A degree in cinematography helps you to prepare for careers in filmmaking, production, scriptwriting and directing. There are various institutions that offer cinematography at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. As an option, you can choose to complete a one or two-year diploma in a film academy or institute.
Hence, our article on the best colleges for cinematography. This is to aid you to make an informed decision on which school to attend to make the most of your calling.
Why Pursue a Career in Cinematography?
There are various reasons you would choose to pursue a career in cinematography. Studying cinematography allows you to develop a diverse range of skills that you can use in a variety of areas.
It provides you with transferable abilities such as project management, excellent communication, leadership, time management, problem-solving and analytical skills, etc.
Other reasons you may choose to study cinematography include:
- Seeing your concepts come to life: Nothing beats creating something that everyone can enjoy. You’ll never run out of ideas to keep your vision alive with so many filters, camera angles, colors, etc.
- Beautiful career opportunities: Studying cinematography could open you up to endless and fantastic career opportunities.
- Transferable skills: A degree in filmmaking can help you build diverse skills that will come in handy if you switch to a new career path.
What Can I do with a Cinematography Degree?
There is a plethora of things you can do with a degree in cinematography coming from one of the best colleges. There is no need to what you can become in this field. See the list below.
- Assistant camera operators
- Assistant editors
- Cue selectors
- Electronic news-gathering camera operators
- Electronic news-gathering editors
- Film editors
- Motion picture camera operators
- Movie editors
- Movie shot camera operators
- News camera operators
- News video editors
How much does a Cinematographer Earn?
Your take-home as a cinematographer depends on your level of experience, where you live and your degree acquired. However, according to PayScale, the average salary of a cinematographer is between $58,544 to $65,000.
15 Best Colleges for Cinematography in 2022
#1. USC School of Cinematic Arts
Many Hollywood’s popular filmmakers got their start at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.
This cinematography school receives millions of dollars from people and offers world-class media facilities including an IMAX theater, a research lab, and making the most exceptional films in Los Angeles.
Judd Apatow, the comedy writer and producer, and Kevin Feige, the CEO of Marvel Studios, are both USC School of Cinematic Arts graduates. The USC School of Cinematic Arts offers BA, BFA, and MFA degrees in filmmaking.
#2. American Film Institute
AFI is about the most popular film school in Los Angeles if not the entire United States. During your time at this institute, you will receive advice from industry heavyweights and make up personal films.
At this institution, you’ll undergo a two-year curriculum that culminate with a certificate of completion and the cost of tuition for the first year is about $47,000 and $58,000 for the second year.
#3. University of California, Los Angeles
If you want to get a broad understanding of the industry, this is the place to go. It’s not uncommon for students to be undecided about the industry subject they wish to pursue.
If you’re one of these students, you can attend UCLA and gain a greater understanding of a variety of topics. UCLA has also recently been focusing on socially active filmmaking projects, so if making films for the greater good appeals to you, UCLA should be on your list of potential schools.
The cost of tuition at this college for cinematography for interstate undergraduate, M.A, or a PhD is about $15,500 while tuition for an M.F.A is about $25,000.
#4. California Institute of the Arts
CalArts is known for developing top-notch animators and even if animation isn’t your thing, you can still consider attending this school.
The students in CalArts are serious about their profession; filmmaking isn’t simply one of many ways for them to communicate their views. The cost of tuition in this school is around $44,000.
#5. Columbia University
Alumni of the M.F.A. Program have won accolades at festivals including as Sundance, Cannes, the Academy Awards, Venice, and Berlin. It’s a prestigious institution that draws students from all over the world.
The school’s New York location is also ideal for filmmaking, thanks to its proximity to a wealth of talent and access to contemporary films being produced around the world. The M.F.A. costs $55,000, whereas the M.A. costs roughly $49,000.
- M.F.A. in Film program
- M.A. in Film program
#6. Chapman University
This is yet another hands-on school where students will learn through experience. The more time you devote to anything, the better you will become. And, while theory is important, it is no substitute for hours spent with a camera in your hands, learning by trial and error.
Chapman provides you with up-to-date tools and excellent mentors; the rest is up to you.
They offer superb, recently upgraded sound stages and production studios, as well as their own production firm, which allows students to have a closer look at real-world happenings. Undergraduate tuition is $47,000 dollars, while graduate tuition is roughly $1200 dollars per credit.
#7. Loyola Marymount University
The student-to-teacher ratio at LMU is 12:1 and it encourages students to participate more and gives professors more time to focus on them.
Here, you’ll gain access to outstanding internships and even post-graduate placement with prominent industry names.
You’ll have to work your way through to gain admission into a good school. The undergraduate tuition is roughly $42,000 and the graduate tuition is around $1,100 per credit.
#8. Wesleyan University
You can’t just “declare” yourself a film major at Wesleyan University. To be added to the major list, you must meet with the Dean in the first semester of your sophomore year. Then, before you can call yourself a film major, you must complete two specialized courses with a B+ or better in each.
This method ensures that you’re prepared for the major before you dive in. The undergraduate tuition is approximately $49,000.
Program: Film Studies Department
Related Article: 15 Best Colleges for Cinematography in 2022
#9. Swarthmore College
As a prestigious private college in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Swarthmore college is a modest university with 1,591 undergraduate students enrolled.
If you finish from one of the best colleges for cinematography, you would start earning a starting income of $38,300.
#10. The University of Miami
Through teaching, research, and service, students become changemakers at the University of Miami.
If you are enthusiastic about learning, keen to give back to your community, the wide range of cinematography majors will allow you to explore the things that interest you most.
#11. The University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin is a highly reputable public university in Madison, Wisconsin. With about 30,157 undergraduates, the admission is competitive.
Information Science, Economics, and Biology are all popular majors. Wisconsin graduates get a starting income of $45,000 after graduating.
#12. Lodz Film School
Lodz Film School also known as the Polish national Film, Television, and Theater School is another of Europe’s best film academics.
It is the institution that has produced a huge number of Poland’s top filmmakers, helping to shape the Polish film industry.
This film school is one the finest film institutes you can find in Europe and it introduces contemporary equipment regularly Also, it offers a wide range of full-time, part-time, postgraduate, and PhD programs with durations ranging from two to five years.
#13. Vancouver Film School
Vancouver Film School is another of Canada’s top film schools with programs spanning all aspects of the entertainment arts sector.
This school provides a 3-year curriculum that focuses on obtaining practical skills while also learning about the industry.
Upon completion of your study at the Vancouver Film School, you’ll get a diploma.
#14. London Film School
The London Film School, which is located in the heart of central London and only accepts postgraduate students seeking a master’s degree or a PhD, is one of Europe’s most prestigious film schools.
This film school which has been around for over 60 years focused on developing craft and production skills in a practical setting and has been named one of only three academies in the country by a UK-government body.
Despite the fact that London Film School has only 220 students, its student body is truly international with current students coming from over 30 nations around the world.
#15. Academy of Performing Arts’ Film and TV School
Founded in 1946, the Academy of Performing Arts’ Film and TV School is one of the oldest and most prominent film institutions.
FAMU attracts an extraordinary international cohort every year, having nurtured filmmakers such as Milos Forman and offers programs in both Czech and English.
These are the best colleges for cinematography that you can find all over the world. Find one that suits your taste and make a meaningful career for yourself.