Published on Monday, 11 July 2011
Metro Screen in Sydney runs a variety of Certificate and Diploma courses to
develop skills and introduce students to filmmaking from scriptwriting and
directing, shooting and camera crew, editing and sound to animation and visual effects.
|The facility also runs numerous short courses in specialised skills. One of Metro Screen’s core courses is the Certificate IV in Screen and Media, offered full and part time, which results in a nationally recognised qualification. It is also suited to those wanting to change careers or return to the industry after an absence, and has recently been updated.
The course places students into a client driven production environment and focuses on practical skills relevant to the industry. It has produced graduates who have started small businesses and found full time employment or freelance work in film and TV. During the course, students make three films, complete an industry placement and learn relevant skills from tutors who work concurrently as professionals.
Participants build up a showreel as they study and present their work at a graduation screening. They can either make up their own showreels or Metro Screen provides a reel with the best versions of the different production students make during the semester, reflecting their graduation screening.
The full-time program comprises 18 hours a week of study over four months combined with self-paced learning designed for the film, TV, online and portable media industries, for different career options. Study includes student-led productions, technical workshops and intensive classroom teaching.
Participants work on a documentary, a short drama and then go on to work on an assignment from an industry client such as a music video or TVC. The client presents a brief, and the students then prepare to pitch to the client a concept for a TV commercial or music video. Students generally work in crews of seven to eight, filling each major production role - director, writer, editor, producer, cinematographer, first assistant director, continuity and art director. Support roles such as grips, gaffers and production runners may also be sourced from the class. Students can take on different roles on each project, or specialise by keeping the same role throughout the semester.
Small class sizes of about 15 give participants time with the equipment and more attention and support from tutors. Currently, tutors include Cinematographer Adam Howden with experience in music videos and TVCs, scriptwriter Tim Wilde, Production Designer and Art Director Xanthe Highfield who has worked for the ABC and SBS and on TVCs and music videos, documentary maker Rachel Landers and Cathy Vogan teaching editing, bringing international experience in graphic design, compositing, animation, DVD authoring and web design.
The classroom workshops cover a different filmmaking discipline at each session. The focus shifts to suit the three projects that the students are working on - documentary, drama and TV commercial or music video. Within a given week, students have a cinematography workshop in the studio on using digital video cameras, and also do workshops on lighting. Another workshop in the week covers screenwriting, while throughout, students learn how to take their story from concept, to the pitch, to writing a production-ready script. Other workshops deal with producing and budgeting.
This course has access to Metro Screen’s Commercial Hire and Post Production department, maintained to supply equipment to professional productions. Participants learn on broadcast quality, tapeless format HD cameras, a chroma key multi-cam TV studio and G5 iMac post production facilities. They can use the Canon 5D with rig and lenses, or the Sony V1P and EX1 for the dramas and documentaries. The TASCAM HD sound recorder and a range of microphones are available, plus redheads, dedos and fluro banks for lighting. In post, a purpose built media lab runs Final Cut Studio, Adobe Creative Suite with After Effects, and Maya for 3D.
Toward the end of the course, the students do a three to five day industry placement. Students consider their career paths, chosen specialties and companies they would like to work for. Some work with TV shows to see the production work flow. Others have been placed with specialist commercial or music video companies, or want to work in editing or cinematography. Metro Screen tries as far as possible to find a good match for each student’s skills and aspirations. Internships have been provided by Curious Films, Firelight, Movie Network, Azure Productions, Screen NSW, Network Seven and Network Nine's 'Underbelly- Razor' and 'Titan View'.