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Research Guides@Tufts

FR22: Final Film Project

Writing a Script

Thinking through the following questions can help frame how you approach writing your script:

  • Who is your intended audience?  What is your objective with this video?
  • What themes does your video expand on from the course? 
  • How are you engaging with French culture?  


Creating a script and storyboard can help you organize your ideas before you even open an editing application.  The template below will help you keep track of dialog, sound effects, timing and notes connected to each scene.  

Script breakdown

Before starting to film it can help to break down your script to understand the various elements that you'll need.  Once you have the general details you can also sketch out an idea of the various shots you'll need.  This will help save time during filming.


Recording room

The DDS recording room can be a great place to film.  The recording room comes equipped with a video camera, external microphone, tripod, lights, a black backdrop and moveable table and chairs.  Make sure to make a reservation in advance.  For support you can check-in with the Studio Assistants, schedule a meeting with Kim or visit our online Recording Room support guide

Video Recording Kit

If using a video camera from the DDS, check out our online getting started Video Recording guide!

Camera shots and angles

When trying to plan out your shots it can be helpful to reference movies with a similar scenario to understand how they use the camera to help tell the story.  Below are a few common camera shots as well as scenarios with camera breakdowns for reference.

image of various camera shots

Image from the Video Club


Shot reverse shot for dialog scenes

In cinema there are two main rules when filming two people talking: always film on one side of conversation (180 degree rule) and if character 1 is on the left side of the frame when talking, they need to then be on the left side when listening.  The character always takes up the same side of the frame throughout the conversation. This shot is referred to as over the shoulder shots.

Establishing a location

Shot Purpose
Establishing shot - helps the view understand where the scene is located.  
Wide shot - depending on how important the location is you might choose to show various shots of the location with sound to help the viewer settle into the space
When filming it can also help to get "cutaway" shots of the location that don't have the characters in the frame.  These are shots that you can cut to during the editing process.


Starting your Project and Importing Media

Before Starting

DDS can help support a variety of editing software, including Adobe Premiere and FCPX, but the method we recommend is using iMovie for ease of use. 

Udemy offers a range of online tutorials and has two classes to support learning the basics of iMovie:

Below is also a quick overview the basic tools in iMovie that will help you to complete this project.

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Creating a New Library

  • Open iMovie
  • In the Media tab, navigate to File > Open Library > New
  • Navigate to your Project Files folder on your External Drive (you would save to your own computer if you aren't using a public lab space like DDS)
  • Next to Save As, name your library "NameOfYourProject Media"
  • Save


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Importing Media

  • In the Media Tab, locate the Library you just created.  You should see a file with today's date.  This is an Event.  It functions like a folder and allows you to organize your media.
  • Right-click on your Remix Library and select Create New Event.  Organize your footage into Video, Audio and Images Events.
  • Select the Video Event and click the Import Media button.
  • Select the footage you wish to import.  Make sure the correct Event is selected under Import To.
  •  Click Import Selected.
  • Repeat this step for any Audio or Image files you wish to bring into your project.


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Creating a New Project

  • In the Project Tab, click the New Project button and select Movie.   A Project is where you edit your assets together and build your movie.
  • Before starting to edit, select the Projects button to return to the Project page.  This will prompt you to name your Project.  Name your Project "ProjectName_Project". Make sure your project is saved inside your recently created Library.
  • Click OK



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Video Editing

Selecting & Duplicating Files

  • To select the entire clip, simply click on the media file in the Event Browser and drag the file to the timeline
  • To select only a portion of the clip, hold R on your keyboard and drag your mouse
  • To add the clip to the end of your sequence, select the + button located in the lower right corner of the clip
  • To duplicate a clip, simply copy and paste the clip in the timeline

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Split your Clip

  • To split a clip, select the clip in the timeline, place the timeline indicator where you want your edit
  • Select Modify > Split Clip or use Command + B

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Inserting, Replacing and Cutting Away

  • To breakup a clip with a new shot, drag the desired media over the shot in the timeline until a green + button appears. Release.
  • Select Insert from the drop-down menu

  • To replace a clip with another, drag the desired media over the shot in the timeline until a green + button appears.  Release.
  • Select Replace, Replace from Start or Replace from End to choose how the replacement will occur.  Selecting Replace from Start or End will preserve the duration of the original shot.

  • Place the cutaway shot just above the video clip already on the timeline to create a new layer.  During playback, iMovie will show the top most clip.


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Adjusting Volume

  • To enable Waveforms on your timeline go to Project Settings > Show Waveforms

  • Audio files that are attached to your video files will show underneath the picture in your timeline in blue
  • To adjust levels, move the horizonal white bar up and down
  • Move the white circle at the head and tail of a clip to add a fade in/out

  • Double-clicking the clip activates the effects control panel. Select the audio icon and click Auto to have iMovie bring your levels to what it thinks are normal levels.  Make sure your levels don’t peak (turn red). Red indicates your audio will be distorted.

Detach Audio

  • To move an audio file independently from the video file, right-click and select Detach Audio.  

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Audio Editing Tips

  • Use room tone to fill gaps in your recording

  • Remove all clicks, pops and distracting audio

  • Set Volume just on the edge between green and yellow

Sound Design

  • Think of the piece as a whole and find ways to highlight themes through sound
  • Create depth by layering sounds

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Keying a Green Screen

  • Add your green screen clip as a cutaway to your timeline

  • Double click the clip and change the drop-down menu in the Effect Panel from Cutaway to Green/Blue Screen

  • iMovie will automatically detect the Green/Blue Screen and pull your key making the background in your video transparent
  • You can use the clean-up tools to help crop out any distracting elements in your video

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Picture in Picture

  • Add the clip you wish to superimpose as a cutaway to your timeline

  • Double click the clip and change the drop-down menu in the Effect Panel from Cutaway to Picture in Picture

  • iMovie will automatically detect the Picture and Picture and superimpose the new clip
  • You can use the tools to resize and customize the border of the superimposed clip

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Titles and Transitions

  • In the browser window navigate to the Titles tab to preview various title templates.  In this menu bar you will also find a tab for Transitions.

  • Hit space bar to watch the title and drag the template to the timeline once you’ve found a title that works for your project.

  • You can adjust the font, size, alignment and more in the Viewer window.

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Steps for exporting your project will vary depending on the editing application your group selected.
Recommended export settings:

  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Format: mp4

If working in iMovie:

  • Navigate to File > Share > File
  • Set your Resolution to 1080p and your Quality setting to setting to High
  • Select Next
  • Save your file to your computer or external drive 

•Custom Size: If you need to output a custom size, navigate to File > Share > File and select Quality > Custom.  Here you can change the bitrate to adjust the final size. Note: the smaller the file size, likely the more compress your file will be. 

Uploading to Canvas

Once you have exported your video project, you will need to upload your file to the Canvas course site.  Below are two guides for uploading the file first to your individual media gallery and then sharing that uploaded video with the course.