars of Exposure


Overexposed Image Correct Exposure Underexposed

Don’t forget about aesthetic choice (i.e. underexposure, grain, motion blur, etc.); have reasons to why you chose to deviate from having a properly exposed image.


Aperture (iris or f/stop) is the diameter of the lens that controls the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor - think of it as an “eye.”

Smaller aperture numbers allows

more light to reach the sensor

(opening is wide).

Larger aperture numbers allows

less light to reach the sensor

(opening is narrow).


Aperture also impacts the depth-of-field.

Wide aperture opening Narrow aperture opening

(close-up shots, mid-shots) (establishing shots, wide shots, mid-shots)

Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed is the time for which the shutter is open, allowing for the camera’s sensor to be exposed to light.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed can be fast.

Freezes subjects without blur

Use in well lit or

bright light conditions

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed can be slow.

Allows more time for light

to enter camera

Creates motion blur

Use in low light conditions


ISO (or Gain) is the measure of sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to the lighting conditions.


The lower the ISO, the less sensitive

the sensor is to light.

ISO’s between 100 and 400 are great

for outdoor lighting conditions.

Grain/noise is less noticeable.


The higher the ISO,

the more sensitive

the sensor is to light.

ISO 800 and higher are

for low light conditions.

Grain/noise is more


Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guiding line and their intersection points in

a frame, by placing the horizon on the top or bottom line or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section.

Layers of an Image

Notice the layers in this image:

Foreground - the figure closest to

the screen is in the foreground

Middleground - the younger figure

is positioned in the middle ground

Background - the architectural building

and skyline make up the background


Composition is the visual make-up of a video picture, including such variables as balance, framing, field of view and texture all aesthetic considerations.

Combined qualities form an image

that’s pleasing to view.

Think about the arrangement of elements

in the frame; color; camera angle and

the image’s layers.

Week 2:

Stages of Production

Shot Types

A-Shot and B-Shot

Editing Basics (video)

Sound Basics (video)

3-Point Lighting

Week 2: The Edit

Consider the production stages of your project.

What are your shot type options?

Think about how editing can create narrative and subtextual meaning.

How can editing affect the narrative, sense of time and place?

Consider how the pacing of edits orient or disorient the viewer (linear, non-linear, montage).

Stages of Production

Pre-production is the process of planning some of the elements involved in media-making,

tailor it to your story or project idea.

Develop a project idea

Develop a script or interview questions

Create a moodboard or storyboard to help visualize the story in steps

Create a shot list

Equipment checklist


Scout your locations

Production is the process of making the film using the camera, external sound recorder,

and lighting techniques, while sticking to the project’s script, storyboard and shot list.

Post-Production is the process of reviewing raw video footage and sound files, editing footage

to create scenes and transitions, while working with recorded sound or voice-over.

Types of Shots

Single Shot is an intentional single recorded scene.

Establishing Shot is a long shot at the start of a scene (or sequence) that shows things from a distance.

Shooting Conversations

Two Shot is a shot that includes two subjects - usually in conversation with each other.

Over-the-Shoulder Shot is a shot of someone or something taken from the perspective or angle

from the shoulder of another person.

Resource: Conversation Breakdown

Other Shots & Motion

Point of View (POV) - Panning - Tilting - Zoom - Close Up - Medium - Wide - High Angle - Low Angle

Resource: Shot Types

A-Shot and B-Shot

A-shot and B-shot are identical roles that are used to create transitions in shot sequences.

A-Shot (or A-Roll) is the video where the audio, that tells the story, acts as the backbone

of the video.

Used in documentaries, interviews or news broadcasts where the dialogue

in the video serves as the main narrative.

B-Shot (or B-Roll) is the footage that supplements and supports the A-roll for different uses.

  • B-roll can break up the A-roll to make the video more interesting.
  • B-roll can cover up editing points
  • B-roll can tell or show the visual story being told
  • B-roll can serve as a transition between A-roll segments

Resource: A-Roll & B-Roll Explained

Editing Terminology & Cut Types

Shot consists of a single take or a single scene recording.

Scene is composed of several shots.

Sequence is composed of several scenes.

Cut Types

Hard Cut is a standard cut from clip to clip without any transition - where you cut from

the end of one clip to the beginning of another clip.

Jump Cut is cutting a clip to jump forward in time.

Cut on Action editor cuts from one shot to another and matches the action of the shot

Montage uses rapid cuts of imagery to convey passage of time; or to help aid context of narrative;

or to pair images by relation.

Each time you cut to a new shot you need to ask yourself: Why am I cutting the scene this way?

Three-Point Editing

Three-point editing is essentially marking in and marking out points before importing footage into timeline.

  • Set a Mark In point
  • Set a Mark Out point
  • Import (drag) marked footage into timeline panel

Resource: Video

L-Cut (Important)

L Cut when you hear audio from a previous shot, even though we’ve moved on to another shot

J-Cut (Important)

J Cut when you hear audio before we see a new shot - viewer sees B-shot but hears audio from A-shot

L-Cut & J-Cut: 3 Basics (Important)

  • A-Roll (primary footage)
  • Primary audio
  • B-Roll (secondary footage)

Note: There can also be secondary A-Shot footage (2-cameras, different angles) and secondary sound (atmosphere, room tone).

Sound Recording

Recording Equipment

Tascam DR-100 Recorder

Boom Pole with shock mount

Shotgun Microphone

XLR cable (long)


Wireless Lavalier Microphone (optional)

Location Recording

Diegetic Sound refers to primary audio elements from sources appearing on-screen.

  • Human voices, dialogue, footsteps, slamming doors, dropped items

Non-Diegetic Sound refers to secondary audio elements from sources not on-screen.

  • Musical score, sound effects

Room tone is the low-volume ambient sound that’s present in every environment.

  • Room tone is a continuous-sound background track that’s recorded during production.
  • In post-editing, this background track is placed beneath dialogue, acting as a sound bed

when cutting primary audio.


Natural Light

  • Diffused directional light (overcast) is your best option for filming outdoors.
  • Avoid bright sunlight, it casts harsh shadows on faces.
  • Indoor lighting may require higher ISO and can cause discoloration

Artificial Light

  • Continuous lighting allows more control in how you light your images.
  • A balanced lighting system can add dimension to your subject and scenes.
  • Use a 2-point light setup or a 3-point lighting setup

Lighting is an aesthetic choice; be attentive to shadows on faces.

Lighting Equipment

LED 2-light kit

LED 3-light kit


Reflector (silver/white - used to bounce light or diffuse harsh light)

Sandbags (for light stand stabilization)

Lighting Terminology (Important)

Key Light is the primary light for a scene or interview. Key lights are the most intense

and direct light sources of the scene.

  • It is the first light to set up and is used to illuminate the form of the subject.

Fill Light is the secondary light for a scene or interview. It illuminates shadows created

by the key light.

  • It is placed on the opposite side of the key light, and the light intensity is not as

powerful as the key light.

Back Light (hair light or rim light) is the third light for a scene or interview.

It illuminates the subject from behind and raised high, tilting downward.

  • Back lights are often used to separate the subject from a dark background

to bring a more three-dimensional look.

3-Point Lighting

Key Light + Fill Light + Back Light

Set key light to brightest intensity

or as desired (i.e. 100%) and above

subject’s eye-level.

Set fill light to half the brightness

of key light (i.e. 50%).

Set back/rim light to half the brightness

of fill light (i.e. 20% - 25%) and above

subject’s head.

Key and fill lights are positioned

at 45 degree angles at the sides

of subject.

3-Point Lighting

Interview Lighting

Camera height at

subject’s eye-level.

Key light height above


Note: 2-point lighting has no back light.

Week 3: Authenticity

What are the elements of documentary style filmmaking, cinema-verite,

mockumentary, reality TV, staged reenactments?

Think about how documentary films differ from Hollywood / Independent cinema.

As a group, what are ways to approach your short documentary project?

How can you convey an authentic story?

How will you visually tell the story about your subject?

  • A-shots
  • B-shots

How will you narratively tell the story of your subject?

  • Storyline,Scripts, Questions
  • Diegetic Sound - Voices, Door Slams, Environment
  • Non-Diegetic Sound - Music, Sound Effects

Adobe Premiere Pro: Introductory Guide

A video editing program that is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud software collection.

Key Terminology

  • Sequence - a sequence is made up of individual video clips, audio clips, photographs, text titles that is placed and edited on the timeline.

  • Timeline Panel - a timeline panel is where your video takes shape. By dragging items from the project panel or source monitor and placing them in the desired order, you create a sequence of clips and events which play in the timeline from left to right.

Adobe Premiere Pro: Introductory Guide

A video editing program that is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud software collection.

Welcome Screen

Startup Box






Interface Tabs (Workspace)









Project Panel

Review Footage

Import Footage

Export Project

Adobe Premiere Pro: Editing Exercise

Know How To:

Create a New Project File

Create a New Sequence

Three-Point Editing

  • Review Media
  • Mark In point
  • Mark Out point
  • Import Video

Import External Sound

Unlink Attached Audio Track from Video


Know How To:

Move Video/Audio Clips

Cut Video/Audio Clips

Shorten Video/Audio Clips

Hard Cut



Three-Point Editing

Three-point editing is essentially marking in points and marking out points before importing footage into timeline.

  • Set a Mark In point
  • Set a Mark Out point
  • Import (drag) marked footage into timeline panel

Resource: Video

Week 4: Radical / Representation / Propaganda

How do filmmakers "frame" our view of "others?"

What cultural narratives are formed or perpetuated as expressed in media and cinema?

Film and media can function as activism, protests, political, propaganda, and etc.

(i.e. campaign ads, music videos, stereotypical and minstrels).

Consider the history of cinema… How can we be critical, as well as use a corrective lens to not perpetuate negative images of certain people, hate, violence, trauma, racism, etc.?

Is there a separation between artist and their art?

(i.e. Leni Riefenstahl's work for Nazi Party).

Adobe Premiere Pro: Effects & Color

Audio Effects

Highpass - high frequencies filtered, low frequency blocked

Lowpass - low frequencies filtered, high frequency blocked


Audio Transitions


Video Effects


Horizontal Flip

Vertical Flip

Color Correction

Three-way Color Corrector

Color Balance (RGB)

(Resource: Definitions of Audio Effects and Transitions)

Video Transitions

Cross Dissolve (signals a passage of time)

Dip to Black

Dip to White




Lumetri Color Grading

Temperature Color

Tint Black & White







Week 7: Abstraction

Formal and conceptual abstraction in media. Technology as abstraction. Further, a discussion of “conceptual abstraction” as a way of complementing formal strategies.

Visual Plane Abstraction








Abstraction in Media






VIS 70N - Slides (SP19) - Google Slides