CTVA 358


COURSE SYLLABUS for CTVA 358 Advanced Film Sound - Spring 2018

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Course Information

COURSE: CTVA 358 Advanced Film Sound (Production Sound Recording for Film and Video)

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Fred Ginsburg, C.A.S. Ph.D.

  • (818) 231-1038 cell
  • (818) 892-9236 fax
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MEETS: (Section 1) RM 170, Manzanita Hall - Fridays 9am-1:45 pm


Online multimedia coursebook: Craft of Production Sound, (www.FilmTVsound.com) published by EQE Media & Consulting Group. Includes numerous articles, tips, tricks, equipment reviews, tutorials, news, forum, calendar of events, and way more.


To provide students with a basic understanding of the techniques and aesthetics of Production Sound Recording; along with its relationship to the sound design and overall production of the completed soundtrack for motion pictures and TV.

Emphasis will be given to the practical techniques and equipment operation as currently utilized on professional theatrical productions, and how those approaches can be utilized on productions of any scope — be they theatrical or non-theatrical, film or video.

Student Learning Outcomes

(CTVA Department SLO 1, 2, 3) Intermediate/Practiced Students in this course will:

  • Understand and articulate the history, theories and critical models of electronic media.
  • Understand the fundamental concepts of pre-production, production and post-production in film/television production sound.
  • Have an understanding of basic film/television Sound production principles, terminology, and procedures and use them in the assigned video projects. Including (but not limited to) proper rigging of lavalier mics, proper "over/under" coiling of audio cables, proper use of mixing panels, and proper use and identification of shotgun microphones.
  • Understand the basic oral and written communication tools to function professionally in film/television Sound.
  • Record and edit video production sound exercises. All students must be able to produce professionally acceptable audio CD's and standard video DVD's. Any student who cannot prepare an audio CD or video DVD is not worthy of a production degree in Cinema-Television Arts.


Lecture, PowerPoint, guest speakers, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises. Realistic production situations will be simulated, explored, and discussed.


  • Pre-production
  • Sound design
  • Digital recorders
  • Mixing panels
  • Microphone Basics
  • Booming
  • Plant Mics
  • Lavaliers
  • Wireless
  • Sync Playback
  • Multi-track workflow
  • Intro to Mixdown
  • Unions
  • Budgeting & Crewing
  • Set Etiquette
  • Communications
  • Getting started in the Industry


  • Classroom attendance & participation
  • 3 quizzes & 1 major exam
  • Completion of recording projects and budget project
  • Students are to view & sign in ("reply to") to the class blog every week


All students are expected to attend all classes and lab sessions. There will be NO MAKE-UP of lab assignments without prior consent of the instructor. If you miss a lab assignment you will receive a zero for that assignment. Unexcused absences as well as tardiness will be considered in your final grade. THREE unexcused absences may result in a grade reduction (i.e. up to one full letter on the final grade). Attendance is taken daily and it is the student’s responsibility to SIGN THE ATTENDANCE SHEET! These penalties are designed to encourage professionalism, participation and fair treatment for all. Disruptive, unprofessional behavior will be counted as an unexcused absence and will also entail written assignments as punishment. Class or project switching is prohibited without prior consent of the instructor.

IN THE EVENT OF ABSENCE, it is the student's responsibility to catch up on missed content and to arrange to take make-up exams.

Grading Criteria

Evaluation is based upon student performance in the following areas:

30% - Major Exam (approx 65 questions, covering entire semester)

30% - Quizzes (short answer, multiple choice).

40% - Projects (spaced throughout semester, including:

  1. ENG style interview
  2. Dramatic production mix
  3. Budget plan

Written summaries and log sheets to be submitted with recorded exercises. Project descriptions and requirements are described later in the Projects section. Failure to view and reply to the online class blog may result in the loss of one grade point for each week's non-compliance.

Letter grades are derived from the following table, based on 100 total points possible:

A = 94-100 B+ = 88-89 C+ = 77-79 D = 60-67
A- = 90-93 B = 83-87 C = 73-76  
  B- = 80-82 C- = 68-72  

Classroom performance, professionalism, and optional projects will be considered to improve grades.

Except for extreme circumstances, students are expected to complete the requirements of this course by the last day of classes (official date of Final Exam). Projects are due not later than the last official day of instruction (which is one week prior to CSUN official Final Exam Date). Students who have not taken all exams and turned in their projects may be subject to a failing grade.

Students with valid reasons for not being able to complete the course may petition the Instructor, in writing, for an Incomplete. Requests for Incompletes must be submitted prior to the last day of classes. Students granted Incomplete grades are responsible for contacting the Instructor during the semester break but not later than one month after the start of the following semester in order to set up an arrangement and timetable. Although the University allows up to one year to convert an Incomplete, it is the prerogative of the Instructor to determine how and when Incompletes may be completed. Failure to set up and adhere to this timetable is an automatic F.


Much of what the class does will involve group activity, use of sophisticated equipment, and interaction with industry professionals. Students are expected to display professional and courteous behavior towards people and equipment. Disruptive, unprofessional behavior in this class will not be tolerated. Irresponsible professional behavior that reflects negatively on the department may result in academic penalties; inappropriate behavior will be dealt according to the university regulations and be referred to the Dean of Students.

Academic Dishonesty

In conjunction with examinations, projects and written assignments, it should be noted that severe penalties—including failure in the course and even expulsion from the University—might be applied for any infraction of accepted academic rules of honesty. Among other things, it is understood there shall be no sharing of information on any examination: there shall be no reference to any notes during any test (unless otherwise announced); and despite the collaborative nature of the class, individuals assigned to a position should be the one completing the task.

Use of computers and smart electronic devices

Unless deemed by the Instructor as pertinent production equipment for a specific in-class exercise, the use of personal computers and other smart electronic devices is PROHIBITED. Too many students have used these devices to browse the internet, edit/screen videos, and perform distracting tasks not relevant to class activity. Under no circumstances may cell phones, cameras, and similar devices be within proximity of written tests. (Students with special emergency issues may arrange to leave their phones at the instructors desk.)


You are all strongly encouraged to provide the instructor with your views about me, the course, or the department. Feel free to meet with me, phone, or even leave anonymous notes! Feedback helps all of us grow, students and faculty alike.

Problems, Questions, Etc.

Please, and I cannot stress this point enough, CALL ME! Confusion and logistical problems are natural, but curable. There is bound to be something in the readings or lectures that you are unsure about. During class, if I rattle off some industry jargon that you do not understand — interrupt me and ask. If you have any questions about the readings or lectures, problems with the assignments, need production advice, or whatever...THAT IS WHY I GIVE OUT MY PHONE NUMBER!

Office Hours

Being part-time faculty, on-campus meetings are in classroom (MZ170) or my office (MZ167) one hour prior to class or by appointment. Meetings can also be arranged on campus on other days if I am available.


Subscription to the online coursebook is only $25 for students, but that will give you access to texts and other materials that would cost considerably more if offered as pre-printed items.If you send me an email before your six month subscription expires, I will extend it until you graduate at no additional charge.

In addition, students may have to share the cost of recording media and/or some equipment rental for their projects.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities must register with the Center on Disabilities and complete a services agreement each semester. Staff within the Center will verify the existence of a disability based on the documentation provided and approve accommodations. Students who are approved for test taking accommodations must provide a proctor form to their faculty member signed by a counselor in the Center on Disabilities prior to making testing arrangements. The Center on Disabilities is located in Bayramian Hall, room 110. Staff can be reached at (818) 677-2684.

Class Schedule


01/26 First day of class. Course description. What is Production Sound? Why learn production sound?

02/02 Professional Approach to Prod Sound. Pre-production. Rental houses. Crew.

02/09 Priorities of the mixer. Hierarchy of mic techniques.

02/16 QUIZ #1 (Priorities, Hierarchy, Pre-production)
Mixing panels

02/23 Hands on video exercises. Multi-mic mixing Boom and Plant Mic. (Airport)

03/02 Mic basics. (types, sensitivity, powering)

03/09 QUIZ #2 (Mixers)
Mics continued. Shotguns. Record scenes using various mics.

03/16 Recorders and Multi-Track Mixing

03/23 Spring Break

03/30 Cesar Chavez Day. No class.

04/06 Intro to Lavaliers & Radio Mics. Rig talent and shoot simple "talk show".
Please wear or bring button down shirt or blouse, or something w lapels.


NAB Week. Schedule to be announced. Make sure to check the forum Thursday nite


!Lavs continued. Hands on exercises: TV Event. Multi-mic LIVE event or demo.


04/27 QUIZ #3 (Mics, TV Sound)
Hands on exercises: Complex scene ("Brown Interview")

05/04 Hands on exercises: Complex scene (exterior: "Conned Film Festival").

05/11 Major exam (1st attempt; optional) & post-test review
LAST CHANCE to submit all projects by end of class.


Final exam officially administered.  Regular class time/location unless otherwise notified by the Instructor. 

LAST CHANCE to take make-up tests.

All tests from 8:30am (or 9am) thru 10:30am.

Special Lecture @ 10:45am: Resumés; Getting started in the industry. (Open to all CTVA students)

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