Course Syllabus

DES 3300 — Introduction to Digitial Video Editing

Instructor: Prof. Ronald Woodland
office: 435-652-7970
Üdvar-Hazy Bldg., Room 324

9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., Tues. and Thurs. (section 01)
Üdvar-Hazy Bldg., Room 120

This course is an introduction to digital video editing. The focus of this class is the fundamentals of how to edit and prepare video for use in web publishing and interactive multimedia. Coursework also includes developing custom DVD products. Implementation of the course objectives will be delivered using several different types of software as tools to accomplish the end products. Learning specific software is useful, but just as important are the concepts, processes, and techniques that will be understood, which can then be transferred to other video editing tools of your choice.

"For students pursuing an emphasis in Visual Technologies; also open to other interested students. Introduces essentials of editing video and audio with computers, including TV/video production applications, multimedia authoring, and/or Internet video streaming. Also includes digitizing video and audio from analogue or digital sources, selecting footage from source clips, constructing transitions, titling, creating and using alpha channel or other matte techniques, plus other special effects. Course fee required. Prerequisites: VT 2500 (Grade C- or higher); AND VT 2600 (Grade C- or higher)" (Dixie State College Catalog, 2011-2012)

VT 1300, VT 2500, and VT 2600. Familiarity with the MacOS and Windows operating systems is assumed. A good working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator is expected. (Lack of functional knowledge in these software packages may adversely affect your ability to obtain a high grade in this class.) Although NOT recommended, courses that teach the pre-requisite skills may be taken during the same semester as this class.


  • Access to a video camera
    • Cameras that record in digital format are preferred, if using your own
    • Cameras using miniDV tapes for recording must also have an OHCI-compliant Firewireª port — most do, but make sure.
    • Cameras using SD cards or hard drives to store video while recording are becoming more common. These cameras typically use a USB port to transfer files, rather than "capture" video.
    • Cameras that burn to a DVD directly in real time are not recommended. The process required to obtain editable footage from this kind of camera is difficult and of lesser quality once retrieved.
    • Older analog video cameras are also not recommended, but may be acceptible if it has RCA or S-video jacks for video and audio in/out.
      (Analog cameras will require a digital media converter to allow video capture to a computer.  This method of video capture is preferrable to the older video capture cards of 6+ years ago.)
    • Both SD and HD comsumer cameras are available for use from the CIT dept. These cameras may be checked out for short periods of time from the department secretary
  • Storage media to backup and/or manage your coursework files during the semester
    • 2-3 miniDV tapes, if used (pre-stripped with a continuous SMPTE time code)
    • 16 or 32 GB SD card, class 10 rated
    • An external portable hard drive (suggested 250 GB or larger, optional)
    • Multiple blank DVD-R/RW disks (to hold data and files)
    • A USB flash drive of sufficient size (16 GB or larger)
  • At least four DVD-R blanks (to submit finished work in the final assignment)
  • Textbook: None Required
  • Suggested Reading: Editing Digital Video, by Robert M. Goodman & Patrick McGrath
    Copyright ©2003 by McGraw-Hill Compnaies, Inc. ISBN: 0-07-140635-2
    Cost is approximately $35.00.

The suggested reading is a general reference manual designed for anyone who wants to learn to edit digital video. It is non-specific regarding software and hardware. No specific reading assignments are required during this course. However, this book is an excellent reference and will help significantly for ideas, technigues, and answers to questions about special effects, look and style, and best practices. It is highly recommended that the student keep this book upon completion of the course and add it to his/her personal library.

Further, because of the large file sizes that develop in video work AND the extensive amount of time invested in editing projects, backup and storage space become even more important that usual. You should be very diligent about keeping backup copies of ALL your work. Bad things happen, especially as deadlines approach. Files and work get lost, even with the best of project management. In the event of technical difficulties, you will be happy to have a backup of your coursework stored elsewhere.

If you suspect or are aware that you have a disability that may affect your success in this course, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) located in the North Plaza Building. The disability claim will be evaluated and eligible students will receive assistance in obtaining reasonable accommodations. For more information, call 435-652-7516.

Classrooms are special environments in which students and faculty come together to promote learning and growth. It is essential in these environments that respect for the rights of others seeking to learn, respect for the professionalism of the instructor, and the general goals of academic freedom are maintained.

Students are expected arrive to class on time, take notes (as necessary), and remain in class until the end of the session. During class, students should be polite to one another and the professor and be attentive to the matters being discussed through active participation. Inappropriate behavior includes (but is not limited to) IMPROPER COMPUTER USAGE, LAUGHING, PASSING NOTES, INATTENTIVE DEMEANOR, SLEEPING, TALKING OUT OF TURN, AND TEXTING.

Behavior that interferes with the learning of other students will not be tolerated. The Dixie State College Policies and Procedures Manual, Section 3-34, states: “Teachers at Dixie State College have the right to manage the classroom environment to ensure a positive learning climate. Toward this end, teachers (or college security) may dismiss and remove disruptive students from individual class activities. If a student's behavior continues to disrupt class activities, the teacher may dismiss and cause the removal of disruptive students from his or her course.”

Students who are asked to leave class should do so quietly and without confrontation. They will be expected to schedule a meeting with the instructor before being allowed to attend class again. If students start a disturbance, the instructor will call Campus Security to have the students removed from campus. Students are not allowed to interfere with the learning of others.

Mobile device use in the classroom (including cellphones), should be targeted to classroom content, placed on silent mode, and not draw attention away from the learning environment for either the teacher or other students.

Specifically, cell phones are a serious distraction to everyone in the class, including the instructor. It is inappropriate to make or receive phone calls, to text messages, or to check for messages once a student enters a classroom, especially during scheduled class time. Students should remember to silence their phones before entering the classroom or CIT lab. If students must leave their cell phones on for any reason, they should set them to vibrate or disable the ringtones. If a student's cell phone disturbs the class, the student will be asked to leave class and consult with the instructor about being readmitted to class. During a test, if a student is caught looking at a cell phone or other electronic device or texting, that becomes prima facie evidence that the student is cheating. The student will forfeit any points for that exam and may be asked to leave class.

The instructor reserves the right to change the specifics of this syllabus and the schedule (weekly topics of instruction, assignments, assignment details, due dates, etc.) as determined for the betterment of the class. Any changes will be announced in a timely manner during class instruction periods.

The purpose of this course is to teach students how to use the computer as an off-line, non-linear video editing tool. Students will learn both the technical and esthetic aspects of using video-editing software. Students will receive several editing projects throughout the semester, which they will be expected to produce on the computer using video-editing software. Assignments will be tailored to require the application of concepts presented in class periods. Students will learn to distinguish between effective and ineffective editing techniques through lecture, in-class demonstration, hands-on practice, examinaton of expert examples, and then completing the assigned projects.

At completion of the course, students should know and be able to demonstrate the following technical skills:

  • How traditional broadcast television works
  • What the various worldwide broadcast standards are for NTSC, PAL, SECAM, and ATSC
  • What are the digial equivalents of these standards and how they are used in video editing.
  • What are the current best practices for streaming video online
  • Which codecs yield the best quality/performance/file size ratios for various media
  • How to make a storyboard for a shooting, editing, and delivering a video project.
  • Understand the difference between various video formats in use today.
  • Understand the various data compression methods in use today.
  • How to capture both video and audio as "raw footage."
  • How to set in and out points and place the desired video segment on the timeline
  • How to insert markers of various types, including chapter markers used in building DVD menus
  • How to create still images for use as graphics, titling, and mattes in the video-editing process.
  • How to use blue screen techniques for dynamic masks.
  • How to create static and dynamic mattes for special effects.
  • How to import images and audio into the video-editing project from other applications.
  • How to choose the optimum settings to obtain the the best results for the intended purpose.
  • How to do file management of large video files for your projects.
  • How to prepare QuickTime files for streaming on the Internet or in interactive multimedia projects.
  • How to output a completed project back to video tape.
  • How to build an interactive DVD of your video project.

Attendance is important to your success in this course; therefore, the grades earned will reflect your attendance habits (this is a department policy). No points are allotted toward the total points possible to determine your grade, but attendance will be measured indirectly through various participation events during class instruction.

PRODUCTION CREW: This project is worth a maximum of 50 points. You will participate in the pre-production, production, and post-production of :60 and :30 commercials on a topic of the professor's choice. This will be the first of two group projects, with you working in one or more of the roles on a production crew. Working with your crew, you will help in one or more of the following ways — develop concept, write script, storyboard, on-screen talent, camera person, direct production, set lighting, record audio, handle props, scout locations, etc. Then, using the raw video footage shot from the production crew's work, each member of the crew will then edit their own version of the commercials. Following the successful editing and delivery of the commercials, each member of the crew will also write a short "reflection" paper on the experience and submit the three parts of the project by the deadline.

PROJECTS: There are five (5) creative projects for the semester. The first is the Production Crew project listed above. Four of the projects are worth a maximum of 50 points each. The fifth, and last of the semester, is another group project worth 100 points. See the weekly assignments schedule for descriptions and due dates. These will reflect techniques learned in the course up to the time of each scheduled assignment. Project assignments will be graded on three categories: 1) the technical correctness of the project as indicated by how well it demonstrates your editing skills and matches the project specifications, 2) the overall design and presence of production values, and 3) how well the finished video communicates the intended story through effective use of the video medium. More points will be given for effective design and storytelling that demonstrate the concepts learned in class. The points for each assignment will be allocated based on the standards found in rubrics developed for this course in the online grading area of the CIT web site.

All assignments must be submitted on time to earn up to the maximum of 285 points allotted toward your grade. Due to the various size of finished assignments and depending on the specifications, they may be delivered using a variety of media. The projects will be presented and discussed in class during the week following each assignment's due date.

Several weeks are allowed for each assignment to be completed and submitted. This should be enough time to turn in assignments ON TIME. Points will be deducted for late assignments. Assignments more than fourteen (14) days late will not be accepted - NO EXCEPTIONS!

MID-TERM EXAM: A mid-term test will be given during the eighth (8th) week of the semester. There are 50 points possible.

FINAL EXAM: A final test will be given during the scheduled finals time for this class period. There are 100 points possible. While the time allocated for the final test is two hours, you should be able to complete this test in 30 minutes. Any student not present one-half hour after the final exam begins will be considered a "no show" for the final and will not be allowed to take the test. DO NOT BE LATE!

To review for both mid-term and final exams, check HERE for example questions and suggested areas you should know.

MISSED ASSIGNMENTS AND TESTS: An important part of college is learning to set priorities and budget time. Projects are expected to be finished and submitted on time. Late projects will have points deducted. Projects will not be accepted if over fourteen (14) days late. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY, REGARDLESS OF THE EXCUSE! This is detrimental to your grade for the course and should be avoided at all costs. No tests can be taken late ~~ no exceptions! All projects are given specific due dates during the semester. Tests will be administered at the times specified in this syllabus. If you cannot take a test at the scheduled time, due to an APPROVED reason, you must contact the instructor and arrange to take the test early. Plan ahead and make sure you deliver your work on time.

GRADING PHILOSOPHY: The design quality of your assignments is a significant factor in the points evaluation. Adherence to the technical specifications of the assignment will also be checked ~~ document size and color modes are the most-often ignored issues that will lose assignment points. If you hand in all assignments on time and score reasonably well on the tests, you will receive at least a "C" grade. A higher grade can be earned on the creative and design components you add to your assignments. I am looking for more than the minimum work required to meet the assignments. If you have questions about what is considered "A"-, "B"-, or "C"-level work for this course, read this page on establishing grading criteria. Additional information can be deduced from the published rubrics for each assignment on the page. If you have further questions, contact the instructor for clarification.

Points for course work are earned by turning in assignments and taking tests on time. (See the weekly course and assignments schedule for the due dates.) Allocation of points for the five major areas of coursework are as follows:

60 ...Attendance — 2 pts. each class period
50 ...Prod. Crew / Reflection Paper
150 ...Three (3) Individual Projects — 3 @ 50 points each
100 ...Prod. Crew / Short Documentary
50 ...Written Mid-Term Exam
100 ...Written Final Exam
510 ...Total points possible

Letter grades will be earned based on the following percentages of the total points possible:

A 95% or higher
A- 90% to 94.99%
B+ 85% to 89.99%
B 80% to 84.99%
B- 75% to 79.99%
C+ 70% to 74.99%
C 65% to 69.99%
C- 60% to 64.99%
D+ 55% to 59.99%
D 50% to 54.99%
D- 45% to 49.99%
F 44.99% or lower
IMPORTANT: Letter grades below a "C-" in any course designated as part of the Visual Technologies program cannot be used toward obtaining a Certificate of Competency or a baccalaureate degree. For further information, contact Carol Stander (, advisor for the 4-year CIT baccalaureate degrees.

Last Updated 01/07/2016
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