|Full Sail University||Florida|
Digital cinematography dates back to around the late 1980s, when Sony began marketing the concept of "electronic cinematography," using the company’s analog Sony HDVS professional video cameras. Today, the process, which entails capturing a motion picture using digital image sensors rather than through film stock, has become dominant, with most of the movies around the world captured digitally (or mostly digitally) as well as distributed digitally. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Gone Girl, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hunger Games, and Transformers: Age of Extinction are just a few examples.
What this means for anyone looking to break into the film industry is more opportunity. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job growth in the industry, particularly for directors and producers, is expected to average 12% for the 2016-2026 decade. This is faster than the average 7% for all occupations. While talent and vision can go a long way in the film industry, to compete, today’s aspiring digital cinematographers must have advanced technical skills and a degree from an accredited school.
Good news. We’ve identified several top schools that offer programs for aspiring digital cinematographers. The schools in our guide are popular in both the academic and professional worlds, and they are fully accredited. We are happy to report that the schools below offer top digital cinematography programs leading to a bachelor’s degree. The schools are arranged in alphabetical order, beginning with Baker College.
Baker College, Clinton Township and Muskegon, Michigan
Baker College traces its roots back to 1911, with the founding of Muskegon College. Today, the school is the largest not-for-profit, independent college in the state Michigan, serving 23,000 students in more than 100 programs, taught at nine on-ground campuses, multiple extensions campuses, and online. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Baker College offers a Bachelor of Digital Media Technology: Digital Video Production degree.
Offered online and at the Clinton Township and Muskegon campuses, the program is "designed for students who want to combine graphic communication proficiency with a special focus on digital video production," says the school. Technical courses for the program emphasize the creative development of concepts and ideas using a variety of graphic art and Web design media.
Students will complete a sequence of digital video production courses ranging from storyboarding through the final phases of filming, editing, and DVD development. Students will also develop skills in related areas such as marketing, advertising, sales, and public relations, which are “essential to success in today's fast-paced and highly competitive graphic design and digital media businesses.” Opportunities to complete an internship, externship and cooperative education experiences are also part of the program.
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.
“Digital Cinematography.” 3DFury, CDR-Nederland, 2012. Web. 03 Feb. 2019.
"Digital Video Production, Bachelor of Digital Media Technology." Baker College, Baker College, 08 Jan. 2015, Web. 03 Feb. 2018
“Producers and Directors.” Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, 04 May 2018. Web. 03 Feb. 2019.