Cinema Studies
For Students:


Semester 1

Introduction to Moving Image Archiving and Preservation

This course introduces all aspects of the field, contextualizes them, and shows how they fit together. It will discuss the media themselves (including the technology, history, and contextualization within culture, politics, and economics) Topics include: conservation and preservation principles, organization and access, daily practice with physical artifacts, restoration, curatorship and programming, legal issues and copyright, and new media issues. Students will learn the importance of other types of materials (manuscripts, correspondence, stills, posters, scripts, etc.). Theories of collecting and organizing (as well as their social meanings) will be introduced.

Howard Besser, semester 1, 4 points

Conservation & Preservation of Moving Image Material—Principles

This course will explain the principles of conservation and preservation, and place moving image preservation within the larger context of cultural heritage preservation. Questions of originals vs. surrogates will be raised, and the wide variety of variant forms will be covered. The course also addresses tensions between conservation and access. Students will learn principles of collection assessment, and how to write a preservation plan. They will also learn about dealing with laboratories, writing contracts, etc. On a more pragmatic level, they will learn about optimal storage conditions and handling.

Evelyn Frangakis, semester 1, 2 points

Access to Moving Image Collections

Students in this course will learn the major components of providing access in moving image archives. Topics include: physical, virtual, and intellectual presentation of collection information;search strategies and use of particular moving image reference resources; access protocols;multi-institutional access projects; establishment of policies and fee structures; evaluation of software for facilitating access to moving image collections. In addition, principles of reference services; descriptive cataloging of moving images, documentation, and artifacts; and indexing and subject analysis will be taught.

Linda Tadic, semester 1, 2 points

Copyright, Legal Issues, and Policy

With the advent of new technologies, film producers and distributors and managers of film and video collections are faced with a myriad of legal and ethical issues concerning the use of their works or the works found in various collections. The answers to legal questions are not always apparent and can be complex, particularly where different types of media are encompassed in one production. When the law remains unclear, a risk assessment, often fraught with ethical considerations, is required to determine whether a production can be reproduced, distributed or exhibited without infringing the rights of others. What are the various legal rights that may encumber moving image material? What are the complex layers of rights and who holds them?Does one have to clear before attempting to preserve or restore a work? How do these rights affect downstream exhibition and distribution of a preserved work? And finally, what steps can be taken in managing moving image collections so that decisions affecting copyrights can be taken consistently? This course will help students make intelligent decisions and develop appropriate policies for their institution.

Rina Pantalony, semester 1, 4 points

Moving Image and Sound: Basic Issues and Training

Ann Harris, semester 1, 4 points

Semester 2

Television: History and Culture

Examines the background, context, and history of radio, television, video, and sound. Topics include: politics and economics of media institutions, audiences and reception, cultural and broadcast policy, aesthetic modes and movements. A required course in NYU's existing MA Degree in Cinema Studies.

Anna McCarthy, semester 2, 4 points

The Culture of Archives, Museums, and Libraries

This course studies the different kinds of institutions that collect and manage cultural material: museums of art, natural history, and motion pictures; libraries and historical societies; corporate institutions. It compares and contrasts these types of institution to reveal how they differ from one another, paying particular attention to how different institutional missions affect internal metadata and information systems. It examines theories of collecting, the history and ethics of cultural heritage institutions, the organizational structures of institutions that house collections (including trends in staffing and the roles of individual departments), and their respective missions and operational ethics. The class will visit a variety of local cultural organizations, and will have working professionals talk about their organizations and duties.

Antonia Lant or Howard Besser, semester 2, 4 points

Collection Management

This course will examine the daily practice of managing collections of film, video, audio, and digital materials. Topics discussed include appraisal, collection policies, inventorying, and physical and digital storage. Students will learn how to prioritize preservation and access activities by weighting copyright, uniqueness of content, format obsolescence and deterioration, and financial considerations. An emphasis is placed on digital project planning and budgeting. Fundraising strategies are also discussed. Coursework includes students completing a collection assessment as well as a grant proposal for prioritized activities associated with their collection.

Linda Tadic, semester 2, 4 points

Directed Internship

see Other Requirements

4 points

Semester 3

Film History/Historiography

This course examines the constitution of the codes and institutions of cinema and the ways in which the history of film has been, and has been understood to be, embedded in, shaped by, and constrained by material and social practices. Various historiographical methods and historical contexts are explored. A required course in NYU's existing MA Degree in Cinema Studies.

Professor Dan Streible, semester 3, 4 points

Film Form and Film Sense

A class outlining film form in a wide variety of film types, to help the student develop a vocabulary for writing about film, and an awareness of the length and breadth of the aesthetic study of film. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to central concepts in film form and style as well as film narrative. The course is structured to suggest a constantly expanding series of models for textual analysis of audio-visual works, with emphasis on the "cinematic signifier." The course will also deal with issues of the interpretation of audio-visual works, with an emphasis on the centrality of textual analysis to such interpretation. Part one of the course will have a strong formal emphasis, introducing concepts such as shot structure, editing, mise-en-scene, camera movement, and sound in relation to their function in the structuring of film narrative. Part Two will formulate these concepts more thoroughly in terms of parameters of film narration (e.g. focalization and its implications for the representation of gender and race). Parts Three and Four will further expand the conceptualization of these issues by dealing with the relationship of film narrative to: (1) genre, understood in terms of its social and ideological implications; and (2) cultural history, understood in terms of the dialogical relations between cultural discourses and the specificity of film narrative. A required course in NYU's existing MA Degree in Cinema Studies.

Professor William Simon, semester 3, 4 points

Video Preservation

This class will give students direct experience with the process of re-formatting of video materials for preservation and access. Addressing in-house systems and work with vendors, the class will increase knowledge in areas of archival standards, prioritization and decision–making, source and destination formats, technical requirements and systems, preparation and workflow, documentation and metadata capture, quality assurance, and overall project management. Students will have hands–on experience with tape preparation and re–formatting using equipment in the MIAP Lab and will interact with experts from preservation companies and from other NYU departments.

Mona Jimenez or Chris Lacinak, semester 3, 2 points

Digital Preservation and Restoration

This class will address the use of digital files as preservation media, and will investigate current theories and practices for the conservation and preservation of both digitized and born digital materials. Students will learn the details of how digital repositories work, and what elements need to be added to a repository in order to make it preservation compliant. Students will gain practical skills with identification and risk assessment for works as a whole, their component parts, and associated software and metadata. Initiatives by broadcasters, the Library of Congress and other national archives, digital libraries and others will be explored as examples of the architecture and attributes of digital repositories. Emphasis will be placed on how archivists may interact with these repositories as part of their preservation practice. Students will also develop an increased understanding of metadata and of rights management for digital materials.

Chris Lacinak and Howard Besser, semester 3, 4 points

Directed Internship

see Other Requirements

4 points

Semester 4

Curating Moving Images

This course focuses on the practice of film exhibition and programming in museums, archives, and independent exhibition venues. It examines the goals of public programming, the constituencies such programs attempt to reach, and the cultural ramifications of presenting archival materials to audiences. Students will study how archives can encourage increasing quantities and different forms of access through their own publications, events, and productions, as well as through the role of new technologies (DVD, CD-ROM, the Internet). They will study how these methods of circulation provoke interest, study and appreciation of archive and museum moving image collections. The seminar will also treat such themes as: individual vs. collective access; film programming design, budget, documentation, and print control; legal issues; projection, and theater management; archival loans, the "Archive Film"; stock footage services; and film stills archive services. The course includes visits to a number of New York institutions that program moving images. These may include: the Film Department of the Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of the Moving Image; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Guggenheim Museum; Anthology Film Archives; the American Museum of Natural History, Margaret Mead Festival; and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Dan Streible, semester 4, 4 points

Handling Complex Media

This seminar will increase students' knowledge of primary issues and emerging strategies for the preservation of media works that go beyond single channels/screens. Students will gain practical skills with identification and risk assessment for works as a whole and their component parts, particularly in the areas of audio and visual media and digital, interactive media projects that are stored on fixed media, presented as installations, and existing in networks.

Examples of production modes/works to be studied are animations (individual works and motion graphics) web sites, games, interactive multimedia (i.e., educational/artist CDROMs), and technology-dependent art installations. Students will test principles and practices of traditional collection management with these works, such as appraisal, selection, care and handling, risk/condition assessment, "triage", description, and storage and will be actively involved in developing new strategies for their care and preservation. Case studies will be undertaken in collaboration with artists/producers, museums, libraries, and/or archives.

Mona Jimenez or Howard Besser, semester 4, 4 points

Film Preservation

This class gives students practical experience with the process of film preservation including understanding and recognizing film elements, making inspection reports, repairing film, making preservation plans, understanding laboratory processes and procedures for making new film preservation elements, and writing preservation histories. The course will teach students how to work with vendors, increase knowledge of archival standards, introduce problems of decision–making, technical requirements, preparation and workflow, and overall project management. The class will undertake and complete an actual film preservation project and follow the steps from start to finish.

Bill Brand, semester 4, 2 points

Elective or Independent Study

All students are required to take an Elective or Independent Study in order to explore more fully a topic of choice. Additional Electives or Independent Studies will be subsitututed if students are waived out of other courses. The Elective may be a media course, a course in cultural institutions and practices, or a course in preservation. The media course might be taken either inside the Department of Cinema Studies, or in various other departments (such as History, French, Italian, and German, American Studies, Africana Studies, etc.). The elective also might be a course in Museum Studies, the History Department's Archiving Program, or the Institute of Fine Arts' Conservation Program.

semester 4, 4 points
MIAP Independent Study
For Fall
H72.2920, H72.2922, H72.2924
For Spring
H72.2921, H72.2923, H72.2925
Independent Study (Other)
For Fall
H72.2900, H72.2902, H72.2904
For Spring
H72.2901, H72.2903, H72.2905

Advanced Topics in Preservation Studies

Through small–group study, the seminar will address advanced and/or special topics, and will focus on successful completion of student thesis or portfolio projects. In addition, the class will address preparation for employment, publishing and professional engagement upon graduation.

Professor Mona Jimenez, semester 4, 2 points

Other Requirements

Directed Internships

Over the course of the first three semesters, each student will engage in two 15 hour per week internships, each lasting a minimum of 14 weeks. These internships will provide hands–on experience with moving image material, as well as deep exposure to the various types of institutions that handle this material. Internships may be paid or unpaid. Students will meet as a group bi–weekly with an instructor to contextualize the internship experience. (At least one internship must be involved with daily management of moving image collection, and another must be involved with restoration.)

Internship Resources for Students
Internship Resources for Supervisors

Summer Internships

Students must undertake a 10-week intensive summer internship (minimum 35 hours/week) in a moving image repository. Though the student may specialize in one particular department/task within the institution, over the course of the summer they will be expected to obtain a broad knowledge of how the various departments of that institution work together. Work done during the internship experience may serve as the core research and preparation for the final thesis project. Students will be encouraged to engage in this internship outside the United States in order to view how repositories operate differently in different countries.

0 points

Thesis/Projects or Portfolio

Each student will be required to complete a capstone project in the form of either a thesis or a Portfolio. The student is expected to work with their Advisor beginning their second semester to make sure that their capstone project will reflect their learning experience in the program. The Portfolio must include a written essay synthesizing the wide variety of topics learned during the program, as well as good examples of projects that the student has completed. (The Portfolio may serve as an example of what the student might present a potential employer. The Portfolio must be turned in by the 10th week of the student's final Spring semester, and at the end of that semester the student must orally present this Portfolio to a Committee of faculty and working professionals who will evaluate whether or not the student is ready to be granted the degree.