Post Production Technical Operator ApprenticeshipSouthwark Campus
Developed by trailblazers
This exciting Post-Production Technical Operator (PPTO) apprenticeship has been developed by a trailblazer group of employers in collaboration with LSBU. The companies are the leading post-production companies in the UK, including Framestore, Molinare, MPC, Technicolor, Company3, Encore, Fifty Fifty, Edit Store, Motion Pictures Solutions, Platform Post, Run VT, Flix Facilities, Pinewood Studios and West Digital. The apprenticeship is also supported by ScreenSkills and is approved for delivery by the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE).
As an apprentice you will be involved with 80% on-the-job training with an employer plus 20% off-the-job learning from the registered and approved training provider. The course content meets an agreed high quality “apprenticeship standard” which has been developed by the group of industry experts and is government approved. Apprentices undergo an external independent assessment at the end to demonstrate whether they have achieved full operational competence and receive an officially recognised qualification.
The UK Post Production sector is recognised as world leading and the companies involved in the apprenticeship are looking to train apprenticeships to work in:
- Post-production facility companies
- Independent production company in-house post-production departments
- Content delivery and international localisation companies
The training will cover best practice for media ingest, storage management, media export, secure digital despatch, support for creative colleagues in content finishing and quality assessment of finished content. Apprentices will be assessed for operational competence after the 12 month apprenticeship by a multiple-choice exam, a professional discussion and practical tests under the eye of an independent assessor.
Why Post Production at LSBU?
- Work with industry leading software such as Media Composer, Nuke and DaVinci/Fusion.
- Elephant Studios: Multi-million pound studio facilities at the forefront of digital technologies and multimedia practice for creative students.
- Top 5 in London for student satisfaction in Film Production and Photography (Guardian 2019).
- We have a successful history of supporting employer sponsored students, with one third studying part-time, one of the highest number of any university.
- Video technology
This module will introduce you to the nature of light, image capture devices, pixels, resolution, aspect ratio, greyscale and gamma, RGB, YUV, colour sampling, colour gamut, HDR, LUTs, interlace and progressive, frame rates, fractional frame rates, alpha channels, SDI connections, picture monitoring and waveform measurement technology.
- Audio technology
During this module, you’ll undertake core aspects of the nature of sound and hearing, microphone to loudspeaker signal path, audio metering, PPM and R128 loudness, A to D and D to A, and dynamic range compression.
- Metadata and timecode
This module focuses on the development of skills associated with EBU/SMPTE timecode, DF and NDF, VITC. BITC. Descriptive and technical metadata. You will also be introduced to the use of metadata and other forms of content documentation, unambiguous labelling of content, clock numbers and file names.
- Codecs and files
This module will introduce you to the structure of and appropriate application of, audio, video and graphics file formats in common use in production, post-production and delivery. The principles of encoding, transcoding and compression of digital audio and video. Encode and transcode audio and video data to required specifications.
- Edit assistant operations
During this module you will be introduced to the principles of non-linear editing systems, ingest and export media content, syncing audio to video and applying LUTs. You will also be taught how to arrange media content in agreed folder structures, using consistent file naming conventions, export finished content or work-in-progress with metadata. Manage access by clients to shared storage systems. Transfer data securely between client supplied sources and post-production storage systems, performing data integrity and virus checks. Prepare graphics and still images for ingest using software such as Photoshop where basic manipulation is required. Dispatch and Receipt protocols.
You will learn how to set-up post-production editing equipment using appropriate cables and connectors. Think creatively and logically to solve technical issues. Contribute to a process of continual improvement of workflow and technique. Provide operational assistance and first-line support to creative personnel and problem solve within agreed governance constraints.
- Networks and storage
In this module we’ll look at principles of computer systems, IP networks and shared storage systems as applied in post-production. High speed file transfer across LAN and WAN. The media data lifecycle including production storage, shared storage, nearline storage and archive, whether on premises or in the cloud. Bandwidth requirements and disk configurations necessary to ensure reliable playback and record performance at the required resolution for one or more clients from shared storage or directly connected storage. Good digital content governance, resilience, RAID, security and confidentiality. Backup, archive and restore media, sequences and metadata.
- Data conforming and finishing
Here, you’ll learn how to perform and check data conforms of sequences prior to colour grading or online editing. Transfer picture data accurately between grading and editing systems, ensuring the data integrity of content and sequences. Relink ingested media to updated sequences as editorial changes occur. Prepare and transfer audio data to the dubbing suite. Perform basic editing functions for the preparation of media and sequences for creative processes, or for formatting of finished content for delivery (e.g. adding line-up signals, idents, patching in QC fixes, audio laybacks).
- Quality control
In this module we’ll explore technical standards and customer specifications used for UK and international delivery of programmes, films and commercials to cinema, broadcast and online distribution platforms (e.g. AS-11 DPP, IMF, DCP etc). Textless backgrounds and audio stems. Flashing images and stimuli causing photo sensitive epilepsy. The intelligibility of dialogue. Consistent quality control using eyes and ears and real time measurement. AQC devices. Decide what is acceptable and what is not, depending on the context of the material, its intended use and the required technical specifications. Produce accurate and concise QAR reports with indications of mandatory failures, advisory warnings and client approved exceptions.
- Legacy technology and archive material
Legacy video standards are important, such as: (e.g. SD PAL and NTSC) and their conversion to contemporary standards. Legacy video and audio tape formats and how to integrate into contemporary file-based workflows. (e.g. Digitising and playout).
- Working practices
During this module you will be taught how to understand the commercial context of post-production with the film, TV and advertising industry. It will prepare you to develop a strong work ethic and commitment to meet the standards required. It’s important to deliver good customer service in a creative environment. Understand the importance of accurate, effective and timely communication with own team, other departments and customers to ensure efficient progress of the work in hand. Ensure a safe working environment for themselves, colleagues and customers. You will learn to proactively keep up to date with latest developments within the industry.
Successful completion of this level 4 apprenticeship could lead to work as a machine room operator in post-production companies, VFX houses and specialist content delivery companies. It is also suitable for operators who support the creative process within in-house production facilities. By undertaking the apprenticeship route, you’ll have the advantage of having real-world work experience, working in a role related to your area of study. This will give you a competitive edge amongst other applicants when you complete your apprenticeship standard.
We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment for the second year in a row - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, 2019.
At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:
- An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
- Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.
Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.
The apprenticeship was developed by the leading post production companies in London including Clear Cut Pictures, Technicolor, MPC, Fifty Fifty Post, Molinare, Company 3, Encore, Run VT, Edit Store, Platform and Pinewood.
You will be working with key providers in the post production sector.
For the off-the-job training, you will be based in the School of Arts and Creative Industries, which has an established track-record of delivering courses that offer core academic knowledge alongside applied professional knowledge.
This course is heavily practice-based; you'll spend 80% of your time on-the-job and the rest in academic study. You will attend 9 weeks of classes across the year at the University. The rest of the year is spent with your employer.
Teaching and learning
The training will run as a series of three blocks over the 12 month delivery period. Of the 20% off-job training required for this apprenticeship it is assumed that approximately 280 hours (40 days) will be delivered directly by LSBU and that a further 70 hours (10 days), comprised of mentoring, self-study, industry master classes etc, will take place at the employer’s site or other location. LSBU will be required to record all off-job training hours against the apprentice’s Commitment Statement.
The first block is expected to begin in April and last 13 days. The training will blend the teaching from across the units to deliver a stimulating and engaging syllabus. Theory will be mixed with key topical content, exercises and traditional lectures. The second block starts in August and lasts 14 days. The third block will be 13 days long and starts in early Jan. The blocks assume 7 hours of delivery per day.
The additional 70 hours take the form of mentoring, self study, trips to expos such as the Media Production Show, and IBC. These hours will be logged using an ePortfolio. The tutor will also have five timetabled hours allocated per apprentice to assist in a mentoring capacity. Delivery will take place in a Mac and/or PC lab as required. The computers are loaded with all appropriate software, including Media Composer, the Adobe Suite and Black Magic.
Methods of course delivery
We will employ a variety of methods in our delivery. This will include lectures, seminars, workshops and exercises in specialist facilities and classrooms, with a tutor and technician present. The tutor will organise industry visits to a variety of post houses. Masterclasses will be delivered by Master Technicians, who will be specialist freelancers from the industry. We will use technicians from within ACI to support the tutor.
Apprentices will conduct 80% of their training on the job, they will receive supervision across the year and will collate evidence and record skills which will go on to form the basis of their e-portfolio of evidence that is a web based site that LSBU uses to store and monitor the non-academic elements of the apprenticeship. It is used by apprentices to log their 20% and by LSBU to record the Progress Reviews where attendance and results reports are stored. The KSBs from the standard will be mapped onto a template on the e-portfolio system for the students to demonstrate their progress.
Our Virtual Learning Environment will be used to collate the class content and provide a platform for staff to communicate with students. Where we flip the classroom students will be able to access material required before the class.
Apprentices will be receiving formative feedback prior to the second and third block of teaching where the tutor, liaising with the employer, will conduct a review of achievements against the KSB’s and the progress towards their assessment.
The apprentices will be assessed on 20 pieces of evidence which will be produced on-the-job. These pieces of evidence will work towards their portfolio and collated in OneFile. The tutor will be able to view this work remotely and add comments. The tutor will then be able to advise when the student is ready to go through gateway.
Assessment will be delivered by an ESFA approved End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), who will provide an Independent Assessor to conduct the three End-Point Assessment components. Apprentices have to pass all of the individual End-Point Assessment components to achieve a Pass overall. The End-Point Assessment will be undertaken over a maximum of three months post gateway and will comprise of three components: Knowledge Test, a Practical Demonstration with three parts and a Professional Discussion. The End-Point Assessment Organisation will provide guidance materials for the each of the Assessment Methods.
- Apprentices will normally have a relevant level 3 qualification such as Media Studies.
- Apprentices must hold 5 GCSEs A-C including minimum C in Maths and English or equivalent (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above).
How to apply
International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.
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An Apprenticeship Standard is comprised of a programme of study, an End Point Assessment and on-the-job learning. This means that in addition to meeting academic requirements, you’ll need to be employed in a role related to your apprenticeship. The process of applying depends on whether you have an employer to sponsor (and support) you.
If you are employed and your employer has confirmed they will support your apprenticeship:
You are welcome to submit an application via our online application system. You’ll need to provide details of your employment/employer as part of the application. You’ll also need to ensure you and your employer meet the requirements – find out who can be an apprentice to see if you meet the entry requirements and employer commitments to find out more about your employer’s role.
If you are not employed:
- You will need to find a job role related to the apprenticeship you wish to apply for, with an employer who is happy to support you. If you would like to find an employer to support your apprenticeship with LSBU, you can search which employers are currently advertising Apprenticeships via the National Apprenticeship Service website searching for ‘London South Bank University’ as keywords.
- If there are no search results, this means there are currently no vacancies. We update our vacancies regularly, so please do check back regularly.
- Many employers advertise their apprenticeship vacancies on their websites or via other portals. You could search for ‘find an apprenticeship’ online.
- When you’re ready to apply, see the government's advice on how to write a winning apprenticeship application and make your application using our online application system.
Further information for apprentices
If you’re a prospective apprentice, you can find out more about who can be an apprentice on our student pages.
Further information for employers
Prepare to start
Fees and funding
The cost of the apprenticeship is paid fully by the employer (sometimes part funded by the government) through apprenticeship levy. The apprenticeship levy is a pot of money some companies pay into, which all businesses have access to spend on the training costs of apprenticeships. Companies fall into two categories: levy-payers (who pay into the pot) and non-levy payers (who do not). You can find out more in our Levy and Funding section, specifically for employers.
The apprentice does not contribute toward the cost of study.
Large employers who are Apprenticeship Levy payers can use funds that they have already committed to their own levy accounts.
Non-levy paying employers can access full 100% funding to cover the training and assessment costs via UK Screen Alliance’s Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund (ALT Fund), where unused apprenticeship levy contributions made by large companies are recycled for use by small companies.
Apprenticeship standards are all assigned a funding band by the Government – these funding bands are the maximum amount the Government will fund via the levy towards a given apprenticeship standard. There are currently 30 funding bands ranging from £1,000 to £27,000.
Employers with less than 50 staff sending an apprentice aged 16-18 will have 100% of the training costs paid by the government. All employers who employ an apprentice aged 16-18 on the first day of teaching will receive a £1,000 incentive from the government. You can find out more in our Levy and Funding section, specifically for employers.
Some modules include field with and site visits, which may be residential or outside the United Kingdom, ranging from three to five days. These are organised by the Division and students are required to contribute towards the cost. If there are any field trips or any course visits as part of your course, we will let you know in good time.