Digital Filmmaking & Video Production IDL

The Digital Filmmaking and Video Production program is designed to teach students all aspects of film and video production and broadcast. From basic classes all the way through advanced, students will receive hands-on education using up-to-date technology found in the field and used by professionals worldwide for any type of production.

We cover every stage of production in blocks where students progress through more advanced projects and processes. Students will be given projects in each course to develop their skills as they apply them in the real world.

F.I.R.S.T. Institute students are graded and held accountable for each course they encounter. Consistent exercises and quizzes keep students active and interested in the information given by the instructor.

Prerequisite: Basic computer and internet competencies. High school level English or higher.

Delivery Methodology: Interactive Distance Learning (online)

Average Class Size: 15-20 Students                                             

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates obtain a Diploma.

Thirty-nine (39) Weeks – 1014 Clock Hours / 91.26 Academic Quarter Credit Hours

811 Hours / 81.11 Academic Quarter Credit Hours – Instruction 203 / 10.15 Academic Quarter Credit Hours – Lab

What is Interactive Distance Learning?

Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) is not your typical online education. Students in our IDL programs get the full classroom experience from the comfort of their homes. This fully engaged diploma program allows students to learn hands-on with industry-standard gear and equipment provided in their Creative P.A.K. Each IDL class includes live lectures with instructors, time to work on projects, video conferencing, student-to-student interaction, individual demos, and more.

Personal Academic Kit (Included)

Students in our Digital Filmmaking & Video Production program receive a Creative P.A.K. to use during the course of their program and beyond. The digital media industry and its relevant technology are ever-changing, so specific items in your Creative P.A.K. may be updated from time to time.

Gear included in the P.A.K.*
  • Sony ZV-E10 Mirrorless Camera w/ 16-50mm Lens
  • DJI RS-3 Mini Gimbal
  • Magnus VT-300 Tripod
  • RGB LED Panel Light Kit
  • SmallRig Compact RGB LED Light
  • Wireless Lavalier Mic Kit
  • SD Card Reader
  • Battery & Charger Kit for Camera

*Contents subject to change based on curriculum updates and availability.

Class Materials (Required)
Class Materials (Required)

Students are required to be prepared for class. This includes having these items at all times: pen, writing paper/notebook, ID badge, and all required materials for their program. The following required items are not included in the tuition. It is the student’s responsibility to purchase the items for use on the first day of class.

Students are required to be prepared for class. This includes having these items at all times: pen, writing paper/notebook, ID badge, and all required materials for their program. The following required items are not included in the tuition. It is the student’s responsibility to purchase the items for use on the first day of class.


  • Pens and/or Pencils
  • Paper/Notepads
    • You may only use handwritten notes on your open-note quizzes!


  • 1x 2TB (minimum) High-Speed USB-C SSD for current projects
    • Samsung, SanDisk, or Western Digital recommended
  • 1x 4TB (minimum) USB-C SSD or HDD for archiving
    • Samsung, SanDisk, or Western Digital recommended
  • 1x 128GB (minimum) v90 SDXC Card for recording footage
    • SanDisk Extreme Pro recommended


  • Wired, over-the-ear headphones (no earbuds, no Bluetooth, no noise-cancelling!)

Optional (Strongly Recommended)


  • Highlighters
  • Sharpie Markers
  • 3-Ring Binder
  • Clipboard w/ Light


  • USB-C SD Card Reader


  • Wired, over-the-ear headphones (no earbuds, no Bluetooth, no noise-cancelling!)

On Set

      • Reusable Water Bottle
      • Cooling Towel
      • Small Flashlight (Mini-Maglite)
      • Multitool (SmallRig AAK2213C or Leatherman Sidekick)
      • Stopwatch
      • Light Meter (Sekonic L-308X-U or Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478D-U)
      • Work Gloves
      • Belt Pouch or Tool Bag
Storytelling and Video Technology

Students will learn that no matter what role a person plays in the development of film or video production, every crew member is responsible for enhancing the script using specific storytelling techniques that manipulate an audience’s mood and understanding of the conceptual world of film and video.


By focusing on the art and science of visual storytelling and using specific examples from movies past and present, classes will uncover a multitude of techniques that can be applied to any cinematic or video project in each aspect of the entertainment business. Students will also discover the various jobs and requirements in the digital cinema industry and learn to write scripts using standard Hollywood guidelines.


Students will become familiar with the technical aspects of digital video production, including common jargon used by professional technicians and the different lighting concepts applied to distinct film styles. In addition, they will learn fundamental camera techniques, including building camera rigs, lens selection, and proper camera maintenance.


HD and UHD camera systems, including 2K and 4K cameras, are exposed in classes, including their specific workflows and considerations for future editing.

DFVP 101IDL – Storytelling and Video Technology

  • Composition Project
  • Screenplay Format Project
  • Commercial Edit Project
  • Short Film Edit Project
  • Documentary Edit Project
  • Music Video Edit Project
Digital Editing and Visual Effects

Students will cover the fundamental techniques and concepts of digital video, editing principles, and visual storytelling. The concept of visual storytelling will be explored and analyzed within various media projects to demonstrate the importance of constructing a fully developed idea using moving images. The course will instruct the process of video editing through the development of several media projects and footage assets.


There is an emphasis on footage sequencing with story continuity, media management, narration, and industry terminology. More time will also be dedicated to the importance of sound in the post environment and its subtlety in keeping the viewer grounded in the images onscreen. Classes will explore simple animation techniques, including the basics of motion graphic design. Learning to animate, alter, and composite media using various tools, including the use of optional plug-ins, is paramount in the process and workflow of every motion graphic professional.


DFVP 102IDL – Digital Editing and Visual Effects

  • Exposure Project
  • Lighting Project
  • Movement Project
Commercial Production

In Commercial Production, students will break from the conventions of traditional modes of visual storytelling to explore short-form methods. The primary focus will be on social media and marketing.

As post-production unfolds, students will begin editing the projects shot during this course. During the post-production process for each of their projects, students will further refine their understanding of important editing techniques, including the use of transitions and sound effects to help convey a message to the audience. Additionally, the use of motion graphics and unconventional aspect ratios will be introduced as a way to prepare projects for social media outlets.


DFVP 103IDL – Commercial Production

  • Product Shots Project 
  • Movie Theater Intro Project
  • Social Media Ad Project 
  • Spec Commercial Project
  • Client Commercial Project
Music Video Production

In Music Video Production, students will develop and produce an advanced project with a focus on the music video. A music video project will help students understand the principles of shooting and how to work with real clients.

At this level, classes incorporate a working knowledge of advanced editing techniques, including editing on the beat, color correction, sound effects, and applying musical compositions. 

DFVP 104IDL – Music Video Production

  • Blocking & Rehearsal Project  
  • Music Video Project
Short Film Production

In this course, students will develop and produce an additional advanced project with an emphasis on the short film. During the short film, students will apply their knowledge of preproduction by breaking down a script, creating a budget, developing a schedule, casting talent, scouting locations, and much more. Students will also implement advanced production techniques of camera and lighting. At this level, classes maintain first-hand knowledge of advanced editing techniques, including but not limited to enhanced color correction, dialogue editing, storytelling techniques, and sound effects.

DFVP 105IDL – Short Film Production

  • Script Review Project
  • Crowd Funding Project
  • Short Film 1 Project
  • Short Film 2 Project
  • Short Film 3 Project
Documentary Filmmaking

In Documentary Filmmaking, students will be introduced to the fundamental concepts and techniques involved in producing documentary-style projects. Interview lighting techniques, multi-camera production, and the importance of b-roll to help tell a story will be reinforced through the production of a short documentary on a local person, location, or event.


Additionally, students will learn the basics of DaVinci Resolve for editing, color correction, and audio post-production through hands-on exercises and demonstrations before completing the final edit of their documentary and the short film from the previous course.

DFVP 106IDL – Documentary Filmmaking

  • Show Bible Project
  • Virtual Film Project
Live Video Production

Students will learn the fundamentals of live video production and streaming using up-to-date technology for all show needs. Students develop the skills to function independently in the preparation and production of live shows for both traditional and live streaming, as well as corporate presentations.

In this course, students will learn the technical aspects of streaming software and studio equipment and continue learning proper signal flow for use in studio, stage, and remote-control rooms. They will learn specific camera, lighting, and production techniques unique to each live show realm and discover the many different career paths within these industries.


DFVP 107IDL – Live Video Production

  • Reaction Video Project
  • Gaming Live Stream Project
  • Live Stream Project
Color Grading

Students will learn the essentials of color theory and apply these concepts in the professional colorist program DaVinci Resolve. Practical techniques related to color correction and color grading will be introduced through hands-on exercises using the node-based system within DaVinci.

Additionally, students will take another look at Fairlight as they work to enhance the audio in their projects from previous courses. Using all of the tools and techniques they have learned during their time in the program, they will finalize their demo reels using clips from their best work.


DFVP 108IDL – Color Grading

  • Color Balance Project
  • Color Grading Project
  • Professional Development

Admissions & Financial Aid

Admissions Process

Personalized Tours – Our admissions team is dedicated to helping you find a program that best fits your goals. Take an in-person or virtual tour to see how F.I.R.S.T. can help you.

Apply Anytime – With class starts occurring every other month, you can apply now and find a start date that works best for your schedule. 

Flexible Schedules – Classes meet in the morning or evening allowing you to find one that best fits your busy schedule.

Funding Your Education

Tuition – Our tuition covers the entire program cost, including access to equipment and production facilities on campus, as well as the Creative P.A.K.

Federal Aid – We strongly encourage incoming students to explore financial aid options. Pell Grants and student loans are available to those who qualify.

Learn More About Financial Aid