8 Best Film Schools for Cinematography (2022)

Many aspiring cinematographers ask the question “what are the best schools for cinematography?” So what are the best cinematography schools? Like all of our articles on the “best schools for film education,” the answer is subjective. For some people, the best cinematography schools may be online; for others they may be at private institutions. If the latter is your focus, we’ve got you covered. These are the schools regarded as the best cinematography schools in the country.

Note: *The listed tuition rates vary by entry. Some are listed by semester, some by year, and some by total. This is because all tuition rates were taken directly from their institutions, as they were listed.

Cinematography Major

American Film Institute

Learn Cinematography • AFI Conservatory Cinematography Fellows Discuss the Program

Program: Cinematography Certificate of Completion

The American Film Institute (AFI) is one of the few graduate-level institutions to offer a dedicated cinematography program. The two-year Cinematography program tasks students with shooting hundreds of pieces, short and long form, in both digital and film.

AFI Cinematography has produced some of the biggest names in cinematography, including Robert Richardson, Wally Pfister, and Rachel Morrison.

Film Cinematography Courses

Conclusion

The AFI Cinematography program may consist of graduate-level work, but it’s rewarded by just a certificate of completion. That won’t be a problem for most cinematographers. Still, it’s worth noting there isn’t a degree waiting in the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuition: $62,049 (per year)

Academy Cinematography

ArtCenter College of Design

Cinematography Colleges • Film at ArtCenter College of Design

Program: Bachelor of Film with a specialization in Cinematography

The ArtCenter College of Design is one of the most picturesque arts schools in the country. Seriously, if you have a chance to see their Hillside campus, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

(Video) Is Film School For You? 5 Reasons You Should & Shouldn't Attend

But ArtCenter prides itself on more than just its beautiful facilities and vistas, it prides itself on integrating critical practice into undergraduate and graduate programs. The Bachelor of Film program allows students to choose between three specializations: cinematography, editing, or directing.

Cinematography Major

Conclusion

ArtCenter isn’t your typical film school – it’s an arts school with a lot of film students. However, as a student, you’d have more opportunities to collaborate with artists of other disciplines.

Tuition: $23,667 (per semester)

Cinematography Colleges

Emerson College

Cinematography Programs • Introduction to the School of the Arts at Emerson

Programs: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts Production; Master of Fine Arts in Film & Media Art

Emerson College is a dual-coast private institution with campuses in Boston and Los Angeles. Students in the B.A., B.F.A., and M.F.A. programs are expected to advance their knowledge of media arts through their education.

Emerson may be most famous to some Californians as the site of one of the strangest campus buildings in the country – but it’s actually a renowned liberal arts school with deep roots in Boston’s historic Back Bay and theater district.

Degree in Cinematography

Conclusion

Emerson College doesn’t offer specialized degrees in cinematography – but their media arts programs are heavily structured around critical practice.

Tuition: BFA:$51,264 (per year)

Tuition: MFA: $1,322 (per credit, usually 12-16 semester)

Film Cinematography Courses

Los Angeles Film School

(Video) Everything to Know About Film School

Cinematography Major • Cineped Demonstration at LAFS Cinematography Guild by George Ohan

Program: Bachelor of Science in Film Production with a concentration in Cinematography

The Los Angeles Film School is one of the only schools in the country to offer an undergraduate film degree with a concentration in cinematography. Interesting note: the degree is a Bachelor of Science, which implies technical expertise.

LAFS is a tried-and-true film school with degree programs in animation, audio production, entertainment business and more. LAFS campus students can expect to collaborate with aspiring film professionals outside of the classroom.

Learn Cinematography

Conclusion

The Los Angeles Film School Bachelor of Science in Film Production degree with a concentration in Cinematography boasts featured classes such as “Advanced Operating & Steadicam,” and “Color Grading & Correction.”

Tuition:$91,645 (total)

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Cinematography Programs

New York Film Academy

Get a Degree in Cinematography • New York Film Academy Cinematography Program

Programs: Master of Fine Arts, one-year conservatory program, 15-week online course, 4-week online course

New York Film Academy offers an insane amount of film related programs and degrees – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they offer a dedicated program, degree, and TWO online courses in cinematography.

The Master of Fine Arts Cinematography program at NYFA takes place over two years and five semesters, where students are expected to master film and digital photography.

Cinematography Colleges

Conclusion

New York Film Academy prides itself on giving students real-world experience; the Cinematography degree-program is set-up so that the first year is focused on classroom learning, while the second year is focused on applying the knowledge gained in the classroom.

Tuition: MFA:$19,018-$19,665 (per semester, five semesters total)

Tuition — Conservatory: $21,717-$22,455 (per semester, two semesters total)

15-week online course: $1,900, 4-week online course:$1,900

Cinematography Major Programs

New York University

(Video) Top 10 Film Schools in the World - by Famark Creative

Film Cinematography Courses • Behind the Scenes of an NYU Student Film by Hayley Karis

Programs: Bachelor of Fine Arts in the Department of Photography and Imaging (DPI), Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television

The New York University Tisch School of the Arts took home gold in The Hollywood Reporter’s 2021 list of the best American film schools – and for good measure: the Tisch School is home to some of the most celebrated voices in cinema today, including Chloe Zhao, Spike Lee, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese, and Jim Jarmusch.

NYU offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in cinematography. The bachelor's degree in particular is renowned for being one of the best in the world.

Academy Cinematography

Conclusion

Cash in that lottery ticket, NYU film school – and its enormous tuition/cost of living – awaits.

Tuition BFA: $29,666 (per 12-18 credits, usually a semester)

Tuition MFA: $31,598 (per 12-18 credits, usually a semester)

Best Film Schools for Cinematography

University of California Los Angeles

Cinematography Education • UCLA Film School Experience by bestdressed

Programs: Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television Production with a specialization in Cinematography; Certificate of Completion in Cinematography

The film programs at the University of California Los Angeles are probably the most competitive in the country. Why? They’re really good; they’ve produced some of the most notable alumni in the industry (i.e., Stephen H. Burum and Dean Cundey); and most importantly, they’re affordable, especially for California residents.

UCLA offers a graduate degree in film/television production with a focus on cinematography as well as a much cheaper certificate program

Cinematography Major Programs

Conclusion

If you’re one of the lucky few to be admitted to the UCLA Cinematography program, you’re likely going to have a lasting career in film/television production.

Tuition:$17,756 (per year for California residents), $32,858 (per year for non-California residents)

On-campus Certificate fees: $4,995

Off-campus Certificate fees: $3,895

Best Cinematography Schools • USC School of Cinematic Arts Virtual Tour

Programs: BA, BFA or MA in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production

The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts is the crown-jewel of U.S. private film-schools. Students at the school can expect to see names such as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Louis B. Mayer adorn the masthead of their campus buildings.

But for all of USC’s greatness, there aren’t any designated cinematography programs at the undergraduate or graduate level. Still, if you can get in, and more importantly if you can afford it, you should take a degree in the visual arts from USC.

Cinematography Programs

Conclusion

USC is as impressive as it is financially unfeasible (especially for four-year programs). Notable cinematographer alumni include Jeff Cronenweth, Robert Elswit, and Conrad L. Hall.

Tuition: $60,446 (per year)

(Video) The Cinematographer: Crash Course Film Production #8

UP NEXT

Best Cinematography Online Courses

The best cinematography schools offer amazing benefits to students working on campus. However, not everybody wants to work on campus. That’s why we compiled a list of the best cinematography online courses, with free and paid options. By the end, you’ll know where to learn cinematography via great cinematography courses online!

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FAQs

Which institute is best for cinematography? ›

Cinematography in Film Making colleges in India
  • Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityMehrauli, Delhi. ...
  • MGR Government Film and Television InstituteTaramani, Chennai. ...
  • AAFT - Asian Academy of Film And TelevisionNoida. ...
  • Bennett UniversityGreater Noida. ...
  • ICE Balaji Telefilms - Institute of Creative ExcellenceAndheri East, Mumbai.

What is the number 1 film school in the US? ›

AFI Ranked #1 Film School | American Film Institute.

Which degree is best for filmmaking? ›

  • Film Directing (B.A.) Featured. ...
  • BA Film & Motion Design. Featured. ...
  • BA (Hons) Animation. Featured. ...
  • BA Cinematography and Post-production. Featured. ...
  • BA (Hons) Practical Filmmaking. Featured. ...
  • Bachelor in International Filmmaking. Featured. ...
  • Bachelor of Design Arts: Filmmaking & Photography. Featured. ...
  • BA in Digital Film Design. Featured.

What is the most famous film school? ›

American Film Institute

Located in the film-making capital of the world, Hollywood, the American Film Institute or AFI is one of the most famous schools in the world. The AFI was established to preserve America's cinematic heritage.

Which country is best for cinematography? ›

The United Kingdom tops the list as the best country for film studies thanks to its reputable film schools and award-winning alumni.

Is going to film school worth it? ›

Not only does film school help you in the field, but it can also aid in your post-graduate job hunt. Listing a film degree on your resume can increase your chances of being hired by a production company, editing house, or writer's room. This is because employers recognize the skills it takes to complete a film program.

Where did the best directors go to college? ›

8 FILMMAKERS WHO WENT TO FILM SCHOOL
  • George Lucas. USC School of Cinematic Arts. ...
  • Martin Scorsese. NYU Tisch School of the Arts. ...
  • Francis Ford Coppola. UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. ...
  • Kathryn Bigelow. Columbia University. ...
  • Terrence Malick. American Film Institute. ...
  • Spike Lee. ...
  • Rian Johnson. ...
  • Chloé Zhao.
24 Jun 2021

Is film school Expensive? ›

Earning a college degree in film at a college or university can easily cost as much as $100,000 or more, and even career-focused trade school programs can run anywhere from $20,000-$70,000 to attend.

Does Harvard have a film school? ›

The Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies (AFVS) at Harvard offers a graduate program in Film and Visual Studies leading to a PhD. The Department also offers a secondary field in Film and Visual Studies for students already admitted to PhD programs in other departments in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

What do you major in for cinematography? ›

Cinematography and Film Video Production Major
  • Broadcast.
  • Directing.
  • Editing.
  • Film Studies.
  • Film Technology.
  • Management.
  • Production.

Do film majors need math? ›

In a very important sense, almost every aspect of filmmaking is heavily dependent on math. This is because the process of filming a movie involves the use of equipment that is based on different forms of science and technology, which in their turn are founded on the strict application of mathematical principles.

Where do film directors go to college? ›

10 Schools with Movie Director Programs
College/UniversityLocationInstitution Type
New York UniversityNew York, NY4-year, Private
Florida State UniversityTallahassee, FL4-year, Public
University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles,4-year, Private
Boston UniversityBoston, MA4-year, Private
6 more rows
20 Oct 2021

Is a masters in film worth it? ›

Having a filmmaking MFA on your resume will help you exponentially when employers are looking at your resume and deciding whether or not they want to hire you. It will prove that you not only have the drive as a filmmaker, but also the education and experience that they are looking for.

How can I learn cinematography? ›

Learn the Basics

You'll also need to study basic video compositional techniques, light and sound design, film and video editing, and many others. After all, cinematography is more than just about manning the camera—it's also about understanding how the entire process of movie production works.

Which country is No 1 in film industry? ›

The United States cinema (Hollywood) is the oldest film industry in the world and also the largest film industry in terms of revenue.

Which are the top 5 film industries in the world? ›

The following is a list of the top five industries in the world:
  1. Hollywood. American cinema, also known as Hollywood, has had a considerable impact on the film industry in general since the early twentieth century. ...
  2. Bollywood. ...
  3. Cinema of China. ...
  4. United Kingdom. ...
  5. Cinema of Japan (Nihon Eiga)
17 Feb 2022

Is film making a good career? ›

Despite the fact that careers in film can be incredibly rewarding, they typically come with a low level of job security as you'll usually be hired on a film-by-film basis. Wages, working hours and locations vary, depending on the size of the production you're working on and the level of funding behind it.

Is it hard to get into the film industry? ›

The film industry is notoriously hard to get started in, and nowhere is that more true than behind the scenes. There are a lot of jobs on a movie set that need to be done, but landing that first one can be difficult, especially if you don't know where to start.

Do most directors attend film school? ›

There are many ways to learn the skills necessary for crafting compelling films. Some of our favorite directors started school then dropped out, while others are completely self-taught. Many of the best classic directors made their marks on film before film schools even existed.

Where did Quentin Tarantino go to film school? ›

Naturally rendering his work with a unique style, vicious dialogue and groundbreaking visual storytelling, Tarantino, famously, didn't attend any film school. In fact, Tarantino dropped out of high school at the age of just 15 and opted for work at a cinema, as well as a video store later in life.

Where did Quentin Tarantino study? ›

Quentin Tarantino

Do you need film school to be a director? ›

There is no right way to become a director. No formal education is required, however it does help. There are many benefits to attending film school at a college or university. Many of the professors are still working in the industry and are well connected with other professionals in the industry.

How much money does a cinematographer make? ›

The average Cinematographer salary is $42,364 as of August 29, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $38,517 and $47,144. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Is it hard to get into LA film school? ›

The Los Angeles Film School admissions is not selective with an acceptance rate of 100%. The regular admissions application deadline for The Los Angeles Film School is rolling.

What skills do you need to be a film director? ›

You'll need:
  • knowledge of media production and communication.
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • the ability to work well with others.
  • leadership skills.
  • the ability to use your initiative.
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure.
  • ambition and a desire to succeed.

How many years is a PhD film studies? ›

The expected timetable for completion of the doctoral degree is five to six years. For graduate students in other departments pursuing serious research in audiovisual and related media, including visual art, who wish to have their work validated by this program, a secondary field in film and visual studies is offered.

Does Yale have a film school? ›

The Film and Media Studies Program is the hub for the study of film and other moving image and sound media at Yale. Deeply invested in scholarship, teaching and film programming, our Program both sustains the traditions of and nurtures the most innovative directions in film and media studies research.

How much is Harvard tuition? ›

What is a degree in filmmaking called? ›

A Bachelor in Film Studies allows students to learn through a hands-on approach to film studies, including cinematography, production, editing, lighting, and sound design.

How much do film majors make? ›

Film Career Outlook
Job TitleEntry-Level (0-12 months)Experienced (10-19 Years)
Video Producer$40,940$67,540
Film/Video Editor$39,530$62,000
Film/TV Producer$48,350$83,040
Associate Producer, Film/TV$39,690$63,280

How do I start a filmmaking career? ›

How to become a filmmaker
  1. Complete high school. The majority of filmmakers have a high school diploma, and most go on to earn a college degree. ...
  2. Finish a bachelor's degree. ...
  3. Seek an internship. ...
  4. Produce a short film. ...
  5. Develop film related experience. ...
  6. Build your professional network.
15 Mar 2021

How long is cinematography course? ›

Diploma in Cinematography is an undergraduate course having 1 or 2 years duration. It's conducted as a full-time course and the minimum qualification to learn cinematography is 10+2.

How long does it take to study cinematography? ›

Associate degree programs (2 years) in cinematography provide training in practical skills, such as sound and lighting design, while bachelor's programs (4 years) prepare students for work as assistant film directors or entry-level photography directors.

Is there a cinematography degree? ›

A bachelor's degree in cinematography an help prepare you for entry-level positions in media, communications, and entertainment. If you were to enroll in a bachelors program that followed a traditional, 16 week semester, it would generally take 4 years to complete with full-time study.

What do film students study? ›

In film school, students learn about the key aspects of movie making. Topics of study include producing, directing, art direction, cinematography, screenwriting, postproduction work and sound. Film school students can earn undergrad and graduate degrees in film, cinema studies, media studies or cinema production.

What classes should I take in college for film? ›

Contents
  • Introduction to Film Studies.
  • History of Film.
  • Film Analysis and Criticism.
  • Film Techniques.
  • Film Genres.
7 Feb 2022

Who is the youngest film director? ›

As of April 2022, the youngest directing Academy Award winner ever was Damien Chazelle. He won the Oscar in the Directing category for "La La Land" (2016) at the age of 32 years and 39 days. Norman Taurog ranked second – he was 32 years and 260 days when he won the award for "Skippy" (1931).

How many years of college do you need to become a film director? ›

More and more schools are offering bachelor's and master's in film directing. Most film directors typically hold a bachelor's in film or a related field and have several years of work experience. They often begin their film directing career as a film editor, actor, or assistant to an established director.

Is it hard to become a film director? ›

Is it hard to be a good Director? Sure, but with time, patience, and practice, you can likely pick up most or all of the skills that successful Directors have like having a clear vision, being able to collaborate with others, and of course directing your Actors to great performances.

How long does a masters in film take? ›

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Film? You can expect to complete your master's degree in film with about two years of full-time study. Some programs offer accelerated options that take less time to complete but require you to take more classes each semester.

What can I do with a master's degree in film? ›

Career Descriptions
  • Producers and Directors. One of the more obvious career choices for graduates with a master's degree in film production is that of a producer or director. ...
  • Art Directors. ...
  • Multimedia Artists and Animators. ...
  • Film and Video Editors. ...
  • Top Executives.
29 Jan 2022

How long is a bachelor degree in film? ›

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in cinematic arts, film, and television production is a truly one-of-a-kind program that takes most students four years to complete.

Which course is best for cinematography? ›

List of Online Cinematography Courses
  • Cinematography Course: Shoot Better Video with Any Camera.
  • Cinematography for 2D Animation Essentials.
  • Cinematography Masterclass: The Complete Videography Guide.
  • DSLR Filmmaking: From Beginner to PRO!
  • Cinematic Lighting.
  • Introduction to Digital Cinematography.

What makes a great cinematographer? ›

Style – Being technical is great but having vision is what is important. The role of the cinematographer is both technical and creative. A good DP has to know both sides and be able to communicate in both languages if they are going to be successful but when push comes to show a DP is hired for their vision.

Can I learn cinematography on my own? ›

Well, the short answer is yes, you can learn cinematography on your own, but…

Who is the best cinematographer in India? ›

Top 10 Cinematographers in India – courseschennai.in
  • P.C. Sreeram: ...
  • Ravi Varman: ...
  • K V Anand: ...
  • Rajiv Menon: ...
  • Sudeep Chatterjee: ...
  • Rajeev Ravi: ...
  • Balu Mahendra: ...
  • If you ever dreamt of becoming a professional cinematographer, why don't you take up the professional cinematography course at Visualite Academy?

How can I learn cinematography? ›

Learn the Basics

You'll also need to study basic video compositional techniques, light and sound design, film and video editing, and many others. After all, cinematography is more than just about manning the camera—it's also about understanding how the entire process of movie production works.

How do you become a cinematographer? ›

How to become a cinematographer
  1. Earn a film degree. ...
  2. Practice photography. ...
  3. Become familiar with your equipment. ...
  4. Build your reel. ...
  5. Make connections. ...
  6. Take on entry-level film crew positions.

How can I learn cinematography in India? ›

Cinematography Courses in India- Top Institutes
  1. Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.
  2. Whistling Woods International, Mumbai.
  3. National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
  4. Asian Academy of Film and Television.
  5. Satyajit Ray Film and Television Industry, Kolkata.
  6. Diploma Course Curriculum.
26 Aug 2021

Who is the highest paid cinematographer? ›

Top Grossing Cinematographer at the Domestic Box OfficeBETA
RankNameDomestic Box Office
1John Schwartzman$3,127,929,105
2Dean Semler$2,995,911,840
3Don Burgess$2,982,186,430
4Jeremy Lasky$2,820,961,879
78 more rows

How much money does a cinematographer make? ›

The average Cinematographer salary is $42,364 as of August 29, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $38,517 and $47,144. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Is cinematography a good career option? ›

Cinematography is a field that yields enormous job opportunities for young talent. With the expansion in the film and commercial industry business, the demand for cinematographers has risen.

What makes a great cinematographer? ›

Style – Being technical is great but having vision is what is important. The role of the cinematographer is both technical and creative. A good DP has to know both sides and be able to communicate in both languages if they are going to be successful but when push comes to show a DP is hired for their vision.

How long is cinematography course? ›

Diploma in Cinematography is an undergraduate course having 1 or 2 years duration. It's conducted as a full-time course and the minimum qualification to learn cinematography is 10+2.

How long does it take to study cinematography? ›

Associate degree programs (2 years) in cinematography provide training in practical skills, such as sound and lighting design, while bachelor's programs (4 years) prepare students for work as assistant film directors or entry-level photography directors.

Are cinematographers in demand? ›

Cinematographers, sometimes referred to as directors of photography, are skilled in the operation of the camera and lighting equipment used to produce movies, television shows and other film projects. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts strong competition for jobs in this field over the next few years.

What degree do cinematographers need? ›

Cinematographer Requirements:

Bachelor's degree in Film, production, or a similar discipline. An associate's degree is also acceptable. Extensive experience working in the film industry.

Can you make a living as a cinematographer? ›

Currently, the national average salary for a Cinematographer is around $65,000. Cinematographers working on indie or low-budget projects will also earn less than those working for established production companies.

What jobs can you get as a cinematographer? ›

Careers for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
  • Assistant camera operators.
  • Assistant editors.
  • Cue selectors.
  • Electronic news gathering camera operators.
  • Electronic news gathering editors.
  • Film editors.
  • Motion picture camera operators.
  • Movie editors.

What are the subjects in cinematography? ›

Lighting, framing, composition, camera motion, camera angles, film selection, lens options, depth of field, zoom, focus, color, exposure, and filtration are all part of cinematography.

Which is the best film school in India? ›

Best Film Schools in India
RankName of The CollegeState
1Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), PuneMaharashtra
2Satyajit Ray Films and Television Institute, KolkataWest Bengal
3National Institute of DesignGujarat
7 more rows
11 Jun 2021

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