Four Areas of Cinematography Education - Where is the Best School?
If you are interested in breaking into Hollywood as a cinematographer, a good school is the University of California – Davis’ School of Cinematography. Film school will help students to learn all facets of this career field from conceptualization to creative development, while laying strong educational foundations for future work. There are many certificate programs available at both associate and bachelor degree levels, while a master’s degree is also available. Students who wish to break into this field should consider a certificate program, which will give them a solid foundation for working in this industry. A cinematographer must also be well versed in the art of digital video and computer-based image manipulation, as well as understand the historical and aesthetic considerations of motion picture. Films today often use complex computer animation and visual effects, which require the skills of a cinematographer to create these effects and ensure the quality of the final product.
The University of Southern California – Los Angeles offers a number of cinematography courses that students can complete in the graduate portion of their Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts. Areas of focus include film theory, character study, and narrative form. Students will also have the opportunity to complete independent studies, as well as participate in the filmmaking workshops hosted by the school. Courses will cover a variety of topics, including the history of cinematography, editing, story structure, and film techniques such as pans and zoom. The Graduate College of Film and Communication, located in Chicago, Illinois, offers classes in all aspects of filmmaking, but particularly concentrated on communication and film theory.
The Art Institute of San Diego offers courses in both the Bachelor of Science in Visual and Performing Arts (BSC) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) cinematography, with specializations in lighting and color. A theater department offers courses such as lighting design and installation, the history of lighting, and visual artifact design. Also available is a Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Technology, which covers both artistic and technical aspects of lighting and its effect on filmmaking.
Film schools offer courses that can help aspiring filmmakers obtain a degree in cinematography. New York Institute of Technology offers an Associate of Science in Photography program, which allows students to pursue both science and creative coursework. The coursework requires an extensive study of film theory, cinematography, and film production, as well as lectures on key lighting techniques. Post-graduate courses include courses in advanced digital photography, media theory, and digital photo editing. The Film School of Media is located in New York City’s Upper East Side. It specializes in digital media production and teaches digital video production, storyboarding, and animation, among other things.
Students can obtain their diplomas from film universities like the UCLA Graduate School of Cinema. There are two main cinematography schools in Los Angeles, which offer a combined Bachelor of Science in Cinematography with a Bachelor of Arts in the same field. In order to obtain a master’s degree in cinematography, all graduated students must submit a dissertation. The citation required for this award is “Doctor of Cinema – cinematography,” which is granted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
A dissertation can focus on any aspect of cinematography, but professors typically recommend one of four areas. Systems, methods, strategies, and lens focal lengths are the most common coursework taken at any film university. Other options include increasing the size of the frame to achieve a shot-to-shot consistency, shooting on film as opposed to digital, using actors as interchangeable camera subjects, or understanding the relationship between light and sound. Students will have to research their chosen areas based on their own experience, as no two cinematographers are alike.
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