Intro to Film History Unit

This unit will introduce you to the very beginning of the motion picture so you gain an appreciation of early films, techniques and innovators. We will have two projects to demonstrate our understanding of these concepts:

  • Create flipbooks to demonstrate the theory of persistence of vision
  • Create our own films that match the style of these early motion pictures

Introduction 1. Go to Schoology and take the Film History Pre-Test.  You have 5 minutes to complete the quiz.  It will not be scored as a grade. 2. View the Intro to Film History Keynote lecture. (Keynote Version) | (PDF Version) The Great Train Robbery Viewing

  • Discuss the significance of The Great Train Robbery as a milestone in film history
  • Read the background notes.  You can also read this scene summary if you are confused.
  • Assignment: Go to Schoology and complete The Great Train Robbery Analysis.

The Great Train Robbery Analysis Assignment

After watching The Great Train Robbery in class, fill out the following film analysis worksheet.  Re-watch the film and view the film notes.

Film Title: Year: Director: Setting:

Give a basic summary of the film’s plot. What happens at the beginning, middle and end? What is the major conflict?

What special effects did you see?

Why is this film a significant part of film history?

What is your overall opinion of this film? Did you like it? Why or why not?

What can you learn from this film that you can apply to your own projects?

Flipbook Assignment Use a Post-It booklet to create a simple flipbook.  Think about simple actions – a sport, a person going somewhere or performing an everyday action.

1. Draw your flipbook. Start in pencil, then go over your drawings in pen or marker.  Stick figures are OK. 2. Class will vote on the top 5 books (Schoology Poll) 3. Break up into groups of 2-3. 4. Use a camera to record someone flipping the book.  Try to flip at a constant rate. 5. Import your footage into iMovie, add music or sound effects when appropriate. 6. Export and share.

Early Motion Picture Assignment Use a still camera to capture an everyday action in the style of the early Edison films. Browse this list for inspiration:

1. Choose a subject or action.  Keep it simple! Dancing, boxing, exercising, playing a sport, an interaction between two people, etc. 2. Use burst mode on the digital camera to capture at least 10 seconds of your action.  Shoot against the black background. 3. Import the photos to the computer and add them to an iMovie project. 4. Set the frame rate. Each photo should appear for 0.1 seconds. 5. Add video effects; black and white, film grain, etc. 6. Photograph a title and credits screen if you have time. 7. Export and share.

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