Education

Best Digital Cinematography Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Digital Cinematography programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Digital cinematography is the process of creating motion pictures using digital cameras and computer-based editing and effects. Digital cinematography degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the film and video industry, including cinematographer, editor, and producer.

Digital cinematography degrees offer a broad overview of the film and video industry, covering topics such as film history, directing, and producing. Students in digital cinematography degree programs learn about the different aspects of making a film, from writing the script to shooting the footage to editing the final product. They also learn about the business side of the film industry, including distribution and marketing.

How to Choose the Right Digital Cinematography Program

When it comes to choosing a digital cinematography program, there are many factors to consider. The most important factor is what you want to do with your degree after graduation. Do you want to work in Hollywood? Do you want to be a cinematographer? Do you want to be a director? Once you know what you want to do, you can research programs that will help you achieve your goals.

The next factor to consider is cost. Digital cinematography programs can be expensive, so you need to make sure you can afford the tuition. You also need to consider other expenses, such as housing, books, and fees. If you’re not sure you can afford a program, look into financial aid options.

Another factor to consider is the program’s curriculum. Does the program offer the courses you need to take to achieve your goals? Does it offer electives that interest you? Make sure you choose a program that will challenge you and help you grow as a filmmaker.

Finally, you need to consider the location of the program. Do you want to be in a big city or a small town? Do you want to study in a rural area or an urban area? Consider your lifestyle and needs when choosing a location.

By considering these factors, you can find the right digital cinematography program for you.

Best Bachelor’s in Digital Cinematography Programs

The best programs for Digital Cinematography ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Olympic College
Bremerton, WA

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Filmmaking from Olympic College is a two-year program that provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in the film industry. The program is designed to give students hands-on experience in all aspects of digital filmmaking, from video production and directing, to cinematography, screenwriting and acting.

Rank 2
Elmhurst University
Elmhurst, IL

Elmhurst University’s interdisciplinary digital media degree provides students with a core set of production skills and software proficiencies, a background in media history and theory, and knowledge of various narrative and story structures. Within the degree, digital media majors will focus on one of three areas: digital audio and video production, digital animation and game design, or writing for film and television. All students will take a core set of interdisciplinary courses grounded in knowledge, theory, and ethics in media and technology. They also will complete a digital media capstone, which includes a personal portfolio that will be hosted online.

Rank 3
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT

The University of Connecticut’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) program in Digital Film/Video Production provides students with a hands-on approach to the complete filmmaking process. The program emphasizes critique and revision to result in telling powerful stories via professional products. Students in the program take courses in film history and theory, business, and filmmaking to develop a well-rounded skillset. The program culminates in a year-long BFA Senior Project, which gives students the opportunity to showcase their skills and work to the public.

Rank 4
Indiana University-Bloomington
Bloomington, IN

The Bachelor of Arts in Media – Cinema and Media Studies degree from Indiana University-Bloomington is a great choice for students interested in the history and effects of media. The degree takes a broad and inclusive view of the field, addressing noncommercial and commercial media, examining works in and out of the cultural mainstream and studying media across a broad range of national, transnational and global frameworks. Students in the program have the opportunity to learn from instructors who are professionals in film history and film and television production, and to take courses in the study and analysis of film, as well as in film, television and digital production.

Rank 5
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL

The Film & New Media Studies program at University of South Florida is designed to teach students how to think actively, critically, and creatively about the art of the moving image. The program surveys significant examples of moving-image culture, including films from Hollywood and other global industries.

Students in the program learn to evaluate the cultural, historical, and theoretical significance of a wide range of moving-image texts by looking closely at the forms and technologies that shape them. The skills gained as a Film & New Media Studies student include the ability to read and write critically and creatively, to engage in critical analysis, to conduct research, and to think interdisciplinarily.

Rank 6
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

The Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Arizona State University is a interdisciplinary program that provides students with a solid foundation in economic theory and its application to real-world situations. Students learn to think critically about economic issues and to use quantitative methods to analyze data. The program also provides students with the opportunity to study abroad, which furthers their ability to apply their knowledge to a global context.

Rank 7
University of North Georgia
Dahlonega, GA

The University of North Georgia’s Bachelor of Science in Film & Digital Media degree is a hands-on program that provides students with an understanding of motion pictures as a form of expression, experience in all phases of the production process, and awareness of how to succeed in the industry. The program of study requires students to become competent in all aspects of production as well as to develop expertise in a specialization, such as directing, screenwriting, producing, editing, cinematography, audio production, or creating digital effects.

Rank 8
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO

The Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Production from University of Central Missouri offers a broad range of courses that cover topics such as audio, digital cinema, digital journalism, live studio and remote production, and sports broadcasting. The hands-on experience that students get through internships and the Senior Capstone Seminar helps to prepare them for successful careers in the digital media industry.

Rank 9
Loyola University New Orleans
New Orleans, LA

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Filmmaking degree from Loyola University New Orleans is a traditional, four-year undergraduate degree that will immerse students in hands-on filmmaking. The program features a combination of technical and industry-focused courses within the context of a fine arts program. With state-of-the-art facilities, industry-recognized and award-winning faculty, and a comprehensive curriculum, students will learn every component of filmmaking, from screenwriting and directing, to cinematography and lighting, to post-production and editing.

Rank 10
Pace University
New York, NY

The BS in Digital Cinema and Filmmaking from Pace University is a rigorous program that provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in film. The program combines the study of aesthetic filmmaking, technical training, and hands-on production in all aspects of digital filmmaking. Students will take courses in cinematography, lighting for HD, editing on multiple platforms, screenwriting, and on-set procedures. Elective classes focus on major directors, themes like romantic comedy and women in film, scriptwriting, casting, and advanced technical skills like lighting, cameras, and editing. The program also includes required internships to help students gain experience and build a network of industry contacts.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Digital Cinematography Program

Students in a bachelor’s in digital cinematography program learn how to operate cameras, edit footage, and produce films. The degree typically takes four years to complete and requires about 120 credits.

Most programs include core coursework in film history, directing, and producing. Students also learn about various camera types and how to properly use them. In addition, they study lighting techniques, editing software, and sound design. Many programs also require students to complete an internship or practicum.

Digital cinematography degrees cater to students with strong technical skills and a passion for filmmaking. Students should be able to work well independently and as part of a team. They should also be creative and have good problem-solving skills.

Common Digital Cinematography Courses

A digital cinematography degree program will typically offer courses that cover the following topics.

Producing for New Media

This course covers the principles and practices of producing digital video content for new media platforms. Topics include the role of the producer, pre-production planning, production logistics, post-production workflow, and distribution strategies. Students will gain hands-on experience with various new media production tools and techniques. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles and practices of producing digital video content for new media platforms.

Screenwriting

This course covers the basic principles and techniques of writing for the screen. Students will learn how to develop ideas, characters, and stories for film and television. The course will also cover the basic elements of screenplay format and structure. Upon completion, students should be able to write a short screenplay and understand the basics of story development for the screen.

Visual Effects

This course covers the creation of visual effects for feature films, television, and commercials. Topics include an overview of the industry, pre-production planning, on-set integration, post-production workflows, and the delivery of final assets. Students will use industry-standard software to create visual effects for a variety of projects. Upon completion, students should be able to plan and execute the visual effects for a project from start to finish, using industry-standard software and workflows.

Post-Production

This course covers the methods and techniques used in post-production for digital cinema. Topics include an overview of post-production workflows, digital image acquisition, file-based workflows, file formats, data management, color management, editing, visual effects, audio post-production, and delivery formats. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of post-production workflows and the role of each post-production department, understand different file formats and codecs used in digital cinema, and be able to manage digital assets using industry-standard software.

Lighting for Cinematography

This course covers the basic principles of lighting for digital cinematography. Topics include an introduction to the various types of lighting equipment and their uses, an overview of the lighting design process, an exploration of the role of light in creating mood and atmosphere, and an examination of the challenges and opportunities presented by different lighting scenarios. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of lighting design to create effective and evocative lighting setups for a variety of digital cinematography projects.

Career Options for Digital Cinematography Graduates

Graduates of digital cinematography programs work in a variety of industries, including film, television, and video production. They may also work in fields such as photography, graphic design, and web design.

Cinematographer

Cinematographers are responsible for the visual look of a film or other video production. They work with the director to establish the overall style of the project and make sure it is consistent throughout. Cinematographers also work with the camera crew to set up and light each shot. In addition to lighting, they may also operate the camera during filming.

Director of Photography

A director of photography is responsible for the visual look of a film, television show, web series, or commercial. They work with the director to plan the shots and lighting for each scene and then oversee the camera and lighting crews to ensure that the vision is executed properly. In addition to being responsible for the technical aspects of the job, directors of photography must also have an artistic eye and be able to collaborate well with the other members of the production team.

Camera Operator

Camera operators use video cameras to capture images or footage for news, movies, television, and other video productions. They may work in a studio, on location, or in the field. Camera operators typically set up and test their equipment, choose and set up the best angle for each shot, and follow the director’s or producer’s instructions. They also may be responsible for editing the footage they capture.

Video Editor

Video editors are responsible for putting together the raw footage captured by videographers into a cohesive, visually appealing final product. They work with all kinds of video, from movies and TV shows to commercials and corporate videos. Video editors often have a hand in choosing the music and sound effects that will be used in a project, and they use special effects to create the desired mood and tone. The job requires an understanding of both technical aspects, such as file formats and compression, and creative aspects, such as storytelling and editing for pacing.

Director

Directors are responsible for the creative and logistical elements of a production, whether it’s a movie, TV show, commercial, music video, or live event. They collaborate with producers, writers, and other members of the creative team to bring the project to life, within the confines of the budget and schedule. Directors work with the cast and crew to ensure that the project is completed according to the vision set forth in the script and storyboards. They also work with the editor to ensure that the final product meets the standards set by the producers and studio.

Insights From a Digital Cinematography Graduate

Azaria Rowe is a Cinematographer at Dreamworks. She has a bachelor’s degree in digital cinematography from the University of Southern California. Azaria has over 7 years of experience in cinematography and has worked on numerous feature films.

ClimbtheLadder: What would you recommend that students do in addition to their degree program, in order to stand out to employers?

Azaria Rowe: There are a few things I would recommend students do in addition to their degree program, in order to stand out to employers. Firstly, I would recommend students get as much experience as possible. This can be done through internships, working on student films, or any other type of relevant work experience. Secondly, I would recommend students network as much as possible. This means attending industry events, meeting with professionals in the field, and making connections. Finally, I would recommend students stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies. This can be done by reading industry publications, attending conferences, and taking courses.

ClimbtheLadder: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Azaria Rowe: The most rewarding aspect of my career is being able to tell stories that entertain and move people. I love being able to transport people to different worlds and give them an escape from their everyday lives. The most challenging aspect of my career is the long hours and the fact that it can be very stressful at times.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Azaria Rowe: The most challenging course I took was lighting. It was challenging because it was a very technical course and there was a lot of information to learn. My advice to students who are about to take this course is to be prepared to learn a lot of information and to be patient. Lighting is a very important aspect of cinematography and it takes time to learn how to do it correctly.

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