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SCOM411 The Techniques of Natural History and Science Filmmaking 1

This hands-on paper introduces students to the elements of filmmaking and the importance of impactful, visual content creation in Science Communication. In a mixture of lecture, field and media-lab work, students will be taught safe and effective techniques for crafting strong visual stories through camera work, graphics and animation, audio recording and editing. Over the course of the semester, students will work individually and in groups, putting the tools of visual storytelling to use in the production of short, professionally executed pieces that are informative and entertaining.

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) $1,409.28
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

Dr Gianna Savoie
Steve Ting

Paper Structure

This paper is structured as a mix of lecture, field and classroom/edit lab work. Lectures will take place on Thursdays and hands-on practical/creative lab will take place on Fridays. The Friday labs will be divided into streams to facilitate equipment sharing.

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

By the end of the semester, students will have proficiency in:

  • Theoretical and practical applications of visual storytelling in communicating science
  • The importance of design principles in communicating scientific concepts
  • Basic understanding in the creation of digital art (Via Photoshop/Illustrator)
  • The operation and use of a hybrid DSLR cameras for digital storytelling
  • Basic animation skills
  • The use of a non-linear editing software system
  • The creation of coherent edited science and natural history sequences

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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 9-14, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 09:00-11:50 9-13, 16-22