The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (2022)

While some students dream of being an actor, others want to tell a story on film by recording the action and capturing meaningful images. Cinematography is the visual storytelling necessary to set the overall look of a film. On-screen visual elements like lighting, framing, composition, and camera motion are essential aspects of cinematography.

On the other hand, film editors work to assemble the raw footage into visual stories. They must have an appreciation for aesthetics and understand various editing platforms. These two art forms are linked, as cinematographers must supply beautiful footage from which the editor can create an engaging story.

The most talented cinematographers and film editors of today got their start in university. Programs in motion pictures and television, filmmaking, and post-production are available for students interested in creating film. Providing technical training and in-depth classes, undergraduates have plenty of opportunities to practice their craft.

Along with academics, the best cinematography schools will have the necessary equipment, software, and laboratory space to gain hands-on experience. Many programs provide film festivals, internships, or guest lecturers to inspire students and help them improve. Instructor experience, graduate employment, and professional development opportunities are also important factors.

With dozens of cinematography and film editing schools across the nation, it can be difficult to determine which is the right choice.

Here are the top ten programs for cinematography and film editing in the United States.

10. Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (1)

At Southern Methodist University, the Meadows Division of Film and Media Arts is passionate about training students to become talented artists in film and media. Graduates go on to work as directors, screenwriters, producers, cinematographers, and artistic directors. Jurassic Park, Supernatural, and The Iron Giant are just some of the notable alumni projects.

As soon as their first year, students gain hands-on access to film equipment and opportunities to hone their craft. Along with class projects, undergraduates work alongside industry-respected faculty to create the Division’s biennial full-length feature film project.

During their junior year, qualified students can pursue internships alongside professionals in the motion picture, television, and other electronic media industries. The school’s Dallas location is home to many production companies and production facilities for students to hone their craft.

9. Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts (Tallahassee, FL)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (2)

Students at Florida State University are able to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Motion Picture Arts Production. The degree aims to combine filmmaking education with a solid foundation in liberal studies.

After completing the program, graduates will be well-versed in various techniques required to produce narrative films.

Undergraduates at FSU study a variety of general education requirements and production courses. Major courses span topics including producing, directing, animation, screenwriting, editing, camera and lighting, production management, and film theory.

Throughout their curriculum, students learn the language of film through making short films. Screenwriting, production, and film analysis are viewed as equal parts of an interdisciplinary process. The College of Motion Picture Arts funds the majority of production expenses for the curriculum, including the senior thesis film, so that students can focus on their craft.

8. Massachusetts College of Art (Boston, MA)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (3)

Beginning in the sophomore year, undergraduates can begin their Film/Video degree at MassArt. Cinematography and lighting, sound design, hand-made film, and post-production finishing are just some of the electives to choose between. Students at MassArt take six credits of production each semester, choosing their own electives to build their personalized curriculum.

At MassArt, students are exposed to many emerging digital platforms. These unique technologies include video installation, multi-screen projection, and 360° cameras. Along with state-of-the-art equipment, students explore the culture of moving images through viewings and time-based installations.

After graduation, Film/Video alumni go on to excel in industry or top-ranked MFA programs. Graduates go on to become award-winning filmmakers, video artists, cinematographers, and editors. Their work is shown in film festivals around the world.

7. DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts (Chicago, IL)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (4)

DePaul University was recently named as one of the country’s top film schools by both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety. This honor was a result of the hands-on opportunities to work on Chicago’s film and television sets.

While at DePaul, filmmaking students study right next door to high-profile series like Chicago PD, Fargo, and Empire.

The School of Cinematics Arts, partnered with Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, created a 32,000 square foot professional production facility for students. This space houses industry-standard equipment, numerous standing sets, a green screen cyclorama, and a scenic shop. For students interested in cinematography, the Camera Vault has an extensive inventory of state-of-the-art camera equipment.

Founded in 2008, the Visiting Artist Series brings innovative practitioners and industry leaders to the DePaul campus. Previous guests include the Wachowskis, Werner Herzog, and Bo Burnham. These events provide meaningful networking opportunities and inspiration for the next generation of filmmakers.

6. New York Film Academy (New York, NY)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (5)

The one-year cinematography program at NYFA helps students develop their technical abilities and artistic identities. The curriculum combines classroom experience, workshops, collaborative projects, and productions. At the end of the program, graduates will be proficient with state-of-the-art camera systems and lighting schemes to tell meaningful stories.

While at the New York Film Academy, students learn from distinguished faculty members who remain active in the industry. Their work has been featured in the most prestigious film festivals around the globe, from Cannes to Santa Barbara. Cinematography students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with big names such as Piero Basso, Liz Hinlein, and Jon Foster.

Thanks to the resources provided by NYFA, graduates go on to make incredible career achievements. Working as cinematographers and film editors, alumni work for well-known companies such as the History Channel, Netflix, and Color Force.

5. UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television (Los Angeles, CA)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (6)

Established in 1997, the Film and Television Production program offers comprehensive training in aesthetic, organizational, and technical components of cinematography. In order to display their creative vision and versatile skills, the department holds an annual film festival. This event celebrates students and their completed works along with the rest of the UCLA community.

Outside of film production, cinematography students at UCLA can also participate in research. The Digital Incubator and Think Tank studies the effects of digital media and technology on traditional media industries. Combining academic research with critical media analysis provides unique insights into the entertainment industry.

Applying hands-on knowledge from the classroom, cinematography students are encouraged to complete internships for credit. The university’s Los Angeles location provides plenty of opportunities for experience within the film and television industries.

4. Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television (Los Angeles, CA)

The Film and Television Production program at Loyola Marymount University prepares students for success in the industry. In the first three semesters, undergraduates complete common-core courses that provide foundational knowledge into film and practice.

Afterward, students personalize their curriculum to an area of specialization, such as creative producing, directing fiction, directing non-fiction, cinematography, or editing.

LMU emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of media and entertainment in the classroom. Many students form teams to work on film projects together, learning how to receive constructive feedback. In addition, undergraduates will develop an appreciation of the work that each discipline does to bring stories to the screen.

Premiere equipment is available at LMU’s Playa Vista and Westchester campuses. Cinematography students will have the opportunity to work with advanced technology, from advanced lighting to grip equipment and digital camera packages. Additionally, undergraduates have the chance to shoot on 35 mm film, the gold standard for shooting film.

3. University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (Los Angeles, CA)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (7)

As one of the only media schools globally teaching all of the major disciplines of the cinematic arts, USC offers a unique interdisciplinary learning environment. Students can follow their passions and take classes across many divisions in the film, television, and interactive media industries. Each undergraduate is constantly interacting with other members of the film community.

While on campus, USC cinematography and film editing students can utilize their talents.

Trojan Vision, the university’s award-winning television station, airs programs that USC students exclusively produce. The creations reach more than 29,000 students and a global audience each day.

In 2019, a cinematography student from USC was named as a 2019 Student Academy Award winner. He cites his hands-on experience and collaborations with other students for his success. Previous winners of this competition include big names like Pete Docter and Trey Parker.

2. New York University (New York, NY)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (8)

The Camera Program at NYU is one of the only undergraduate cinematography programs in the United States. Utilizing digital and film sciences, the program brings a broad understanding of the visual cinema arts. Classes in the cinematography program emphasize lighting practices and camera work in the motion picture industry.

Each year, hundreds of film students complete internships throughout the entertainment industry. Cinematography and film editing students have completed internships at exciting places, including Bleecker Street Films, Anonymous Content, and A24 Films.

To recognize student work, NYU hosts many festivals, from the Sight & Sound Showcase to the First Run Film Festival. Faculty members select the best representative works from undergraduates to screen to the larger NYU community.

1. Emerson College (Boston, MA)

The 10 Best Cinematography & Film Editing Schools in the US - (9)

Emerson Media Arts Production graduates will benefit from the school’s extensive alumni network. Spanning the entertainment industry from Boston to Los Angeles, students will join the ranks of creative trailblazers. Students gain inspiration from and work alongside influential media makers.

Emerson University is the first US liberal arts college to offer an international program in film art. In collaboration with the Paris College of Art, students spend three years in Paris, where they benefit from the highest standard of film and art education. Undergraduates in the program create experimental films that define the multicultural world.

Undergraduates have the opportunity to practice their craft in the university’s media technologies and production facilities. Complete with a skilled professional staff of 22 members, students have access to a wide array of video, audio, film, and other media equipment.


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

AFI Ranked #1 Film School | American Film Institute.

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 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.

What school has the best film program? ›

2022's Top 25 American Film Schools, Ranked
  • American Film Institute.
  • New York University.
  • University of Southern California.
  • Chapman University.
  • CalArts.
  • Emerson College.
  • Columbia University.
  • Loyola Marymount University.
5 Aug 2022

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.

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.

What degree is best for film production? ›

Most producers and directors have bachelor's degrees in film and cinema, while others have degrees in related fields, such as acting, writing, or communications.

Which course is best for film industry? ›

Some of the popular postgraduate Film Making courses in India include:
  • MA in Film Studies.
  • PG Diploma in TV Direction & Script Writing.
  • PG Diploma in TV Production.
  • MSc in Film Making.
  • MSc in Film & TV Production.
  • PG Diploma in Cinematography.
  • MPA in Film Making.
  • MSc in Cinema.

Which course is best for film making? ›

Filmmaking Courses
  • Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass. ...
  • Complete Filmmaker Guide: Become an Incredible Video Creator. ...
  • Filmmaking: Write, Direct and Distribute Your Feature Film. ...
  • DSLR Filmmaking: From Beginner to PRO! ...
  • Make Epic Videos for the Internet! ...
  • Learn to Storyboard for Film or Animation.

Which is the best country to study film production? ›

There are many countries and areas with large film industries, making them some of the best countries to study film in.
These include:
  • USA.
  • UK.
  • India.
  • China.
  • Japan.
  • Germany.
  • France.
  • Spain.

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 many film schools are there in the US? ›

Film Schools Directory - Over 1300 Schools listed.

Is NYU film school hard to get into? ›

Admission to the Tisch School of the Arts is a highly selective process. Applicants are held to rigorous academic and artistic standards, and evaluated through a two-part admissions process, which includes submitting both the Common Application and an artistic review.

How do I get a job in the film industry? ›

How to get into the film industry
  1. Consider getting a bachelor's degree. ...
  2. Craft your resume. ...
  3. Compile your portfolio. ...
  4. Maintain a professional website. ...
  5. Search for shoots in your area. ...
  6. Contact local camera rental shops. ...
  7. Get involved in local productions. ...
  8. Consider searching for work in a film production hub.

How hard is it to get into American film Institute? ›

The AFI Conservatory has a less than 1% acceptance rate and is considered to be one of the best film schools in the world as 81% of alumni are top creative professionals; the school has produced 149 Academy Award Nominees and around 30 Academy Award winning alumni.

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.

Is becoming a film director worth it? ›

Years of experience can increase opportunities and earning potential for those who don't get discouraged and give up. BLS reports that the median annual wage earned by directors and producers is $71,620. Twenty-five percent earn more than $111,270 per year. Famous directors earn millions.

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.

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 much does it cost to become a film director? ›

Option 4 : Master's Degree
Bachelor's4 years$121,626- $189,200
Master's2 years to 3 years$86,592- $137,498
Total6 years to 7 years$208,218- $326,698

What is a film degree called? ›

Film studies can also be known as cinema and media studies. Instead of working with the technical equipment or shooting your own video, cinema and media studies is more an exploration and understanding of classic and iconic films.

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.

How many years is a film degree? ›

Bachelor's Degree in Film or Video Production

Undergraduate degree programs in film and digital video production typically take four years to complete, and result in such merits as the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking or Bachelor of Science in Video Production.

What subjects are needed for film industry? ›

What topics does a Film Making degree cover?
  • Drama for the camera.
  • Film aesthetics.
  • Film and television criticism.
  • Film and television histories.
  • Film and TV production.
  • Film theory.
  • Media theory and research.
  • Performance techniques for stage and screen.

Which stream is best for filmmaking? ›

Many people take Bachelors in Media, before taking up a filmmaking career to enrich one's world view. Candidates must have passed 10+2 as a mandatory eligibility criteria.

What is the course for cinematography? ›

BA Cinematography, BFA cinematography, and BSc Cinematography are some of the most popular undergraduate cinematography courses. Post Graduate Diploma in Television Production and PG Diploma in Digital Cinematography are some of the specialized courses available at the master's level.

Can I learn filmmaking online? ›

The prestigious Sundance Institute which runs one of the world's most celebrated film festivals, offers a range of online filmmaking masterclasses on everything from Documentary Filmmaking to Crafting A Web series. Each masterclass is a 3-hour video and all are run by industry professionals.

Where can I learn filmmaking online? ›

Skillshare is another great online resource that offers a great number of courses in filmmaking taught by industry professionals and established filmmakers. Like many other online courses, Skillshare courses come loaded with lesson plans and multiple videos with each topic.

Which course is best for director? ›

While not always required, directors will benefit greatly from obtaining at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as film. Within a degree program like this, you can then select director courses like film editing, cinematography, screenwriting and film history.

Why is USC the best film school? ›

The USC School of Cinematic Arts has more connections in the entertainment industry than all of the other schools combined (and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in front of the school to prove it). USC's Los Angeles location helps make it a top film school.

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

How hard is it to get into La Femis? ›

Only 4% to 5% of candidates get in. The entrance examination is open to students who have completed two or more years of undergraduate education, depending on the programme. Applicants who are members of the European Union can enter La Fémis through the general competitive exam.

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.

Is NYU film school hard to get into? ›

Admission to the Tisch School of the Arts is a highly selective process. Applicants are held to rigorous academic and artistic standards, and evaluated through a two-part admissions process, which includes submitting both the Common Application and an artistic review.

How many film schools are there in the US? ›

Film Schools Directory - Over 1300 Schools listed.

How hard is it to get into the American film Institute? ›

The AFI Conservatory has a less than 1% acceptance rate and is considered to be one of the best film schools in the world as 81% of alumni are top creative professionals; the school has produced 149 Academy Award Nominees and around 30 Academy Award winning alumni.

Which country is best for filmmaking? ›

There are many countries and areas with large film industries, making them some of the best countries to study film in.
These include:
  • USA.
  • UK.
  • India.
  • China.
  • Japan.
  • Germany.
  • France.
  • Spain.

What country has the best film schools? ›

Established in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, in 1946, the Academy of Performing Arts' Film and TV School (FAMU) is one of the oldest and most prestigious film academies in the world.

How do I pick a film school? ›

Top 10 things to look for in a film school
  1. Choose a creative location. The location of your school does matter. ...
  2. Industry-focused. ...
  3. Experienced tutors. ...
  4. Collaborative approach. ...
  5. Learn from legends. ...
  6. A modern and cutting-edge approach. ...
  7. CILECT membership. ...
  8. Facilities.
15 Jun 2016

How do I apply for La Femis? ›

Candidates can submit applications on La Fémis website: Prerequisites: Candidates must hold a Masters' degree.

Is Wesleyan good for film? ›

The Hollywood Reporter ranks Wesleyan #12 on its list of the top 25 U.S. film schools for 2020. Variety includes Wesleyan on its list of the top film schools for 2020. College Choice ranks Wesleyan #9 on its list of the Best Film Bachelor's Degrees for 2020.

Is Wesleyan a good film school? ›

Wesleyan's film studies program is consistently ranked as one of the best in the United States.

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.

How much is Harvard tuition? ›

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.

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated: 12/04/2022

Views: 6523

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.