Tom Barrance

Tom Barrance

I've been a film educator and trainer for over 30 years. I run the site and I've created resources including an ebook, an interactive kids' guide, and films for learners to edit.

Location Wales


  • I take a storyboard as the starting point and improvise as well - I usually film shots that aren’t on the storyboard.

  • Thanks for the suggestion - but see my note above regarding scam film festivals. Film Freeway has reviews which may help you judge whether a festival is genuine.

  • It's important to be flexible. Often something that seems to be a problem can lead to new ideas.

  • When you're working on a computer, the play bar (rather than the mouse/trackpad) is the most efficient way to start/stop playback. With most programs, you can also use left and right arrow keys to move forwards and backwards one frame at a time.

  • It's tricky, especially when you're trying to make your edit as snappy as possible without confusing viewers. It helps if you can get a second opinion from someone who hasn't been involved in the film.

  • That reminds me of Matt Madden's book '99 Ways to Tell a Story' which tells a simple story in comic book form using dozens of different styles and approaches. It was inspired by Raymond Quenau's 'Exercises in Style' which does the same thing with prose. Either book could give you some ideas for filmmaking.

  • @AramM. Thanks for the XKCD link - very amusing.

  • A puzzle/enigma like that could make a good basis for a short film.

  • This analysis shows just how much you can infer from a soundtrack.

  • Interesting that you prefer the longer shots. Some modern filmmakers (eg Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Abderrahmane Sissako) deliberately use longer shots to encourage viewers to immerse themselves in the scene.

  • Tom Barrance replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Thanks for the detailed analysis. I haven't seen the film but I loved the TV series.

  • As you suggest, using more shots maintains interest and adds to the excitement - and the closeups allow us to see feelings.

  • Yes, as you say the large number of shots is important for the pace.

  • Other professional programs such as Adobe Premiere and DaVinci Resolve also allow you to work with proxies.

  • If you have the Adobe Creative Suite, it gives you access to a huge free effects library:

  • Hi Aaron, your video is showing as 'Private' on YouTube.

  • If you are planning to submit to a film festival, make sure it's genuine. Unfortunately there are a number of 'scam' film festivals. See this link:

  • You can lock focus with the iPhone by holding your finger down on the screen. The newer iPhones (13 and above) have a 'cinematic mode' which lets you preset focus, and even change the focus after you've filmed a shot.

  • I use Highland 2 ( - it's a Mac-only screenwriting program that adds automatic formatting. The free version has a watermark, though students can get the full version for free.

  • It's great to see so many learners and comments from all around the world. If English isn't your first language, you could use Google Translate ( to translate your comments into English. (Comments in other languages may be removed by Futurelearn.)

  • Gracias Katia. Could you use Google Translate to translate your comments into English? Futurelearn will remove comments that aren't in English.

  • The videos don't have YouTube links. If you're having a problem this page may help:

  • Si, es en inglés. Unfortunately Futurelearn doesn't allow comments that aren't in the course language. If you want to comment, could you use Google Translate to translate your comments into English?

  • Russian Ark was the first full-length feature film to do this (it was impossible before digital video was invented).

  • Hi Ian, are you familiar with the use of 'proxies' with Final Cut Pro? It involves generating lower quality versions of the files for editing, so it's less demanding on the computer. Here's the link on Apple's site:

    Also, you can dramatically reduce the amount of space a Final Cut Pro...

  • Hi Laura, if you're in the UK you'll be redirected to a page with UK pricing. The e-commerce platform converts everything to dollars, but that won't make a difference to the price you pay.

  • Apparently they're dancing the 'Madison'.

  • The course is about doing the whole process - planning, shooting and editing - yourself. However, if you were to shoot most of the shots yourself, and just include a few journal images (3 or 4) that would be OK.

    Another reason for requiring original images is to avoid copyright issues, but obviously that shouldn't be a problem with your father's pictures.

  • The scene from Lawrence of Arabia is remarkable. Fun fact: Panavision built a 482mm lens especially for filming this shot, which has never been used again.

  • Hi, could you post in English please? You can use Google Translate. Futurelearn will remove posts that aren't in the course language.

  • Unbalanced means that the composition is very much off centre. 'Dutch angle' means that the camera is on a slant (so that walls and the horizon seem to be tilted).

  • Hi, unfortunately your comment will be removed as it's not in the course language. Could you post it in English? (Here's the Google Translate version): "Pocari Sweat's long-shot commercial is quite surprising. A girl in school uniform keeps running, and the camera quickly follows through different scenes. People come and go, dazzling. A shot without any...

  • Could you film a model, a doll or an object?

  • Counting the cuts is what I meant, so you're right. Yes, some of them were reused.

  • Thanks for pointing that out, I've added the italics!

  • Your idea of the man and the cat could work well.

  • Resolve is good but it needs a powerful computer to run well. On a PC, there are a couple of free options for beginners: Adobe Rush or VN Editor (for this, you'd need to install the BlueStacks Android emulator).

  • Hi David. Futurelearn have asked that you go to one of the pages where you experienced the problem and click on Support (bottom right hand corner) to get help directly from them.

  • @DavidMartins Thanks, which operating system (Windows, Mac, Android)?

  • You will need to upgrade before you can get a certificate. Here's more information about certificates:

  • You will need to upgrade before you can get a certificate. Here's more information about certificates: