The first term gives students a thorough grounding in the basics of professional filmmaking. All terms are centred around the development, production and post-production of a summative film exercise, and in term one, this takes the form of a 2-3 minute, 16mm, black and white, mute film shot on location. This exercise is the culmination of learning throughout the term in the areas of camera skills, exposure control, directing and editing.

All students develop a script for the selection process that leads into the short film exercise production.  Students will each have a major role on a summative film exercise, working either as a director, editor or camera-operator, and will usually also work in a supporting role on a second film exercise. 

The initial term also provides a foundation for future terms by exploring the principles of how to effectively tell a story in pictures. The developed scripts are therefore analysed and discussed before they are realised. Students further support the productions by practising elementary production management skills such as organising location permissions, and entry level production design skills such as securing props and costumes.  The student filmmakers also cast and work with professional actors during these productions. 

In parallel, throughout the term, classes in the analysis of directors’ strategies expose students to wider film culture and history via screenings and discussion of work by leading and innovative filmmakers from global cinema. Students are expected to further develop their knowledge of film practise discourse via independent research that will inform their development of a Work and Research Journal to be submitted at the end of term 2/module 1.

Classes this term also include photo theory, directing syntax, producing/production management, camera practise, use of light meters, and editing. 

TERM 2: 

The second term is intense and exciting. This term introduces students to lighting skills and to sound recording. Students work in small units and are assessed in directing, cinematography and editing, and fulfil supporting roles on the remaining films so that they are intimately involved in all of their unit’s projects. 

The second term summative film exercise is a 2-3 minute long, 16mm colour film shot on location, with post-synchronised sound. Students in editing and directing roles will edit and design soundtracks for the films. Re-recording/mixing of soundtracks is carried out in outside professional studios. Students all work in 2 major roles, as director, cinematographer or editor. 

LFS is currently collaborating with The National Gallery during this term in a project which involves 2nd term students utilising the gallery’s collection as inspiration for their summative film exercises. Students receive a curator-led workshop on a selection of the gallery’s paintings, which illustrates the way directors have drawn inspiration from fine art from the early days of filmmaking. Students in directing roles then choose a painting from the collection as a catalyst for their unit's film. An exciting element of this collaboration is that the students may respond to any aspect of the painting, following in the tradition embraced by the many directors, cinematographers and set designers who have been influenced by artists from Rembrandt, Vermeer and Caravaggio to Turner and Renoir. 


The summative assessment for Module 1 comprises:

  • Term 1 and Term 2 summative film exercises (50%)
  • Individual Work and Research Journal (50%)

Students are assessed on their development and performance in 3 roles undertaken during the module 1 film exercises.  Skills assessed in this module are in the disciplines of directing, camera operation/cinematography and editing. 

The Work and Research Journal is an extended reflective analysis of the student’s development and related research during both terms of module 1.




The third term is dedicated to the exploration of the non-fiction film. The remit of the term is wider than that of the 'classical' documentary, and students are encouraged to think of the expressive functions of images of the real world and their use in new forms.  Britain has a long and rich documentary tradition, going back to Grierson, and kept alive by television. Today this tradition informs feature filmmaking as much as television reportage and current affairs.

The summative film exercise for this term is a ten-minute, HD colour documentary film. Students work in units of five with each student taking on at least one of the major roles - Producer, Director, DoP/Operator, Sound Recordist and Editor. Re-recording/mixing of soundtracks is carried out at professional sound studios. Editing is completed using Avid Composer.

Classes supporting the non-fiction exercises include lectures on documentary history, screenings of contemporary non-fiction, classes in research techniques and interviewing; training in recording synch systems and use of synch sound on location, synchronising rushes and editing synch material, camera practicals and location lighting, and a practice shoot with synch sound.

Throughout the term, script workshops continue to support students in the development of short drama scripts for term 4 and onwards.





In the fourth term, students are required to work at a more advanced level in terms of drama production as each unit works towards the delivery of a 10-minute black and white film exercise, shot in the studio and on location. Units consist of up to 7 students, each taking at least one major role. Scripts have been developed, during workshops in the previous term.

In this term, the role of producer becomes more prominent as does that of the production designer.  Production documents and shooting scripts are presented at production conferences with staff heads of department to support and progress pre-production. Students design, build and dress their own sets following classes and consultation sessions in production design. Studio lighting is at the heart of the exercise, and for many students, this is the major excitement of the term. By this stage, students are expected to manage their lighting in a highly professional way.

The unit attend a grade at a professional post-house to learn how to approach a grade to achieve the best results when working specifically in black and white. Recording and laying post-synchronised tracks are also an important part of the exercise, and soundtracks are dubbed at professional sound studios. 

Directing workshops give the students the opportunity to further explore working with actors, and also participate in classes in production design and art direction, set building, production management, studio lighting theory and practise, camera practise, studio sound recording, tracklaying, non-linear editing, and demonstration at external sound studios of ADR techniques and grading. 


The summative assessment for Module 2 comprises:

  • Individual key roles on Term 3 and Term 4 summative film exercises (50%)
  • Individual Work and Research Journal (50%)

Students are assessed on their development and performance in 2 key roles undertaken during the module 2 film exercises.  Skills assessed in this module are in the disciplines of directing, producing, camera operation/cinematography, production design, sound and editing.

Each student also produces a 2nd Work and Research Journal as an extended reflective analysis of their development and related research during the two terms of module 2.




In term 5, students progress to the production of a 15-minute colour narrative fiction film exercise, shot in the studio and on location on the Arriflex Alexa camera. Scripts written and developed over the previous term are selected and crews are built around the scripts. Scripts are broken down by producers and again presented to production conferences with heads of departments. Sets and lighting are now designed to embrace the shooting and utilisation of colour to heighten storytelling.

As in the fourth term, the number of films scheduled is high given the number of students. This means that students sometimes work on more than one film and that students from other terms sometimes assist in departments. The integral learning process of each film is shared widely.

Classes and workshops include stereo sound and preparation for the sixth term graduation project. 


Students are assigned a production allowance by the school to produce a graduation film of up to 30 minutes duration. They can work individually or pool their production allowances and projects.  Students are strongly encouraged to raise further funding and build coproduction deals with production companies and/or other graduate film schools, either here in the UK or internationally.

Students who wish to graduate in a specialism other than directing can elect to present examples of their work undertaken during term 6 as their summative film assessment.

Each graduation film script, schedule and budget is discussed with the term tutors who support and monitor pre-production. Delivery requirements match those of the major international film festivals, and the graduation work is showcased at an industry screening in central London.

The school further supports the transition from student to professional by exhibiting a selection of graduate films at key festivals, and via workshops from industry professionals designed to help orient and prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

LFS is committed to supporting its graduates in developing a strategy for their entry into the expanding and fast-changing media industries; with our growing network of associates, LFS maintains and develops contacts throughout the world to support this work.


The summative assessment for Module 3 comprises: 

  • Term 5 film exercise and Term 6 summative film work (50%)
  • Individual Work and Research Journal (50%)

Students are assessed on their development and performance during the term 5 film exercise and their graduation work.  

The Work and Research Journal is the concluding extended reflective analysis of the student’s development and related research, covering both/all terms of module 3.


Watch graduation films



Updated 11 July 2023