|Full Sail University||Florida|
|The Los Angeles Film School||California|
Did you know that there are about 5,750 cinema sites in the U.S.? Although this number has steadily decreased since 2000, thanks to advances in technology that allow film-goers to watch anytime and anywhere, global box office revenue is still expected to increase from $38 billion in U.S. dollars in 2016 to nearly $50 billion by 2020.
As people continue to patronize thousands of movie theaters and even more people turn to their computers, tablets and phones to watch films (nearly 70% of Americans preferred these delivery methods as of 2017), the demand for sophisticated digital cinematographers will continue to grow. While having passion and talent is a great start to a career in this competitive market, to compete in this growing global industry, you will need advanced technical skills and a degree from an accredited school.
Besides accreditation by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the best schools with digital cinematography degrees will:
- Have a solid reputation for producing digital cinematographers who are successful in their respective careers
- Offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers the most in-demand areas of digital cinematography
- Provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the industry through experiential learning experiences such as internships, externships, and job simulations
- Have faculty who are active in the film, television, advertising, and more
- Have an active career center with a notable placement rate
Some of the best schools with digital cinematography degrees are also located in or near major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Chicago. While location is important, students also place a high value on flexibility and convenience. Fortunately, many of the best schools with digital cinematography degrees also offer programs that are delivered fully online or in hybrid format.
We’ve identified below several schools that meet all of the criteria of a “Best” school for aspiring digital cinematographers. The schools are listed in alphabetical order, beginning with Full Sail University.
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Established in 1979 as Full Sail Productions, Full Sail University has been named “One of the Top 50 Film Schools” by The Wrap Magazine for three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). The school offers arts, entertainment, media and technology programs to 15,000 students across 210 acres of campus space, including 110+ studios and labs.
Around 93 program options lead to an associate's, bachelor’s, or master's degree. Among these programs is a BS in Digital Cinematography that takes 29 months to complete, online. Per the school, the program prepares students for the ever-changing digital realm “by pairing knowledge of the latest technological tools with a strong foundation in storytelling.” Students will “learn to create dynamic content by emulating the workflow of an actual studio – beginning with script development and production planning, filming, post-production, and finally, distribution.”
Sample courses for the program include:
- Advanced Post and Story Development
- Art Design & Location Shooting
- Creative Presentation
- Electronic Field Production
- Film Criticism
- History of Motion Picture Art
- Location Lighting
- Mobility and Data Management
- Psychology of Play
- Scriptwriting Techniques
- Visual Arts in the Entertainment and Media Industries
- Visual Storytelling
- Web Design
Students will also complete seven “Project and Portfolio” courses worth three credits each including Project and Portfolio I & II: Film & Video and Project and Portfolio III-VII: Digital Cinematography.
These unique Project and Portfolio courses combine “hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments.” The courses are taken in addition to an internship, which can be pursued after the student has successfully completed 50% of the required credit hours for the BS program.
Full Sail University is Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and licensed by the Commission for Independent Education (CIE), Florida Department of Education. The ACCSC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
The Los Angeles Film School, Hollywood, California
The Los Angeles Film School (LA Film School) was founded in 1999. Located at 6363 Sunset Boulevard in the original RCA building, the school serves more than 3,000 students enrolled in Animation, Audio Production, Entertainment Business, Film, Graphic Design and Music Production programs. Among the school’s Film programs is a BS in Digital Filmmaking that can be completed 100% online. The program is delivered through LA Films Learning Management System, which is a secure, web-based multimedia platform, accessible 24 hours a day. The 120 credit hour program consists of courses such as:
- Cinema History
- Composition and Visual Design
- Creative Writing
- Design for Location Shooting
- Digital Audio Production
- Digital Cinematography I & II
- Digital Film Lighting
- Digital Image Making
- Digital Literacy
- Film Analysis
- Innovative and Immersive Art
- Project Planning and Development
Students will also complete Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Producing Independent Film, Creative Portfolio Development, and Capstone Project Development. Courses are taught by “a team of award-winning, experienced entertainment business veterans and highly-qualified academic educators who teach between projects or make the College their home base.”
All BS students will receive a camera package, making them the “owner/operator a Sony FS-5 Digital Cinema Camera with short shotgun microphone and windscreen and a portable 3-light photo-style softbox lighting kit with high-compact fluorescent globes.” Students will also “receive a MacBook laptop loaded with the entire Adobe Creative Cloud application suite with programs like: Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, Audition and more.”
The BS in Digital Filmmaking at LA Film can be completed in 36 months. Graduates of the program have landed positions at ABC, Activision, Disney, DreamWorks, Marvel, NBC and more.
The Los Angeles Film School is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
“Film Industry – Statistics & Facts.” Statista, The Statistics Portal, Statista, Inc., 2018. Web. 02 Feb. 2019.