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SCOM411 The Techniques of Natural History and Science Filmmaking 1

This 'hands-on' paper focuses on the effective and safe use of cameras in different environments, the shooting of footage that is professional in quality, appropriate in terms of the subject and shot in a manner that makes the editing of the footage easily achievable.

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 Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,333.93
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,793.66

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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

Neil Harraway
Robert Brown
Steve Ting

Paper Structure

Centre-based seminars usually occur in room 2.06 or 1.08. 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.

'Documentary Storytelling - Creative Non Fiction on Screen'. Sheila Curran Bernard. Third Edition. Focal Press.
Course outline
The course outline will be supplied at the beginning of the semester.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Cultural understanding, Environmental literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students will develop competency in the following areas:
  • The operation and use of cameras, 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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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 09:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41