Do you want to make films or work in video?
Should you study film and video at the University of Alabama? How well does our program suit your needs? There are no simple answers to these questions.
You can learn a good deal about the program here on our website, which provides some general information about the Telecommunication and Film department, the faculty, the courses and some of the student work being produced here. You should also check the online course listings in our undergraduate catalog for a description of all the relevant courses offered in the department. However, as a faculty member responsible for teaching film and video production courses here at UA, I will try here to give you a fuller sense of the program and what it has to offer in regards to the structure and philosophy of the media production sequence within the TCF major.
First, you should understand that the Department as a whole encompasses the study of broadcast news production (for radio and television), production management, and critical studies of film and television, in addition to creative video production. We are not strictly or solely a film department, nor exclusively a broadcast program. Students who major in Telecommunication and Film concentrate on particular areas of study, of which media production (think creative film and television production) is one possible sequence; however, they are required and encouraged to take classes in the other areas of communication as well. This makes our department slightly different in structure and philosophy than some film or media arts department, which may focus more exclusively on film studies and production.
In terms of the production courses — classes that would be taken by students majoring in the media production sequence — we have a variety of courses geared specifically towards the production of both television and film. Courses including: television studio production, commercial advertising production, documentary and narrative (fiction) production, editing, screenwriting, videography and screen directing. All of our production courses, whether they are focused around the production of television, documentary or fictional films, use digital video as their medium. We do not offer courses in 16mm or 35mm film production at the University of Alabama.
Our production equipment includes advanced digital video cameras (HDV, DVCAM and DVC-PRO), microphones and audio equipment, a broadcast television studio, professional non-linear (computer) editing systems and a variety of lighting kits and supporting field equipment. This is an exciting time in the Department as we have been rapidly expanding our facilities and equipment resources, including acquiring more cameras and editing suites, retooling our sound studios, introducing HD equipment, etc. We are also fortunate to have the Center for Public Television and Radio and WVUA-7 Television as part of our facilities here in the College of Communication and Information Sciences. These enterprises allow our students to work with professional media producers, earning valuable work experience and course credit in the process.
In general, the sequence of media production courses here is designed to prepare students to work in commercial television, video production houses, documentary production and possibly independent film. This program would also work well for students planning to attend a TV/film school for graduate study. The philosophy, structure and content of our courses are not geared towards training students to work in specific crafts or parts of the industry (i.e., students are not tracked as editors, producers, etc.), but rather to expose the student to all aspects and modes of production.
The Department seeks to nurture the students’ creativity and budding artistry as future media makers. To that end, all of the production courses are “hands on,” giving the students ample opportunity to produce short video projects or screenplays. Furthermore, we actively encourage students to enter their work in film festivals and competitions or to broadcast pieces on WVUA-TV.
Any student admitted to the University of Alabama can enroll and major in Telecommunication and Film. There is no separate application process or portfolio review.