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Buckinghamshire New University: MA SPECIAL EFFECTS FOR FILM & TV

Institution Buckinghamshire New University
Department School of Art, Design, and Performance
Study type Taught


Why study this subject? Digital technology has revolutionised how creative professionals now conceive, create, produce and distribute visual and media artefacts, and there is a demand for visually, media-savvy practitioners who can work confidently in multidisciplinary environments.

The range of industries using special effects has grown rapidly over the last decade. Graduates of the MA Special Effects for Film & TV will leave having gained specialised knowledge and skills base and opportunities for employment within film and TV production.

Why study at BNU? The MA Special Effects for Film & TV at BNU will allow students to focus on the design and fabrication of physically based film and television special effects using a range of art and science technologies.

This will include engineering system design, props design & fabrication, prosthetics and makeup effects, character creation, set and theme design or the crafting of camera-ready animatronics devices depending on the chosen pathway.

On this course you will be able to have the opportunity to study in our specialist facilities at our High Wycombe campus and teaching base at Pinewood studios. You’ll have the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge you need for your future, all whilst studying right in the heart of the famous creative hub.

Taught by industry-professionals, you’ll benefit by learning from lecturers with real sector experience and an insight into working-life. Dr Johnny Issapour, your course leader, is the first academic in the UK with a PhD in special effects and animatronics covering both the digital and physical aspects of the subject. As well as this you’ll have access to our network of guest speaker’s industry experts, and innovators from leading companies. All here to support you as you gain the skills and knowledge you need.

What facilities can I use? Our industry standard facilities are here to help you produce your most creative ideas. Our specialist resources including;

  • CNC and laser cutter machines

  • engineering & modelmaking workshop equipped with the latest advanced tools

  • plastic lab

  • prosthetics lab

  • High end cameras

  • Photography studios equipped with industry standard blue/ green screen.

  • blue/green screen video studio

  • computer and CGI lab

  • adobe creative suit

  • Auto desk

Collaborating with students from a range of different courses, you’ll also get to access our professional art and design workshop and our TV and film studios.

What will I study? This MA enables students to focus their studies either towards the design and crafting of props, model-making, animatronics design and fabrication using engineering technology, or the conceptualisation, design and crafting of prosthetics makeup effects production e.g. advanced techniques in casualty simulation. This taught research-based course is industry-focused and will provide opportunities for students to engage with a broad range of skills and techniques required within special effects production for film and TV and associated creative industries.

How will I be taught and assessed? You will be assessed in a variety of ways, from studio projects, workshops and media outcomes, to group and individual case studies, and written assignments. As well as:

  • Lectures

  • tutorials and/or laboratory and workshop sessions

  • seminars

  • industry briefs

  • case studies

  • practical work.

As this master’s programme is strongly vocationally-based, you may have opportunities to present your work to a range of audiences, including industry professionals. You’ll do this through collections, exhibitions, performance, screenings, and other teaching methods as applicable to each pathway.

The dissertation module is supported by a series of lectures and seminars on research skills, which is then followed by personal supervision.


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