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Exposure and Composition Justification

Jared Ritchey, Boise State University

1. User Assumptions
The learners enrolled in MMTC102: Intro to Video Production are second year
college students. All of the students have taken Intro to Media and Intro to
Photography both courses introduce students to basic exposure and
camera principles that will be expanded upon in this course. The students
also have good computer skills, as this is required in the prerequisite
courses. Because the students have successfully passed intro to media and
intro to photography, they have some understanding of cameras and image
creation. As there are various concentrations in the Multimedia Technology
program, the students who have elected to take intro to video production
have some interest in the field.
Most of the students are traditional college students. This semester, there
are two non-traditional students. Through conversations, it is known that
these students have experience in the video production field and desire to
obtain an official degree to advance their careers. The majority of the
students are commuters from the surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and
Maryland. Three of the students are from the D.C. and Baltimore area and
live nearby in Cumberland.
At the beginning of the semester, the instructor is notified of any student
with a documented learning disability. This semester, there are no known
physical disabilities that will affect learning. There are two students with
test-taking learning disabilities. There are two tests given throughout the
semester. The students with learning disabilities will be allowed to take the
tests in the testing center with extended test times.

2. Graphic Descriptions
Home Page
Spaceship graphic
On the homepage, there is an image that represents the entire unit. Each
element is displayed as a wave of enemies and the player is represented by
a spaceship at the bottom of the graphic. I chose this as a theme because it
uses metaphors, or synectics, which can increase learning (Lohr, 2008, p.
77). To create the graphic, I found the spaceships and T.V. online (free-use)
and combined them in Photoshop.

Lesson One
F-Stop, Exposure, and Histogram Graphics
The first graphic was designed to show students the inverse relationship
between the f-stop setting and the aperture size and how this affects
exposure. Students often struggle with this inverse-relationship, so this
graphic utilizes organization to visually demonstrate that concept.
Oftentimes, learners associate something that is on the left side of the page
with before and the right side as after (or effect) (Lohr, 2008, p.128). I
placed a representation graphic of an aperture with its corresponding f-stop
on the left side of the page. I then place the effect on exposure on the right
side of the page. This should not only help the students see the inverse
relationship between the f-stop and the aperture size, but also its effect on
exposure. I created this graphic in Photoshop and used images of an
aperture that I found online with the appropriate rights.
The second graphic contains all of the components that affect exposure and
their secondary effects. I designed this to sum up exposure and used shapes
to convey the information. Learners often associate circles and oval with
systems and unity (Lohr, 2008, p. 250). I placed the main components in an
oval and kept their secondary effects in close proximity below them.
Learners also group separate components together and draw conclusions.
This reflects gestalt design where the individual components work together
and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (Jackson, 2008, p.4). Each
of the components work together to create good exposure. I also illustrated
this by placing my graphic on the back of a camera. I created this graphic
using Photoshop and found the camera and oval graphics online (free use).
The third graphic will show students how a luminance histogram measures
the exposure in video. I designed this graphic with repetition in mind and
chose to show four histograms with different exposure levels. The main
function of contrast is to establish differences between elements in a visual
(Lohr, 2008, p.201). Each histogram also uses great contrast white pixel
levels against a darker background. The top histogram shows how shadows,
highlights, and mid-tones are represented. The bottom three histograms
show different exposure levels and are accompanied by their corresponding
picture. This will really help students make the connection between a
histogram and how it displays an images exposure. I created this image by
taking screen-shots of the images histogram and combining all the elements
in a separate Photoshop file. I also used simple, sans-serif text for

I use a Prezi presentation in this lesson. Using the multimedia principle, I will
verbally talk about the slides, which show the components that affect
exposure. This is a short presentation and should only take a small portion
of the lecture.

Lesson Two
Composition and Powerpoint Graphics
This lesson shows students how to compose their shots for aesthetic
purposes. The first graphic is a representational visual and shows the
students each of the composition techniques covered in the unit. Selection
was a key part of this visual, as each of the important elements are in color,
while the rest of the image is gray-scale. This immediately draws the eye to
the essential information. According to the multimedia principle, individuals
learn better from words and graphics, than words alone (Clark & Mayer,
2011, p. 71). I will be explaining the techniques verbally in lecture, but
actually seeing the techniques on screen will allow students understand the
principles. I created (using Photoshop) this graphic by inserting each image
in a film strip. I then applied a gray-scale filter to everything but the
essential elements. I mainly used the quick select tool to make the proper
The second graphic illustrates how to apply the power-point principle to an
image. This relates to the rule of thirds and can also be applied to the other
two composition techniques (framing and leading lines). My goal for this
graphic was to keep extraneous elements out of the picture and simply show
how a subject can go onto a power-point. Research shows when a graphic is
overly complex, learners will often abandon it rather than try to make sense
of the image (Evergreen & Metzner, 2013, p.6). I simply showed a white
frame with power-points beside an image with the same power-points
superimposed. I created this image in Photoshop and used the line tool to
create the rule of thirds. I then created a red circle for the power-points and
placed those on the intersecting lines.
Like the first lesson, I also incorporated a Prezi presentation in this lesson.
The class and I will discuss each slide and how the composition is used. As
with the first Prezi, this will be a short presentation.

Lesson Three
Depth and Camera Distance Graphics
The first graphic in this lesson focuses on using a foreground, middleground, and background element to create depth in an image. I will show
one image that contains all three of those elements, then another image that

deconstructs the elements. Warmer colors seem to pop out of an image,

while cooler colors seem to sink into the background (Lohr, 2008, p.267). To
give a sense of depth, I made the foreground elements a warm color and the
background elements a cool color. I also gave each element a drop shadow
to increase the sense of a three dimensional space. This will help the
students see the elements as a whole and as separate pieces. To create this
graphic, I imported the image into After Effects and separated the elements.
I added drop shadows and the color filters, then exported the image as a
The final graphic in the unit showcases the effect that camera-to-subject
distance has on depth of field. Depth of field can also have an effect on the
overall depth in an image, so I wanted to create a visual that shows this
connection. The easiest and most effective way to show this was to place
icons of a camera and person at specific distances, then show a how this
affects an image. I chunked the different images and icons with white space
because this will help direct the learners to each image and mentally
organize the graphic (Lohr, 2008, p.272). To create this image, I took three
pictures of my friend at different distances. I then placed those in a
Photoshop document, placed the icons beside the image, and aligned the

3. Design Process
When designing my unit, I began with the end in mind. I knew that I wanted
my students to be able to shoot video that is properly exposed and use
creative composition techniques. With that in mind, I began creating lessons
that incrementally gave the students the information needed to reach that
goal. I also created a pre-assessment survey that the students will take
before the first class. This will allow me to measure their prior knowledge. Ill
also administer a post-assessment quiz that contains more questions to
measure their learning. I wanted to begin the lesson with a fun discussion of
their favorite movies. A movie preference can tell you a lot about a person.
Ill show a trailer for some of the movies and we will discuss how the shots
are framed and how the lighting (light or dark) affects the mood and
The first lesson begins with a lecture on how to control exposure. There are
multiple factors that control the exposure of an image. I started with the
main component (aperture), then moved onto the shutter-speed and the
ISO. The aperture is a particularly difficult concept to remember because
small f-stop numbers equal large apertures. I dedicated an entire graphic to

this inverse relationship, so students can really understand how the f-stop
affects the aperture. There are also important secondary effects of each
component. The aperture affects the depth of field, the shutter-speed affects
motion, and the ISO affects noise. I combined these secondary effects into a
single graphic so students could easily see the relationships. Because this
information is crucial to proper exposure, I decided to create a short quiz on
Blackboard that will test their exposure knowledge.
The second lesson in the unit is dedicated to composition techniques. There
are many lighting, framing, and editing techniques that contribute to a
videos look, but I wanted to focus on the basics. I also wanted this lesson to
flow into the next, where the students will learn more about depth in an
image. I give a few specific images as examples for these techniques. By
verbally and visually explaining the examples, the multimedia principle is in
full effect and will help promote learning. I spend extra time on the rule of
thirds and power points because this can be applied to any composition
technique. Leading lines is also related to depth, which will be discussed in
the following lesson. To end the lesson, I have students look for movie clips
online that showcase each of these techniques. This will also help develop
their critical eye. They will discuss their clips and explain how they utilize the
techniques learned.
The final lesson is the lab part of the unit and will require the students to use
everything they have learned thus far. To begin, a discussion on depth and
using foreground, middle-ground, and background elements will take place.
This is important because all of the composition techniques can utilize this
principle. Next, I wanted to show the students how to control depth of field,
which also contributes to the depth of an image. An easy way to do that is
by moving the camera closer to the subject (shown with a graphic). Finally,
the students will group up and shoot a short video clip demonstrating each
of the composition techniques. Each clip should be exposed correctly and
include a foreground, middle-ground, and background element. I will grade
their shots from a rubric, which will be shared with the class. In the next
weeks lecture, the groups will present their clips to the class and explain
how they composed their shots. I want to measure what they have learned
during the week, so I will have the students complete a post-assessment
survey at the end of the lab.
When designing the website, I wanted a clean look and easy to navigate
layout. I tried using Wordpress, but decided that the blog template wasnt
producing the website look and functions that I wanted. I decided to use
Weebly and found that it was very easy to learn and use. I made each lesson

its own page and used a top navigation for the separate pages. Weebly is
very functional because its easy to insert documents, Prezi presentations,
and graphics (all of which were used) into the page layout. I also only used
one header graphic on the home page because I wanted to keep the pages
as short as possible (less scrolling). Overall, I am pleased with how easy it
was to create a website (compared to custom HTML & CSS). I hope this will
be a useful companion in my class next semester.

Clark, R.C., & Mayer, R.E. (2011). E-Learning and the science of instruction:
Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning
(3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons/Pfeiffer.
Evergreen, S., & Metzner, C. (2013). Design principles for data visualization
in evaluation. New Directions For Evaluation, 2013(140), 5-20.
Jackson, I. (2008). Gestalt-A learning theory for graphic design
education. International Journal Of Art & Design Education, 27(1), 6369. doi:10.1111/j.1476-8070.2008.00558.x
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in
visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.