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Film & Video Production

The Department of Communication & Film at The University of Memphis offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts Degree in Communication with a concentration in Film and Video Production. These concentrations combine technical instruction with courses in motion picture studies to provide students with the skills necessary to function in the multifaceted world of audiovisual production. Our approach to media practice is broad enough to address the needs of the independent artist as well as those who wish to enter the industry, and the film program is small enough to ensure that each student receives personal attention from the faculty.

See sample films produced by BA and MA Film Students

Undergraduate Courses in Communication & Film


Students begin the film and video concentration with a foundational hands-on course in 16mm film production and post-production, Motion Picture Production I. Students then move into the world of digital video production and non-linear editing with Motion Picture Production II. After these two core pre-requisites, students explore the television studio workflow in TV Studio Production I, a final pre-requisite. Students then have the opportunity to focus on specific craft elements of the medium in classes such as Screenwriting, Directing, Producing, Cinematography, Editing, and Audio Production for Film. The film and video production concentration also stresses the importance of film studies and the ability to analyze the medium while appreciating its history. Film studies classes include Film History I and II, Contemporary Cinema, Documentary Form and Film, Monster Films, Gender and Film, and Science Fiction Film.

Core pre-requisites (12 credits):

COMM 3823 – Motion Picture Prod I
Credit Hours (4)
Description: Basic production skills and theory; still and 16 mm motion picture photography, film editing; hands-on production exercises. 

COMM 3824 – Motion Picture Prod II
Credit Hours (4)
Description: Continued production skills and theory utilizing digital cameras and digital post production; extensive production exercises. PREREQUISITE: Minimum grade of "C": in COMM 3823 or permission of instructor.

COMM 3842 – TV Studio Production I
Credit Hours (4)
Description: Techniques of studio TV production, including staging and direction of programs. PREREQUISITE: Minimum grade of "C" in COMM 3823 or permission of instructor.

Students select no fewer than three courses (9 credits) in production/writing electives:

COMM 4822 Audio Production Film/Video
Credit Hours (3)
Description Intermediate principles and practices of audio (recording, editing, mixing and design) with emphasis on film and video production. This course is designed primarily for students in the film and video production sequence. Emphasizing practical applications of sound recording techniques, signal processing, structuring and design, the course requires extensive "hands-on" work. We will also be discussing various theories dealing with the relationship of sound to image. PREREQUISITE: A minimum grade of "C" in COMM 3824 or permission of instructor.

COMM 4824 – Cinematography
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Art of visual interpretation with strong concentration in theory and techniques of lighting. Experience with professional cameras and lighting equipment. This course is designed to expand your knowledge so that you will have a better understanding of the tools and procedures necessary for solving the multitude of problems, aesthetic and technical, that confront the image-maker. While I have incorporated a number of exercises and a final project to allow you the opportunity to apply these concepts, there is no provision made for the kind of day-to-day production work that is required in order to become truly skilled. Rather, the course attempts to lay a foundation upon which you can later build. PREREQUISITE: A minimum grade of "C" in COMM 3824 or permission of instructor.

COMM 4825 – Editing/Post Production
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Aesthetics of continuity development in a variety of editing styles; editing techniques and post-production procedures. PREREQUISITE: A minimum grade of "C" in COMM 3824 or permission of instructor.

COMM 4841 – Television Workshop
Credit Hours (3)
Description: TV studio production. Students work together to produce broadcast quality television programs in which students will serve as crew and produce some content. Repeatable. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 semester hours; repetition will not result in a change of any grade previously given. PREREQUESITE: COMM 3842 or permission of instructor.

COMM 4842 – TV Studio Production II
Credit Hours (4)
Description: Advanced training in TV studio/multiple camera techniques; extensive production work. Students will have opportunities to exercise technical expertise in the production of broadcast quality television studio productions. Assume technical positions on a variety of production assignments as camera operator, sound engineer, technical director, floor director, talent and VTR operator among others. Study the dynamics of interpersonal communication, television aesthetics and various stages of project execution. PREREQUISITE: COMM 3842.

COMM 4891 – Directing for Film
Credit Hours (3) FORMER: (Producing/Directing Film/Video)
Description: This class deals with essential elements of directing dramatic action for film. Focus on scene analysis, blocking for the camera and working with actors. Coverage of important readings, intensive production work and extensive written preparation by students when directing and committed production by students when not directing. Fee Broadcast and Film. PREREQUISITE: Minimum grade of "C" in COMM 3824 or permission of instructor.

COMM 4893 – Producing for Film
Credit Hours (3)
Description: The goal of this course is to acquaint the student with the overall film/video making process through the lens of the producer – how to take a film idea from conception to completion. Examine in depth the world of the producer as s/he finds and sells a concept, budgets, schedules, assembles a crew, oversees post-production, and markets his/her project. Explore how the producer operates in the "Hollywood" system – from dealing with agents and managers to finding talent and developing screenplays. Hands-on approach the learning essential tools of an aspiring executive/producer in Hollywood. Fee Production course fee applies. PREREQISITE: COMM 3824 or permission of instructor. Cross listing: COMM 6893.

COMM 4894 – Video for Organizations (No preview available for syllabus)
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Students will gain "hands-on" experience producing video content for clients, applying skills in writing, producing, directing, cinematography, sound design and editing. Practical application of video production skills will give students a working understanding of how to create video work for employers/clients in the future. The course requires extensive "hands-on" work, along with discussions of various concerns dealing the interaction of the various production components. The class structure is a blend of seminar and workshop style. Students are required to be actively involved and participate in the production of a series of video projects Fee Broadcast and Film. PREREQUISITE: COMM 3824 or permission of instructor.

COMM 4960 – Documentary Writing (No preview available for syllabus)
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Writing for non-fiction media. This course will examine the theory, techniques and ethics of documentary storytelling in both moving picture media and audio. Students will explore and practice the special planning and writing that distinguishes documentary from fictional programs while also developing the skills and standards necessary to effective creators and critical observers of documentaries.

COMM 4970 – Screenwriting
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Writing for fiction film and television; basic dramatic theory, narrative structure, characterization, dialogue, adaptation and the unique demands of audio visual media.

Students select no fewer than two courses (6 credits) in film studies electives:

COMM 3003 – Television and Culture
Credit Hours (3) Former: (3861)
Description: Social, political and aesthetic dimensions of television in contemporary culture. Understand television as a unique meaning-producing medium, develop televisual literacy, understand the changing roles of television in American and global cultures.

COMM 4850 – Film History I
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Historical survey of motion pictures from medium's pre-history to 1940; emphasis on narrative film.

COMM 4851 – Film History II
Credit (3)
Description: Historical survey of the major movements, genres and themes in narrative film from 1940-1980.

COMM 4853 – Documentary Form Film
Credit hours (3)
Description: Development of non-fiction film as rhetorical and expressive form; analysis of individual films, genres and filmmakers.

COMM 4856 – Gender and Film
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Examines how gender, and consequently race and sexuality, are represented in film. Specific attention is given to feminist approaches in film studies.

COMM 4858 – Contemporary Cinema
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Major themes and styles in international and U.S. narrative film from 1980 to present.

COMM 4859 – Monster Films (No preview available for syllabus)
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Survey of classic and contemporary monster films exploring monstrosity as a social and cultural category for organizing, classifying and managing change.

COMM 4860 – Reality TV
Credit Hours (3)
Description: Examine and critically evaluate the many facets of Reality TV; attempt to identify the roots of our increasingly voyeuristic society, understand the production values of reality-based programs and speculate as to what the future holds.

COMM 4861 – Science Fiction Film (No preview available for syllabus)
Credit Hours (3)
Description: This course will examine science fiction and styles of international and U. S. narrative film from 1960s to present. The course argues that science fiction has become one of the most important genres of contemporary cinema. The course asks how science fiction cinema has dealt with uncertainties of modern-day life, including, but not limited to, human extinction, technological advances and robotic and cyborg entities.