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A local independent cinema complex is hosting a short film festival. It is running a competition inviting young filmmakers to submit a short film of 3–5 minutes. The short films should engage a target audience of 12–25-year-olds. There is no compulsory theme or genre. You are involved in the organisation of the festival. Your first task is to produce a resource for local schools. It is intended to teach 14-16 year old students about digital video and how it is used in the world. You are also entering the competition. You need to plan the short film, manage the sound, lighting and mise-en-scene and operate the camera to shoot footage, and then edit the final cut of the film. You will need to export your film in an appropriate format to submit online to the competition website.

Task 1

You must select two or more types of video product designed for different purposes. These may be different genres, e.g. horror films designed to create suspense, and sit-coms designed to make people laugh, or may be completely different types of product, e.g. documentaries designed to inform and music videos designed to entertain and promote artists. You must analyse:

  • the different genre codes and conventions, representation, and narrative structures and techniques, used in the types of video you have chosen,

  • and how they contribute to encouraging audiences to watch or keep watching.

  • You must also discuss the types of platforms these products can be accessed on and analyse the types of audience they attract and the reasons for this (e.g. the reasons different audiences may want to view a film at the cinema with friends or view on-the-go using a mobile device).

You must refer to detailed and specific examples of existing video products to support the points you make.

A very well-presented example, on a different topic, by a previous student.

Task 2

You must individually carry out research into existing short films in your chosen style or genre, looking at the conventions of the genre, which you will use to inform and generate your own ideas.


Once you have selected an idea to make into a short film, you must undertake your pre-production planning. First, you will need to develop the idea to communicate it fully, e.g. using a script, storyboard and/or shooting script with details of shot types, length of shots, dialogue, directions and audio.


You will then need to consider these aspects of the production:

  •  crew, e.g. personnel required, crew roles

  • locations and resources, e.g. sourcing, suitability, permissions, risk assessing, booking equipment, costs

  • scheduling

  • health and safety.


You will need to complete the pre-production paperwork relating to the above, e.g. location recces, risk assessments, schedules, budgets, prop list, meeting minutes.


When you are ready to film, you must organise and set up the shoot, including the cameras and mise-en-scene, with consideration of sound and lighting. When operating the camera, you should consider the shot types you are going to use to tell your story, shot framing, angles, and camera movement. During the shoot, you must also manage any other crew members, e.g. actors, lighting/sound assistants, and equipment necessary for the production of your film. You will need to keep an up to date production log containing evidence of activities and any decisions you have taken throughout the shooting of your film. Once the shoot is completed, you must individually review your footage with consideration of quality and continuity of the shots and decide whether any scenes need to be reshot.

Preproduction templates and checklists are here for your video work.

Task 3

Pre-pro checklist

Once you have completed any re-shoots, you will individually select the final footage to use for your film. You will then edit this footage together effectively to fulfil the intended purpose of delivering your narrative and engaging your target audience of 12–25-year-olds. You will consider the atmosphere you want to create, e.g. suspense, and what techniques could be used to achieve this, e.g. flashbacks. You should edit the video and sound, adding any effects, transitions, text and/or graphics effectively to create the finished short film. You should record in your production log the editing techniques you use and the decisions you take throughout the editing process. When you have reviewed your final edit, and are happy with it, you will export it in a format suitable for uploading to the Internet and publish it to a website or video sharing platform.


Did you describe, explain or analyse? (Preferably, all three!)

Is your pre-pro 'basic', 'competent' or 'effective'? Could someone else make your film using your planning? If not, it isn't effective! Is your film age-appropriate? Does your production log fully show everything you did?

Past Examples

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