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After reading the reviews of the Film Production Technology course at Staffordshire University, I thought it might be beneficial to give my opinion, as a girl, on this course.
First off it needs to be said that this course is what you make of it. If you work hard, befriend technicians and lecturers, show your face in lectures and tutorials, follow advice regarding placements and use your own initiative to develop your knowledge of programs, equipment and your chosen aspect of film, this is an amazing degree and will set you up for a fantastic future.
I would recommend the Film with Management degree for those who want (what I believed was) a truer 'University' experience - regular lectures, homework and study. Sounds a bit boring but it keeps you occupied and develops skills that are transferable outside the Film degree.
Facilities - quality. A new studio (fantastic), Mac lab and HD cameras all increase what can be achieved practically. The main lab's (F5) monitors are mostly ancient and the headsets are often broken or breaking (student's fault though). The DV decks are ticking along but some of them should really be replaced. Equipment (cameras, jibs, etc...) are good - mostly new. Some suites (such as audio) could do with a bit more explanation on how to use them - i don't think they were ever explained to me.
Programs - new. Final Cut Pro and Avid available (my preference is Avid!) All Mac video/sound editing suites are great. Computers can be a bit frustrating when things crash or don't burn properly, but they usually (eventually) end up working :) Although the majority of staff are confident around the equipment and computer programs, some training on particular programs may be beneficial, such as the Mac programs (DVD, etc..) !!!
Lecturers - I think I only really started appreciating them in my final year when I was spending loads of time in the labs. Yes, some are better than others - some demonstrably have more technical knowledge or a more sparkly personality but they all have knowledge and experience to impart, you just need to be on comfortable speaking terms with them.
Placement - You need to make this happen and not rely on the university to do everything for you. In the film industry it is ridiculously rare that an 11/12 month placement with one company that is available to green students becomes available. I've found the companies that offer longer placements are production houses and non-film companies - where a business management, marketing, advertising, etc... role is available (and pays WELL!) You have to make the placement happen - you have to make the contacts, pursue the job and sign the contract. It is tough but if you want a placement (of some type) badly enough, you'll get it. If you don't, I'd suggest finishing your degree. You want to have your placement secured by about April at the latest...
Since I've finished, I'm really glad I did this degree. It was tough, frustrating, rewarding and an education in more than one way - but so is the industry it's preparing you for.
Written by jprice929 on 26th Jun 2008