Diploma in Wildlife Documentary Film-Making 2019

Why Us






with 8 weeks of filming on location in The Arctic Circle in 4K

During 2019 the UK Wildlife Film School is going to add a second 'Specialist' Diploma Course to its calender, on location in The Arctic Circle, specalising in the use of film production in cold climates and deep snow. We will include other such logistical tasks as filming / working in deep snow, trekking overland in snowshoes, driving a snowmobile and ice fishing. Two of the highlights of the course will be visiting & filming on the edge of Arctic Ocean and filming newborn Brown Bears in the wild.

We are extremely proud to continue to offer our 16 week, SCQF Level 8 ´Diploma in Wildlife Documentary Film–making´ course built around an 8 week practical section of filming
The Diploma has been independently assessed and accredited by the Centre for Credit Rating at Napier University in Edinburgh under the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework.

This Diploma means that…
The UK Wildlife Film School is the only independent wildlife film school in the world
offering its students an ´internationally recognized SCQF Level 8 Diploma qualification´

Jumping through hoops !

So you want to work in wildlife film production; and you want to specialise in working and filming in the Arctic & Antarctic regions of the world…
But how on earth do you do it ?

Well firstly you gain a serious amount of hands-on experience filming real wildlife roaming freely in their own environment; then you undertake some form of internationally recognised qualification that will lift you above the abilities of your fellow film makers and make you stand out to a potential employee; and then all you have to do is get a job with a wildlife production company
O´ and one that specialises in filming in Arctic and Antarctic conditions

Well that’s all very easy isn’t it… No!

So we decided to run a course that will help you jump though some of those ‘very specialist’ hoops.

Hoop 1:
We will give you more ‘hands-on, practical experience’ filming with professional 4K television production equipment than any other wildlife film course in the world.

Hoop 2:
We will run a practical film course for 8 weeks in the Arctic Circle, and teach you how to live and work in the hospitable conditions; and how to operate the camera and production equipment required to film professionally in those conditions

Hoop 3:
Finally, we will also teach you how to edit and produce a `broadcast standard´ wildlife documentary / film in 4K whilst out on location in the arctic

And (Just for the fun of it) we will also take you ice fishing, teach you walk silently in snowshoes, build a snow cave and how to ride a snowmobile!

How’s that for a great start on the ladder to a fantastic career in wildlife film making?
We can guarantee you will not find this kind of wildlife film course, operating in this part of the world, with this standard of 4K broadcast television equipment, offering as much time and experience filming on location; anywhere else in the world !

…And if you’re not already hooked – here’s a course description

Course Description:
Imagine everything being brilliant white all around with a slight nip in the cold air, the mysteries of the Arctic Circle and the nature that lives within it seems never to be found lying under a thick layer of snow and ice. But this is the ‘Snowmelt’ season… In the beginning of April, the Finnish arctic nature is still hibernating, but slowly as the long days stretch out to 20 hours of light a day, the snow melts to leave a wondrous new world of colour and excitement; and the first Bear Cubs of the year !

The Arctic Diploma Course takes place in Finnish Lapland between the towns of Inari and Kuusamo with a journey up to the to film the Arctic Ocean in northern Norway.
We´ll begin the course in the vast wilderness of Inari, in a traditional log built finish cottage among fells and rivers; in the total crisp silence of snow.

The first two weeks of the course will be an `orientation session´. Not only will we teach / demonstrate to you how to use all of the camera and audio equipment; but you will also learn how to become one with the nature
e.g. from how to build a basecamp to work from and learn how to drive a snow-mobile; to the traditional skills of how to catch fish through a hole cut in the ice; and the most important skill of all… how to move around silently in snow and track different animals. 
During these first two weeks we will start to see the wildlife around us awaken to the ‘Snowmelt’ making itself known to us by leaving its tracks in the snow… such likes as Arctic Fox´s, Willow Grouses, Reindeers and even Wolverines.

After the orientation session (when everyone is happy using the film equipment in the snow) we´ll make the 300Km journey north to the northernmost edge of Europe, to Nordkapp in Norway and the Arctic Ocean.  The North Cap is 307m (1000f) high cliff on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, where the weather is ever changing. It can shift from sunshine to overcast in an instant, from strong winds and back to calm again in the blink of an eye. The Arctic Ocean itself can swap from either a powerful monster, to a mirror flat endless expanse, reflecting all the beauty of the blue backlit icebergs. This is the closest you will get to feel the forces of the Arctic nature and film them.
Here on the endless white plains, blue skies and mesmerising ocean we´ll set up our first camp in snow, possibly on a nearby beach.
You can also find one of Europe's largest bird sanctuaries is located near to Nordkapp, amongst all the birds there we may find Sea Eagles and Atlantic Puffins; as well as Wild Mink, Otters, Mountain Hares and Weasel. 

After a few days in Nordkapp, we´ll return back to the Inari area again and set up camp on the shores of the lake. Lake Inari is one of Finland’s biggest lakes, with over 3300 islands. It shores are mostly rocky high cliffs, but there are some beautiful remote sandy beaches too. The lake is full of fish, like Salmon, Trout, Whitefish, Grayling, Perch and Burbot. If you´re lucky, at the end of April you can also watch a plethora of migrating birds returning home in the skies overhead. 

During week 4 we´ll move the camp further south to the Pyhä - Luosto. This area is known for the high fells and sweeping gorges of its geological formations, forests and bogs. Here you can find Otter and Brown Bear tracks whilst listening to a Siberian Jay singing overhead.
At this time of year the days are already 20 hours long, so you can enjoy the nature almost around the clock.

Once we´ve moved to our last camping site in Oulanka, it will already be May and the ‘Spring melt’ will have begun in earnest. Oulanka is also known for its rugged riverside views, rapids, waterfalls and minerotrophic bogs. Here you can watch the winter melt away and expose the nature to another growing season. There´s nothing more beautiful than filming the light green colours of spring appearing gingerly from the winter snow!

Before the editing starts in another traditional log built cottage near Kuusamo, we´ll make an exciting excursion to some Bear observation huts near Kuusamo. We´ll stay here for a couple of days filming Brown Bears frolicking in the fresh waters of spring with this year’s Bear cubs!
The area is also home to several Wolves and Wolverines as well, so keep your eyes open and cameras ready so as not to miss filming these wonderful, yet illusive creatures.  You couldn’t wish for a more sensational winter filming event.

From the thick spring snows of Northern Finland, to the remote expanse of Nordkapp and the Arctic Ocean; from filming Ice fishing on the frozen Lakes of Inari to learning to drive a snow-mobile though the vast woodlands of northern Lapland; from trekking the gorges of Fell Pyhä to filming this year’s new born Bear Cubs near Kuusamo; with the UK Wildlife Film School you will get a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to learn how to film this wonderful wildlife in these majestic landscapes whilst watching the Arctic winter ‘snowmelt’ into spring.

We can GUARANTEE you… This will be a wildlife film experience you will never forget !

Course Dates
Monday 4th March to Friday 21st June 2019.
( We are now taking bookings for this course )

Please note that – Although this as an 16 week course, there is an 8 week ´Practical Section´ (Monday 1st April to Friday 24th May 2019) of the course that you need to attend in Finland / Norway.
Before the start of this practical section there are 4 weeks of pre-course study and paperwork; and then a further 4 weeks of study and paperwork, after the practical section of the course has finished.

Closing Date:
The closing date for this course is the Friday 4th January 2019.
This course is booked on a ´First-come, First-served´ basis, so it is highly recommended that you book early to secure your place. You will not be able to book on this course after this date.
Please Note: Places on this course are now being filled.

How to Book:
To pay the booking deposit or fully book on this course please complete our Enquirers / Booking Form

Accreditation Certification:
To view a copy of the accreditation certificates awarded to The UK wildlife film school by CCR at Napier University. click here

Course Outline:
The entire ´practical section´ of this course will be located in Finland and Norway, operating out of various basecamps situated in different locations around Northern Finland, Norway and the Arctic Circle. The course will consist of 8 weeks of filming, editing and producing a wildlife documentary film out on location.

Each day will consist of filming out on location and working on a rough edit during the evening from the footage filmed. The last 10 days of the course will be a block session of editing, consisting of the final edit and prettification of your final film, in and around a base camp.
You will be tasked to complete a 45 minute broadcast standard wildlife documentary about the Arctic Circle, the wildlife found there and your time filming in the Arctic.
The final film can be presenter led or have an accompanying voiceover, as well as a selection of background music and additional text and graphics, as required.

This course will have a maximum of 8 students working out of 4x4 Land Rovers. This vehicle will have a wilderness/wildlife guide/driver, with the students occupying the rest of the vehicles. The Land Rovers will have three 4K cameras fitted plus an audio field recording boom kit; such as a DJI Osmo, a Phantom4 quadcopter (for filming 4K ariel footage) as well as some smaller 4k cameras fitted in prominent places to be able to film additional footage from both inside and outside the vehicle.
During your course we will overnight in a traditional Finish Cottage and a tented basecamp.

You do not need to have any experience to attend the course. However a basic understanding about how the principles of how a lens works, as well as shutter speeds and exposure will help you.
We will take you through the whole process of production; from filming on location to writing a script in reference to what you have filmed, presenter or voiceover led productions, editing a ´rough edit´ of your film, adding voiceover and music (if required) and the undertaking a final edit with tasks such as colour correction, key-framing and time re-mapping.
We will spend the whole of the first week instructing you in the use of both the cameras and the audio recording equipment on location; as well as other items of production/grip equipment.

The last 10 days will be a dedicated editing session where you will produce the final ´polished´ copy of your film. Eight weeks on location will give you an unprecedented amount of time for you to learn and improve both your camera and production skills.

The course will take you through all the stages of -

•  Initial program / script ideas & brainstorming
•  Script writing
•  Production ethics
•  Presenter lead programming
•  Presenters' scripting
•  Animal observation & tracking
•  Operating camera & production equipment
•  Recording sound & audio
•  Filming on location
•  Filming a Presenter on location
•  Video editing on location
•  Audio editing on location
•  Production of final film / documentary
•  All necessary filming logistics necessary to work in a cold climate

(We will also cover the elements below at various points during the course (Time Permitting))
•  Locating / tracking Animals in snow
•  Map & compass work
•  Navigation overland without a map
•  Successful route planning in wilderness areas
•  Walking / trekking silently in snow in snowshoes
•  Carrying and movement of large film equipment in snow
•  Learning to drive a snowmobile
•  Learning to ice fish on a frozen lake
•  Camp placement & orientation in deep snow
•  Base camp management in deep snow
•  Building and use of a snow cave
•  Water management & sanitation
•  Emergency procedures & actions

Course Fees & Equipment:
The course fees for our 2019 Arctic Diploma Course will be £5500 per student (The same as our Scottish Diploma)
The additional logitical costs for running the Diploma Course in the Arctic Circle will be £2500 per student. (The renting of 2 traditional Finnish log cabins for 5 weeks, the shipping of film equipment to Finland etc)
Plus an Equipment Damage Waiver of £1000 per student
- Making the total coure fees payable for each student £9000

As part of your course fees we will supply you with:
•  £60,000 of 'in-house' 4K camera equipment
•  £15,000 of location & production equipment
•  £10,000 of 'on location' editing equipment
•  £5,000 of basecamp equipment
•  All staff and instruction for the duration of the course
•  The cost of shipping all filming and production equipment to the Arctic Circle from the UK
•  The cost of an Arctic Wilderness Guide
•  The cost of all filming permits
•  The cost of all location fees
•  The cost of all camping fees
•  The cost of hiring two finish cottages
•  The cost of hiring all snowmobiles
•  The cost of an ice fishing expedition
•  The cost of the course extension to Nordkapp and the Arctic Ocean
•  The Location costs and film permits for filming Brown Bears
•  Any additional paperwork costs, such as submitting your diploma for accreditation
•  All vehicles and transportation overland required during your course

To read a breakdown of the Diploma Course syllabus click here

To apply for the paperwork to book on this course please complete our Booking form
( Please Note: You are able to pay for your course in instalments) For more information click here
For more information on the Equipment Damage Waiver click here

•  All of the UK Wildlife Film School courses are booked on a ´First-come, First-served´ basis, so it is highly recommended that you book early to secure your place.
•  This Arctic Diploma is ´Globally unique´ and we expect it to fill up quickly.
( You are not able to book after the closing date, Friday 4th January 2019 )

Please Note: Flights to and from Finland are not included in your course fees as our students fly in from many different destinations around the world.

Your Diploma Course Certificate will be awarded by The UK Wildlife Film School.

To view a copy of the accreditation certificates awarded to The UK wildlife film school; and the points value for each module as accredited by the Center for Credit Rating Napier University, Edinburgh. click here

Invest in your future…
Invest in your education…
Invest in this “specialist” Diploma in Wildlife Documentary Film-making and get one step ahead of your competition.

Book Now

This programme is managed, delivered and awarded by The UK Wildlife Film School and leads to an award on the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework. It has been credit rated by Edinburgh Napier University, but is not an Edinburgh Napier University course / award.
The ´SCQF´ Logo is used with permission from Pauline Sutton, Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework.
The ´EQF´ Logo is used with permission from Pauline Sutton, Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework.

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