Diploma in Digital Film - SIT2LRN Distance Learning

Qualification: Diploma
Level: 5

2019 Intake 4: 12 August to 06 December - Applications Close 22 July 2019


1 year fulltime

Up to 3 years part-time

Intakes are 17 weeks long

Important Information; The Diploma in Digital Film (Level 5) is expiring at the end of 2019 and is being replaced with the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production (Level 5).  2019 will be the final year of delivery for DDF (Diploma in Digital Film) and will require students to either complete their studies in 2018, 2019, or choose papers which allow them to cross credit into the new NZ Diploma.

New students are welcome to enrol in Intake 4 studies in 2018.

No new students will be accepted into the Diploma in Digital Film for 2019 studies.

For returning students that will not be able to complete the Diploma in Digital Film in 2019, there are a number of DDF papers that are planned to be cross creditable into the new NZ Diploma.  These papers are: DDF101, DDF104, DDF105, DDF110 and DDF131.

Part-time students should be aware of this when choosing papers.

Further information will be provided once available.

Location: SIT2LRN Distance Learning
Credits: 120

This programme aims to give students a solid base of skills to expand their talents, push their creativity and heighten their technical skills in Digital Film.

Core compulsory papers – all three must be completed:

DDF101 Video & Audio Craft (Level 5) 15 credits

This paper provides an introduction to digital video, including the language and aesthetics of film/ video production. Through a series of applied exercises, students will learn the fundamental skills of camera operation and sound recording. This paper serves as a foundation for further study in the Diploma in Digital Film.

DDF104 Short Film Screenwriting (Level 5) 15 credits

An understanding of the craft of storytelling is essential to many areas of creative endeavour. In this paper students will explore the structural mechanics of short films and become proficient with the standard screenwriting format. Through a series of applied exercises, students will strengthen their creative writing skills and deepen their understanding of the script-writing process. The aforementioned exercises will culminate in the development of an original short film screenplay.

DDF105 Video Editing (Level 5) 15 credits

This paper introduces students to nonlinear video editing, including production methodologies and aesthetics. Through the study of established works, students will explore video editing techniques and their impact on narrative development. Applied exercises will introduce students to basic editing and post-production topics, including: video capture, continuity editing, transcoding, colour correction, and compositing.

Elective papers – choose five from the following:

DDF110 Media Culture (Level 5) 15 credits

From advertising graphics to art house cinema, we live in a culture rich in imagery.  Many of these images, especially those associated with postmodernism and advertising, are referential. The aim of this paper is to broaden students' awareness of contemporary visual culture and enhance their ability to contextualise the images that bombard us daily. This paper will help students to more effectively engage emerging forms of creative practice.

DDF131 Short Film Project (Level 5) 15 credits

Within the context of this paper, students will develop a short film from concept to completion. Engaging each phase of the production process, students will learn to manage project resources and develop qualities of leadership, teamwork, and technical craft. Weekly readings and exercises will focus on topics including: script/concept development, production planning, budgeting, casting, shooting, and video editing.

  • Prerequisites: DDF101, DDF104 and DDF105

DDF201 Digital Cinematography (Level 6) 15 credits

This paper builds upon the skills acquired in DDF101 and provides a deeper exploration of camerawork and cinematographic techniques. Students will learn to master the operation of professional-level cameras and record broadcast quality audio and video. The paper includes a series of skill-building exercises and culminates in a final project that integrates key concepts and techniques.

  • Prerequisites: DDF105

DDF204 Feature Film Screenwriting (Level 6) 15 credits

Building on the skills developed in DDF104, this paper is concerned with the writing of feature length screenplays in the Hollywood three-act structure. Through a series of hands-on exercises, students will explore topics including: idea generation, character development, plot structures, and film genres. It is assumed that students entering this paper will be comfortable with the standard screenwriting format and conventions.

  • Prerequisite: DDF104

DDF205 Advanced Video Editing (Level 6) 15 credits

This paper builds upon the work completed in DDF105 and covers a range of advanced editing and post-production techniques. Students will explore topics including: matte painting, chroma keying, advanced compositing, colour correction, and high definition video. This paper assumes a basic knowledge of nonlinear editing.

  • Prerequisite: DDF105

DDF231 Short Film Project II (Level 6) 15 credits

Building upon the experience acquired in DDF131, students will be tasked with completing a short film to professional standards. Helping students to engage each phase of the production process with confidence, this paper provides opportunities for students to further develop their leadership abilities and creative vision.

  • Prerequisite: DDF131

DDP103 Practical Photography (Level 5) 15 credits

This paper provides a hands-on introduction to digital cameras and contemporary photographic practice. Students will undertake a series of assessments exploring core photographic principles, including: composition, camera controls, focus, exposure, and lighting. Empowering students to become proficient with a range of photographic equipment and workflows, this paper provides the foundation for further study.

DDP106 Photoshop for Photography (Level 5) 15 credits

This paper explores Adobe Photoshop, an industry standard image editing application, and its usage in the context of digital still photography. Through a series of applied exercises, students will investigate Photoshop’s diverse capabilities and develop proficiency with essential tools and image editing techniques. Manipulating digital images in a variety of creative contexts, students will gain insight into Photoshop’s role in photographic post-production.  

DDP108 Graphic Design (Level 5) 15 credits

This paper deals with the presentation and manipulation of still images and type. This paper gives students the confidence to manipulate images and type, to gain an understanding of design principles, and the ability to apply those principles in a practical context. The opening sections of the course deal with the basic operation of the software and the fundamentals of design theory. The second section of the course presents the students with a series of design problems of increasing difficulty. This approach allows students to implement the material presented in the opening section in a creative and motivating manner.

The companion paper DDP 106 focuses on the use of Photoshop in the preparation of photographic images. All though there is some necessary duplication, the main focus of this paper is on design choice rather than image manipulation.

DDP206 Advanced Photoshop (Level 6) 15 credits

This paper provides an overview of the advanced image editing tools available in Adobe Photoshop. It builds upon the work completed in DDP106 and delves deeper into image manipulation and photographic post-production. Through a series of hands-on exercises, students will explore topics including: non-destructive editing, advanced compositing, image restoration, and photographic illustration. 

  • Prerequisite: DDP106

The Zero Fees Scheme applies to this course, so there are no tuition fees as long as you are a New Zealand citizen, resident/permanent resident (residing in NZ), BUT there is a student direct material cost per credit of study undertaken, plus a non-refundable administration cost of $50.00 for each application processed, and the required textbook/s listed below. You must maintain satisfactory academic progress to retain your Zero Fees Scheme entitlement.

Zero Fees Scheme – applies to NZ citizens and residents/permanent residents (residing in NZ). 2019 Cost (NZ$) $7.00 per credit + admin cost $50.00 per application (e.g. $700.00 for 100 credit course) - includes GST

International Students $100.00 per credit

Payments must be paid by the due date shown on the invoice.

Withdrawals & Transfers

  • Early withdrawals within the first week of the intake starting are entitled to a full refund of the Student Direct Material Costs but not the non-refundable administration cost of $50.
  • Withdrawals have to be requested within 75% of the intake, withdrawals after the early withdrawal date are not eligible for a refund.
  • Transfer requests have to be within the first two weeks of the intake starting and will incur a $50 transfer fee. Transfers can only occur to a subsequence intake within the same calendar year.

All SIT2LRN courses are approved by Studylink. Any queries regarding Studylink allowances, loans, and terms and conditions should be made directly to Studylink on 0800 88 99 00 or

Graduates from the Diploma in Digital Film would be ideally suited to further study in related areas, or to pursue entry level career opportunities in the film or television industries.

All applicants should demonstrate a keen interest in digital film.

School leavers:
School leavers should have attained a minimum of 48 NCEA credits at Level 2, or 36 NCEA credits at Level 3, or an equivalent academic indicator. School leavers must be a minimum of 18 years of age.

Mature students:
Applicants of 20 years of age or over, at the time of programme entry, should demonstrate an interest and aptitude for digital film which demonstrates potential for success.  Examples may include successful employment for 2 or more years in the digital film field or membership of a digital film organisation.

Applicants should have at least intermediate experience in photography or film, and be able to access the equipment required to complete the programme.

Language Requirements
Applicants from countries with an annual student visa approval rate of at least 80 percent, whose first language is not English, or who come from a country where the language of instruction in schools is not English, are required to provide evidence of having passed an NZQA approved English Proficiency Assessment, or one of the following tests of English language competence in accordance with the NZQA rules below:

  • IELTS test – Academic score of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5
  • TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT) – Score of 550 (with an essay score of 5 TWE)
  • TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) – Score of 46 (with a writing score of 20)
  • University of Cambridge English Examinations – FCE or FCE for Schools with a score of 162. No less than 154 in each skill
  • NZCEL – Level 4 with the Academic endorsement
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) – PtoE (Academic) score of 42
  • City & Guilds IESOL – B2 Communicator with a score of 42

Applicants from countries with an annual student visa approval rate below 80 per cent, whose first language is not English, or who come from a country where the language of instruction in schools is not English must provide evidence that they:

  • Have gained NCEA Level 3 and met New Zealand University Entrance requirements or
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree of at least 3 years from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, The Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom or United States of America or
  • Have achieved a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, CELTA or
  • Have achieved one of the English Language competence tests specified above.

Suggested study path / combinations

Full time study

Full time study is completing four papers (60 credits) per intake. Full time acceptance into the programme is at the Programme Manager’s discretion.

Part time study

The number of credits selected per intake should depend on work, family, and other commitments.

Students can complete papers in any order, provided that all prerequisites are met. The following study paths are guides only; students may do fewer or more papers, time permitting.


Part time study (2 years to complete)

Full time study (1 year to complete)

First enrolment

Two core compulsory papers

Three core compulsory papers

One elective paper (with no prerequisite)

Second enrolment

One core compulsory paper

One elective paper

Four elective papers (check prerequisites)

Third enrolment

Two elective papers


Fourth enrolment

Two elective papers


Additional information

  • As a guideline, one credit equates to approximately 10 hours study within an intake period.  Click HERE to download a Study Load Calculator (spreadsheet).
  • All papers selected within a particular intake must be completed within that intake unless a transfer is requested (conditions apply; see FAQs).
  • Online enrolments are on a year by year basis and students are welcome to apply for multiple intakes in one enrolment.  Further enrolment is the responsibility of individual students.  There is no automatic enrolment rollover. 

Cross Credits 

DDP103, DDP106, DDP108, DDP206, DDF101, DDF105 and DDF110 can be studied as part of both the Diploma in Digital Photography and the Diploma in Digital Film. If you have completed these papers in one programme you may cross credit them into the other. A maximum of 3 papers may be cross credited between programmes.

Please note that DDP103 and DDP106 are core compulsory papers in the Diploma in Digital Photography and DDF101 and DDF105 are core compulsory papers in the Diploma in Digital Film If you are intending to complete both programmes you may wish to consider this when selecting elective papers in either Diploma in Digital Film or Diploma in Digital Photography.

If you wish to apply for a cross credit, please attach the completed form to your application. Forms can be found at:

Equipment Requirements

  • Students entering the Diploma in Digital Film programme are required to have a video camera or video-capable DSLR. Consumer-level cameras are acceptable but semi-pro models or DSLRs are strongly recommended.
  • Either Final Cut Pro (any version) or Adobe Premiere Pro (CS5 or later) is required.
  • Either Microsoft Word or Apache OpenOffice is required.
  • Students, with the exception of those receiving course-related costs from StudyLink for equipment purchase, must have the required equipment and software prior to commencing the programme.

Some elective papers require additional hardware or software:

  • DDF201 requires a semi-pro video camera or video-capable DSLR.
  • DDP103 requires a digital SLR or mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera with manual controls. Point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones are not suitable for this paper.
  • DDP106, DDP108 and DDP206 require Adobe Photoshop (CS5 or later).

All SIT2LRN courses require you to have a computer and internet access. Students are required to use their SIT webmail only for all SIT2LRN communications. All course materials and information, including assessments and due dates, are located on the online Blackboard system. Once you have been accepted into a programme you will receive a Important Information Booklet that includes information that you can use to familiarise yourself with our online Blackboard learning environment. From the intake start date you will have access to the online course materials to work through.

Facilitator Assistance: During the enrolled intake period, students have email access to Facilitators, who endeavour to respond to emails within 48 hours (week days only). All students are required, within the first two weeks of an intake, to send an email to their Facilitator confirming their start on the programme of study. Students who have not emailed their facilitator or embarked upon their course of study by the end of the 2nd week of an intake, will be Faculty Withdrawn from the programme. Such withdrawals may impact on future access to SIT Zero Fees Scheme and Student Direct Material Costs are still liable for payment.

Progress reports are sent out 6-8 weeks after the end of each intake.

We recommend students new to SIT2LRN read through the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website for further study and enrolment information.

Please use the following checklist to ensure that all relevant information and documentation has been included. Remember, your application will be assessed based on the information that you provide us with.  Processing of your application will be delayed if we need to come back to you for missing information.

  • I have read all sections of the Programme Information on this page
  • I have read the SIT2LRN Frequently Asked Questions section
  • I have met all admission criteria for the programme (found under Application Criteria)
  • I have met all the criteria for individual papers (found under Course Content).
  • I have selected the paper(s) I wish to study
  • I have selected intake(s) (I have selected alternate intakes rather than overlapping intakes)
  • I know my intended payment method
  • If my organisation/company is paying for my studies, I have a completed and approved purchase order to attach to my online application.  I am aware that should my organisation or company not pay my fees, these will become my responsibility.
  • I have completed and attached a cross credit form (if applying for a cross credit from the Diploma in Digital Photography)
  • New students – I have provided an active NSN in the name I am enrolling in or I have verified ID and will attach it to my online application.
  • New students – I will attach academic documentation (NZQA record of achievement/academic transcripts/certificates).  These do not need to be verified. (If you do not have any academic documentation to support your application, please attach a comprehensive CV outlining your education and work experience).
  • I confirm I have sourced all of the equipment required for my selected papers.
  • I have computer access,  an Internet connection and access to software to create electronic documents e.g. Microsoft Word or Open Office

What is the Zero Fees Scheme?

The Zero Fees Scheme means we do not charge tuition fees. However, there is a Student Direct Material Cost that you need to pay and a non-refundable administration fee. The administration fee is for processing your application and the Student Direct Material Cost gives you secure access to Blackboard® our online learning environment and to student support services throughout your study with us.

Who qualifies for the Zero Fees Scheme?

  • A New Zealand citizen completing the full qualification or 
  • An Australian citizen/New Zealand Resident or Permanent Resident who will be residing in New Zealand for the duration of your enrolment.

Instructions to help you with your application:

  1. Read the Programme Information on this page and the SIT2LRN Frequently Asked Questions and find out if you meet the application criteria for both the programme and the unit/s you wish to study.
  2. Check your eligibility for Zero Fees. If you are not eligible to study under this scheme, please call
    0800 748 257 for further options.
  3. Complete your online enrolment checking that:

If you are a new student …

  • Provide an active NSN number in the name you are enrolling in (contact NZQA on 0800 697 296 to get your NSN number if you do not know it);
  • And you do not have an active NSN, then attach a copy of your verified ID in the name you are enrolling in.
  • And you are a Resident or Permanent resident of NZ, please provide a copy of proof of residency;
  • Attach all academic documentation to support your application including copies of any certificates of courses you have undertaken / NZQA record of achievement / transcripts / CV;

Attach supporting documents as required and outlined on the previous page.

  1. Please check that you have included all the required information and supporting documents.  Your application will be assessed based on the information that you provide.  Missing information will delay the processing of your application.
  2. Please scan and email all additional documentation to

What happens next?

  • You will receive an automatic email confirmation when we receive your online application. Processing may take up to three weeks. However, we will get in touch with you sooner if we require further documentation.
  • Once your application has been accepted you will be sent a conditional offer of acceptance with an invoice and instructions on how to make payment.
  • Once we have received your payment (or if you have opted to pay by Credit Card, Student Loan or Purchase Order) you will be sent an Enrolment Confirmation Letter and Important Information Booklet. Closer to the start of the intake you will receive a Time To Get Started Letter which will give you all the necessary information, tools and guidance to start your study with us.

For students to be considered to have satisfactorily completed the Diploma in Digital Film they should have met the assessment requirements, demonstrated competence in all the assessed modules, and achieved 120 credits at Level 5 as specified in the programme schedule.

The timeframe for completion of this programme is four years.

For those wishing to pursue further study, SIT offers

Assessments for this programme typically include essays and practical assessments. There are no exams for this programme.

The following papers in the Diploma in Digital Film require textbooks:

DDF101 & DDF201:

Mascelli, J. V. (1998). The five C's of cinematography: Motion picture filming techniques. Los Angeles, CA: Silman-James Press.

DDP103 & DDP106:

Ang, T. (2011). Digital photography step by step. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley Limited.

For information and advice about purchasing textbooks, see

Please note that textbooks need to be ordered at least 3-4 weeks prior to the commencement of your study