Another crucial difference between film and any sort of electronic
medium is that because film stock and processing are so expensive, and
film cannot instantly be viewed after shooting, using film encourages a
more planned and methodical approach to what gets shot and why.  IMHO,
recording images on a medium that is virtually free and can be played
back at once discourages students from taking script development,
direction (e.g. blocking and rehearsing scenes before shooting them) and
production admin seriously.

That's not to say that video doesn't have its advantages, especially if
you're teaching actuality or documentary production.  Furthermore it
probably offers the chance of more creativity at the editing stage.  But
this 'creativity' can often materialise as unstructured firefighting
which is the result of students not having bothered to write a coherent
cutting continuity in the first place.

Finally, I'm not entirely convinced that film would be just too
expensive.  It is possible to buy 50ft (6 minutes) rolls of Super 8
colour reversal film for around UKP15, processing included, from the few
specialist retailers which still sell it (mainly for very low budget TV
applications, e.g. some commercials).  A set of second hand cameras,
projectors, viewers and editing consumables that would do a class of 15
split into three groups can be had for a fraction of the cost of a
single broadcast-standard DV camcorder.  If the students know that their
shooting ratio will be determined by how much stock they can afford, I
suspect that it would focus their minds on the production process as a
whole very effectively.


Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: