Lesson 3: Behind the Scenes with Production

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1 Lesson 3: Behind the Scenes with Production Overview: Being in production is the second phase of the production process and involves everything that happens from the first shot to the final wrap. In this lesson, students learn the science, technology, engineering and math that relates to this part of the production process. They learn how production is impacted by the way in which the human brain processes information; experiment with different lighting techniques and camera angles; create a story board for a scene from Belle s; read an interview with the Belle s director of photography; and work in teams to film a scene from the show. Theme: Demonstrate Proficiency Time Frame: Two to three class periods, with possible time outside of class for the final task Objectives: Learn the relationship between neuroscience and television production. Identify the science, technology, engineering and math related to the production process and, specifically, with filming a scene. Experiment with different lighting ratios and camera angles to achieve a specific look and feel. Work collaboratively with a team to storyboard and film a scripted scene from Belle s using the triangle lighting method and at least two different shooting techniques. Materials: Portable video cameras (one per group, if possible) Flashlights and other lighting sources Access to the Internet Student Activity Sheets: Director of Photography student activity sheet Take a Shot student activity sheet

2 Lighting Techniques student activity sheet Shoot a Scene authentic task design folio Storyboard Template TV One Authentic Resources Clip from Belle s One Big Happy Family. Interview with Suny Parker, Belle s Director of Photography Belle s One Big Happy Family episode script Teacher Notes: In this lesson, students focus on two important, STEM- related aspects of the production process: lighting and camera angles. In the engage section of the lesson, students are introduced to two science- based explanations for how our brains view television images: image assemblage and persistence of vision. Image Assemblage: Televisions chop up pictures into thousands of small dots that can then be put together and recognized by the human brain. The television signals determine which pixels will be red, which to make green, and which to make blue in order to create a picture on screen. When all of these tiny pixels appear on the screen, our brain reads them as one complete image. This is called image assemblage. Persistence of Vision: When we are watching moving images on a television screen, the movement is actually an illusion. Our brains interpret sequences of still images as moving pictures due to a brain function called persistence of vision. Our brains actually retain the last image seen for just a split second. This image then blends into the next viewed image. Electronic television cameras scan images at such a fast rate that when these same electronic signals are converted to travel via radio waves to our television sets, the scanned pictures appear as moving images. Students will also be introduced to the triangle method of lighting and will be asked to perform an exercise where they see the effects of different lighting techniques. The triangle method is a balance between the key, fill and back lights. There are often three types of lights used in television production, also called triangle lighting. A key light is the main light and is the strongest. It has the most influence on the scene and its major function is to reveal the basic shape of the subject. The fill light is the secondary light and is placed on the opposite side of the key light. It is used to fill the shadows created by the key. The backlight lights the subject from the rear.

3 Rather than providing direct lighting like the key and the fill, its purpose is to provide definition and subtle highlights around the subject s outlines. This helps to separate the subject from the background and create a three- dimensional look. The lighting ratio is the relative intensities of the key, back and fill lights. A 1:1 ratio between key and back lights means that both light sources burn with equal intensity. A 1:½ ratio means that the fill light burns with half the intensity of the key light. A key: back: fill ratio of 1:1:½ is often used for normal triangle lighting. You may want to share with them that comedies are often key lit from the front, dramas are often key lit from the side (because side lighting provides more drama) and horror movies are often bottom- lit. More information and a lighting plot can be found at Students will also learn about several different types of shots and will be asked to research and complete an activity sheet matching different types of shots to their descriptions. They can research these shots at several sites including: reen_shot_reference.pdf ingbasics.htm Answers to the activity sheet are as follows: A, 5: B, 1: C, 9; D, 15; E, 13; F, 2; G, 7; H, 3; I, 14; J, 11; K, 4; L, 8; M, 6; N, 10; O, 12. Finally, student teams are asked to put together what they have learned in the culminating task. The task asks them to film a scene from Belle s using an authentic script. As they film the scene, they must use triangle lighting and at least two of the shots about which they have learned. National Standards Addressed National Science Standards (Conceptual Framework for the New K- 12 Science Education Standards: A Framework for K- 12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core) Science and Engineering Practices Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) Developing and using models Analyzing and interpreting data Using mathematics and computational thinking

4 Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information National Technology Standards Standard 1: Students will develop an understanding of the characteristics and scope of technology. New products and systems can be developed to solve problems or to help do things that could not be done without the help of technology. The development of technology is a human activity and is the result of individual and collective needs and the ability to be creative. Technology is closely linked to creativity, which has resulted in innovation. Standard 2: Students will develop an understanding of the core concepts of technology. Systems thinking involves considering how every part relates to others. Trade- off is a decision process recognizing the need for careful compromises among competing factors. Standard 4: Students will develop an understanding of the cultural, social, economic, and political effects of technology. The use of technology affects humans in various ways, including their safety, comfort, choices and attitudes about technology s development and use. Technology, by itself, is neither good nor bad, but decisions about the use of products and systems can result in desirable or undesirable consequences. Standard 6. Students will develop an understanding of the role of society in the development and use of technology. Throughout history, new technologies have resulted from the demands, values, and interests of individuals, businesses, industries, and societies. Standard 12. Students will develop the abilities to use and maintain technological products and systems. Use information provided in manuals, protocols, or by experienced people to see and understand how things work.

5 Use tools, materials, and machines safely to diagnose, adjust, and repair systems. Use computers and calculators in various applications. National Engineering Standards (ABET) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams. An ability to communicate effectively. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering in global and social contexts. Common Core State Standards: Mathematics CCSS.Math.Content.6.RP.A.3 Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real- world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations. CCSS.Math.Content.7.G.A.1 Solve problems involving scale drawings of geometric figures, including computing actual lengths and areas from a scale drawing and reproducing a scale drawing at a different scale. Lesson Procedure: Engage 1. Write these two terms on the board and ask students to write predictions for what the terms mean and how they relate to television production: image assemblage and persistence of vision. Hint: They have to do with the way our brains view images on a television screen. Ask student volunteers to share answers. 2. To demonstrate image assemblage, ask students to stand at a distance several feet away from a computer screen. Go to Ask students (who are standing far away from the screen) to identify the image they see. They should be able to recognize the image as a picture of a baby. Direct students to slowly walk toward the computer screen while still facing it. What happens? Students will notice that, as they move toward the computer screen, the image of the baby becomes fuzzy. Have student volunteers share scientific explanations for the result and how the exercise relates to television production. The exercise demonstrates image assemblage. Share the explanation for image assemblage from the teacher s notes. 3. Then, poll students to see if they think the images they see on television are moving images or still images, like a photograph. Explain that, when we are watching moving images on a television screen, the movement is actually an

6 illusion. Our brains interpret sequences of still images as moving pictures due to a brain function called persistence of vision. Our brains actually retain the last image seen for just a split second. This image then blends into the next viewed image. Electronic television cameras scan images at such a fast rate that when these same electronic signals are converted to travel via radio waves to our television sets, the scanned pictures appear as moving images. 4. Ask students to summarize their understanding of these two scientific principles. Then explain that, while many things have changed about television production over the years, the way our brains view these images has not! Ask students what they think has changed since televisions were first invented. List student answers. 5. Direct students to watch a few minutes of the 1954 situation comedy The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show at Ask student groups to list as many differences as they can between this show and the shows they watch today. Encourage them to think about visuals, sound technology, and props. Explore 6. Share with students that this lesson will focus on the production phase of the television production process. Review the steps in this phase from the models students created in Lesson 1. Remind students that the production phase is everything that happens from the time the cameras start rolling to the very last shot. 7. Watch the clip from the One Big Happy Family episode of Belle s, and ask students to list everything they notice about the lighting and the camera angles. After watching the clip, ask students to list anything they noticed that was unique or unusual about the lighting and the camera angles. 8. Distribute the interview with Suny Parker, the director of photography from Belle s, as well as the Director of Photography activity sheet. Explain that the director of photography is in charge of the lighting and types of shots used. He or she is responsible to carry out the vision of the producers and the director by using specific techniques and technologies. 9. Direct student groups to read the interview and answer the questions on the activity sheet. Review answers. 10. Then, distribute a camera and flashlight to each group, along with the first page of the script for the One Big Happy Family episode of Belle s. Make sure that students know how to use the cameras properly. 11. Challenge student groups to read the part of the script where Pam introduces Belle s restaurant and to assign the following roles among group members: actress, director of photography, lighting operator, and camera operator.

7 12. Direct groups to film that part of the scene four times, using the flashlight to light the actor or actress playing Pam differently each time. The first time the flashlight will light her from the front, shining directly on the front of her face from behind the camera. The second time the flashlight will light her from the front side at a 45- degree angle. The third time the flashlight will light her from underneath, shining up at her. The fourth time the flashlight will light her from behind. 13. Once the scene has been filmed four times, direct students to watch their footage and record their observations about how the lighting angles/ratios changed the look and feel of the scene. 14. Explain to students that there are often three types of lights used in television production, also called triangle lighting. A key light is the main light and is the strongest. It has the most influence on the scene and its major function is to reveal the basic shape of the subject. The fill light is the secondary light and is placed on the opposite side of the key light. It is used to fill the shadows created by the key. The back light lights the subject from the rear. Rather than providing direct lighting like the key and the fill, its purpose is to provide definition and subtle highlights around the subject s outlines. This helps to separate the subject from the background and create a three- dimensional look. The lighting ratio is the relative intensities of the key, back and fill lights. A 1:1 ratio between key and back lights means that both light sources burn with equal intensity. A 1:½ ratio means that the fill light burns with half the intensity of the key light. A key:back:fill ratio of 1:1:½ is often used for normal triangle lighting. You may want to share with them that comedies are often key lit from the front, dramas are often key lit from the side (because side lighting provides more drama) and horror movies are often bottom- lit. 15. If possible, allow groups to reshoot the same scene using a key, fill, and back light. They may need to share lights among the groups and experiment with different- strength flashlights, bright lights, fluorescent lights, etc. Distribute the Lighting Techniques activity sheet, and ask them to develop a light plot that illustrates their lighting plan. They should be able to predict the plan s results based on what they know. Encourage them to experiment with different brightness and angles and explain that each time they change the brightness and angles, they change the look of the scene. Explain 16. Once students have had some time to experiment, ask each group to explain to the rest of the class what the results of their lighting experiments produced. They should be able to explain differences in the way the scenes

8 looked with flat lighting and three- point lighting and how different angles and lighting ratios changed the look of their scenes. Elaborate 17. In addition to lighting, another important part of the production phase is choosing the types of shots for each scene. This is often a collaboration between the director and the director of photography. 18. Distribute the Take a Shot activity sheet. Have student groups research each shot and match the shot in the left hand column to the description in the right hand column. Several websites are included in the teacher notes to which you can direct students for their research. Review answers as a class. 19. Finally, distribute the Film a Scene task. This task asks student groups to create a storyboard and then film a scene from an authentic Belle s script, using triangle lighting and at least two of the shots they researched. Review all directions with students. You may want to spend some time explaining storyboarding with students. Storyboards are illustrations, displayed in sequence, to help the director and director of photography visualize the scenes before shooting begins. Storyboards can take many different forms but they often look like a large comic strip. 20. Make sure that students have all necessary equipment (video camera, different lights, and ample time to complete their storyboards and filming. Note: Groups will have a chance to edit this footage in Lesson 4 so encourage them to take as many shots as possible. Evaluate 21. Ask each group to present one of its takes to the class, and explain how their choices about lighting and camera shots influenced the look and how the result was based on STEM principles. Direct of Photography activity sheet Based on the interview with Suny Parker, list the STEM skills required for a director of photography in the boxes below. STEM SKILLS SCIENCE skills TECHNOLOGY skills

9 ENGINEERING skills MATH skills Describe one authentic problem Suny faced on the Belle s set and explain how he used STEM skills to solve it. Lighting Techniques activity sheet There are often three types of lights used in television production, also called triangle lighting. A key light is the main light and is the strongest. It has the most influence on the scene and its major function is to reveal the basic shape of the subject. A fill light is the secondary light and is placed on the opposite side of the key light. It is used to fill the shadows created by the key. The back light lights the subject from the rear. Rather than providing direct lighting like the key and the fill, its purpose is to provide definition and subtle highlights around the subject s outlines. This helps to separate the subject from the background and create a three- dimensional look.

10 The lighting ratios are the relative intensities of the key, back and fill lights. A 1:1 ration between key and back lights means that both light sources burn with equal intensity. A 1:½ ratio means that the fill light burns with half the intensity of the key light. A key: back: fill ratio of 1:1:½ is often used for normal triangle lighting. Comedies are often key- lit from the front, dramas are often key lit from the side (because side lighting provides more drama) and horror movies are often bottom- lit. Below, draw a lighting plot for a scene you want to film. Consider what your subject is and what effect you want to produce. Then, determine and illustrate where you will put your key, fill, and back lights relative to the subject and what types of lights you will use. A sample lighting plot illustration can be found at Take a Shot activity sheet During the production phase, directors and directors of photography work together to determine what specific shots and camera angles they will use based on what they are trying to achieve. A list of common shots are including below. Match each shot with its corresponding description and purpose from the list on the right. A. Full shot 1. A shot where the subject is shown from the knees up. B. Medium shot 2. A shot wide enough for two people, sometimes used to show a conversation. C. Close shot 3. A magnified shot of a small detail that the human eye might not be able to normally perceive. D. Close up 4. A shot filmed from high above the subject. E. Point of view shot 5. A long shot that captures the subject head to toe. F. Two shot 6. A shot where the subject is filmed against a black or neutral background. G. Over the shoulder 7. A shot from behind one person toward their subject. H. Extreme close up 8. A shot filmed from underneath, often looking up at the subject.

11 I. Establishing shot 9. A shot showing the subject from top of head to hips. J. Follow shot 10. A close shot of a character reacting to something off camera. K. High angle shot 11. A shot where the camera follows the subject. L. Low angle shot 12. A shot that results from the repeating the same frame so the subject appears frozen. M. Cameo shot 13. A shot that gives the audience the feel that they are looking at it from the eyes of the performer. N. Reaction shot 14. A long shot that shows location and mood. O. Freeze frame 15. A shot of one part of a subject, such as its hand.

12 Film a Scene from Belle s Task TASK You and your team must film a scene from Belle s, using an authentic script. In order to complete the task, you must: 1. Read the attached script for a scene from Belle s. 2. Assign roles within the group (the actors, the camera person, the director, and the director of photography). These rolls can be shared or group members can alternate so each member has a chance to perform each role. 3. Brainstorm as a team to determine what feel and look you want in the scene. Your lighting and camera shots will be determined, based on this. Describe the look and feel you are trying to achieve below. You can use the same look and feel that you saw for this scene earlier in the lesson or create your own. 4. Determine lighting types and ratios for the scene, using triangle lighting. Remember that you must use a key light, fill light, and back light. Illustrate your lighting plot below. List reasons for your choices. 5. Identify what types of shots you will use to shoot the scene. You must include at least two of the shots you researched during the lesson. Describe your shot list below. List reasons for your choices. 6. Storyboard the scene using the attached template. Each major element of the scene should be illustrated in sequence. 7. Set up your shots and film the scene. 8. Review your unedited footage, and answer the questions below: We do/do not believe we achieved our desired look and feel because: One thing we really liked about our scenes is: We could improve our scene if: What did we learn while working on this task?

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