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Cinematic Arts

The cinematic arts concentration provides students with the conceptual framework, historical context and technical skills necessary for the production of narrative, documentary or experimental projects in a fine-arts environment. In this emphasis, Cinema is treated as an artistic media — ideas are considered as important as technique. As an integrated production-based curriculum, the concentration provides study of film/video history, criticism & theory and the scriptwriting-proposal process, in tandem with a range of digital production and post-production tools that form the foundation for personal creative student work.

The Production Center

The Production Center (The Cage) provides production and post-production equipment, supplies, maintenance and support for currently enrolled Visual Arts students, graduate students, faculty and staff. The student staff members track over 600 checkout items, serve approximately 200 people, and perform over 2000 checkouts per year. The center provides 24-hour access to post-production facilities and 30 hours a week it is open for purchasing supplies and for checking-in/out equipment. This facility is an integral part of the Department of Visual Arts and the Imaging and Digital Arts graduate program. As developing artists expressing their personal vision and ideas, students are encouraged to explore the mediums of time-based digital media.

Facility & Equipment Highlights:

    • 24 hour access to editing suites
    • (2) Blackmagic Design 4K Production Packages
    • (3) Panasonic GH4 Production Packages
    • (3) Panasonic HVX 200 HD Production Packages
    • (16) Canon 80D DSLR HD Production Packages
    • (12) Canon T2i DSLR HD Production Packages
    • (2) Éclair NPR Super 16mm Sync Sound Camera Packages.
    • Manfrotto Fluid Head tripods, Stabilizers and Jib arms
    • Omni, Tota, Soft Box, DP Light Kit, and LED portable kits.
    • Private Sound 5.1 Recording and Mixing Suite
    • (2) Sound Devices 722 Hard Disk recorders
    • (8) Zoom H6 Sound Recorders
    • (16) Zoom H4N Sound Recorders
    • (6) Fostex FR-2LE Sound Recorders
    • Multi-Pattern High-End Microphones
    • Portable Video & Data Projectors
    • (11) Portable Light boxes

Other extra-curricular activities include a student-run Cinematic Arts club, FILMMAKERS ANONYMOUS; student films are screened for the public annually, LIGHTSTRUCK; guest speakers visit the department regularly.

What can I do with a Concentration in Cinematic Arts?

Career prospects for graduates of UMBC’s Cinematic Arts concentration with skills in digital video production have never been brighter. The media landscape in the Baltimore/Washington D. C. region is evolving at an explosive rate, and digital video content is at the heart of that growth. In addition to the traditional entertainment and TV news industries, the Internet, cable, video gaming and satellite industries all will require a steady flow of engaging digital video content. The Internet is already buzzing with small startup companies developing new business models for both the production and distribution of original digital video. Coincidentally, the emergence of new delivery technologies such as the video iPod and video cell phones will lead to exciting new possibilities for creators of short-form video programming. The result is that all major Internet providers are planning to move towards an increased use of digital video to drive their future growth plans. Even the most unlikely private sector businesses are increasingly turning to digital video for a myriad of innovative applications.

To succeed in this rapidly evolving landscape, job seekers will need more than technical proficiency with tools and technologies. They will need the creative skills that have always counted: the ability to engage an audience with effective content, the ability to tell a story, the ability to see opportunities that no one else sees. A combination of creative problem solving skills and technical proficiency forms the backbone of a UMBC Cinematic Arts concentration education. Many of the most exciting and important industries of the last twenty-five years have been started by young people who had a love of new technologies and found a way to turn them into transformative companies. Google, U-Tube, and MySpace are just the most recent examples.

Cinematic Arts Courses

Visual Arts, Cinematic Arts Concentration Minor
Visual Arts, Cinematic Arts Concentration, B.A.
Visual Arts, Cinematic Arts Concentration, B.F.A.

Note: ART 305: Introduction To Cinematic Arts serves as the gateway course and must be passed with a grade of B or better for students to continue on to upper-level film courses. The following are required in addition to the visual arts core courses:

ART 305
Introduction to Cinematic Arts [3]
In this production course students explore how digital media can be used as a means for creative expression and how this art form has evolved out of experimental film and video art traditions over the past 75 years. This is a hands-on production course. Students will pursue fundamental characteristics of the digital video medium to complete exercises in shooting and editing digital video and a final project. Note: ART 305: is the gateway course and must be passed with a grade of “B” or better for students to continue onto upper-level Cinematic Arts courses.
Prerequisite: You must have completed ART 213 with a grade of “C” or better and completed the VA Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

ART 315
Intermediate Narrative Production [3]
This class is designed to encourage an organic exploration of narrative cinema, to strengthen trust in your own ideas and instincts, and heighten your curiosity about experimental modes of storytelling. Though we will cover some areas of technical expertise as they relate specifically to narrative film production, students are expected to have a basic understanding of cameras, lights, microphones, and editing. Students will work independently to produce their own short narratives, as well as engaging in a study of contemporary narrative cinema. Recommended Preparation: ART 324 OR ART 325
Prerequisite: ART 305 with a “B” or better AND the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review)

ART 324
History of Film: Origins to 1965 [3]
A survey of the motion picture from its “optical toy” origins to 1965. Political, economic, artistic and technical factors in film production will be considered. Topics covered include the development of film language, German expressionism, poetic realism, the Hollywood studio system, Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, avant-garde and documentary film.
Prerequisite: You must complete one 200-level Arts and Humanities course with a minimum grade of C.

ART 325
History of Film and Video: 1965 to the Present [3]
A survey of motion pictures and video art from 1965 to the present. Political, economic, artistic and technical factors influencing film and video production will be considered. Topics include: new German cinema, documentary, American independent cinema, political and Third World cinema, video art, installation, performance, interactive forms, and the evolving fusion of production and display technologies in the digital era.
Prerequisite: You must complete one 200-level Arts and Humanities course with a minimum grade of C.

ART 342
Film/Video Theory and Criticism [3]
An exploration of media theory and film/video criticism. An investigation of the central issues of the cinematic experience through the ways theorists have explained cinema, television, video and their expanded forms from inception to the present. Through reading how authors have framed media and their makers, students will consider how to create meaning with time-based media.
Prerequisite: You must complete either ART 324 or ART 325 with a grade of “C” or better and complete the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

ART 346
Intermediate Documentary Production [3]
Advanced production course for exploration of high-definition video through creation of individual projects. A workshop environment introduces students to high-end HD camcorders, workflow options and the HD post-production environment. Technical instruction, pertinent cinematic examples and conceptual discussions, provide key experiences toward developing production strategies and discovering the inherent aesthetic potential of HD imaging.
Prerequisite: You must have completed ART 305 and ART 315 both with a grade of C or better and the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review process) before you can take this class.

ART 347
Writing for Media Arts [3]
An introduction to a range of methodologies for developing ideas, scripts and structural tactics for short films and videos. Emphasis will be placed on traditional storytelling strategies, as well as experimental scripting and alternative notational techniques.
Prerequisite: You must complete ART215 and 213 with a grade of “C” or better before taking this class.

ART 383
Sound Design [3]
This course treats sound as an aesthetic equal to image in works of time-based and interactive media. It explores image sound relationships and focuses on designing effective soundtracks by developing students’ skills in field, foley, and studio recording; scoring; mixing; and sound-image synchronization.
Prerequisite: You must have completed ART 213 with a grade of “C” or better and completed the VA Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

ART 435
Topics in Film/Video [3]
In this course students create an individual film or video project developed from a detailed study of a central theme in experimental, narrative or documentary work. Screenings, readings and discussions will present students with models. Topics will vary each semester and include: film/video landscapes, performance and installation, autobiography, surface tensions, collaboration, representation, technology and perception.
Prerequisite: You must complete ART 345 or 346 with a grade of “C” or better and complete the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

ART 447
Special Effects and Motion Graphics [3]
This course explores the creation of cinematic effects and motion graphics utilizing advanced techniques in multi-layered, time-based compositions as it relates to both 2-D and 3-D applications. The conceptual process and content incorporating these techniques are studied through screenings of contemporary works and critiques of student class work.
Prerequisite: You must complete ART 213 and one of the following ART 305, 315, 331, 341 or 365 with a grade of “C” or better and complete the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

PLUS select 1 upper level related course (3 credits)

ART 341
Introduction to Animation [3]
This course introduces the fundamental principles of animated movement and their applications across all animation techniques. In addition to screenings and analysis of animated films, students will explore production workflow for animation. Students will work individually on projects and learn the skills of effective group collaboration.
Prerequisite: ART 213

ART 435
Topics in Film/Video [3]
In this course students create an individual film or video project developed from a detailed study of a central theme in experimental, narrative or documentary work. Screenings, readings and discussions will present students with models. Topics will vary each semester and include: film/video landscapes, performance and installation, autobiography, surface tensions, collaboration, representation, technology and perception.
Prerequisite: You must complete ART 345 or 346 with a grade of “C” or better and complete the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

ART 447
Special Effects and Motion Graphics [3]
This course explores the creation of cinematic effects and motion graphics utilizing advanced techniques in multi-layered, time-based compositions as it relates to both 2-D and 3-D applications. The conceptual process and content incorporating these techniques are studied through screenings of contemporary works and critiques of student class work.
Prerequisite: You must complete ART 213 and one of the following ART 305, 315, 331, 341 or 365 with a grade of “C” or better and complete the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

Cinematic Arts Faculty

Cathy Cook   Associate Professor
Vin Grabill   Associate Professor
Jules Rosskam    Assistant Professor