Course Guide

Course Guide – Film Oxford, The Alternative, Affordable Film School

If you know what type of training course you are interested in taking, go straight to our Short Film Courses page, this guide is for those who are unsure and gives you more of an overview.

Course Guide – Choosing a course at Film Oxford

Want to make films? We offer affordable bite-sized training in filmmaking, digital video production, screenwriting, creative software, and digital media delivered by professionals working in the industry. You can’t learn everything free from the internet, sometimes you need to get hands on with professional kit, and talk to and interact with experts! Film Oxford training – for all the stuff you can’t learn from YouTube!  All our courses are listed on our Short Film Courses page  – click on each course to get full details. This page is about helping you to choose the right course for you by giving you the background information you need.

course guide - film oxford
course guide - film oxford

1)    Begin at the beginning?

  • Introduction to Digital Video is a weekend “taster course”, if you want to dip your toe in the water to see if it is for you (11 hours teaching). It’s more laid back than Shooting Video and good computer skills are less important. You don’t make a finished film, as a weekend is too short for that, but you do lots of hands-on exercises. Many people do this course and then go on to Shooting Video.
  • 3 Day Video Production Course, is a daytime weekday “taster course” (13.5 teaching hours), it is more “pacy” than Introduction to Digital Video . Learners on this course are given a commission to make a short promotional video or documentary about a local community organisation, or about a local creative person such as an artist or author. They learn basic skills in film planning, shooting and editing in order to make the film, and it gives a good overall understanding of the process. The finished film is put on our YouTube channel. Many people do this course and then go on to Shooting Video. We also run a women-only version of this course in March each year called Reel Women.
  • Shooting Video is our main digital video production course for the confident beginner. It runs over 7 weeks with 7 evening classes plus two full days at weekends, (33 hours teaching plus additional outside class meetings & prep.). It concentrates on making a narrative based digital video production (usually a short drama film, but sometimes a documentary). It looks at the whole filmmaking process rather than anything in great detail. This is a really good place to start, understand the basics and decide where to go next! Learners on Shooting Video have more class time and also meet outside of class to develop productions (as it is an evening class over 7 weeks). The learners all pitch their own idea for a film, and the best are voted by the learners to be made.  The finished film is put on our YouTube channel, and is shown at a public screening (Open Screen).
  • We also run a specific Stop Motion Animation Weekend for those wanting to get hands-on animation experience; a fun introductory course aimed at beginners.
Short Film Courses - Film Oxford

2)    The technical challenge: How to shoot your film and edit your film?

Filmmaking is where art and science meet; creative and technical skills must be melded together!


Video Camera Course, Lighting Workshop and Location Sound are three courses that cover in great detail the technical challenges of getting great images and sound. (HD camera and Lighting can be booked together at a discounted price).

DSLR Cinematography explores the special challenges and opportunities of getting great video images from DSLR cameras.

Short Film Courses - Film Oxford


Editing on Premiere Pro is covered in brief on the Shooting Video course, however the focus is on getting your film made, rather than learning the technical aspects of the editing programme. Most people also benefit greatly by taking the Adobe Premiere Editing weekend.

Ever wondered why professional productions look so slick, with their rich colours, special visual effects and 3d motion graphics, and most newbie films look so flat and cheap looking? The answer is that editing programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are really for cutting together and structuring your film, to make it look good you need Adobe After Effects. The Adobe After Effects weekend teaches you how to use the After Effects interface; once this complicated interface is understood, the sky’s the limit for you to go on and create stunning images and visual effects.

In the real world, editors need to use a huge palate of creative software, not just one editing programme. Photoshop is a great way to understand how to get great images; as what makes a great photograph also makes great moving images.

Each piece of creative software that you learn will make it easier to learn the next. It will allow you to make connections and build an understanding of the creative and technical processes needed to solve problems and make great films in postproduction.

Our Creative VJ course is hard to classify. It is definitely using software, but it is using software for “performance” with the live mixing of video and music in clubs and other spaces – making music for your eyes!

photoshop grab film oxford
after effects 2011 copy

3)    How to get your film made? How to create your film.

If documentary is your thing then check out Developing Documentaries. This course will give you the tools, techniques and knowledge required to research, develop, schedule and plan a short documentary, so you will then be ready to go out and shoot and edit your film.

They say “ a documentary is made in the edit, whilst a drama is made in the screenplay”. If writing is your thing, or you just want a working knowledge of what it involves, try the Introduction to Screenwriting and New Screenwriters courses.

As well as a good script (or a good documentary idea), you need a great Director and a great Producer.

The Director is the creative force in the film, but it is the Producer that gets the film “made”, pulling together all the people and resources needed for the production. Film Oxford run two fantastic weekend courses that teach you the secrets of these roles; Directing Drama and Film Producing on a Microbudget.

It is every new filmmaker’s fantasy that they will do the “interesting creative stuff” and someone else will do all the “boring organisational stuff” for them. – Dream On! If you want to get a film made then you “will be the Producer”, it doesn’t matter if you also direct, edit or shoot as well, unless you organise it – it will not happen! Real filmmakers get just as excited by planning, fundraising and distribution as they do the shoot! So take Developing Documentaries and/or Film Producing on a Microbudget and learn how!

 4)    Making your own film!

Once you have had some training you can start to make your own films. Filmmaking is a collaborative process, so you will need people to collaborate with! Perhaps you will meet them on a course, at one of Film Oxford’s events you saw advertised in our news webpageemail list or Facebook Group? More information on our Networking Groups below.

Then you’ll need some kit! Hopefully, you can borrow or buy some kit you need, or get people to collaborate who have their own? 

After your first attempt you will probably realise you need some more training, this isn’t unusual, many people will continue to take courses as they start to make their own films.

Film Oxford

Once your film is made don’t forget to get your film out there! It is amazing how many people make a short film, give the cast and crew a copy, and that is it! Enter it into film festivals and show it on the web. Use social networking to market your film and get feedback so you can make a better film the next time!

More about Film Oxford

Film Oxford Building & Garden
Film Oxford Building & Garden

Film Oxford is an independent Hub for film and digital media whose aim is to create a community of filmmakers and digital creators through the programme of TRAIN, NETWORK, CREATE, EXHIBIT.

TRAIN – Through partnerships with local education providers Oxfordshire Adult Learning, we offer highly subsidised training in a broad range of film and digital media courses. An Alternative, Affordable Film School!

NETWORK – Meet people who have similar filmmaking ambitions to you! We support networking groups that are free to join, as well as web-based resources and social media.

CREATE – Don’t wait to be “discovered”, go out and make films and build a “Showreel” of work! 

EXHIBIT – Get your film seen by entering as many festivals as you can! Show your work at our OPEN SCREEN Networking Night (a kind of “Open Mic” night for filmmakers!)

Networking at Film Oxford

Emailing list

To keep up to date on everything film (training, events, productions, screenings, special offers) in the area join the FILM OXFORD email list, and support us by spreading our news through your social media networks. You can always unsubscribe yourself at a later date if you want to!  Go to contact page on our website or direct with shortened URL

 Film Oxford Social Media

Twitter – @filmoxford

Film Oxford Youtube Channel

Please “like” Facebook Page

Join our Facebook Group and you can post your own Film related requests (the Facebook Group is separate from the Facebook page)

Film Oxford Network Groups

Film Oxford user groups are all run by volunteers.

Open Groups (just turn up to most meetings).

Open Screen Networking Group (monthly) – Open Screen Facebook

Poppadom Pictures – Free monthly film evening at Film Oxford

Ask to join.

Film Oxford Screenwriters (weekly meet)

Digital Youth (Weekly, 14-19-year-olds)

Shadowlight Artists (Monthly, Digital Artists with Learning Disabilities)

Film Oxford networking groups
  • Contact

    54 Catherine St, Oxford, OX4 3AH
    Tel: 01865 792731 Email:

    Registered Charity Number: 1041014
    Film Oxford is supported by Oxford City Council

    Oxford Film & Video Makers Ltd, trading as Film Oxford, is a company limited by guarantee.
    Registered in England No 02022892

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  • Supported by

    Oxford City  Council
    BFI Film Academy UK Network
    Arts Council of England