Higher Nationals

Film Production

BTEC Higher National Diploma in Creative Media Production (Film)

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Duration: Two years, with an optional exit award after year one.

Certification: BTEC Higher National Diploma in Creative Media Production (Film), with optional Higher National Certificate after year one.

Level: Level 6 Higher Certificate (HNC/D)

Course Code: FND


Audio Production

Cinematography Camera Skills

Creative Media Industry

Editing for Film and Television

Film Practice

Film Studies

Individual Project

Professional Practice


Advanced Editing for Film and Television

Advanced Film Production Studies

Collaborative Project


Film Criticism

Personal Professional Development

Scriptwriting for Film and Television

Please note that all the modules listed are subject to change due to availability and demand.

This page is for our two-year Higher National Diploma in Film Production. For our one-year foundation course in Film, click here.


Film production is booming in Ireland and beyond, and there’s never been a better time to jump in. With new technology, fresh formats, and many opportunities, you’ll find plenty of ways to make your mark and bring your cinematic vision to life. Our Higher National Diploma (HND) qualifications are designed with today’s film production landscape in mind, so you can explore a curriculum which has a heavy practical focus and takes advantage of Ireland’s place as one of the leaders in the global film industry.

During this two-year course, we focus on skills that’ll help you stand out in the film industry and skills you can use across the creative media sector. Our Higher National courses will set you up for success, whether you’re looking to land an exciting job in film production or continue your education with a university. Get ready to develop your filmmaking skills and portfolio to see where they take you!



Year One

The first year of the course focuses on developing the practical skills, knowledge, and understanding required to succeed in various film production and creative media industry roles. The curriculum covers various aspects of the film production industry, such as script writing, cinematography, sound production, and editing. Students learn about the creative process, production techniques, industry trends, and business aspects of media production.

Year Two

The second year is an advanced vocational set of modules which build upon the foundations provided in year one. The second year will take a deep dive into advanced film production techniques, offering students the opportunity to build a substantial portfolio of work which they can use in the search for jobs in the Irish and international film industries. There is a greater emphasis on industry practices and more opportunities for specialisation.

Modules in Detail: Year One

Audio Production: This module focuses on digital audio, a crucial element in modern film production courses. It provides students with an understanding of digital audio’s technical and aesthetic aspects, enabling them to effectively record, edit, mix, and distribute audio content. The module covers digital audio fundamentals, recording techniques across different environments, and using Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) for editing and mixing. Upon completion, students will be proficient in planning, creating, and evaluating audio projects, enhancing their film production skills.

Cinematography: This module delves into the art of cinematography, encompassing motion picture camera operations and lighting techniques. Students will gain proficiency in the design, operation, and control of various cameras and acquire the skills needed to assume roles within the camera department. Upon completion, students will comprehend the functions of camera department roles, the purpose and operation of camera equipment, and the impact of camera-work on film narratives and audience experience, ultimately enriching their film production expertise.

Creative Media Industry: This module examines the creative media production landscape within the rapidly evolving creative industries sector. Students will explore the interrelated nature of creative practices, skill sets, and the growing convergence of technologies in the industry. Students will be better equipped to position their work and expertise within relevant industries and the broader sector by obtaining a comprehensive understanding of industry contexts, business practices, and specific skills. Topics encompass the creative industry sector, various creative media production fields, sector economics, company types, roles within creative media production, industry history, and future planning.

Editing for Film and Television: This module delves into the crucial post-production stage of film and television, where raw materials are assembled to create a polished final product. Students will use established editing conventions and techniques to achieve creative, imaginative, and professional results. Emphasis is placed on the importance of collaboration between editors and directors, as demonstrated by numerous successful partnerships in the media industry. Students will develop the ability to craft edits that effectively convey mood, information, suspense, structure, and meaning in their productions.

Film Practice: This module explores the end-to-end film and television production process, from concept generation to public exhibition of the final product. Students will gain insight into the complexities of production management, legal and ethical considerations, and the tools required for seamless project execution. Furthermore, they will learn about target audience identification, marketing, and product packaging. By the end of the unit, students will possess a comprehensive understanding of the processes and practices involved in developing, shooting, and exhibiting a film or television production, and will acquire skills in project planning, production management, legal and ethical practices, and promotional methods. This will enable them to bridge creative ideas with established film and television production procedures.

Film Studies: This module delves into the intellectually stimulating field of film studies, examining the industry’s history, developments, and various critical approaches. As a significant cultural medium with aesthetic, social, and political importance, film warrants serious and comprehensive study. Students will explore the film industry’s evolution, including technical, cultural, and social aspects, as well as film spectatorship, narrative development, and key concepts and methodologies within the discipline. Upon completion, students will have a deeper understanding of the film industry, audience, narrative, and theoretical models of film investigation. They will also acquire skills in critical analysis techniques, research methods, and academic approaches to film examination, enriching their knowledge of film history and overall expertise.

Individual Project: This module enables students to discover their personal strengths and hone their independent practice within the creative media production industry by focusing on various disciplines and specialisms. Students will undertake an individual project based on a theme and topics, utilising knowledge and skills from other areas of their studies. The unit aims to simulate working studio conditions to develop and enhance professional industry skills and practices. By fostering the ability to define, plan, and execute projects, this module equips students with critical skills applicable to various roles within the creative industries, including information analysis and problem-solving for informed creative practice.

Professional Practice: This module emphasises the importance of understanding the ever-changing creative industries in response to technological advancements, social change, and cultural shifts. Developing awareness of the industry and its opportunities and challenges is crucial for individuals entering the field. Reflecting on one’s career goals and planning for personal professional development is vital for staying inspired, innovative, and abreast of trends and new developments in a specific domain.

The unit aims to foster students’ reflective practice and personal professional development within the broader context of creative media production. Students will define and implement their professional development plans by examining the skills needed to excel in the creative industries, ultimately enabling them to successfully navigate and grow within their chosen field.

Modules in Detail: Year Two

Advanced Editing for Film and Television: The Advanced Editing for Film & Television module expands upon students’ basic editing skills, focusing on the development of sophisticated creative and technical expertise. Students will examine the narrative significance and technical capabilities of visual digital effects software within edited sequences. They will also study the impact of rhythm, pacing, and music on audience experiences in drama and documentary by deconstructing professional sequences and creating their own.

The unit explores image and sound specifications, resolutions associated with film and television post-production, and techniques for crafting transitions and effects. Upon completion, students will be adept at analysing colour and sound levels, comparing them to industry standards, and applying corrections to produce a polished product that meets professional benchmarks.

Advanced Film Production Studies: This unit offers students the chance to delve deeper into film-making skills, encompassing practical, creative, and management aspects of film production, from the initial pitch to a completed short film. Both individually and collaboratively, students will enhance their understanding of equipment, techniques, and processes related to film-making. They will develop and pitch short film ideas, assume various production roles, and consolidate their knowledge of pre-production, production, and post-production processes.

By presenting their final short films, students will evaluate the connection between audience experience and their creative and technical practice, reflecting on their accomplishments and future plans. The unit’s framework supports the development of in-depth knowledge and skills in the specialist subject, with the flexibility to accommodate broad subject areas and greater specialisation based on local needs or student interests.

Collaborative Project: This unit fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and creative engagement within creative media production. Students can work in small groups, collaborate with external partners, or as a cohort to undertake shared creative media production experiences. The unit strives to simulate working studio conditions, thus enhancing and developing professional industry skills and practices.

Developing the ability to define, plan, and execute projects is critical across various roles within the creative industries. Students will learn to identify relevant information and analyse it to devise clear solutions underpinning numerous applied practice processes. By focusing on collaborative working practices, the unit prepares students for the realities of the creative media production industry.

Documentary: Documentaries serve a crucial role in society, distinct from fiction, as they record, portray, inform, educate, and interpret events and experiences. The genre transcends traditional film and television realms with the emergence of hybrid and new documentary forms using technology creatively. Documentaries encompass various communication styles, from shocking and controversial to informative and emotional, and have inspired countless authors, filmmakers, radio presenters, podcasters, and media producers.

This unit enables students to explore documentary genre conventions, understand its context and origins, and contemplate its future. They will learn how to identify a subject, conduct research, plan, and produce a short documentary, gaining valuable insights and skills in documentary creation.

Film Criticism: Film Criticism delves into the theories and concepts related to the film medium and individual films. It extends beyond film theory, focusing on examining and evaluating films from cultural and theoretical standpoints.

In this unit, students will engage with theoretical constructs such as ideology, auteur theory, gender representation, psychoanalysis, spectatorship theory, and postmodernism, applying these concepts to film critiques. The unit equips students with the skills to analyse, discuss, contextualise, argue, and evaluate films from various perspectives while also informing their own film-making practice.

Personal Professional Development: Professional practice necessitates a thorough, objective analysis of one’s strengths and weaknesses, along with a clear strategy for showcasing skills and abilities to potential employers or clients, which is crucial for future success.

This unit supports students transitioning from study to employment or freelance work in creative media production. Building upon the previous study (First Year: Professional Practice), students will now develop a strategy for their future career, whether employed or self-employed. The unit covers topics such as career planning, CV writing, interview skills, self-promotional material, legal frameworks, business planning, and social and professional networks, preparing students for the challenges of the professional world.

Scriptwriting for Film and Television: The scriptwriter plays a crucial role in the production process, often involved from the initial stages. They create characters and narratives for diverse film and television productions, spanning genres and formats such as soaps, comedies, thrillers, and entertainment shows.

This unit aims to enhance students’ understanding of script development, including idea creation and expansion, presenting script proposals in various industry-accepted formats, and drafting film and television scripts to professional standards across different genres. Upon completion, students will be able to describe the people and practices involved in script development and create industry-standard film or television scripts using recognised software.


We are thrilled to unveil our partnership with the renowned Kairos Studios, exclusively for our Film Production HND course. These facilities will allow us to provide a cutting-edge educational experience as we integrate the facilities of Kairos Studios into our practical modules.

Unleash your creativity in the same studios the industry uses, such as RTÉ, Sky, TG4, and numerous independent and corporate producers. By joining our programme, you gain unparalleled access to industry-standard equipment and remarkable facilities that propel your skills to new heights.


The Higher National Diploma’s more extensive coursework and advanced skillset make its graduates more competitive in the job market and better prepared for various creative media roles.

The Higher National Diploma is a recognised international qualification, delivered in over 50 countries worldwide. Graduates of our Higher Nationals in Film Production can progress to various undergraduate degree courses upon successfully completing their studies.

The two-year duration and deep focus of the Higher National Diploma at DCFE often leads to stronger connections with industry professionals and organisations, providing students with valuable networking opportunities and a better understanding of the media production landscape. Plus, students will build an extensive portfolio of work to secure employment.


Being a two-year course, we know how important flexibility is. This is why we offer our students the option of an exit award after successfully completing the first year. This can suit those who wish to take a break from study or progress onto a different course in DCFE or elsewhere.

Year One
 – Pearson BTEC Higher National Certificate in Creative Media Production (Film)

Year Two
 – Pearson BTEC Higher National Diploma in Creative Media Production (Film)

Click here for the NARIC Academic Recognition of the HNC
Click here for the NARIC Academic Recognition of the HND


Such is the practical nature of our course; it can lead directly to a range of job opportunities in the film and entertainment industry. Possible career paths include film director, cinematographer, film editor, sound designer, screenwriter, producer, and production designer. Other potential jobs include casting director, location manager, visual effects supervisor, and more.


 At least one of the following:

  • Leaving Certificate
  • Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA)
  • QQI Level 5 major award in a related subject
  • Mature students of all background
  • Other equivalent qualification

In addition to the following:

  • Submitting of a personal statement (more details of which will be provided upon application)


    Apply directly using the button below.

    You will find the course by selecting “Higher Nationals” in Department on the left and selecting the HNs in Film Production from the Course menu on the right. This is shown in the image below.


    Graduates can take advantage of many degree progression routes, such as the one-year top-up degrees offered by CDCFE and BCFE, as well as Universities, Institutes of Technologies and Technological Universities across Ireland. As the Higher Nationals are international qualifications, offered in over 50 countries around the world, advanced entry opportunities are also available in the EU and UK. Please note that in all cases, entry is not guaranteed as per institution admissions policies.

    CDCFE: BA (Hons) in Film & Television Production

    1-year top-up
    Accredited by the University of Wolverhampton

    BCFE: BA (Hons) in Media Production Management

    1-year top-up
    Accredited by Dublin City University

    TUD City Campus: TU983 Film & Broadcasting (Level 8, 4 years)

    Maynooth: MH109 Media Studies (Level 8, 4 Years)

    BA/BSc (Hons) Open Degree

    Advanced entry to final year
    Online learning

    BA (Hons) in Film and Television Production
    Advanced entry to final year

    BA (Hons) in Film Production

    Advanced entry to final year

    BA (Hons) in Media Production

    Advanced entry to final year


    For information on fees, please see our Fees page