Syllabus

ENDICOTT COLLEGE

Fall 2008

Course Name: Media Aesthetics

Course Number: CMM100

Credits: 3 credits

Prerequisites: None

Semester & Year: Fall 2006

Faculty: Susana Seijas Davies, BA, MS

Office Hours: By appointment

Catalog Description:

An introductory course in the theory, aesthetics, and application of electronic media. Digital media including video, audio, and computer-based applications are covered as well as the stages of production for digital video, audio, desktop, and web-based design. The goal is to achieve understanding of the aesthetics of digital based content and experience the many applications for new digital technology.

Students will be encouraged to keep a blog associated with this class. There will also be guest speakers from various foreign correspondents based in Mexico as well as a guided tour of the Televisa newsroom.

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to the formal elements of composition and structure in visual media. In this class you will develop a language to help you articulate what films, photographs, or advertisements look like, what formal or stylistic choices were made in their production, and what distinguishes one media artifact from another. The course is designed to provide students with a knowledge base for future work in either media production, media studies, or other communications related fields.

This semester we will consider the four basic aesthetic elements –light, space, time/motion, and sound as well as a basic introduction to journalism and journalism ethics. To do so we follow a tiered approach in which we discuss (1)our perceptual responses to a specific aesthetic element – how the eye and the brain perceive, organize, or otherwise tend to make sense of an element, (2) media production techniques that attempt to engage these responses and (3) how the use of those techniques help to produce the meaning of a media message.

Required Reading – Susana Seijas will be issuing hand outs of required reading every week, readings may include chapters from:

Block, Bruce. The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media. Woburn, MA: Focal Press, 2001.

Zettl, Herbert. Sight Sound Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1999 (Third Edition).

Secondary Reading:

Bellantoni, Patti. If It’s Purple, Someone’s Gonna Die: The Power of Color in Visual Storytelling. Boston, MA: Focal Press, 2005.

Heskett, John. Toothpicks and Logos: Design in Everyday Life. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Messaris, Paul. Visual Perception. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1997.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas. An Introduction to Visual Culture. New York, NY: Routledge, 2000.

Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Williams, Robin. The Non Designer’s Design Book. Berkley, CA: Peach Pit Press, 1994.

Zettl, Herbert. Television Production Handbook, 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

Publishing Co., 1997.

Course Outline

Week 1:

Introduction to aesthetics and journalism.

Week 2:

Wolfgang Schirmacher – Media Aesthetics in Europe

http://www.egs.edu/faculty/schirmacher/aesth.html

Herbert Zettl – Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics:

Chapter 1: Introduction – Applied Media Aesthetics

Bruce Block – The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media

Chapter 1 – Visual Components

Week 3:

Herbert Zettl – Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics:

Chapter 2: The First Aesthetic Field: Light

Chapter 3: Structuring the First Aesthetic Field: Lighting

Week 4:

Chapter 4: The Extended First Field: Color

Chapter 5: Structuring Color: Function and Composition

Week 5:

Herbert Zettl – Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics:

Chapter 6: The Two- Dimensional Field: Area

Chapter 7: The Two-Dimensional Field: Forces Within the Screen

Chapter 8: Structuring the Two-Dimensional Field: Interplay of Screen Forces

Week 6:

Herbert Zettl – Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics:

Chapter 9: The Three-Dimensional Field: Depth and Volume

Chapter 10: Structuring the Three-Dimensional Field: Building Screen Volume

Week 7:

Herbert Zettl – Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics

Chapter 11: Building Screen Space: Visualization

Chapter 12: The Four-Dimensional Field: Time

Week 8:

Presentations

Week 9:

Herbert Zettl – Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics

Chapter 13: The Four-Dimensional Field: Motion.

Chapter 14: Structuring the Four-Dimensional Field: Timing and Principal Motions.

Week 10:

Herbert Zettl – Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics

Chapter 15: Structuring the Four-Dimensional Field: Continuity Editing

Chapter 16: Structuring the Four-Dimensional Field: Complexity Editing.

Week 11:

Herbert Zettl – Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics

Chapter 17: The Five-Dimensional Field: Sound

Chapter 18: Structuring the Five-Dimensional Field: Sound Structures and Sound / Picture Combinations

Week 12:

News Lab Tools for TV journalists and visit to Televisa news center.

Hand in Storyboards

Week 13:

Post-Media Aesthetics:
Lev Manovich – Post-Media Aesthetics

http://www.egs.edu/faculty/schirmacher/aesth.html

Tim Jackson – Towards a New Media Aesthetic

(send copy)

Tutorials for final presentation

Week 14:

Course Review / Student Presentations


Teaching Strategies: The course will consist of lectures, ample group discussion of texts, instructor and student critiques, activities/exercises and audio-visual presentations.

Evaluation Methods: The participant’s grade will be based on the following criteria:

1. Attendance, class participation, completion of reading and assignments – 20%.

2. Production of a storyboard. – 20%

3. Mid-term student presentations with written report. This exercise will cover the aesthetic fields covered to this póint – 20%

4. Final student presentations with written report. This final exercise will cover all aesthetic fields studied during the course of the semester – 40%

Extra Credit

I reserve the right to award extra credits when warranted. These will be determined by performance, completion of extra readings (if and when necessary), enthusiastic participation and valuable contributions to classroom discussions. The threat of negative credit also exists for people failing to do readings, make contributions etc.

Course Guidelines:

1. Assignments are due on the specified date. Late papers will have marks deducted accordingly.

2. Attendance is compulsory

3. I reserve the right to refuse entry to latecomers once the class is underway.

4. Participation in class is essential to success in this subject and to the well being of the class as a whole. All classes should be prepared for in advance.

5. Students should feel free to make appointments whenever they are felt necessary.

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