Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module VISU3011: Filmmaking

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures

VISU3011: Filmmaking

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap 15 Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module aims to acquaint students with the major technical and aesthetic considerations that need to be taken into account when planning, shooting and editing a short film, to link these to the issues animating research in film studies, and to develop their filmmaking skills as a research-informed practice.


  • The module will typically cover the following areas:
  • Script development, emphasizing visual storytelling, dramatic structure, character development and theme.
  • Pre-production, highlighting pre-visualization strategies, script analysis, casting, rehearsing, scheduling.
  • Production, focusing on directing both the actors and the camera, shot choice/composition, crew work.
  • Post-production, focusing on editing aesthetics and sound design.
  • Throughout, technical skills and aesthetic choices will be related to research questions that students seek to address by means of film practice.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module students should:
  • Understand the major aesthetic and technical considerations involved in filmmaking, as well as the relationship between them.
  • Have theoretical and practical/ experiential knowledge of the steps involved in filmmaking, from development of the initial idea to making the final cut.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of this module students will have developed:
  • The ability to use film as a means of addressing or exploring specific research questions.
  • Skills in visual storytelling, script-writing, and storyboarding.
  • Skills in directing actors and the camera.
  • Skills in post-production editing and sound design.
Key Skills:
  • On completion of this module students will have developed:
  • visualisation and narrative skills
  • independent research
  • interpersonal skills
  • organisation
  • time management
  • presentation and team work
  • IT skills: camera operation, digital editing.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Seminars will introduce students to the theoretical questions involved in filmmaking via a series of selected readings, and will also allow support students to develop appropriate research questions or problems that they seek to address by means of film practice.
  • A week-long intensive filmmaking course, delivered in partnership with the Tyneside Cinema Film School and timetabled in the Easter vacation to avoid intractable timetable clashes, will train students in the practical business of filmmaking.
  • The module will be assessed by means of a short film, produced in teams of 4-5 and addressing a specific research question or problem formulated by the students. There will also be an individual commentary, in which students will reflect individually on the research dimension and the potential and benefits of film practice as a means of addressing research questions.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture / Seminar 5 Fortnightly in term 2 1 hour 5
Filmmaking practical 1 1 week (in Easter vacation) 35
Preparation and reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Short film production Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Film (produced in groups of 4-5) 5 - 7 minutes 100%
Component: Critical Commentary Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Critical commentary (individual) 1000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University