module specification

SM6053 - Digital Video Post-Production (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
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
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Essay
Coursework 60%   Digital video special effects sequence
Running in 2019/20
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Friday 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.


Prior learning requirements

Pass SM5003 Digital Sound and Video

Module aims

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



An 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 and teaching

This module will be delivered through a combination of modes of delivery. Each week there will be a two-hour lab session and a one-hour lecture or seminar. These sessions will consist of screenings, discussions and demonstrations of production techniques and their application. Key to the delivery of this module is availability of open access facilities with appropriate software for the development of project work. In addition, support to individuals and smaller groups will be provided through tutorial sessions and via email. Lecture notes, web links and appropriate continuous formative feedback tools will be made available on the VLR. (Students will be encouraged to develop a reflective diary (digital) for their assessment development enabling continuous formative tutor and peer feedback.)A framework that encourages mutual student support will be developed to support project work. Attendance at all sessions is essential to fulfil the work requirements.


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. 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)

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to assess students in the main issues involved in the processes and production of visual special effects in the digital media industries.

A) A digital video special effects sequence designed to test students' skills in the relevant motion graphics software and encourage analysis of problems and issues raised in the production. This part of the assessment is designed to test students' creative skills and problem-solving abilities (Weighting 60%) (LO2)

B) An essay (2000 words) designed to demonstrate students’ awareness of the subject, test analytical skills and ability to communicate effectively.
(Weighting 40%) (LO1)

Students may pass on aggregate


• Baudrillard, J. (1983) Simulations. New York: Semiotext(e)

  • Bizony, P. (2001) Digital Domain: The Leading Edge of Visual Effects. Aurum Press
  • Block, B. (2001) The Visual Story, Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media, 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, McGraw-Hili
  • 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
  • Manovich, L. (1998) What is digital cinema? In Mirzoff, N.ed. (2002) The visual culture reader. Routledge
  • 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. RotoVision
  • Willis, H. (2005) New Digital Cinema: Reinventing the moving image, London: Wallflower Press