an NFSA website

Production, technologies and techniques

The following clips have teachers’ notes related to this topic:

Wokabout Marketing

from the documentary Advertising Missionaries (PG)

Andrew Rose is a marketing executive based in Port Moresby. He organises a troupe of actors who perform vignettes in remote villages to promote the purchase of Western goods. Omo, the washing powder, is demonstrated.

What is art?

from the documentary Art (PG)

Everyone sees art in different ways.


from the advertisement Australia Post – Animation (G)

This is an Australia Post television commercial (TVC) promoting the Faxpost and Lettergram service. Not strictly animation, the footage has been shot at low speed to create the impression of very high speed travel through …

Dear Cathy

from the advertisement Australia Post – Letter Writing Venice (G)

This is an Australia Post television commercial (TVC) advertising postage by airmail.


from the sponsored film Australia Post – News Release E-Post Electronic Mail (G)

This clip explains the procedure involved in the new E-Post service.

Hunting shark

from the newsreel Australia Today – Man-Eater (G)

This clip shows Coogee Beach, protected by a shark-proof enclosure; a man going out hunting for sharks; and a larger trawler which puts forward the ‘fight against the ever present menace of sharks’.

Swamp canoes

from the documentary The Balanda and the Bark Canoes (PG)

Rolf de Heer oversees the construction of swamp canoes that will be used in the film Ten Canoes (2006).

For the future

from the documentary The Balanda and the Bark Canoes (PG)

Against a backdrop of images of the Ramingining community, director Rolf de Heer talks about the unexpected problems in casting Ten Canoes (2006). The kinship laws are so complex that the final choice of cast …

Circumstances lead to a car accident

from the documentary Billal (PG)

Young Anglo-Australian Linc talks about how he was escaping from a potential attack when he accidentally ran down a young Australian-Lebanese man. He describes how, although he fears for his life, he sympathises with the …

Bliss, punishment, heaven and hell

from the feature film Bliss (PG)

Harry Joy (Barry Otto) is a successful advertising man, with a nice house, a wife he loves (Lynette Curran) and two children, David (Miles Buchanan) and Lucy (Gia Carides). After a long birthday lunch, Henry …

‘This scaffolding’s safe’

from the sponsored film The Bones of Building (G)

Bill Smith (Dick Hackett) now works on a commercial high-rise construction site. In this dramatised scene, Smith’s foreman (Jock Levy) persuades him that the scaffolding used on the site is safe and that the …

German mortar attack

from the feature film Broken Sun (PG)

In this flashback to the First World War, Jack (Jai Koutrae) cowers in his trench as a shell explodes, showering him with debris and dust and temporarily deafening him.

Helicopter fly-by

from the home movie Bushnell, K: Cyclone Tracy Aftermath (G)

A convoy of six navy helicopters from the HMAS Melbourne aircraft carrier pass across the Darwin skyline. Workers continue to temporarily fix roofing as they watch the convoy fly by. A number of concrete buildings …

Democracy in action

from the documentary Canberra Files, The (PG)

Standing in the House of Representatives Chamber in Old Parliament House, actor Michael Caton provides the context for early newsreels in Australia. This is followed by a Paramount Gazette newsreel from 1929 that shows ex-Prime …

‘We’re keeping him’

from the feature film The Cars That Ate Paris (PG)

After his brother is killed in a car accident outside the small town of Paris, Arthur (Terry Camilleri) meets Len (John Meillon), the mayor, who leads the funeral procession. At a council meeting afterwards, the …

Know your Melbourne

from the advertisement CE Miller & Co Cinema Advertisement: Know Your Melbourne (G)

This advertisement begins with shots of a number of identifiable locations and buildings in and around the heart of Melbourne’s city. An informative voice-over accompanies shots of the Yarra River, the Botanical Gardens and …

Learning from fish

from the documentary Crystal Voyager (G)

George Greenough explains how he takes his design ideas from nature, from the curve of a marlin’s fin, for example. He is shown building his own equipment from scratch, then trialing it in the …

One wave, one surfer

from the documentary Crystal Voyager (G)

After a great day surfing with his friend Richie West, George Greenough goes back to work on his boat, a 37-foot hull on which he is building his own cabin. He explains his philosophy of …

‘Served by discerning hostesses’

from the sponsored film A Day in a Biscuit Factory (G)

Wedding cakes, chocolate-coated biscuits and puddings are also produced at the biscuit factory. Tin containers, printed gift assortment tins and packaged boxes provide the final step in the process.

60,000 km around the world

from the documentary Dick Smith Explorer (PG)

Explorer Dick Smith arrives at Fort Worth, USA, completing his solo voyage around the world by helicopter. Press and family greet him.

The 2003 Canberra bushfires

from the home movie Dimpel, Konrad: Burned Out Fields Around My Walking Ways (G)

Dimpel’s camera has captured the grim red circle of the sun masked by thick bushfire smoke and the landscape cast in an eerie deep orange. The fire creeps down Farrer Ridge towards the Dimpel …

Into the history books

from the television program The Dismissal (PG)

In the panic and confusion of the Labor government’s sacking and the packing up and the frenzied shredding of documents, Gough Whitlam stands alone, a tragic figure, before all his friends and colleagues. He …

Dancing flowers

from the home movie Elapsed Time Test Studies: Australian Wildflowers, Tahiti, Travel Scenes (G)

A group of flowering plants – violet, white, orange, and purple – slowly blossom against a background of greenery. This is captured using time lapse photography methods.

Official parade

from the home movie Farey: Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge (PG)

The Farey family travelled from Victoria to Sydney for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. This home movie clip opens with a shot of the Farey family on a roadside stop on …

The fittings

from the television program Fashionista – Alex Perry (PG)

Alex Perry runs through the A to Z of designing a wedding dress for the big day. It’s all about negotiating the demands of the bride, her mother and the bridesmaids.

‘A leftover hippy’

from the television program Fashionista – John Macarthur (G)

There are many different sorts of stitches and many fibres apart from wool that can be knitted, such as silk, cotton and even possum fur.

Meet the Squander Bug

from the advertisement First Victory Home Loan: Squander Bug (G)

This animated propaganda film from 1945 was used to persuade Australians to invest their savings in the national war chest. The Squander Bug, complete with a large stomach covered in swastikas, is told by Hitler …

‘Why do you play footy for?’

from the feature film Footy Legends (G)

Luc (Anh Do) and his sister Anne (Lisa Saggers) discuss football as they wait for the team’s first practice to start. Anne holds her pet tortoise, Britney, a gift from her brother. Luc gives …

First women’s union

from the documentary For Love or Money (G)

This clip talks about the conditions that led to the Melbourne Tailoresses Strike of 1882 to 1883.

Hurley’s composites

from the documentary Frank Hurley: The Man Who Made History (PG)

Photographer Frank Hurley achieved some of his greatest wartime photographs by combining several photos into one. Stephen Burton of the Australian War Memorial shows how it is done. Australia’s official wartime historian, Charles Bean …

Today’s nuns

from the documentary God's Girls: Stories from an Australian Convent (PG)

By the early 1990s it was likely that the Roman Catholic order of nuns, the Sisters of Mercy, was going to die out. Women who have chosen to stay in the order explain their reasons …

Scientific complexities and contradictions

from the documentary A Hard Rain (PG)

David Bradbury heads across Scotland on a train to interview Professor Eric Wright, who disagrees with the findings of another scientist (Chris Busby, see [c[clip one]]) about the increasing incidence of cancer around nuclear …

The touring talkies

from the advertisement Hoyts and Studebaker Cinema Advertisement: Touring Talkie Show (G)

A fleet of Studebaker sedans along with executives from Shell, Studebaker and Hoyts meet the ‘Talkie Truck’ as it pulls in to Melbourne. The executives shake hands with the sound technicians and engineers. The truck …

The storming of parliament

from the documentary Kemira: Diary of a Strike (G)

Striking miners travel from Wollongong to Parliament House, Canberra, to protest the retrenchments. The protestors storm the entrance to Parliament House and break the doors in – a first in Australian history.

Into battle

from the television program The Legend of Damien Parer (PG)

Damien Parer’s first taste of battle was with the British infantry in the Middle East. He quickly learned that if he wanted to get the shots that best showed men in action, then he …

‘Bonza is tops, Bonza is ace!’

from the television program Lift Off – That's Not Fair – Part B (G)

Poss (Erin Pratten) is astonished when the spruikers from the ‘Bonza’ cereal TV advertisement come right out of the TV set and into the living room. They persuade Poss and her friend Kim (Maria Nguyen …

She’s back!

from the television program Li'l Elvis and the Truckstoppers – Caught in a Trap (G)

Elvis (Stig Wemyss) and Lionel (Kylie Belling) are riding their scoot-boards in the desert when a big road truck appears. It’s Janet Rig (Marg Downey) and her trucker mum. Li’l Elvis’s greatest …

Life stages of the lobster

from the documentary Lobster Tales (PG)

Shows the early life stages of a lobster: thousands of eggs hatch into larvae, which struggle to survive ocean currents for over a year before returning as juvenile lobsters.

Grief is uncharted territory

from the documentary Losing Layla (PG)

Vanessa and Michael discuss the complexities of the grief they felt over the death of their baby daughter, Layla.

A black rose

from the documentary Loved Up – Endangered (PG)

Animated sequence of a funeral. The interview subject tells of the death of the father of her first child as a consequence of the loss of a role in society.

Time for a feast

from the short film Magical Powers (G)

Having conjured a table and tablecloth out of nowhere, a young man (Doug Rosenthal) uses his new magical powers to produce a banquet of drinks, cakes and fruits. After eating all the food in front …

Wading through the floods

from the home movie Maitland Floods (G)

Residents outside their homes wade knee-deep in water. Front lawns have disappeared completely, and houses are quickly engulfed. Water is seeping through the sand bags in place to hold back the flooding banks of the …

The muddy aftermath

from the home movie Maitland Floods (G)

In the aftermath of the floods, the water levels recede to reveal the muddy debris left behind. The extent of structural damage to the town is shown in the scenes of collapsed houses and bridges.

Starting to happen

from the television program Message Stick – Wayne’s World (G)

Wayne Blair talks about his experience as an actor and the roles that are offered to him as an Aboriginal man.

Telegraphists spread the news

from the historical Naming the Federal Capital of Australia (PG)

The intertitles at the beginning of this clip explain it all: ‘Telegraphists at work sending the news to Sydney. 200 words a minute. A record’.

A master of camouflage

from the television program Nature of Australia – The Sunburnt Country (G)

The landscape of arid central Australia is scoured and the plateaus worn down to gibber desert. It’s impossible to imagine that any living thing could survive in this environment but the shingleback lizard manages …

‘He’s not real … he’s typing!’

from the television program Noah and Saskia – Tomorrow Never Knows (G)

Babbling with excitement, Saskia (Hannah Greenwood) tries to explain Max Hammer (Cameron Nugent) to Renee (Emily Wheaton). Saskia is overwhelmed by the gorgeous Max, but who is he really, and where is he?

The Overland Whippet motor car

from the advertisement Overland Whippet Motor Car: Advertisement (G)

A cut-out picture of the Overland Whippet is accompanied by a caption describing it as ‘America’s first high-speed European-type light car’. The Whippet car lines up with a whippet dog to demonstrate its speed …

‘Work or die’

from the documentary Paying For the Past (PG)

Slave labourers were used by German industry during the Second World War. Siemens, BMW and Krupp are named. Survivors Kitia Altman and Abraham Biderman recall the horrors of being slave labourers.

‘We want an apology’

from the documentary Paying For the Past (PG)

The organisation The Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany seeks to compensate the victims of slave and forced labour by German industry during the Second World War. Karen Heilig works for victims and …

The great unknown

from the television program Peach's Explorers – The Prison Walls (G)

As the navigators gaze on the arid coastline of this great south land, they dream about what might be beyond the forbidding cliffs. Was there a great inland sea, or a passage for ships to …

The Great Leader

from the documentary Pyongyang Diaries (G)

At a celebration at Kim Il Sung Square for the founding day of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the DPRK or North Korea), a woman speaks to camera about her happiness and her …

‘This is not easy’

from the feature film The Quiet Room (PG)

The mother (Celine O’Leary) sits watching her daughter’s angry drawing. She has come to tell her that her father is moving out. The child carries on a conversation that her mother can’t …

Capulets and Montagues

from the feature film Romeo + Juliet (PG)

A TV news reporter describes a bitter rivalry in the city of Verona Beach. Engaged in the deadly feud are Romeo’s Montague family and the Capulet family of Juliet.

A dangerous solution

from the feature film Romeo + Juliet (PG)

On the eve of her marriage to Dave Paris, Juliet (Claire Danes) becomes suicidal. Father Laurence (Pete Postlethwaite) proposes a radical solution that will allow her to avoid the marriage and reunite with Romeo.

‘Dolly’ shot and skateboard cam

from the television program Short Cuts – Wheels on Fire (G)

Mr Long (Matthew Green) teaches the class about the ‘dolly shot’ technique and the class tries it out.

The editing experiment

from the television program Short Cuts – Wheels on Fire (G)

Using Sophie (Gemma Bishop) in her wheelchair to shoot dolly shots ends in tears when Ross (Alex Tsitsopoulos) accidentally tips her out. Meanwhile Oscar (Damien Bodie) shows Anna (Lucia Smyrk) how he has edited the …

Billy Hughes saves a life

from the feature film Smithy (G)

Just after the First World War, Charles Kingsford Smith (Ron Randell) secures the backing of the Blackburn Aviation Co for his entry to the inaugural England to Australia Air Race, but he is dismayed when …

‘One of the most fantastic flights ever made’

from the feature film Smithy (G)

After mechanical failure stops them from taking part in the Centenary Air Race from Australia to Britain, Kingsford Smith (Ron Randell) and PG Taylor (playing himself) decide to attempt the Pacific crossing to the US …

A man from Snowy River

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro - Where Giants Meet (PG)

In this clip, filmed in 1948, a 'man from Snowy River’ swaps his horse and his bushman’s life for a bulldozer and employment on the Snowy Mountains Scheme. While on one level reflecting the …

‘The Snowy Mountains song’

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro - Where Men and Mountains Meet (PG)

At night, in the recreation hut of one of the Snowy Mountains Scheme workers’ camps, the men sing 'The Snowy Mountains song’.

The St Kilda Esplanade on Boxing Day

from the historical The St Kilda Esplanade on Boxing Day (G)

This silent clip shows the St Kilda esplanade and foreshore on Boxing Day 1913. People relax on the grass, enjoy amusement rides at Luna Park and swim at the beach.

Melbourne celebrates

from the home movie Syme, Ken: Melbourne Olympic Games (G)

This clip shows both street-level and high angle views down some of Melbourne’s main streets including Swanston, Collins and Elizabeth Streets lined with flags and decorations. A string of athlete-shaped figures also festoon the …

Opening ceremony

from the home movie Syme, Ken: Melbourne Olympic Games (G)

From the stands, Ken Syme records part of the opening ceremony. The Australian athletes enter the stadium at the MCG. The Olympic flag is raised and hundreds of doves are released into the air. Champion …

Stormalong’s last race

from the feature film Thoroughbred (PG)

After failing several times to kill the horse, Hops Warton (Lynton Moore), an Australian criminal working for an international syndicate, promises to shoot the horse during the Melbourne Cup. Tommy (Frank Leighton) rushes to thwart …

Trapdoor spiders

from the documentary Webs of Intrigue (G)

Presenter Densey Clyne goes looking for a trapdoor spider in the bush. We see the spider’s unique 'door’. Trapdoor spiders can sense vibrations from passing insects. We see in close-up the spider leap out …

Sydney funnel-web spiders

from the documentary Webs of Intrigue (G)

The Sydney funnel-web is the deadliest spider in the world. We see one capture a passing beetle, then see scientists researching the spiders in the lab. Finally, we learn about the dangers of the spiders …

Red-back spiders

from the documentary Webs of Intrigue (G)

A close-up look at the deadly red-back spider. In giant close-up we see an ant enter the red-back’s insect trap, and get caught. The spider drops down, hoists the ant off the ground, and …

She mixed axolotl DNA with T-Rex DNA

from the television program Wicked Science – Episode 1, The Gift (G)

Toby (André de Vanny) discovers that Elizabeth (Bridget Neval) has interfered with his DNA cloning experiment and is horrified to discover a ferocious and rapidly growing T-Rex has hatched from his egg. Will he and …

‘Dad got the sack, did he?’

from the television program Winners – The Paper Boy (G)

John Riordan (Tony Llewellyn Jones) has lost his job. Joe (Christopher Schlusser) hears about a job as a paperboy selling newspapers on the street. He is warned that is a rough job – the last boy …

You can find more clips on this topic by using the search facility in the menu bar. You could also try browsing the tag cloud.