FTV – 72-42575

Intro to Lighting Design – Syllabus

Spring 2013



Instructor: Jack E. McLean


Class hours: Wednesdays 6:00pm – 10:00pm

Room: Studio

Office hours: by appointment, before and after class



This course consists of analysis and exploration of the principles of aesthetics with emphasis on the role of lighting in the filmmaking process. The course examines preparation prior to filming and the responsibilities to the camera needs, the balance between budget and the art of film; the decision of choosing between expressionistic and realistic film styles and the influence thereof. 54 hours of lecture.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, the students should be able to:

                Identify visual elements and their impact on a film

                Understand visually how a scene was lit.

                Determine the method of lighting a scene in a movie and recreate it.

                Create a desired mood for a scene with the necessary lights.

                Build lighting units for the students own production to create the desired mood and effect.



Our approach to the material will include analysis of different movies each week in order to obtain the fullest sense of what lighting does and the artistic potential of the medium.

We will view film clips and attempt to copy technique.

Students will be sometimes required to break down a selected scene, via diagram, to analyze what it took to make that scene happen. They will discuss an alternative approach to creating the same scene from their perspective. Students are expected to either view assigned movies at home or complete the assigned reading and be prepared to discuss in depth the assignment. Assignments will include analytical writing on films viewed along with research information.

A final project will analyze the work of one style during the semester and create lighting units. With students working in groups of three they will design the lighting units and use them to light a scene. Three quizzes will measure your accumulated knowledge of lights and construction specifications.


Every Week we will begin the class with a discussion of the reading or viewing. Students must prepare to share something that stood out to them from the reading or viewing and be able to discuss it as they are called on. Students are required to contribute reading reports during the semester.


DVDs or videotapes of films required for assignments can be rented from local video store,  a public library, or viewed in the RCC library. Public libraries often have good selections of classic films and they’re free to rent.

Each analytical assignment will include a number of viewing options to ensure that students are able to find at least one of the films if they get prior permission.



It is the student’s responsibility to find out what homework is required if they miss class.

-Contact fellow students or email me directly at and identify yourself by using your name followed by ‘RCC’ in the subject line.

Assignments and reading are due the week following the listing.


Students are responsible for knowing and adhering to due dates for readings, assignments and other in-class activities.


NOTE: Changes to the schedule will be announced during class time and included on a handout. Students are responsible for noting changes and adhering to them.


The grading break down will be as follows:

Wikipedia definitions                7 X 10 points each                         70 points

Homework                                       12 X 5 points per week               60 points

Final plan presentation                                                                             40 points

Class lighting unit assembly                                                  40 points

The Final                                                                                                            120 points

TOTAL                                                                                                                330 points


Grading for the assignments and for the final will be based on quality analysis, substance in writing, presentation, and attention aid to the principles and elements discussed in class.


Grades will be based on the following point system. However the student’s grades may be adjusted according to class performance:


295 – 330= A

260 – 294= B

225 – 259= C

190 – 224= D

Less than 190 = F


Late work will receive deductions, but students are required to complete all assignments, even if the due date has passed. Make-up and extra credit assignments may be given as necessary.



Please feel free to contact me via email with questions. I will be checking my emails regularly and I will respond as quickly as possible. I will try to be in class a little early and will stay after to answer questions.

Please feel free to ask questions about any of the assignments, the course, the book, the theories discussed in class, or the Final.



 – Students found engaging in cheating or plagiarism will be subject to discipline mandated by school policy.

 – There is no eating, drinking or smoking in the classroom.

 – If a student finds that it is necessary to drop the class, it is the responsibility of the student to officially drop by submitting a drop card to the admissions office.

 – If you have a physical, psychiatric/emotional, medical or learning disability that may impact your ability to carry out assigned DSP&S will review your concerns and determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

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