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The production designer plays a vital role in creating real or imagined worlds on the screen. This MA course in Production Design develops individual creativity and teaches technical skills essential for a career in film and television

Application Deadline: 10 Jul 2014

Course Overview

Uniquely in the UK, our MA Production Design students study alongside students of other filmmaking disciplines, engaging in a series of productions where working methods replicate professional practice.

The advent of digital technology has brought in new design tools and ways of working and this course promotes a lively interface between old and new methods. 3D and 2D computer techniques and Concept Art are taught alongside traditional skills such as hand drawn storyboarding, set sketching, orthographic draughting, design geometry and model-making. The course offers the opportunity to specialise in Concept Art, particularly in the second year. Design students apply their skills to live action and animation films, television programmes and commercials, in the studio and on location, using built sets and green screen. Relevant business and management skills are also taught, equipping students to manage a small art department, its budget, personnel and logistical schedules, studio procedures and set decorating. Studio visits and placements familiarise students with a working art department and inspire them with actual film sets.

All staff, permanent and visiting, are Industry practitioners and students develop close links with the film and television industry while they train.


The head of the production design department is Caroline Amies (In The Name Of The Father, Ladies in Lavender). Other key tutors include Moira Tait (a design background with the BBC, working with Stephen Frears, Alan Bennett and Brian Tufano), Andrew Sanders (Sense and Sensibility, Chariots of Fire, The Last Temptation of Christ) and John Fenner (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Shining, Return of the Jedi).


Production Designers Tom Conroy (The Tudors, Breakfast on Pluto, Titanic, Blood and Steel, Camelot), Dennis De Groot (The IT Crowd, Little Britain), Art Director Steven Lawrence (W.E., Casino Royale, The Dark Knight) and Paul Kirby (Green Zone, The Brothers Bloom, Love in the Time of Cholera) studied at the NFTS.


Central to the philosophy of the course is the recognition of the production designer’s role as a key player in film & television production while embracing the Creative impact of computer generated imagery and digital design


The fundamental strategy in the first year is to provide all students on the course with an intensive foundation in language and grammar for the moving image, including computer skills. The intention is also to include some practical film and video projects and workshops to be realised on screen. The notion of independent learning and research is established, as is that of collaboration and commitment.

  • Take One Painting: set build and green screen workshop with Cinematography and Digital Post Production students
  • Storyboarding, visualisation and model-making
  • Character of Place – pixillation workshop with Animation and Cinematography students
  • Sci-fi and Fantasy - paper design project
  • Construction budgeting
  • First Year Film - design, possible set build, set dressing and location work
  • CAD, Photoshop, MAYA Foundation
  • Measured drawing 


In the second year the 'scaffolding' or 'water wings' are removed and students, now equipped with the necessary skills, are able to undertake work of originality and individuality. The work has to be seen to be showing a progression with an increase in quality and ambition. Students must be able to generate their own briefs and identify the design challenges they pose. Since film is a ‘‘deadline’’ business, time management becomes an essential part of the learning.

  • Film Architecture - paper project with a foreign setting and in a particular period
  • Design for animaiton
  • Final Year Film - design, possible set build, set dressing and location work
  • Personal projects - negotiated subject matter and scope
  • CAD workshop
  • Kodak Commercials workshop
  • MA Dissertation

Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School. In addition you will be given a cash Production Budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.

  • Study in a collaborative filmmaking environment Design for live action shoots
  • Use traditional and digital design techniques
  • Work in fully-equipped design studios
  • Work on both fiction and animation films
  • Have opportunities and facilities for set builds
  • Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School.