This is a highly technical, specialist course, equivalent to two A Levels, which will give you the opportunity to work on a number of different filmmaking projects, both independently and as part of a production crew.
You will study cinematography, lighting, sound design and editing in the context of practical projects such as short film and music video making. In addition you will study and develop industry standard skills in pre-production, including screenwriting and storyboarding.
Aside from the general entry requirements that the College requires, you need to achieve a minimum of:
- Grade 4 in GCSE English Language
- Grade 4 in GCSE Media Studies (if the subject has been taken)
You will need to have a good level of creativity as there is a strong creative component, and an interest in using filmmaking technology and software. The ability to work independently to professional expectations, to be self-motivated and to meet deadlines is essential.
The BTEC National Diploma course, equivalent to two A Levels, has 10 units.
In your first year you will study;
- Unit 36 Lighting Techniques – Learners will undergo technical training on the use of specialist techniques and equipment. They will then work towards attaining a working understanding of how lighting works in media products, how to plan lighting set-ups and how to safely deploy lighting equipment. They will then produce a film scene in a ‘classic noir’ style to demonstrate their understanding of lighting techniques.
- Unit 21 Film Editing – Learners will explore the development of continuity and discontinuity editing in film and television by analysing and evaluating historical and contemporary examples. Students will then experiment with various editing techniques before finally creating an opening of an original film scene which demonstrates continuity and discontinuity editing techniques to create meaning.
- Unit 20 Single Camera Techniques -Learners develop and understanding of the differences between single camera and multicamera productions. They will explore various single camera productions such as documentary and music video across a range of genres. They will then work of the various stages of production of an original music video.
- Unit 24 Sound Editing- in this unit learners will further their editing skills by learning how to edit pre-recorded sound. They will be introduced to the Adobe Auditions which they will use for editing sound.
- Unit 7 Media Enterprise [Mandatory unit]- this unit will assess learners’ knowledge and understanding of how enterprise skills can be used to initiate and develop ideas for new media products or services. Students will carry our various forms of research and product development before producing the pilot episode for their podcast series.
In your second year, you will study;
- Unit 23 Stop Motion – Learners will study the development of the techniques used to create a smooth illusion of motion as well as looking at the different processes involved in creating a completed stop motion animation. They will then work on developing and producing their own stop motion production.
- Unit 19 Scriptwriting- Learners will be introduced to the role and responsibilities of scriptwriters in the creative media sector. They will then look at the different styles and formats of scripts in the media sector after which they will write a script for an original short film following the industry standard format.
- Unit 8 Responding to Commission [Externally assessed exam]- In this externally assessed unit learners will be tested on their ability to respond to a given scenario using their understanding of the production process for creative digital media products as well as their creativity and problem-solving skills.
- Unit 3 Digital Media Skills [Externally assessed exam]
- Unit 10 Film production [Mandatory unit]
The course is assessed throughout the two years by a number of coursework assignments, where students complete a series of tasks set in a work-related scenario. These coursework assignments are centre-assessed and then externally moderated by the exam board. Coursework assignments may include short reports, PowerPoints, presentations, portfolios and films. There are two externally assessed units for the Diploma course.
For the externally assessed units you will demonstrate the skills you have developed through your coursework units to create a TV or film product responding to a brief, set by the examination board.
We expect students who are taking the Diploma course to be committed to a media-related degree or employment, and so in many cases subjects such as Film Studies, Music Technology, Graphic Communication, Art or Photography may be appropriate. However, the course is also enriched by subjects such as English, History, IT, Sociology or Psychology.
We would not necessarily advise taking this course with Media Studies A Level unless the student has a firm commitment to pursuing a media related degree or employment.
Film and Television Production BTEC is a highly respected qualification, with 90% of our students progressing onto university.
Here are some typical university destinations that our Film and Television Production BTEC students go on to. Click on a destination to see some examples of courses they have taken.
Typical courses: Television Production / Film and Television
Typical courses: Digital Film Production / Foundation Art Diploma with Media Studies
Typical courses: Film, Television and Digital Production
Typical courses: Popular Music Performance
Typical courses: Filmmaking
Typical courses: Psychology with Criminology
Typical courses: Film Production
Typical courses: Film and Television
Typical courses: Introduction to Acting / Film Production
BTECs offer more practical, skills-based learning through coursework or themed units, and are excellent preparation for specialist degree courses. They are nationally recognised qualifications, and a credible alternative to A Levels. You can study A Levels and BTECs together, or choose to do all BTECs or all A Levels. With BTECs you get a grade for each unit – Pass, Merit, Distinction, and Distinction *.
Students on this course have progressed onto degree in media production-related subjects and have also been able to take short courses with the British Film Industry in short film production, documentary and animation.
This qualification also enables students to enter employment at a trainee /apprenticeship level, and the work-based learning component of the course equips them with relevant skills and experience to apply to workplaces. Possible stepping stones into future production careers might include Technician, Researcher, Runner or Production Assistant.
What are the main differences between the media BTEC courses, Media Studies A Level and Film Studies A Level?
The focus in media BTEC, for the learner, is the acquisition of professional media skills which are theoretically underpinned. This is a ‘hands on’, practical course. The dominant learning paradigm is to ‘learn by doing’.
The sharpest contrast between BTEC and A Level lies in the assessment of work. Media Studies A Level looks at a range of media texts including music videos, radio, TV programmes, webpages, advertising etc. Film Studies A Level only looks at films and requires a passion for watching a range of texts including black and white, independent and foreign language films.
What equipment does the Film and Media department have access to?
Our film department is equipped with the latest cameras, lighting, and audio equipment to ensure that students have access to the best resources for their studies.
Our camera equipment includes the Canon EOS C100, which is a powerful camera capable of producing stunning visuals in high resolution, a range of DSLRs and GoPro, which are perfect for filming short films, documentaries, and music videos. We also have a range of lenses to accompany the camera, allowing students to experiment with different shots and angles. In addition to our camera equipment, we have a range of lighting equipment including Amaran 100x, P60c, P60x and a range of LED panels and softboxes. These tools are essential for creating the right lighting conditions for a scene, and our students have the opportunity to learn how to use them effectively.
Our audio equipment includes the Zoom H6, which is a portable audio recorder that allows students to capture high-quality sound on location and we also have range of radio mics accompanied by Lav microphones which are perfect for recording dialogue, sound effects, and ambient noise. Our film department also has a range of accessories available for students to use, such as gimbals, tripods, stabilizers, sliders and boom poles. These tools are crucial for achieving stable shots and capturing high-quality audio.
Additionally, we offer training sessions and workshops to help students become proficient in using our equipment and to develop their skills in film production.
What extra support/enrichment activities are on offer?
The department has strong links with Southampton Solent University, University for the Creative Arts, and other educational providers. We regularly seek guidance on how best to advise our students about progression opportunities. We also offer support and enrichment workshops, invite in guest speakers and help students build more of a practical portfolio. At the end of the second year we celebrate student achievement with our own Esher Oscars. All students taking this course will have the opportunity to organise and undertake a work experience placement towards the end of their first year of study.