How Do I Choose the Best Cinematography School?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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Students seeking a cinematography school may want to consider the types of programs available, the kind of work they want to do, and the current rankings and reputations of cinematography schools. All of these factors can play a role in the decision about where to apply and which school to attend. Research resources can include brochures from various cinematography programs, rankings from third party organizations, and recommendations from professional organizations of cinematographers.

The first thing to consider is the type of degree or certification desired, to help the student identify schools that will meet this need. It is possible to get a bachelor's or master's degree in this field, as well as take certification programs through technical and trade schools. Students who are not sure about what kind of certification they need might want to consider looking up the education histories of their favorite cinematographers, or scanning job listings in the industry to see the qualification requirements listed by prospective employers.


Film making is a vast area within the arts, and different cinematography schools may focus on various aspects within the industry. Students should think about whether they want to work in film or television, and what kinds of projects they want to work on. Cinematography training for a documentary film maker, for instance, may be very different than that for someone who works in television. The strengths and weaknesses of the cinematography school can be evident from the list of graduates, portfolio pieces posted on their websites, and course descriptions in the catalog, which should be available to members of the public.

School ranking and reputation can be another concern. It is possible to graduate from a less respected cinematography school with an excellent education and a flexible array of skills and competencies, but the school's name could become a barrier to employment. Potential employers may prefer applicants from well-known and highly regarded programs. School reputations can change over time, and students should consult the latest rankings to determine which schools are considered the best.

Students preparing for cinematography school may also want to think about cost and location. School costs can be prohibitive for some students. Location may be important for people who are worried about where they will live, and also for internship possibilities. A cinematography school in an area with a rich film and television community may offer more opportunities to students in terms of job and internship placement.



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Post 2

@sunnySkys - I see what you're saying about art/technical school versus a regular university. But I wouldn't totally discount technical schools either.

Like the article said, I think the most important thing is to do research. Then you can figure out which school is the best fit for you!

Post 1

My bachelors degree is in Art, so I feel qualified to offer some advice on this issue. My advice is this: go to a regular, four year college. Not a technical school or art school.

I know in the area that I live people prefer to hire someone with a bachelors degree from a regular university. Employers say that people with regular university degrees tend to be more well rounded and flexible.

I definitely feel like I got a broader education than some people I know that went to art schools. I also learned a little bit about the business aspect of art, which a lot of schools like that don't teach.

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