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From Cartoons to Cinematography

Guest posts

Faculty: Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
School: School of Creative Industries
Course: MA Film and Television Production
Category: Language, literature and media

14 November 2019

Stephanus Pretorius with camera. Photo credit Dom Zalys

I am an animator, illustrator, concept artist, storyboard artist and cartoon character designer. I was born deaf. My first language is sign language and I had a cochlear implant in 2013.

I did a National Diploma in Graphic Design at Doncaster College.  Once I achieved the grades to go to university, I did a BA (Hons) in Animation and Illustration at the University Centre Doncaster (Doncaster College & University of Hull).  I enjoyed the animation so much that after I got the degree I applied to do the PgDip in Character Animation at the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martin’s College.  I also worked on a freelance basis as a rendering assistant for Lupus Films in the making of The Snowman 2.

In 2017 I decided to study on the MA Film and Television Production at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. I had done a lot of research into the history of filmmaking. I was investigating the different cameras, recorders and microphones to get a better understanding of cinematography. I learnt to use different Adobe software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects and Adobe Audition. My hearing teachers and students taught me with Premiere Pro, ZOOMH6 and radio/lapel microphones.  It was the first time I used ZOOMH6 and radio/lapel microphones for hearing students.

After graduating, I had an idea to investigate the plight of rhinos and rhino farmers in South Africa (I was born there, in Pretoria).  It was triggered when I saw a picture on Facebook of a slaughtered rhino on a farm in Gravelotte. I decided this would make a good documentary, with two totally different opinions. My crew and I interviewed people in London and Buckinghamshire about the rhino question. I also filmed a lot of rhinos and interviewed the private rhino farmer,  amongst others.

I hope, if I am successful, to work as a cinematographer and sound designer in the future. There are not a lot of opportunities for me as I am deaf and it is difficult to communicate. However, with the help of my lecturer and other students on my course, the few opportunities that there were helped a lot in my development. I have gained skills that will be used throughout my life and career. Asd as result I am much more confident as a person and feel as though I achieve way more than I ever thought I could. I have support from a BSL interpreter and note taker. I read a lot of books in the library, literally day and night. Subtitles by Lynda.com (on Anglia Ruskin’s account - therefore free for me) provided a lot of help - I learned about the Canon C100 and Adobe programmes on there. I enjoyed learning and reading very much and had a very nice time in Cambridge.  The academic atmosphere helped me to concentrate and work hard. The highlight was when a group of students (myself included) went to London to make a movie. I learned a lot - and it was a lot of fun.

Stephanus Pretorius studied MA Film and Television Production at ARU in Cambridge. Come and see our film-making facilities for yourself: book your place at one of our Open Days.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.