NFTS Cymru Wales: Self-Shooting - Visual Language

Short course


This course is a practical, in-depth introduction in how to tell a story using visual language in factual self-shooting.  It is suitable for those who are already quite comfortable using camera and sound technically, or for those who have completed our Self-Shooting 2 – Storytelling course. 

Over 2 days, you will learn how to break down a story visually, prepare your visual ideas before the start of a shoot and realise them during the filming process. This will be taught on the industry-standard Sony FS7 camera. The course will include:

•    composition & framing
•    exposure
•    lenses
•    camera movement
•    colour palette 
•    using natural light
•    creating mood
•    building a visual sequence 

Through a series of theoretical and practical exercises in pairs, you will learn how to use various visual tools to tell a story and combine them in a sequence. You will practice this in different scenarios that you are likely to come across as a factual self-shooter. You will review exercises with the tutor and be given individual feedback within the group. 

Many of the skills taught on this course can be applied to any camera or shooting format and will be of benefit to you regardless of which camera/s you normally use.

This course is ideal for Shooting Researchers, Assistant Producers and those with practical shooting experience at any stage of their career who wish to take their visual skills to the next level. It is also suitable for Directors, Producers and other professionals who have basic self-shooting experience and wish to become more proficient. 

About the tutor: Zillah Bowes is a filmmaker and multi-disciplinary artist who has made award-winning films as a director and cinematographer shown worldwide. She has worked with Ffilm Cymru Wales, BBC and Channel 4 among others. Her films include STAYING/AROS MAE, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Premiers Plans Film Festival and SMALL PROTESTS, nominated for a Grierson Award, which won the Current Short Cuts Vimeo Award. Her films as cinematographer include ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.

You may also be interested in our other self shooting courses with Zillah Bowes - NFTS Cymru Wales: Self-Shooting 4 - Interviewing | NFTS



Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance Rate: £545
Corporate Rate: £925

Bursaries, supported by the Welsh Government, are also available for those who are eligible.


A limited number of bursaries are available for all of our short courses. If you wish to apply for a bursary to contribute to the costs of your course, please read the bursary guidelines below carefully to confirm your eligibility. Please do not apply to a course unless you are sure you meet the bursary eligibility criteria, or if you are able to pay for the course by other means.

Please apply as far in advance of the course date as possible to give yourself the best chance of securing a supported place as we may not be able to accommodate all applications. We aim to advise successful applicants no later than 10 working days prior to the course start date.

Once you have submitted your course application, your bursary application, and supporting documents, should be submitted to

NFTS Cymru Wales Bursary Guidelines (pdf) | NFTS Cymru Wales Bursary Application Form (pdf)

I ddarllen y dogfenau yn Gymraeg:
NFTS Cymru Wales Canllawiau’r Bwrswriaeth (pdf) | NFTS Cymru Wales Ffurflen Gais Bwrswriaeth (pdf)

How to apply

Application deadline: Book Now

Please complete the application form to apply. You will be asked to upload your CV. 

Please also read the Terms and Conditions (pdf file) / Telerau ac Amodau (pdf file) of booking as payment of a successful application assumes acceptance of these.

Begin your application