Since film production degree programs require students to complete film projects using equipment and the help of their fellow peers, these programs are not available through distance learning. However, individuals can find motion picture associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs offered in an online or hybrid format at a select number of schools. Some programs may require on-campus coursework. These programs may offer specializations in film production, as well as directing and cinematography. During these programs, theory-based lessons may be delivered remotely, but students usually must conduct production fieldwork and use audio and video editing software they have purchased.
Motion Picture Associate's Degree
In this program, students learn about sound, lighting, audio and video production, screenwriting, special effects, and acting. Students can major in different concentrations, such as directing, editing, producing, screenwriting, and production. Film production students will likely find the most relevant coursework majoring in production. Online motion picture associate's degree programs are entry-level degree programs that require no prior experience.
Program Information and Requirements
Associate's degree programs are generally around 65-credit hours in length and take two years to complete. This type of degree program is available online and hybrid form. Students use computers at home to edit audio and video. Classes are often in question and answer form, in which the student submits his or her answers to a discussion board. In addition, students use interactive slides to simulate real-world experiences, such as adjust the angle of lighting on a computer-generated image in a lighting course.
In order to learn basic editing principles, students must have the video editing software that is required by the individual school. Online courses can be accessed from any computer equipped with an Internet connection. A broadband Internet connection is recommended.
Common Motion Picture Associate's Degree Program Courses
Coursework in associate's degree programs focuses on editing, storyboarding, post-production audio, and special effects. Students are also trained in storytelling and screenwriting.
Digital Video Lighting
In this course, students investigate lighting techniques used in film. Students gain an understanding of angles, light density, color temperature and light positioning techniques.
Outlining filming techniques to tell a story visually is the theory behind this course in storytelling. Topics include choosing the right lens, lighting, operating a camera and composing a scene. An emphasis is placed on storyboard development prior to filming.
Basic Editing Principles
Students explore scene editing with online digital video editing software. The course focuses on style elements, continuity and screen direction. Students develop skills in basic terminology and common film editing rules.
Motion Picture Bachelor's Degree
Online motion picture bachelor's degree programs provide a broad overview of filmmaking. Students gain an understanding of cinematography, directing, lighting, production, sound, screenwriting, acting, and editing. Students gain skills based on their area of concentration. For example, students who choose to specialize in production will learn how to budget films and pitch a screenplay, as well as abide by industry standards. The program culminates in a final project.
Program Information and Requirements
Degrees of this nature are rarely, if ever available entirely online due to the hands-on nature of the courses. More often, it is found in hybrid form wherein courses on theory and techniques are easily taken online. The length of the program is about 130-credit hours, including the general education courses.
Audio and video online editing courses require the student to have video editing software specified by the school. Depending on the school, some courses require the use of audio editing software as well. In addition to Internet access, online learners will need a computer meeting hardware and software guidelines.
Common Motion Picture Bachelor's Degree Program Courses
Students can expect to take online courses on subjects such as advanced video editing, screenwriting, sound effect principles, and film history. Lectures are viewed through video formats and slide presentations and may include interactivity.
Language in Motion Pictures
Students gain an understanding of the proper way to communicate within the industry. The course offers insight into things like screen direction and lens choice.
Screenwriting courses provide students with an understanding of modern motion picture storytelling styles and formats. Online learners investigate character development, plot points, genres and dialogue formats.
This course outlines the use special effects and color correction in the postproduction stages of film. Students study advanced operation functions like final project exporting and media importing.
Motion Picture Master's Degree
Like most master's degree programs, an online motion picture master's degree program incorporates a thesis project into the curriculum. Students can choose to make a thesis video in a documentary, narrative, or commercial format. Similar to the undergraduate programs, a master's degree program curriculum focuses on all aspects of film production. Additionally, students receive training in the business and commercial side of making motion pictures.
Program Information and Requirements
Motion picture master's degree programs are generally around 60-credit hours in length. Master's programs are not offered exclusively online. Theoretical courses can be completed online; however, the majority of the technical classes are completed on campus. Students use online messaging and message boards to communicate with instructors and peers. Accessing online courses is completed utilizing online learning platforms.
Students must have a Macintosh or PC in order to run required software. It is often required that the student purchase a high-quality video and audio editing software program. In order to enroll in online courses, students must have access to the Internet.
Common Motion Picture Master's Degree Program Courses
Motion picture master's programs do not generally incorporate general education; however, there are a small number of required electives. The curriculum advances current knowledge of film, as well as explores experimentation and creativity.
This course gives insight into the development of a story and uncovers how a story is successful in the eyes and ears of the viewer. Students are giving the opportunity to revise existing stories to improve them.
Motion Picture Sound
Students examine the applications of sound production in their thesis project. Students use the required sound editing software to manipulate audio and then upload it for constructive criticism by an instructor.
Motion Picture Production
The motion picture production course outlines budgeting and scheduling procedures. Students are trained to view film production from the eyes of a producer. They are given tasks like marketing and sales of a sample film to gain a first person perspective.
Film production is an anomalous field that is based largely on experience and creative skills. It does not require formal education to be successful. Regardless of their degree, most students start out in entry-level assisting positions, such as production assistant or editing assistant. With experience, students can move up within the industry to cinematographer, director and producer.
Graduates are qualified for positions in television and motion picture industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of television and motion picture studies in the U.S. are located in Hollywood, CA (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projected that from 2014-2024, employment of producers and directors in the motion picture and television industry is expected to increase by 9%.
Film production degree programs are not easily found online, though motion picture degree programs are available online and in hybrid form. Students can complete an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree program in motion picture to learn about equipment, filming techniques, screenwriting, and editing.