module specification

SM6053 - Digital Video Post-Production (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Digital Video Post-Production
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
80 hours Guided independent study
25 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   2 000 word essay based on fieldwork
Coursework 60%   Special Effects sequence
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module will examine and analyse traditional and modern visual special effects using examples from film, music video, television and games to illustrate the development of new techniques from old. Practical exercises, lectures, and demonstrations will aid students in developing a wide spectrum of technical and analytical skills in the field of digital post-production and visual special effects. Students will be expected to undertake all stages of the creative planning process to deliver an integrated digital video and audio project in order to complete the module. This module aims to:

● Develop and encourage confidence in the integration of appropriate motion graphics software
● Examine the effects of visual special effects on audiences and contemporary culture
● Illustrate how new digital imaging techniques have built upon traditional methods
Analyse the most effective approach to a variety of visual effects problems


Indicative programme of study covers the following:
● the history of visual special effects in cinema from analogue to digital
● Digital special effects and culture
● Audience perception
● Practical digital imaging and animation techniques for output to digital video using appropriate motion graphics software
● the production process involved in creating a complete special effects sequence
● Digital distribution techniques
● Overview of the industry and industry roles
● The future of digital special effects in this rapidly expanding field

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars/discussion groups, audio-visual presentations, field trips, and guest presentations. Students will be expected to attend lectures and take notes; attend organised trips and arrange independent trips to film festivals or other events; students will be expected to read from primary and secondary sources and to use seminars and tutorials to raise issues and seek feedback.

A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be used as a platform to support online activities including on-line discussions, evaluation of online resources, and access to electronic reading packs. The VLE will also be used to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback, as well as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by research institutions, academic publications, professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Critically analyse technological developments and the cultural effects of digital special effects (LO1)
2. 2. Apply a range of digital special effects to digital video and evaluate a wide range of technical issues involved in the delivery of visual effects for different media forms (LO2)


Reading List
Shaw, A. (2020) Design for motion: fundamentals and techniques of motion design. Second edition. Edited by D. Shaw. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Available at:
Baudrillard, J. (1983) Simulations. New York: Semiotext(e)
Additional Reading
Bass, J., Kirkham, P. and Bass, S. (2011) Saul Bass: a life in film and design. London: Laurence King.
Bizony, P. (2001) Digital Domain: The Leading Edge of Visual Effects. N-Y: Aurum Press
Block, B. (2001) The Visual Story, Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media, N-Y: Focal Press
Bolter, J. D. and Grusin, R. (1999) Remediation: understanding new media Cambridge, Massachusetts; London: MIT Press
Bordwell, D. & Thompson. K. (2003) Film Art: An Introduction, N-Y: McGraw-Hili
Brinkmann, R. (2008b) The art and science of digital compositing: techniques for visual effects, animation and motion graphics. 2nd ed. Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers/Elsevier. Available at:
Debord, G. (1967) The Society of the spectacle. London: Rebel (1987)
Klein, N. (2004) Vatican to Vegas: A history of special effects, NY: The New Press
Kim, J. (2016). Between Film, Video, and the Digital: Hybrid Moving Images in the Post-Media Age (New York: Bloomsbury, 2016) p. 49.
Manovich, L. (1998) What is digital cinema? In Mirzoff, N.ed. (2002) The visual culture reader. N-Y: Routledge
McClean, S. T. (2007) Digital storytelling: the narrative power of visual effects in film. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. Available at:
Miller, Frederic P.; Vandome, Agnes F.; McBrewster, J. (2013) Computer-Generated Imagery. Saarbrپcken, Germany: AV Akademikerverlag GmbH & Co. KG.
Pilling, J. (2001) Animation: 2D and beyond Crans-Près-Céligny; Hove: RotoVision
Rogers, P. (1999) The Art of Visual Effects: interviews on the Tools of the Trade, London: Focal Press
Ricket, R. (2007) Special effects: the history and technique New York, NY: Billboard Books
Watkinson, J. (2008) The art of digital video 8th ed., Oxford: Focal
Woolman, M. (2000) Moving type: designing for time and space. n-Y: RotoVision
Willis, H. (2005) New Digital Cinema: Reinventing the moving image, London: Wallflower Press