Fall 2019 - CA 130 D100

Fundamentals of Film (4)

Class Number: 9829

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    GCA 4955, GOLDCORP

  • Prerequisites:

    Prior approval through formal application.



Introduces students to the basic components of filmmaking through lectures, film screenings and creative projects in the various media that combine to form cinema. A laboratory fee is required. Students should be advised that course activities may require additional costs. Students who have completed CA (or FPA) 132, 133, 134 or 230 may not take this course for further credit. Students with credit for FPA 130 may not take this course for further credit.


This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of film production. It will familiarize students with various filmmaking approaches and techniques in order to better equip them for advanced filmmaking courses. This will include hands-on experience with various filmmaking tools, such as: camera, sound, lighting, grip and editing software. Additionally, it will encourage students to explore the capacities of film as a creative and artistic medium by challenging pre-conceived notions of what constitutes cinema.


  • Quiz 1 15%
  • Quiz 2 15%
  • Project 1 15%
  • Project 2 25%
  • Reading 15%
  • Commitment 15%



Quizzes (each 15%)

There will be two quizzes during the semester. These will mainly focus on technical concepts about topics discussed in class and covered in readings. These topics will include understanding camera and lenses, as well as sound recording.

Project #1: Silent Project (15%)

Students will be required to use a digital camera to tell a story relying solely on either still photographs or fixed camera moving image compositions. There will be no less than 12 images

and no more than 25 permitted in total. When the project is presented to the class, the presentation tempo of still images can be varied using Power Point. Alternatively, those already familiar with basic editing software may present their projects as edited videos (whether these be composed of stills or moving images). Students will be graded on visual storytelling, compositional elements of the shots, and the presentation. No sound is permitted.

Project #2: Short Film (25%)

Students will be required to complete a short film that is between 3 and 5 minutes. Students will work on their own films and will be graded on their application of the filmmaking skills learned throughout the term, including the technical aspects of filmmaking, but more importantly the relationship between form and content. Students will be required to present their films in class at the end of term, and will be graded for doing so. Sound is mandatory but no synchronized dialogue is allowed in the film.

Reading: (15%)

Students will be expected to complete a short critical essay on the mandatory reading for this course, Notes on The Cinematograph, as well as give a short presentation in front of class, presenting the ideas discussed in their paper.

Commitment (15%)

Includes attendance, class participation, lab exercises and collaboration with other projects of the cohort as well as crewing for other films from other cohorts



Students are encouraged to purchase:
– A hard drive to store their projects after the course is over.
– A set of headphones (ideally a closed, over-ear set with a flat frequency response).

Students are also encouraged to have a notebook that is solely dedicated to this course.


Bresson, Robert. Notes on the Cinematograph. New York : New York Review of Books, [2016]

The Filmmaker's Handbook, by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus, 4th Edition Plume Press

Additional handouts and links, related to technical aspects of filmmaking, will be distributed over the course of the semester.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html