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Online course

Digital Storytelling: Filmmaking for the Web

Combine theory and practice to tell powerful stories through film online. Unleash your potential in this free online course.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Digital Storytelling: Filmmaking for the Web

Why join the course?

The University of Birmingham, the BBC Academy and Creative Skillset have combined forces, to create this four-week, free online course.

It will look at filmmaking theory and practice, and how they interact to produce good and even meaningful stories, helping you develop short films for digital platforms.

Whether fact or fiction, there are many principles and processes that make a story work on film, so that what viewers see is more than just a sequence of events, but is instead a compelling narrative, which holds their attention, makes them think and keeps them coming back for more.

We will cover all aspects of production – from how to research your story to adding the finishing touches in the edit. The course will address many issues along the way, including critical thinking; story structure; style; genre; ethics; legalities; practical techniques for camera, sound and lighting; and more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsRICHARD LANGLEY: 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Every day there are more than 4 billion video views on Facebook alone.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 secondsMICHELE AARON: In the 21st century, more people than ever before are writing and producing their own films. And they're doing so across the globe. From Miami to Mumbai, from Beijing to Birmingham, these stories are finding their way online.

Skip to 0 minutes and 32 secondsRICHARD LANGLEY: Some of what we see online captures our imagination. It compels us to watch for hour after hour, and encourages us to share with our friends. But some of the content online doesn't do this.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsMICHELE AARON: So just what is it that makes a great digital film?

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 secondsRICHARD LANGLEY: And how might we bring stories to social media that might respond to and contribute to our changing world?

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 secondsMICHELE AARON: I'm Dr. Michele Aaron.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 secondsRICHARD LANGLEY: And I'm Dr. Richard Langley. And we're both academics specialising in film here at the University of Birmingham in England. Over the course of the next four weeks, we'll explore what elements you need to tell a great story, to produce a great film, and to get that film out there in the world.

What topics will you cover?

  • Critical understandings of storytelling, meaning making and all aspects of production
  • Structuring and designing effective narratives: style, genre and digital films
  • Pre-production: research, ethics, legalities and planning
  • Filmmaking Techniques: ethical practice, sound, lighting, framing, interviewing
  • Post-production: editing and online distribution

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Identify the key ingredients involved in building compelling and meaningful stories
  • Reflect critically about the ethical practice of film and filmmaking
  • Describe and analyse a range of filmmaking concepts, practicalities and techniques from pre- to post-production
  • Reflect upon and apply these concepts, practicalities and techniques to the development of a short form digital film

Who is the course for?

This course is for those who want to start creating and distributing their own film content online.

You could be a graduate or already working within the television industry, either as a new entrant or an established freelancer wanting to expand your skillset.

You may have hobbies, places, causes or a business that you wish to promote online. It’s for anyone who has a story to tell and wants to use the medium of film to tell it, but doesn’t quite know where to start.

Who will you learn with?

Michele Aaron

I am Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Birmingham. I write books, programme screenings, and develop research focused on ethics and how film can effect personal, social and political change.

Richard Langley

I am keen to develop a fusion of theory and practice by way of a multifaceted audio-visual academia that can function as a versatile teaching tool, and as a mode of publication and public interaction.

Who developed the course?

The University of Birmingham is a public research university, consistently listed as a leading UK university and ranked among the top 100 in the world.

Supporters

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript $74.00

Statement of Participation $54.00