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A new generation of budding directors learn key television skills at SMO

A new generation of aspiring directors and producers gathered at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI last week to undertake the first part of a Gaelic media course which will teach them the fundamentals of making and producing television programmes.

The course, a National Progression Award in Television Production, is delivered through the medium of Gaelic and will be taught in three week-long teaching blocks which will culminate in the spring of 2015.

There are 8 pupils from Portree High School, Plockton High School, Gairloch High School and Lochaber High School taking part in the course and last week they took their first steps in learning what it takes to film and produce a television programme.

Archie Maclean, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Deputy Director of Education, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the schools and with Highland Council to deliver this course again. We are greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the pupils and their interest in Gaelic Media and we are also delighted that the expertise and facilities available at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig are being used to create new learning opportunities for Gaelic-speaking school pupils. They greatly enjoyed their first week at the College and we look forward to welcoming them back in October when they will get a chance to add to their television production skills and further develop their programme ideas.”

Catriona Johnston, Course leader of the college’s Diploma in Gaelic Media, commented: “We thoroughly enjoyed having the schoolchildren with us at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and it’s really encouraging that so many have an interest in this course.  They have been learning the basic skills of planning, producing and directing a television programme, as well as camera and sound skills.  When they return in the autumn they will be filming their projects and in 2015 their programmes will be edited.  We hope they have enjoyed their week and that the opportunities they have received at the college, through this course, will greaten their interest in the media and encourage them to return and undertake other courses in the future.”

These training opportunities at this stage in their education are invaluable and we very much hope that they continue to show an interest in media once they leave school. They will leave with a qualification that will enhance their opportunities to follow on with other media training courses which will equip them for employment in the industry.”

The course at SCQF Level 5 is an introduction to Television Production and is made up of four units: directing a single camera production; basic video camera operations; basic video editing; and sound recording for single camera. The majority of the course will be taught at SMO’s state-of-the-art television studio, where pupils will develop practical skills as part of a team consisting of a director, camera operative, and either a lighting technician or sound recordist. The pupils will be involved in every aspect of producing a programme, from the first idea to the final post-production touches. The pupils’ work will be shown at a special course premiere to be held next spring.

The course is part of the National Certificate in Media and it serves also as a flexible stand-alone introduction to the study of the media. The course is designed to reflect national occupational standards in the media and gives pupils a solid grounding which they can use to further a career in television production and the media in general. The course was developed in partnership with Highland Council’s 16+ team to expand opportunities for young people and to develop Skills for Work in the Senior Phase of the school curriculum. It is the first vocational course that Highland Council has offered through the medium of Gaelic for schools.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig already offers a further education Diploma in Gaelic Media, which is designed to equip students for employment in the Gaelic media, enabling them to gain an advanced quality award with production and technical skills, which will allow entry to a range of jobs in the broadcast industry.

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