Undergraduate Degree




DF3000 Research Perspective in Film Practice

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: DF2003; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description

Learning Objective

To introduce to students a practice-based introduction to the use of celluloid motion picture film cameras.


The aim of this course is to give students an insight in the function and use of celluloid motion picture film cameras. This course will focus on the basic techniques of filming with 16 mm film stock, particularly on the manipulations of the film camera, measuring light, and post production. It includes the technical handling of camera and related equipment as well as all the duties of people behind the camera and next to the camera. All procedures in testing the cameras, administration on the set, and film-based post-production will be covered in theory and practice.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 - 6

• The styles and looks of film formats and film stocks 

- 16mm, 8mm, 35mm, and 65/70mm 

- The physical and chemical properties of celluloid 

• The 16mm pipeline 

- Digital intermediate, telecine, negative cutting, film scanning, mastering, output formats etc

• Maintenance and operation of the 16mm camera 

- Camera speed, shutter angle, lens transfers, groundglass, lenses, magazines, mirrors and gates. 

- Camera tests, film stock tests, magazine stability testing, frame testing, scratch testing, shutter timing testing etc


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• The protocols of proper camera operation on set

- Pulling and measuring focus, clapper, marking, slating. film loading, gate checking etc

• Lighting for celluloid film 

- Type of lighting setup, various lighting ratios, different qualities (fresnels, kinos, etc), the relevant genres of each type of lighting style etc

• The setup, maintenance, and operation of a professional soundstage 

- Working with the lighting board, the lighting grid, backgrounds, and crews (grips, gaffers, loaders, focus pullers, etc) etc


• Final review of assignments


Learning Outcome

The students will have acquired competencies in the handling of traditional film media. The students will have developed a sensitivity towards the material aspects of film making.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 40%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 60% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


  1. Rudolf Arnheim, Film as Art, University of California Press

  2. Stephen H Burum, American Cinematographer Manual, American Cinematographer

  3. Blain Brown, Cinematography, Theory and Practice, Focal Press

  4. Kodak, The essential reference guide for filmmakers, Kodak educational products

  5. Johannes Itten, Faber Birren, The elements of color: a treatise on the color system of Johannes Itten, John Wiley & sons

  6. Michael Rabiger, Directing, Film Techniques and Aesthetics, Focal Press