Video Project 4: The Chase/Open Narrative


Concept: 5 points (individual score)

Shot List: 5 points (group score)

Video: 25 points (15 points individual score based on production contribution and 10 points group score based editing, technical ability and creativity.)

Length: 90 to 120 seconds (minimum 25 edited shots)


OBJECTIVE: In this assignment you will write a synopsis, script any dialogue, create a shot list, and shoot a video comprised of a basic narrative. Storytelling is the focus of your movie. You can create your own narrative from scratch or you can build your story around a chase sequence.


This project is composed of the following elements:

1. Brainstorm story concept as a group or pair (2-4 people).

2. Write a synopsis and script (individual grade)

3. Create a shot list (separate grade)

4. Video production

5. Edit project individually (separate grade)




1. Synopsis

Develop a basic story that includes a chase sequence. Work with one or two other people to brainstorm ideas but this is an individual assignment. Each person must type a summary that clearly explains the beginning, middle and end of the story. In your synopsis, establish the following:


1.  Why is the person being chased? (Did they take something from another person; are they trying to prevent something form happening; do they owe something to that person; are they being stalked?).

2.  The beginning should introduce the conflict. The middle should include suspenseful sequences that move the chased person to at least three different locations.  The story should have a resolution. Ideally, itŐs a surprise ending. 

3.  This story should be told visually, although you may have some dialog (keep to a minimum) to initiate or terminate the chase.

4.  Include interesting camera angles, including a variety of different camera shots (XCU, CU, MS, LS, XLS, O/S).  

5.  Decide on the mood of your story. You can make it funny, suspenseful, etc.


*Project Option: You may create a narrative story of your own design that does not involve a chase scene. Your story must follow the basic narrative structure that is present in the chase scene however:

Act 1: Setup/Introduce Conflict

Act 2: Confrontation

Act 3: Resolution


2. Shot List & Storyboard

1.  The group will then work together to choose one story to produce.  Choose who will serve as director, camera, actors, etc. Discuss each required shot.  Students observed not participating fully in this collaborative effort will receive reduced points for this activity. 

2.  The shot list will feature three or more locations around campus. 

3.  Include one (or more) shot with a handheld camera that shows the point-of-view of the chaser. 

4.  All members of the group are responsible for the final project. 

5.  When finished turn into teacher for additions/revisions/approval.

6.   See the example below of a shot list for the student example of this assignment.   



3. Video Production. 

a)  Make sure you have all props necessary for your production.

b)  Remember to maintain continuity from shot to shot and day to day in the production.

c)  Feature one (or more) scene with a handheld camera that shows the point-of-view of the chaser. 

d)  See grading criteria below for roles and responsibilities. 




4. Edit Project.  Groups will be split into two editing groups using the same footage. Use music that enhances the mood of the scene. Keep use of copyrighted music to a minimum (under 10 sec) and if you do use something, make sure it is only instrumental music. The finished length of the final project must be between 90 and 120 seconds and must have 30 or more shots.





Synopsis/Script (5 points total)

1. The synopsis is creative and entertaining. 

2. The story is primarily visual, with a lot of visual description.

3. Story follows an arc with a beginning, middle, and end.

4. Synopsis is typed in a narrative paragraph format. 


Shot List (5 points total)

1.                    All members of the group collaborated in writing the shot list. 

2.                    25 or more shots are listed.

3.                    The shots listed create a coherent story and reflect creativity in shot type selection. 

4.                    All sections of the form are complete, with clear detail in the description section.

5.                    Each group member is to have his/her name on document.


  Video (25 points total)

1.  Performance (25% of total): 

You are graded on your performance as a director or an actor.  The director/camera operator is responsible for the following:

a.                     Director/Camera Operator

        i.  Camera composition (follows rule-of-thirds, proper headroom, proper framing).

        ii. Camera technique (color balance is correct; tripod is set properly.

       iii. Direction (shots have motion that will match when cut to; actors directed to

give appropriate performance; retake scenes if needed).

       iv. Coverage (shooting enough footage to edit, including a variety of shots (CU, MS,

OTS, LS, etc.)

       v.  Creativity in shot selection.

       vi. Screen direction is correct, character exiting a scene to the left of the frame,

        re-enter it to the right in the next scene.

b.                    Actor

i.      Delivery of lines (phrasing appears natural; volume appropriate).

ii.      Affect (emotional response is appropriate to the character and the situation).



2.  Editing (65% of total)

a.                     Demonstrate competent use of editing software.

i.      Effective selection of available takes.

           ii.      Appropriate use of cuts and/or transitions.

iii.      Appropriate use of sound effects if needed for story

            iv.      Music at start and end of video (over credits).

            v.      Music enhances storytelling

           vi.      Pacing moves the story along without sacrificing clarity.

           vii.      Fade in from black and the title of the production at the head of the film.

           viii.      Credits at the end list the following:

Directed by _________

Starring ________  ________

Edited by __________

El Rancho Video Production 2011


3.  Professionalism (10% of total) 

a.      Assignment completed by deadline.

b.      Prepared for the work when arriving in class and working on shoot.

c.      Working well with others