Explore the field of film technology and visual effects, developing your creative expression and technical skills. Our BSc (Hons) degree is a unique film and visual effects course, created and led by experts within the industry.
The key focus of this course is film and post-production. If you are interested in film production and computer graphics and are looking for a creative career in film and television production, post-production, CGI special effects, or computer animation and three-dimensional modelling, this course is for you.
If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.
Delivered through a series of modules and semesters, our Film Technology and Visual Effects BSc (Hons) programme comprises of five themes.
A distinctive feature of the course is its technology theme. Focusing on the technical aspects of the industry, thetechnology theme provides a detailed exploration of the nature of light and sound. In addition to this you will explore image and sound capture technologies, optics, digital film production workflows, and the storage, manipulation and distribution of moving images.
The multimedia theme focuses on the exploration of a range of highly transferable image composition, compositing and manipulation skills. You’ll begin by focusing on still images and you will then develop your knowledge, exploring the processes of working with moving image.
Within the industry theme you will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the wider film and visual effects industries that you will be working in. You’ll focus on developing skills in project management and entrepreneurship.
You’ll have the opportunity to experience cinema style production through the production theme. Through your studies you will be expected to produce a variety of fiction and non- fiction films. You will also learn how to shoot in a studio and on location, using a variety of camera, lighting and grip equipment.
Within the visual effects module your learning will cover the production and compositing of 3D CGI and digital video elements to produce film visual effects. You will develop 3D modelling skills and key visual effect skills in data acquisition, tracking, matchmoving and compositing.
Throughout the duration of the programme a range of assessment methods are used including continuous assessment, in-class tests, examinations, laboratory exercises and project work.
My colleagues and lecturers are friendly and are always willing to help you – there has never been a time where I am not learning something new. Oliver Rossetti
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Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be accepted.
300 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2016/17|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBB at A Level or 300 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including with a minimum of 12 credits achieved from any Technology units awarded at Merit or Distinction|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DDM - grades|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||32 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||300 UCAS points - Higher Levels|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||300 UCAS points|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2015/16|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||32 points
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for 2016/17, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:
300 points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBB or above)
predicted DDM profile at BTEC level
You will also be required to attend an interview.
We’ve created a range of advice from experts and our students, including next steps if your exams don't go that well.
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£9,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2016||SW||4 years||£9,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2017||SW||4 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||TBC||Apply via UCAS|
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
The first year of your programme is designed to provide you with the basic knowledge to develop your own personal flair and original interests within the field. Assessments will be practice-based, mainly through coursework, with some written exams. Through self-directed study, group assessments and practice-based learning you will establish and develop knowledge of the practices and industry within the field of digital technology.
You will explore the fundamental principles and techniques of compositing, and visual effects. Alongside this you will be introduced to the basic foundations and principles of the film industry, with exploration into creative products, legal and ethical issues and the context in which the industry operates.
During your first year of study you will also explore the fundamental principles of 3D modelling and digital acquisition. You will experience production in a controlled studio environment, allowing you to learn the basics of lighting and digital manipulation of images.
Visual Effects and Compositing
This module will introduce to you the fundamental principles and techniques of compositing within film technology and visual effects. Your studies will start with a focus on stills, moving onto moving image. You will explore professional image creation, alongside the investigation of manipulation tools and processes.
This module is designed to introduce you to the film industry. You will explore the foundations of creative products in relation to the industry of film. You will also investigate legal and ethical issues, with relevance to the context in which the film industry operates.
Your first year 3D modelling module introduces the fundamental principles of constructing and rendering computer generated 3D models. You will use industry-standard 3D modelling software to create photo realistic models and scenes. The teaching within this module covers: 3D modelling, texturing, lighting and rendering.
Within the digital acquisition module you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of working with sound and light. You will also explore the processes of capturing and editing sound and image. This will take place through a series of practical exercises, which encourage both technical and creative exploration of these principles.
During the production fundamentals module you will be exposed to industry-standard practices. You will experience the thrill of production within a controlled studio environment, exploring the fundamentals of lighting and digital manipulation of images.
Naturally your second year of study begins to take a more in-depth, specialist focus on technology. You will be encouraged to establish and nurture your own creative flair and personal interest within the field. While you will still study through the delivery of modules we will encourage you to seek professional opportunities, whether that is through networking or placement.
You will begin to focus more in-depth on the production aspects of film, and you will also be exposed to the environment of studio production. You will work within a controlled studio environment, gaining experience from pre-production (casting, production design and production scheduling.) In addition to this you will be introduced to advanced digital film production techniques and you will explore the role of a Digital Image Technician. You will also explore visual effects techniques, 3D animation, professional practice and image technology.
You will begin to consider your final year project, and you will continue to learn and develop skills and knowledge which will support you in this.
Visual Effects Techniques
Within the visual effects techniques module you will experience producing visual effects sequences using more advanced node based compositing techniques and tools. This module will aid you in the development of skills in compositing 3D elements and creating digital environments. You will formulate an understanding of the use of techniques such as matchmoving and 3D camera projection.
The second year 3D animation module further develops your 3D computer generated graphics skills. You will enhance your abilities with animation techniques such as key frame animation, working with motion capture data, character rigging, character animation and dynamic simulations.
Throughout the duration of the programme we aim to develop your employability skills and professional awareness. The professional practice module presents you with the opportunity to research specific areas and roles within the film and visual effects industry. You will be expected to formulate and develop your own action plans to enter the industry.
Within the image technology module you will explore the analysis and manipulation of digital images. Through your studies you will learn techniques for testing the technical and perceived qualities of image and sound. The skills you learn within this module will enhance your creative flair and talent.
You will be introduced to advanced digital film production techniques, exploring and experiencing the process of film production as well the responsibilities of different departments. During the module you will develop more advanced cinematography skills and gain experience of executing team productions.
Production and Distribution Technology
The production and distribution technology module is designed to provide you with the skill to learn and explore the role of the DIT (Digital Image Technician). You will research into digital film production workflows and methods of digital distribution, advancing your knowledge of practices which are used within the film industry.
Focusing on studio production, you will experience the organisation and protocols of working within larger crews in a controlled studio environment. You will gain a complete production experience from pre-production: casting, production design and production scheduling. In addition to this you will demonstrate your organisational and time-keeping abilities, following and adhering to production schedules.
Your final year of study accumulates all the information, work and skills you have developed throughout the programme. We will support you in your professional development, preparing you for a successful career within the field of film technology and visual effects. Your final year studies will cover topics such as film production planning and direction, sound effects and visual effects production.
You will be expected to produce a media technology project, in which you will demonstrate the skill and knowledge you have acquired throughout the programme. This will allow you to develop in-depth, specialist knowledge and confidence in a specialist area relevant to the course, and directly related to industry. During your final year of study you will develop your production management techniques, allowing you to design, plan and organise the production of a short film of film festival standard.
While studying VFX production, you will produce professional-looking visual effects scenes, compositing 3D elements into moving camera scenes, and learning how to match lighting, reflections and shadows.
Visual Effects Production
Within your final year visual effects production you will be expected to utilise and develop your compositing and computer graphics skills. You will plan and produce full-scale (complete) professional-looking visual effects scenes. This will enable you to gain experience in working in larger visual effects production workflows.
The sound effects module provides you with the knowledge and practical experience of creating sound tracks for screen based media such as films. You will be using industry-standard audio software to record, score and manipulate sound. This module also covers the use of Foley techniques.
Digital Media Technology Project
In your final year you are required to undertake an investigation into a topic of interest, presenting your findings through a dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge and skills in a specialist area relevant to the course. This project will accumulate all that you have learnt throughout the duration of the programme, demonstrating your academic and professional ability.
Film Production and Direction
Representing the pinnacle of your production experience, you will work within a small group to produce a short film of film festival standard. This module will allow you to demonstrate your creative ability, talent and skill, through applying your own personal creative flair. In addition to this, you will be exposed to the collaborative nature of film making.
Film Production Planning
Working in small groups you will apply production management techniques to design, plan and organise the production of a complete short film. During this module you will be expected to discuss and pitch production plans and ideas.
This course contains five themes of learning: Media Industry, Multimedia, Technology, Production and Visual Effects. All themes run over the duration of the course.
The degree programme ensures that students do not study a wide range of academic, technical and creative subjects in isolation. All theory is applied practically in a number of projects during the three-year course.
Students study in depth the theory and practice of digital film and visual effects production and the process of communicating ideas and information. They also critically assess new technology and develop commercial and business skills. This academic expertise is coupled with practical skills, such as producing high quality images and audio for digital film production; capturing and manipulating content, creating and compositing visual effects, designing title sequences and incorporating sound FX; and producing and designing DVDs with full interactive media.
As well as demonstrating skills in the use of sophisticated acquisition equipment and online editing, they develop critical analysis skills, make critical judgements about their own and others' work, and identify good practice.
The development of transferable skills is also central to the course, enabling students to be ready for the workplace upon graduation. They will have developed business acumen and management skills by planning and undertaking a variety of tasks and projects, work to deadlines and budget within a team, as well as taking responsibility for their decisions.
Throughout the duration of your course you will be presented with several chances to gain hands-on industry experience, through creative festivals, events and much more. As a student within the School of Computing and Digital Technology you will receive the opportunity to undertake trips through the Live Sound Society.
The Live Sound Society
The Live Sound Society is an extra-curricular student society developed to offer students practical employability skills. The Live Sound Society offers sound reinforcement and production for music and corporate events. This is sometimes backed up with videography. Over the last seven years there has been a steady increase in the number of events and this year, students will engineer around 10 festivals and 20 other concerts. These vary in size from the third stage at Shrewsbury Folk Festival, the Real Ale stage at the Acoustic Festival of Britain with an audience of around 1,000 , and a stage at Valefest, the “largest student-run festival in the UK”, to smaller, beer garden festivals. Each requires client liaison skills and the ability to plan, set up and operate sound and lighting systems in often high pressure environments.
To reinforce these skills, students have also organised trips to trade shows including PLASA Focus and to manufacturers like Midas, a leading mixing desk manufacturer, for specialist training.
In addition to this, the School hosts a monthly networking event for creative professionals, Creative Networks. The event is a collaboration between screen-based and sound media industries across the West Midlands and regularly attracts 100 to 200 attendees, providing an excellent opportunity for meeting professionals from across the region.
|35||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|65||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
Oliver Rossetti graduated in 2014. Here he talks about the CVP Prize he won as part of his degree.
Oliver has gone on to work for the University and has made a number of films, including videos for the Welcome Week site that show new students what the University and Birmingham have to offer.
This programme is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, an internationally respected benchmark. We have been recognised as an institution which provides ideal preparation for aspiring professional engineers.
With our industry links, our fantastic team of staff alongside world-class facilities we are committed to providing you the best training possible. We are a quality provider of provider of engineering education, our accreditation ensures that we continually improve and develop the programme in response to good practice and industry need.
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
The University has a range of either taught (MSc) or research (MPhil and PhD) postgraduate programmes. Details can be found at www.bcu.ac.uk/research.
BBC Part time Job
James came to Birmingham City University to further his ambition of pursuing a career in TV and film. Having taken advantage of the state-of-the-art facilities at our Parkside Building, he has been taking his first steps to building the contacts and experience he needs to succeed in the industry by working for the BBC on the new series of popular TV comedy 'Still Open All Hours'.
Our film graduates are among the most technically literate in the UK, able to make informed technical choices, understand technical specifications and their implications and accurately test and calibrate equipment.
The high levels of technical skill and production standards attained by our students means they are ready to access broad range of job roles in the film and visual effects industry. The course team continually consults directly with the film industry and organisations representing them, to ensure that our students have the skills which are sought after.
During the course students will acquire a range of creative, technical and academic skills which can be transferred to careers in a broad range of production disciplines such as: film; visual effects; TV; computer games; architectural and product visualization and education, all of which require skilled cinematographers, 3D modelers and animators.
You’ll have experience of cinema-style single camera production, as well as the knowledge and skill to operate a wide range of lights and equipment to light, as well as a variety of grip equipment including jobs and dollies.
Benefitting from our links, students are encouraged to engage with industry and develop their professional experience throughout their degree, creating and sharing their own productions, working on commercial productions taking place within our media centre, and working for and with local production companies crewing film productions.
Full details can be found on the School placements page.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Our students have gone on to work at companies such as Antimatter Games, I M VIP and Instinct Laboratory, as video producers, nightclub operators and 3D Junior Designers. The broad scope of the topics covered throughout the programme will leave you well-equipped to take on roles in 3D modelling and animation, pre-visualisation, motion graphics, keying, compositing, digital film and video production, video editing and post-production, visual effects, motion tracking, sound production and production management.
Recent graduates from the school have gone on to work for companies including:
The skills and knowledge you’ll acquire throughout the programme will provide you with the requisite abilities to tackle various jobs within the field. You’ll have experience of using industry-standard large sensor digital camera rigs, with follow focus, matte box and interchangeable lenses.
You’ll be highly experienced and qualified to work within a variety of film production roles. You will also explore the nature and behaviour of light and sound, optics, image sensors, microphones, correct monitoring using scopes, and the effects digital storage and manipulation have on colour, images, video and sound. You will be able to respond to industry needs and changes, adopting a wide variety of roles.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.
The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.
So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.
Overall measures: ranked positions
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
Our students come from around the world but our film technology and visual effects course is most popular with international students from:
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.
Here at Birmingham City University, the School of Computing and Digital Technology is equipped with a multitude of professional, dedicated equipment. With world-class facilities including: two film and television studios, four multi-track recording studios, post-production facilities, and several hundred multimedia stations.
We have cutting edge facilities available to support the course and research that goes on in the School, including the purpose-built Media Centre at The Parkside Building, DMT Lab, Cisco Academy and Recording studios and concert halls at Birmingham Conservatoire. We also have several PC and Apple Mac computing suites with the latest industry standard applications and tools for audio, video and multimedia application development and content creation.
As a student of the School of Computing and Digital Technology you will be able to take advantage of a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art technology and equipment to prepare you for working within industry. Our four fully digital, interconnected TV studios can be used within a variety of contexts, including audio-recording. Alongside this with have several broadcast-standard edit and dubbing suites.
As the programme is taught in partnership with the Birmingham Conservatoire you will have access to a wide-range of musical facilities including six studios, a Recital Hall and the 520-seat auditorium Adrian Boult Hall. We have a range of studios, mix rooms, recording spaces and a vast range of recording equipment ready for you to use.
You will have access to four fully digital, interconnected TV studios, along with broadcast-standard edit and dubbing suites.
An Apple Mac sound lab, electronics and fully equipped multimedia labs are all part of the technology and multimedia experience on offer.
Facilities and partner venues at the Conservatoire including six studios, a Recital Hall and the 520-seat auditorium Adrian Boult Hall.
Discover the full range of studios, mix rooms, recording spaces and a vast range of recording equipment.
Mathew Randall is the Programme Leader for the BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology and BSc (Hons) Film Technology and Visual Effects course.
Mathew has been working with computer graphics since the mid 1990s and has been involved in moving image production for over 10 years. Coming from an academic background in multimedia, he has extensive experience in real-time computer graphics and rendering, designing and developing user interfaces, games, systems for visualising data and signals, video systems for concerts and festivals, interactive sonic and video installations and real-time generative art.
Since 2010 Mathew has been drawing on his experience in computer graphics to work in visual effects production. He has experience and expertise: Image Acquisition for VFX, 3D Modelling and Animation, Matchmoving and Compositing.
As Programme Leader he believes BSc undergraduate courses in film or VFX demand a broad set of skills from its students, as the courses cover a fusion of technical, creative and business skills. “One day a student might be analysing films or developing a character within a script, the next they are using advance post-production tools or designing a conforming process to facilitate editing of 4k RAW footage. All the while they are developing their own personal plan to develop their career in the film industry”.
“We challenge and inspire our students to develop a broad range of skills, not just to meet the demands of employers, but in the interest of giving our graduates careers with more autonomy, allowing them to move around different parts of the film industry or use these skills in related industries.”