New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production

New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production

New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production

New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production (Level 5)
Get into video production with the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production and learn all the basics that you need to get into the visual storytelling industry or upskill your hobby.
Key Details
SIT2LRN Distance Learning

One year full-time

Up to four years part-time

Intakes are 17 weeks long

Study Modes:
Distance Learning

2025 Intake 1: 10 February to 06 June - Applications Close 27 January 2025

2025 Intake 2: 17 March to 11 July - Applications Close 03 March 2025

2025 Intake 3: 23 June to 17 October - Applications Close 09 June 2025

2025 Intake 4: 28 July to 21 November - Applications Close 14 July 2025


Fees Free

First year of tertiary study

Tuition Fee: $0    Check eligibility


SIT Zero Fees Scheme

  • Tuition Fee: $0   Check eligibility
  • Direct material Cost: $7.00 per credit (incl GST)

(e.g. $700 for 100 credit course)


International Fees



Unsure which one is for me? Check Fees Eligibility Check my options



Get into video production with the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production and learn all the basics that you need to get into the visual storytelling industry or upskill your hobby.

This introductory diploma will cover all the basics that you will need to know about screen production and help you develop necessary creative and technical skills.

You will learn:

  • Introduction to Screen Production
  • Screenwriting
  • Editing for Screen
  • Screen Culture and Context
  • Screen Business Practices
  • Pre-Production Planning
  • Screen Production Practices
  • Practical Screen Production

DSP501 Introduction to Screen Production (15 credits)

This paper provides an introduction to the principles and processes of modern screen production. Students will learn fundamental digital camera skills, an understanding of the importance of lighting, sound, and other creative and technical principles that underpin good screen production

DSP502 Screenwriting (15 credits)

This paper introduces the elements of conventional film narrative, and storytelling. Students will develop their writing skills through a critical understanding of dramatic structure, story fundamentals, and the screenwriting process.  

DSP503 Editing for Screen (15 credits)
(Please note: This paper has an additional course related cost of $100 as we will be supplying a 1Tb Hard Drive loaded with high quality footage for your DSP503 tasks and assignments. At the completion of the paper you may retain the hard drive)

This paper deals with the practicalities and aesthetics of combining moving images. It will introduce students to fundamental postproduction tools and techniques including, non-linear editing systems, grading, and use of sound to create unity in and between scenes. Techniques include screen direction, timing, L and J cuts, and exporting in appropriate formats based on delivery requirements. 

DSP504 Screen Culture and Context (15 credits)

This paper will outline the developments in screen history through the culture and context of the times, evaluating social, economic, and cultural influence on technique, genre, story, and style. It will analyse how these developments continue to influence the modern screen production industry dictating in many ways what projects are produced, where, and whose stories are told.

DSP505 Screen Business Practices (15 credits)

This paper will introduce students to screen production business practices and their use in the process of creating film projects. These will include, project inception, legal requirements, contracts, copyright, work hours and rules, the blue book, product distribution and other relevant areas of production.

DSP506 Pre-Production Planning (15 credits)

This paper will provide students with the necessary knowledge to pre-produce a narrative screen production while adhering to standard industry practices and Health and Safety legislation. It will cover project and department structure, schedules, budgets, documentation, and previsualization including artwork, and mood boards.

DSP507 Screen Production Practices (15 credits)

This paper will emphasize the critical importance of teamwork and communication in screen productions. Students will learn the value of working with and supporting other content producers, and how this can lead to the creation of works that are far more than the sum of their parts.

DSP508 Practical Screen Production (15 credits)

This paper will further develop and bring together creative, technical, and problem-solving skills learnt in previous papers. Students will create their own short film screen production using these skills and appropriate screen production processes.

Graduates of the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production will have the skills and knowledge to work in junior technical or assistant roles in a screen production environment.

Recent graduates of the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production have gained temporary roles on film crews, and/or used their newly developed skills for personal screen production projects.

School Leavers

All applicants should hold NCEA Level 2 or equivalent skills and knowledge, and demonstrate a keen interest in screen production, applicants are also required to submit a portfolio of their work with their application. 

Mature Applicants

Applicants of 20 years of age or over, at the time of programme entry, should demonstrate an interest and aptitude for screen production which demonstrate potential for success.  Examples may include completion of a programme of study at Level 2 or above in a related discipline and/ or employment in a related field for two or more years. They may be admitted subject to programme regulations approved by the Head of Faculty in consultation with the Programme Manager as appropriate.  Personal commitment and a belief in one’s own ability to succeed are important personal traits and will always be taken into consideration during the selection process.

Special Admission  

Notwithstanding the above admissions categories, in exceptional circumstances, a mature aged applicant who can show evidence of ability to succeed in the programme (e.g. strong work experience/background as evidenced by CV, or referee attestations) may be considered for admission provided the applicant has successfully completed an approved course or programme, which is deemed to prepare graduates for the required academic standard for entry.

English Language Requirements

Applicants, 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 achieved one of the following:

NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance, or

an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Cambridge A- level qualification for which the teaching and assessment was conducted in English; or

Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA), or Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL); or

Successful completion of all primary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand primary school years 1 to 8) and at least three years of secondary education (being the equivalent of three years from New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools in  either New Zealand, Australia­, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States one of the countries listed in Rule 18.5 where the student was taught using English as the language of instruction; or

Successful completion of at least five years of secondary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools in either New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States where the student was taught using English as the language of instruction; or

Successful completion of a Bachelor ‘s Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Bachelor Honours degree, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters’ Degree or Doctoral Degree, the language of instruction of which must be in English and which must be  from a tertiary education provider from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States or

Successful completion of one of the following internationally recognised proficiency tests listed below to the level required of the programme of study and with all scores achieved in a single test during the two years preceding the proposed date of enrolment.

Diploma at Level 5

  • 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 14)
  • Cambridge English Examination – B2 First or B2 First for schools with a score of 162.  No less than 154 in each skill
  • OET - Minimum of Grade C or 200 in all sub-tests
  • NZCEL - a) Expiring Level   b) Current:
  • Level 4 (General) or (Workplace) b) Level 4 (General) or (Employment)
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) - PTE (Academic) score of 42 with no band score lower than 36
  • Language Cert - B2 Communicator International ESOL Written (LRW) HIGH PASS with no less than 25/50 in each skill and Spoken (S) PASS
  • Trinity ISE - ISE II with no less than merit in any band

Full Time study

Full time study is completing 4 papers (60 credits) per intake.  Students studying full time can complete the Diploma in two intakes.  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.

Each paper will require between 8 and 10 hours of study per week. The recommended maximum number of papers per intake, compared to working hours, are:

  • Working 37+ hours per week = enrol in a maximum of 2 Papers per intake
  • Working 20 – 37 hours per week = enrol in a maximum of 3 papers per intake
  • Working fewer than 20 hours per week = full time study (4 papers) is achievable

This is a guide only and will differ depending on individual circumstances.  

Students should complete the papers in numerical order.  Any requests to study papers out of order should be directed to Programme Manager.

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. 
  • Programme transfers / Cross Credits
  • Students who have previously studied DDF or DDP are able to cross credit a number of papers into the new DSP programme. These papers are DDF101, DDF104, DDF105, DDF110, and DDF131.
  • All students wishing to do so should note this on their DSP application form and/or contact the Programme Manager.

Cross credit forms can be found at:

Equipment Requirements

  • Students entering the Diploma in Screen Production programme are required to have a prosumer video camera with manual controls, video-capable DSLR, or mirrorless camera with interchagable lenses. Consumer-level video cameras or sports video cameras are not acceptable. 
  • 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.

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 (weekdays 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 2ndweek 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)
  • 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. 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.

To satisfactorily complete the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production (Level 5), and be awarded this qualification the student must successfully achieve:

  • A minimum of 120 credits in accordance with the Programme schedule for the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production (Level 5)
  • The student will normally be expected to complete the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production (Level 5) full-time over one year or part-time over four years

Please Note: Students failing to engage in study as per programme requirements may forfeit Zero Fees entitlement.

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.

For more information on required and recommended textbooks for this course please refer to the textbook list here

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

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