The MA/MSc in Post-production with Sound Design is designed to give a solid grounding in the latest post-production systems and techniques as well as a rich understanding of digital sound design creation for contemporary media. The programme is unique, as it allows students the choice of focusing on production-orientated work (for an MA degree) or on formal research into the technologies behind post-production systems (for an MSc degree). As a result, graduates of the programme are technically informed practitioners or researchers, with a complete understanding of the creative process.
This course is accredited by Creative Skillset, the UK film and TV industry sector skills council.
The modules unite powerful scientific/technical training with industry-inspired hands-on examination of issues surrounding sound design creativity, program creation and artistic decision-making. Our facilities include:
Nearly two-thirds of our graduates are currently working in the industry, with companies such as De Lane Lea, Envy and Sumners Post. Feature film credits for our graduates include Prometheus (20th Century Fox), Savages (Universal Pictures) and The Knife That Killed Me (Universal Pictures). Nearly a quarter of our graduates so far have furthered their studies by pursuing a PhD in Sound Design.
The Department has strong industry connections, and guest sessions from professionals are a regular part of the course.
The course is run in parallel with the MA/MSc in Postproduction with Visual Effects to ensure a rounded understanding of the post-production process as a whole.
This term provides the fundamental basis from which to build a rich understanding of post-production and how sound design integrate into the production pipeline.
1. Digital Production and Post-production Workflows
This module looks at digital production and post-production processes for the creation of commercial film and television programmes. It examines the latest technical and aesthetic workflows for picture and sound. There are two associated labs, one for Sound Techniques and one for Picture Techniques, in which students put theory into practice by applying concepts and techniques covered in lectures. It is taken by all MA/MSc Postproduction with Sound Design, MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects and MA Digital Film and Television Production students. Assessment is through closed-book tests and portfolio-building individual project work (10 credits).
2. Languages of Film
This module examines the various strategies through which moving images communicate with audiences. Drawing on the close analysis of numerous film and television texts as well as the industrial and technological conditions underpinning their production, students will explore the connections between theories of film and television and the practice of its production, distribution and consumption. It is taken by all MA/MSc Postproduction with Sound Design, MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects and MA Digital Film and Television Production students. Assessment is by essay (10 credits).
3. Storytelling inTheatre, Film & Television (part 1)
This module focuses upon a subject central to the work of all the Department‘s taught postgraduate programmes: the craft of storytelling. It provides a unique opportunity for students to enter into dialogue across the three media of theatre, film and television and is designed to stimulate a sense of common enterprise, and to establish an arena of intellectual discovery and artistic experiment. It runs over two terms, and is taken by all Masters students. Assessment is by two essays (20 credits).
This term provides students with greater opportunity to apply concepts and techniques presented in the first term, as well as to expand on their understanding of the creative process.
1. Group Projects
Teams of students (Sound Design, Visual Effects and Digital Production) will each undertake two exercises: the first involves the creation of a title sequence for a film or television programme; the second involves the creation of an action sequence similar to those found in films and TV shows. Students will specialise in their respective areas of study; but work in collaborative teams to create programmes to professional standards. These exercises enable students to gain an understanding of the creative process and hone problem-solving skills in an industry-inspired applied setting. Assessment will be through practical work and reflective essays (20 credits).
2 Audio Effects Design Lab
This module introduces students to the fundamental theory and practical skills involved in the creation of sound design. It involves an examination of technical design and implementation of sound synthesis and sound processing systems as well as their creative application. Practicals involve extensive hands-on experience with software packages such as Pure Data, Reaktor and Matlab. Assessment is through a series of directed practical exercises and an in-class test (10 credits).
3. Storytelling in Theatre, Film & Television (part 2)
As described above, continuing from Autumn term.
4. The Business of Production and Post-production (option)
This module aims to provide students with a realistic picture of the film and television industries including the development, financing and distribution of projects, as well as an understanding of the business aspects of post-production and its relation to the film and television industry. It features regular guest sessions from major industry personnel. Assessment is through presentation and essay (10credits).
5. Spatial Audio and Surround Sound (option)
This module introduces the concept of spatial audio recording, looking at production and surround-sound reproduction with a particular emphasis on the common methods and formats employed in the entertainment, broadcast and games industry. Assessment is through practical project work (10 credits).
The final term is dedicated to the design and development of individual project work.
1. Extended Research Project
Students will propose an individual project and agree this with their supervisor. If the nature of the work is production orientated (eg. creation of a soundtrack for a short video, sound design work for animation, etc.) then it will be considered in support of an MA degree.
If the nature of the work is highly technical in nature, informed by current research and seeks to advance knowledge in a specific area of media technology (eg. development of new software in support of sound design, acoustic modelling and sound synthesis for audio effects, etc.) then it will be considered in support of an MSc.
Work on the project will take place during the remainder of the Summer term and throughout the summer period with regular supervisions. Final submission is in mid-September (100 credits).
Throughout the year there will be regular seminars featuring practitioners from industry discussing how theory relates to practice and sharing first-hand experience. These are not assessed and are simply to provide additional opportunities to chat with working practitioners.
The fees for postgraduate students commencing their first year of study in 2013/14 have not yet been released by the university.
Below are the standard annual tuition fees listed for postgraduate students commencing their first year of study in 2012/13 for reference purposes. Please note: these are not the fees for applicants commencing studies in October 2013.
Fees quoted are for one year of study only and are subject to increase in subsequent years. The University reserves the right to alter the level of fee.
Overseas students requiring a Tier 4 Student Visa:
If you are an overseas student who requires a Tier 4 Student Visa to enter the UK, you will not be permitted to undertake part-time study. For further information, please refer to the UKCISA website.
Although the film and television industry is highly competitive, there is a constant demand for sound designers who not only have a solid knowledge of current software and post-production techniques but also possess a firm grasp of story and how technology can be adapted and applied to enhance the audiovisual experience.
Likewise there is an increasing demand in both industry and academia for researchers with a firm understanding of how post-production tools are applied to facilitate creation of the next generation of post-production technologies.
No university can guarantee work after completion of a degree but many graduates of this course have gone on to work for major film and television companies including De Lane Lea, Pinewood, Envy, Sumners Post, Green Screen Productions, Partizan, and more.
Others have gone on to further study or work in academia pursuing a PhD in Sound Design in this Department.