Postgraduate Course in Media Production

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Media Production is a blanket term for an industry which has shifted greatly over the past number of years; the digital revolution changed all things related to media. Every iPhone user is a potential journalist, anyone with an internet connection can be a broadcaster. The changing online landscape has, in some ways, democratised the form, but arguably it has also diluted the quality. Now more than ever, our newsfeeds are busied with questionable content and we are living in an era of ‘Post Truth’. A postgraduate course in Media Production is perfect for anyone who wants to contribute creatively and who cares about standards and output.

Media Production

Postgraduate courses in Media Production are intensive; you are either expected to already have a comprehensive understanding of the modules you take, or you will have to get up to speed, and quickly. If this is an area that interests you, here are some modules that are regularly on offer:

  • 2D/3D Animation:

Ireland has an impressive international reputation when it comes to animation. Large production houses such as Brown Bag Films and Cartoon Salon have put our small nation on the map. Animation is also a go-to format for film and advertisers. It’s tough work and you will certainly need an interest and aptitude if you are to succeed, but a postgraduate programme is a great way to get advice on creating that portfolio.

  • Filmmaking:

Screen Ireland and the Arts Council have a host of grants for entry level filmmakers. While traditional filmmaking is extremely competitive it’s a skill worth honing; advertising is a very well paid profession. However, be prepared to budget when starting off. As you develop your ability and build your network, you will be expected to work for free. Withing film as a medium, there are a number of specialist roles depending on your interest. On a module in filmmaking you will learn all about camera work, framing, editing, producing and film theory. Most importantly this is a practical area of work, so be prepared to learn by doing.

  • Photography:

While very few people make a living from photography alone, knowing how to take a photograph and having rudimentary photo editing skills will help you across a number of jobs. On a module like this, you have two options: you could work in film and processing, or go down the digital route. A photography course will generally cover topics such as light and colour and the science which influences them. You will learn about framing, photography styles and movements. Learn to master that aperture and F-stop in a fun, creative environment.

  • Graphic Design:

Workwise, this is a highly competitive arena, but great design is something that is appreciated and needed across the board. Plus, a job as a Graphic Designer pays well once you’ve established yourself and your brand. The artistic understanding and technical knowledge you will accrue on a module like this will help you if you want to break into the work of web design, production design, or content creation for a magazine. You could create logos, develop branding or work in advertising.

  • Writing:

Depending on the course you chose, writing in some shape or form will find its way into your syllabus. Whether you’re penning a critical essay, working on a feature film script, fine-tuning a radio play or creating advertising copy, a postgraduate course in Media Production will hone your skills as a wordsmith. No matter what career you embark upon in the future, a strong grasp of language, comprehensive communication abilities, and an understanding and aptitude with regards storytelling, will make you a catch for any potential employer.

  • Sound Production:

Do you know your super cardioid mics from your figure 8s? Can you yield a boom with expert precision? Are you a dab hand at Audacity and know your way around Audition like a pro? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you probably won’t need to take this as a module. But if you’re like the rest of us, and the world of audio is somewhat of a mystery, sound production might be right up your alley. You might find yourself recording live gigs, or bands in a studio. Podcasts or radio documentaries have also taken the world by storm and are a lot cheaper to produce than film.

  • Law:

When it comes to media, the law is an integral part of what you will be dealing with in any aspect of the industry. If you make a short film, you’ll have to secure the rights to music, your actors will all have to sign release forms. You’ll need media insurance if you’re filming on location and god help you if you want to use to use archival footage. Meanwhile, if you’re working as a journalist, an understanding of libel law and defamation could be what stands between you and the bankruptcy brought on by a lawsuit.

  • Website Design:

A working knowledge of coding languages will make you inherently employable. It’s not an easy subject to learn from scratch, but even rudimentary skills in HTML will do wonders when it comes to managing your own digital footprint. There are plenty of great programmes such as WordPress or Squarespace where you can tailor projects to suit your needs or the needs of your clients. A module in this field allows you to make the most of your SEO ranking and manage your online presence in a way that’s professional and impressive.

NB: One thing to bear in mind when you’re deciding on which course you want to take is equipment. For these practical subjects you want to make absolutely sure that whatever technology you’ll be learning on, be it a camera, zoom recorder, or software, is industry standard. The very last thing you want to do is spend six months learning Final Cut Pro 7 to discover that what you’ll be working on when you graduate is Avid. Do your research. What work have the course tutors produced?

Postgraduate Course in Media Production: Entry requirements

Potential students on a programme like this should have a 2:2 honours bachelor degree in a related area. Most courses require applicants to submit a portfolio and do an interview to prove their creative ability and technical strengths. Outside of the usual academic entry requirements, many courses will accept professional experience as proof of ability.

Career opportunities

No matter which area you plan to work in, the Creative Arts and Media industries are demanding and hard to break into. Also, the internet has changed the landscape completely in recent years. Less and less people are going to traditional broadcasters to consume their media. Meanwhile, the shifting trends with distribution, mean it’s harder to monetize your output with the likes of advertising. Very few people make a living from YouTube revenue.

When it comes to film, tv, design or photography most of the work is project-based and people working in these areas are usually freelancers. If you work for yourself, you will have to prove yourself consistently and often start your career working for free. Studying Media Production at a postgraduate level is not easy. However, this is a field in which tenacity is certainly rewarded. Make the most of the time on your chosen course and use your assignments and projects to build an impressive portfolio. Network. Go to festivals and conferences. Hound your tutors for work experience.

With regards starting that job hunt, you might find yourself looking in the usual areas; Journalism, Digital Marketing, Web Design, Film, TV, Radio, and advertising; but don’t forget, much of what you’ll be doing is making your own work. Content creation, consultancy, podcasting, are all rewarding endeavours. A postgraduate qualification and the strong portfolio you gain along the way, mean you’ll have already hit the ground running by the time you don your graduation robes.


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