Final Project


Produce a three-minute minimum, six-minute maximum video based on a proposal approved in advance by your instructor outlining your theme, approach, and timeline. The work must consist of original video and sound produced for this project (some exceptions are acceptable; see guidelines below). You may work in any genre (e.g., experimental, documentary, personal essay, scripted narrative, etc.). This is an opportunity to follow your muse while demonstrating fluency in video production, sound recording, and editing you’ve developed in the course.


  • The video must address a discernible theme through the orchestration of original visual and audio elements created specifically for this project, with the following exception: limited use of sound effects, music tracks, found footage, and archival footage that you have licensed or are using under the terms of fair use or a specific license (e.g., Creative Commons) that permits reuse.
  • Your work will be evaluated based on technical craft (camerawork, sound recording, editing, sound mix, color grading) and visual storytelling (application of applied media aesthetics).
  • A clean sound mix must be performed.
  • All shots in the work must be treated using color grading tools as your vision for the project demands. You must use the Lumetri Tools in Premiere Pro for color correction and grading. The work should have a distinctive look appropriate for the subject matter.
  • Using the Sony Video Kit, you must complete at least two separate shooting sessions for this project. In many cases, a third shoot will improve your work, so choose a topic and approach that allows for iteration over time.
  • Sound recording must be done with the Location Audio Kit instead of the microphones included in the Sony Video Kit whenever possible.  High-quality sound recording is expected for this project, no matter what gear you use to record sound.


The project comprises three deliverables outlined below; deadlines are specified on the syllabus.

1. Project Plan

The Project Plan must be submitted as a single PDF document in Canvas as a response to this assignment. Your Project Plan should include (but need not be limited to) the components listed below; each section should have its own section header.

Each section should start with a header and not include the original prompts and questions. It's good to keep the prompts in your working draft but then delete them before submitting the final document, which should read like a proposal you might send to a potential funder, not a class assignment. 

  • Working title.
  • Your name, the class, the assignment, and the date.
  • Theme. The plot is what’s on the surface of your video, readily discernible by the audience. On the other hand, the theme is what’s under the surface, and the best themes are subtle and never stated directly within the work. It’s the message or life lesson the audience uncovers through their engagement with your work (with experimental works, it may be more abstract in terms of a concept or affective response). This is the idea you are trying to convey with your work; the best themes are delicate, subjective, and never stated explicitly in your work. For example, the theme of Jurassic Park may be stated as “When we use technology to interfere with nature, we run the danger of creating monsters.”
  • Logline. A one or two-sentence description of your video encapsulates the premise (starting point of the story) while encapsulating the theme's essence without spelling it out. Here are two examples from projects completed by students in previous semesters: “A young man struggles for motivation. By dropping his pencil, his creative instincts begin to shine through the sounds of the city” (Inspiration by Leah Kleiman and Stella Megalou), and  “A walk at night alone with your thoughts” (Paranoia by Chloe Sanders and Greg Hackel-Johnson). 
  • Treatment. Write a one- to three-paragraph description of your video in the present tense without dialogue or technical cinema language. This is not the same as a treatment you’d write to sell a screenplay; this is a simpler cousin designed to help you think through your video's structure and flow and help someone understand what the video will be about. Writing will help you clarify and refine your approach.
  • Research. What sources have you/will you draw upon to inform your work? This may include literature, poetry, cinema, visual art, sound art, popular culture, politics, etc. I expect you to do some research as part of your planning for your personal project, so make sure this section of your plan reflects that! If this section is missing, your proposal will not be approved. Your research could include photos you’ve taken and work you’ve done in the past; there’s a wide range of sources for your work and identity, and include them in your proposal. 
  • Resources needed. What resources will you need to complete the project? Ensure you have a good idea of what you need regarding time, gear, assistance, location access, etc. Remember that you have access to the Media Studio staff for help determining the resources you need in addition to your peers and instructor. 
  • Timeline and significant milestones. Share your preliminary timeline for the project and include at least two distinct and separate shoots, along with some time for pick-ups if needed after you cut together a rough assembly. It is common to discover you need more shots after completing a rough assembly of your work; that's one reason why it's a good idea to spread the work over multiple weeks so you can iterate when needed. 

2. Rough cut

Submit a rough cut by uploading it to the Video 4. Final Project (Rough Cut) folder on the class shared server, and your instructor will provide critique; when you have uploaded your rough cut, text or email your instructor to ensure timely feedback on the rough cut. Using the feedback from a rough-cut critique increases the chances of the work being assessed as complete during the screening and critique session of the final cut. In addition, you should also request feedback from peers during the rough-cut phase. 

3. Fine cut

Submit your final cut by uploading it to Project 4. Final Project folder on the class shared server. This video must meet the file layout and export guidelines outlined in Video Deliverable Specs. The entire class will critique this cut.


The following works are suggested for inspiration:

  • Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
  • Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren, 1943)
  • Daybreak Express (D. A. Pennebaker, 1953)
  • Jazz Dance (Richard Leacock, 1954)
  • Junkopia (Chris Marker, 1981)
  • Cannibal Tours (Dennis O’Rourke, 1987)
  • Ohi Ho Bang Bang (Holger Hiller w/ Karl Bonnie & Akiko Hada, 1988)
  • Notebook on Cities and Clothes (Wim Wenders, 1989)
  • Me and Rubyfruit (Sadie Benning, 1990)
  • Taking Pictures (Annie Stiven & Les McLaren, 2001)
  • A Ninja Pays Half My Rent (Steven Tsuchida, 2003)
  • Life in a Day (Kevin Macdonald, 2011)
  • The Piano (Matty Brown, 2011)
  • Splitscreen: A Love Story (James Griffiths, 2011)
  • The Alter Banhof Video Walk (Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, 2012)
  • Coffee Branch iPhone Documentary (Stephen de Villiers, 2012)
  • Justin Boyd: Sound and Time (Mark & Angela Walley. 2013)
  • Watchtower of Turkey (Leonardo Dalessandri, 2014)
  • The City of Forking Paths (Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, 2014)
  • Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra, 2015, original Spanish title: El abrazo de la serpiente)
  • The Pearl Button (Patricio Guzmán, 2015, original Spanish title: El botón de nácar)
  • The Above (Kirsten Johnson, 2015)
  • Other (Xavier Burgin, 2017)
  • Black of Space (Gabriel Reid, 2021) — originally produced in Video Basics in the fall of 2020


Each component of this project will be assessed on a complete/incomplete basis as separate components. The criteria outlined below must be met to earn a complete for each component of the project:

  • Project Plan is thoughtfully prepared and demonstrates originality; it includes all of the components outlined in this document and is handed in as a response to this assignment in Canvas before the deadline as a single PDF document; no other formats are acceptable.
  • Rough Cut demonstrates technical and aesthetic proficiency in all aspects of video production, e.g., shots are well-composed, properly exposed, and white balanced, camera movement is intentional and not excessively shaky, etc.;
  • _Final Cut_ demonstrates the qualities of the rough cut and effective execution of the proposed concept and reflects significant improvement over the rough cut, especially in terms of picture editing, sound editing, color grading, and sound mixing; the video file must comply with the specifications and guidelines outlined in [[Video Deliverable Specifications and Layout Guidelines].

All work must be submitted before their deadlines to receive credit. Remember, you can request a rework using a coupon if the work is assessed as incomplete, so it is far better to hand in a work in progress than to miss a deadline. Remember what Yoda told Luke Skywalker, "There is no try, only do," so take time to prepare, plan, and ask for help if you need it along the way; there is no reason you should not be doing excellent work in this class.


If the project is assessed as incomplete, you may request a rework following the procedures described in the syllabus. Make sure the rework is uploaded to the Final Cut folder on the shared drive. If the rework is submitted before the rework deadline and meets all of the assessment criteria listed above, the assessment will be changed from incomplete to complete.