Film Production


Term 1 Course Description



Cinematography 1

Cinematography is the photography of moving objects in the making of a motion picture. Cinematography involves such technical concerns as format, camera, lens and lighting, as well as techniques such as camera angles, camera placement and movement. Significant to each image and the relation of images are motion, composition, form, colour and tone. The students begin with a series of lectures and workshops enabling them to initially understand and operate digital cameras. The Sony EX-1 HD motion picture cameras are used in Term 1 both for training and the Character Shoots.


Directing 1 

Without a strong vision behind a story, a film will lose its focus. A film director needs to have an understanding of how each department contributes to the making of a film and how to best utilize the talents of all team members. This course covers the role and responsibilities of a director in script development, pre-production, production, and post production. Students learn to tell a story cinematically, use the camera as a tool, prepare a script
analysis and engage in the casting and rehearsal process with actors.


Post Production 1

In this introductory class, students will learn the incredible creative power that post production provides the filmmaker in the following areas: picture editing, sound editing, sound mixing, music, colour correction, and visual effects. Emphasis will be on the overall post-production process and the larger decisions necessary in these areas, but also on the importance of knowing your post- production direction well before filming takes place.


Production Techniques 1 

While the leadership positions of director, producer, cinematographer, and production designer are the keystones of film productions, there are several crew positions behind-the- scenes that are imperative to running the show, and facilitating the project through production and post production. Production Techniques 1 will offer students an introduction to Production Sound, Script Supervising, and Production Management and prepare them to enter into these roles during their Term 1 Short Story Project shoot.


Production Design 1 

The Production Designer’s role is to help to define and build the world in which the story of the film takes place. A designer must combine the creative thinking required to define compelling visual concepts with the practical knowledge of how to plan, budget, and oversee the execution of their designs.
In Production Design 1, students will learn how to create and pitch a design as part of the competition for the term 2 show while also learning to make effective set decoration decisions for zero-budget productions this term.


Assistant Directing 1

One of the most important differences between a professional and an amateur Assistant Director is their ability to understand how a film is prepped and how to run a set safely and effectively following industry practices. Assistant Directing 1 will give students an in-depth understanding of the roles and duties of the Assistant Director during preproduction; show them how to properly breakdown a script to create an accurate shooting schedule; and
teach them proper set etiquette and protocol so they are ready for the Week 5 Location Exercise and the Term One Character Shoots they will direct and crew on.


Script Development 1

Character is the cornerstone of every discipline in film dictating all major decisions in Writing, Producing, Acting, Production Design, Directing, Cinematography and Post Production. Story Development introduces students to the dramatic importance of character in story and filmmaking. Through lectures, screenings and in class creative exercises, students will gain the ability to create fully realized, three dimensional characters. To insure that students have a firm grounding in character, students will also pitch, write and rewrite a one minute character scene which they will then direct at the end of term. This will enable students to gain the character building skills required to create larger, more complex narratives over the course of the year.






Term 2 Course Description



Cinematography 2

In Cinematography 2, the art of camera and lighting goes further to the very core of this subject matter - Visual Storytelling. Through a series of lectures and intensive hands-on workshops, students will learn and apply the fundamental techniques of exposure, the qualities of light that enable the cinematographer to model the actors and give shape to the set, and the basic methods for moving the camera. The course will also help students understand the role of the Director of Photography and how she or he adds emotion and style to the final look of a scene and ultimately of the film. A variety of concepts, techniques, and hands-on training will further essential skills on camera, lighting, and gripping. These will then be applied to the Term Two Shoot. The Sony F335 HD camera will be introduced as well as various lighting and grip instruments.


Directing 2 

Building on the principles learned in Directing 1, students will explore further aspects of directing technique and collaboration. The actor's approach, character analysis, advanced blocking, image systems and rehearsal styles form the foundation of the course. Students will also present their Term One films for in-class discussion and critique. Workshops in blocking and rehearsal will demonstrate and emphasize the prep duties of the director and
culminate in the "Studio Practicum" shoot.


Post Production 2 

This course covers procedures and techniques for picture and audio editing using non-linear editing software. Students create their own projects, customize the application’s settings and interface, and import and organize files for editing. In addition students, begin an exploration of editing theory and aesthetics. The student moves beyond the ‘How’ to the ‘When’ and ‘Why’ of editing. Using footage from the short story project, students will have an opportunity to apply editing concepts in a valuable hands-on introduction to the art of constructing a dramatic scene.In addition to file management, they will learn the basics of visual effects editing, colour correction and titling. They will also begin to examine the concepts and possibilities related to sound design for drama. Finally, they will design a menu, create a DVD, and properly finish, deliver and present films. These skills prepare the students for the Post Production of their subsequent projects. The course will consist of lectures followed by supervised labs, quizzes, and assignments with feedback throughout. 



Producing 2

Character Shoot, and had the opportunity to work on set in every key role. In Term Two you will use those same opportunities to expand that skill set - scheduling, set protocol, set etiquette, safety, location scouting and management, casting. Budgeting will also be introduced with learning directed toward the successful completion of the Term Two Shoot.


Production Design 2

One of the most visible differences between an amateur effort and a truly professional film is the quality of the sets. Production Design 2 will teach students the basic principles of visual concept, composition and colour. Major topics will include set etiquette (professional conduct), colour theory and composition, as we create a tableau both on canvas and in the studio. We will also be doing some painting and ageing, and even some props building. Students will have the opportunity to pitch design proposals and then work together on the selected design to complete the finished set which will be used in the term 2 shoot, at the end of the term. This course blends theory and practice with an emphasis on applying the techniques in a workshop environment. Students should expect to perform a variety of artistic and practical tasks.


Assistant Directing 2

One of the most important differences between a professional and an amateur filmmaker is their ability to run a set safely and effectively following industry practices. Assistant Directing 2 provides students with the fundamentals of production management practices including call sheets, set etiquette, working with actors, and location management. These techniques form the basis both of managing small zero-budget films and are the
foundation for developing more sophisticated skills later in the program in order to enable students to manage much larger productions. 





Script Development 2 

A character is introduced, a problem disrupts their life and they attempt to solve that problem by overcoming a variety of obstacles. This is the heart of any story and the basis for the story’s structure. Expanding on the skills acquired in developing characters in Term One, students will gain the ability to properly structure a dramatically compelling character driven story in Term Two. By pitching and rewriting multiple drafts of a one-three page script,
students will also understand how conflict functions and defines structure as they create a story featuring a flawed character facing obstacles as they attempt to accomplish a goal .






Term 3 Course Description


Cinematography 3

In Cinematography 3, specific roles in cinematography are examined in depth, with emphasis on the responsibilities and skill sets required for the Director of Photography and key department heads. Through a series of workshops students will also learn how to work together as a creative Cinematography team. The moving camera workshop focuses on the relationship between the DOP and the Director, and how they work together to execute a scene. In addition Students will gain the ability to execute reference lighting, the finer details of camera systems, as well as how to do effective exterior lighting. Students will be graded based on their performance during these workshops as well as pre-production assignments for Term Three Projects and a final exam.


Directing 3 

Major topics for Term 3 include a review of the SHVFS casting process, working with actors during script read through, the Director and Producer relationship during casting and Term 3 shoot pre-production meetings with director and crew. Students will also present their Term Two films for discussion and critique. These lessons are essential to ensuring the success of the Term 3 projects and to further prepare students to be confident filmmakers as they move into specializations and later terms.


Post Production 3

Students build on the Post Production Workflow learned and applied in Terms 1 and 2 to Post their Term 2 projects and gain more professional Post Production experience. The course consists of lectures followed by supervised labs, quizzes, and assignments with feedback throughout.


Producing 3 

Building on the principles and techniques learned in Term 2 Producing and Assistant Directing, students will explore further aspects of Producing techniques, Production Management and positive collaboration with the film production team. Students will be given a more in-depth understanding on the aspects of budgeting and cost projection and will have an opportunity to participate in active casting for the Term 3 Projects.


Production Design 3

This very practical course will build on the knowledge and experience the students have gained to date. Students with the highest participation and overall success in terms 1 and 2 will have the greatest chance to assume the role of Production Designer or Costume Designer on six productions during the term 3 shoot. All students will participate in the design process, from concept to completion. Moodle will be loaded with resources and materials to help students with their Term 3 Production Design needs. As soon as scripts are chosen and teams decided, Students will begin
the pre-production process. By the end of term 3, Students will be able to modify and enhance their filming environments. They will know how to use visual tools to describe character and backstory. Students will have the confidence to create visual worlds in which their stories can be expressed with substance. 


Script Development 3

In Term One and Term Two students were introduced to the dramatic importance of character and structure in story. In Term Three Students will create stories that are defined by a clear theme. Theme has already been examined in Directing Classes and will be examined more deeply as students develop scripts for possible production at the end of Term Three.





Term 3 Project Production

One characteristic of professional films is the ability to take completely different production models such as: Producer-driven production, location shooting, and possible visual effects and blend them into a seamless world for the audience. Students will perform both Leadership Roles such as Assistant Director, Producer, Director, or Production Designer and Supporting Roles such as Gaffer or Script Supervisor is crucial in developing the
knowledge and confidence required to work on modern film sets. T3 Project Production will provide students with experience and mentorship on how to work as professional crew members on complex shows. Through a series of practical, guided work on-set, students will develop an understanding of crew management and production methodologies while participating in the creation of films which can become key parts of their demo reels and portfolios. Specific areas covered in this course include managing concept meetings, production meetings, and managing larger crews.



Term 4 Course Description

Advanced Cinematography 1

In the Advanced Camera Techniques portion of this term, a new High- Definition camera is introduced as well as a totally new recording medium – film. During the first 4weeks of lectures and workshops, students will go in-depth technically and creatively in many of the positions that comprise the cinematography department. In the Advanced Lighting and Dolly Techniques portion of this term the students will have the chance to practice new ways of lighting and moving the camera. During the last 4 weeks, more industry standard instruments are introduced, enabling students to move the camera or light a film set in different ways not yet performed at VFS. Furthermore, they will have the chance to practice the skills learned by providing support roles for the digital round of the Term 5 projects. A variety of concepts, techniques, and hands-on training will further essential skills anyone
specializing in this department must fully understand.  


Advanced Directing 1 

Once a beginner filmmaker knows the fundamentals of directing they have the ability to make a film. However, the discipline of directing goes far beyond these basic competencies. The challenge of completing their film and realizing it as a true reflection of their
vision requires having an advanced palette of techniques and ideas to complement their creative voice. Advanced Directing1 provides students with the necessary knowledge and tools for developing and refining their professional voice as directors. Major course topics cover the study, design and direction of specific scenes such as openings, endings, and obligatory scenes in genre films. The course also provides students with the necessary observation, evaluation, exploration and thinking tools required to ensure that optimal direction and best performances are realized on set. Both creative and fiscal management techniques from a directorial perspective are also covered so that directors fully comprehend the opportunities to effectively use pre-production, production, and post-production as distinct stages in bringing their vision to life.





Advanced Post Production 

Post Production requires a certain level of technical knowledge and experience in order to maintain industry standard practices and deliverables. This course will allow the student to gain knowledge and experience in post workflow using the industry standard Avid system. In addition, details regarding third-party integration of visual effects, sound, and colour correction in order to achieve proper deliverables will be studied and practiced. As a picture editor, it is imperative to be able to work in an environment that allows a user the freedom to create using one’s own imagination. This course will elevate and expand the student’s imagination towards telling a story using all the resources available in post production. Success will hinge on the ability to engage with an open mind and respond positively to the question that begins with the simple words “What if…?”


Advanced Producing 1 

Finding a great script and getting financing is just the first step in producing; getting it on the big screen for audiences to see requires taking charge and making smart and sometimes tough decisions. In this course students will enter into the world of finance, negotiations, mediating, creative problem solving and the rush of producing something fantastic. Major course topics cover learning and understanding the nuts and bolts of production. The course will focus on producing in the three areas where the Line Producer plays the biggest roles: pre-production, production, and post-production. By the end of the course students will be able to confidently produce and budget shows on a shoestring budget and beyond.





Advanced Production Design 1 

Advanced Production Design 1 takes the student beyond the boundaries of interpreting the director’s vision and into the realm of enhancing it. By adding their own voice, vision, and brainstorming abilities to the process, they help bring the story into a unique and cohesive world. To achieve this successfully, the production designer must also be able to use the tools necessary to articulate the vision to directors, producers, and directors of photography.





 Advanced Story Development 1 

Advanced Story Development allows students the opportunity to utilize and expand on the screenwriting skills they’ve acquired through Terms One to Three and write a longer short script with greater production values. This course is open to all students and follows the format of earlier courses from story pitch to beat sheet and then the workshopping of three drafts. Six scripts will then be selected for production as Final Projects in Term Five.









Term 5 Course Description


就业准备课要预备好许多内容:职业道路规划(现在,中期,长期)、初步简历和求职信、个人品牌建设、推销自己的策略、以及营销的概念(了解市场需求以及如何满足需求)。本课程还会涉及一些作品集准备的内容,包括Elevator Pitch(一分钟内推介自己)和个人简历。本课程会一直持续到第六学期。


Advanced Directing 2

A major challenge for the director in making any film is being able to deliver strong, compelling performances from the actors which are consistent with the director’s vision of the story. Advanced Directing 2 will provide students with a number of practical, in-depth tools and strategies to accomplish this. Major course topics include experiencing performance from the actor’s point of view, improvisation for directors, and advanced rehearsal techniques. By the end of the course, students will be able to rehearse with actors effectively, and to plan and shoot a 3-hander scene successfully, choreographing camera movement with the performance, staging and blocking of the actors.

Advanced Production Design 2

Advanced Production Design 1 takes the student beyond the boundaries of interpreting the director’s vision and into the realm of enhancing it. By adding their own voice, vision, and brainstorming abilities to the process, they help bring the story into a unique and cohesive world. To achieve this successfully, the production designer must also be able to use the tools necessary to articulate the vision to directors, producers, and directors of photography.

Advanced Producing 2

Taking a feature film through the development phase can be a daunting prospect. The commitment required for studios, investors, cast, and crew is exponentially higher than for short films, and the Creative Producer must consider every aspect of the project, from initial script selection and audience identification to the final pitch before potential partners. Advanced Producing 2 will provide students with the tools and Strategies required to package and pitch a feature film project. Major course topics include how to write coverage and break down the script, raising funding and securing financing, designing pitches, and setting up test screenings. By the end of the course students will be able to put together a complete package for pitching a feature-length project.


Advanced Story Development 2

Expanding on skills acquired writing short scripts, students will gain a greater understanding of story structure and characterization through lectures,
screenings and workshops. This will enable students to write beat sheets for their longer form stories that will be followed by the workshopping of their story treatments in Term 6. 





Term 6 Course Description


The major assignment for this course will be a Career Roadmap assignment in which students articulate a potential strategy (along with supporting materials such as their resume) for pursuing a career in cinematography. Students should be aware that professionalism in term 6 specialization courses counts for 25% of the grade and therefore use this opportunity to demonstrate both their professional demeanour and their passion for their chosen discipline. 


Employment Prep

The goal of this course is to give students the tools and information that will enable them to find employment in the industry after they graduate. SHVFS will be bringing in many exciting guests who work in Shanghai's film industry and specialize in different areas of film making. These guests will show how each of their specialties relates to the other specific areas of film making and how their own career path has changed along the way. Students will learn of current job prospects in the industry, how to apply for entry level positions and how develop entrepreneurial plans for freelancework or even business start-ups. The course assignment will have each student a business, employment or freelance plan that will direct their
career path in a personal manner after they graduate. These plans will be realistic and within reach of each student in the immediate or near future.


Final Project Post Production 

This course is the finishing stage of Final Projects. All post elements of a student’s final project should be completed. The elements will consist of picture editing, visual effects, titles and credits, post sound editing and mix, music composition and/or needle drops and colour correction. As in the Term 3 Projects, students will be expected to hit the deliverables and deadlines set out by the Final Projects Post Production schedule. During post-production, it is time for the student to put into practice and refine the skills learned in the previous terms. A student is expected to proactively seek aid in any or all areas from the available resources offered within SHVFS as well as externally for those areas where outside assistance may berequired. For example, a music composer. Project management and approval will be guided by the mentor.



Advanced Cinematography 3

Term 6 courses in the Film Production program give students the opportunity to refine skills and key industry knowledge while also exposing them to additional areas of their discipline that they may encounter in their future careers. In Cinematography, this means expanding the student's understanding of the creative and technical aspects of their craft especially as it pertains to lighting. Students will be challenged to expand their understanding of the roles of HD and film, maintain their creative center as cinematographers, and refine their lighting technique.


Advanced Directing 3

Term 6 courses in the Film Production program give students the opportunity to refine skills and key industry knowledge while also exposing them to additional areas of their discipline that they may encounter in their future careers. In Directing, this means enhancing the student's knowledge and appreciation for directing in post-production while also giving them the conceptual tools to envision and plan their future career. Students will also learn about directing in the editing process, working with music and sound design, launching a career in feature film, and building, maintaining, and protecting their creative space.


Advanced Post Production 3

Term 6 courses in the Film Production program give students the opportunity to refine skills and key industry knowledge while also exposing them to additional areas of their discipline that they may encounter in their future careers. In Post-Production, this means developing a deeper knowledge of the specific work done in post-production houses while also refining students' creative perspective of the editing process. Students will also learn about the role of the assistant editor position, cutting trailers, prepping for a colour timing session, and how genre influences the editing process.


Advanced Story Development 3

Students will continue to develop their Term Five stories as the focus moves from beat sheets to treatments. Through intensive workshops with input from instructors and peers, students will leave with a rewritten treatment that will allow them to write a structurally sound first draft of their long form story after graduation.



Advanced Production Design 3

Term 6 courses in the Film Production program give students the opportunity to refine skills and key industry knowledge while also exposing them to
additional areas of their discipline that they may encounter in their future careers. In Production Design, this means learning about all the different ways students may enter the industry from traditional film and television routes to scenarios such as music video and reality television. Students will also learn about specific production design scenarios such as designing creatures and monsters, how prop workshops operate, and how the art department supports stunt scenes.