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SCOM411 The Techniques of Natural History and Science Filmmaking 1

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

This paper serves as an introduction to the production of Science and Natural History filmmaking through a variety of exercises in shooting, audio recording and editing. Over the course of the semester, students will develop essential skills that will equip them with the confidence, creativity and technical acuity required of this competitive field.

Paper title The Techniques of Natural History and Science Filmmaking 1
Paper code SCOM411
Subject Science Communication
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,371.61
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
PGCertSciComm, PGDipSciComm, MSciComm, MAppSc
May be taken only by students enrolled for Science and Natural History Filmmaking endorsements.

Teaching staff
Jeff Avery
Dr Gianna Savoie
Steve Ting

Paper Structure

Centre-based seminars usually occur in room 2.06 or 1.08 in the Owheo Building. Transportation will be supplied on days when a field trip is involved.

Teaching Arrangements

All schedules can be subject to change due to weather and other contingencies. When changes have to occur, you will be alerted to those changes by email.


Hardware requirements: Students are required to provide 2x external drives to digitally store their creative projects during the semester

  1. 1TB SSD (USB-C)
  2. 1TB HD (USB 3.1)

If you have any enquires about purchasing the appropriate drives, please email

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Cultural understanding, Environmental literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will develop competency in the following areas

  • The operation and use of cameras, drones, tripods, jib arms, tracks and other camera mounts
  • The framing of images and motivated camera movement
  • How to approach and film animals safely while keeping them at ease
  • Filming editable sequences
  • Recording sound in the field
  • Filming in challenging environments
  • Working with limited equipment and support
  • Macro filming and the creation of time lapse sequences
  • The Art of Seeing - how to visualise and compose great shots
  • Setting up and working from hides/blinds

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 09:00-11:50 9-15, 17-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 09:00-11:50 9-14, 17-22