Our guide to film and video production
Alistair Stafford

Our guide to film and video production

First published date February 26 2014 Amended date October 31 2014

It’s only when the credits role at the end of a film or TV show, and what seems like a never ending list of names appear on screen, that you realise just how many people it takes to produce a film. While it’s the actors and the director that tend to take all the plaudits when a film or TV show is a success, it’s the large production team working off-camera that play a key role in making their content a big hit. 


Are you a film buff looking to expand your knowledge of how your favourite movies are produced? Perhaps you’re an amateur cameraman looking to improve your skills to try and break into the film industry? Whether you aspire to help make the next Hollywood blockbuster or just want to discover how your favourite type of show is made, then a film and video production course is for you.


What you’ll learn

Shorter courses will give you a general overview of the production process, typically introducing you to using the filming and lighting equipment, as well how to work with some of the more familiar editing software like Adobe Premier Elements. Longer film and production training courses will provide you with more hands on practice with a wider variety of digital cameras, while some will have modules explaining some of the different variations in production depending on the genre of show or film being made.


But I’m not sure what’s best for me...

If you already know which area of film and video production you want to pursue a career in, then there are specialist training courses available in film production or television and radio production, allowing you to develop in your medium of interest. However, it’s not the end of the world if you’re still uncertain on your desired route, as a general production course will give you an overview in the different variations, giving you an all-round knowledge.


Why bother?

If you’re genuinely interested in a media career, particularly one based on any kind of broadcast production, then taking a course makes perfect sense. Not only does a film and video production course open your eyes into how programmes are put together, but many of the people who teach the programmes have distinguished careers and can offer huge amounts of experience. That may seem irrelevant, but the industry contacts they’ll have will significantly boost your chances of getting industry work experience, which ultimately gives you a great chance of landing a job. 


The production process

As we’re sure you’re aware, a feature-length programme or film can take months or in some cases years to be completed. The production process is often long and drawn out, with lots of stages to be completed before even reaching the point of filming and eventually editing. Although a film and video production course will explain in more detail how a project is put together, here are the three main stages of how features are filmed:

>  Pre-production – Before a feature film or television programme can even start being filmed, there are plenty of tasks to be completed first. Once the script writer has complete his work, research can then begin on organising suitable filming locations and props , getting permission to use certain audio in the production and start casting the potential stars of the show.

>  Production – This often requires incredibly long working hours to try and get filming finished as quickly and efficiently as possible. The size of the production team can vary significantly depending on the size of what’s being made, with a blockbuster movie potentially having hundreds of people working behind the scenes, while a low budget TV programme may just have one producer.  A film and video production course will show you the wide range of responsibilities that a producer has.

>  Post-production – If you thought the hard bit was over once filming was finished, then think again, as the post-production stage can often be the most time consuming part of getting a film on screen. Video editing skills are useful, as hundreds of hours of footage have to be cut and reassembled in order, while video animation and graphics staff help to form a rough edit of the programme that’s being made.


The next step

For those looking to study film and television production in more detail, there are undergraduate degrees and postgraduate courses available at universities across the country. These programmes may be quite costly, but student funding is on hand to help fund a formal film and video production qualification – which will obviously boost those long-term career dreams. If you’re still unsure whether film and television production is going to be a hobby or a full-time profession, then our careers guide can help you make a decision. 

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