Cinematography Courses

9 minute read
Cinematography Courses

Have you ever watched a movie and found its storyline mediocre but loved the striking shots? The camera angles and shots comprise the art of Cinematography. It takes the storytelling to another level with its visual illustrations. A cinematographer is the one who controls what the viewer sees and how the presentation is drafted. Transforming pictures into visual motion, Cinematography comprises a series of shots that form a cohesive narrative. If you are someone who gets hooked by the amazing scenic shots of a film and is curious about making a career in this field, you have come to the right place. Here is an insightful blog that will walk you through a wide range of Cinematography courses along with top institutions offering programs in this field. 

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About Cinematography Courses

The profession of Cinematography is designed for those who are passionate about telling stories through visuals. Students can choose from a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, diploma, and certificate programs in Cinematography. These courses impart students with insightful knowledge of handling different kinds of cameras, capturing a variety of shots, designing lighting for a scene as well as adding visual effects in the post-production process of making a film. Cinematography courses provide students with sufficient knowledge and skills to produce amazing visuals and work in the Entertainment and Film industry.

Cinematography Courses
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Why Study A Cinematography Course?

For your convenience, the numerous reasons for studying Cinematography Courses are described here.

  • Students who enroll in cinematography courses gain a broad understanding of topics such as motion picture cameras, motion picture lab selection, cinematography analysis, shooting formats, aerial photography, and so on.
  • Because cinematography is so important in the film and media sectors, successful students with a cinematography background are in high demand.
  • Following successful completion of these courses, graduates will be qualified to work as cinematographers in the film and media sectors.
  • They might work as cinematographers, camera production assistants, film editors, camera assistants, and a variety of other similar jobs.
  • They are qualified to earn an initial salary of INR 4-10 lacs (approximately), which may improve as their knowledge and experience grow.

List of Online Cinematography Courses

With these prominent online film certificate courses, it will land you from just a quick certificate up to a terminal master’s degree. It also makes you specialize in film production and film studies. Let’s take a look at online cinematography courses: 

Subjects of Study in Cinematography Courses

Studying Cinematography courses, you will get to learn about the technical understanding of cameras, lighting, and recording devices along with the essentials of composition and visual storytelling. Here are the major subjects covered in Cinematography courses:

  • Digital Filmmaking
  • Types of Film Cameras
  • Processing and Printing
  • Special Cinematography
  • Script Writing
  • Camera Techniques
  • Lighting
  • Scene Composition
  • Film History and Film Studies
  • Film Theory

Now, let’s get to know more about these subjects in further detail:

Visual Storytelling

A film is a dramatic representation of circumstances that are either purely imaginative or inspired by real-life events. Being a cinematographer, it is important to be a good visual storyteller to impart the message of the film through a series of thought-provoking shots. Cinematography courses teach students about the art of conveying meaningful messages and stories using still photography, video, and visual illustrations, and enhance them with graphics, music, and editing.  


Lighting is one of the most important features of Cinematography. In the early stages of cinema, the initial purpose of lighting was just to clarify the image. The viewers need to distinguish all the important elements in the frame. This includes the background of the scene, the actor’s expressions, physical gestures as well as the subtle elements of a frame. But, with time, lighting was increasingly used for defining the emotional characteristic of every scene, adding depth and meaning to a character and a scene. Cinematography courses provide students with various lighting techniques that can play a crucial role in producing scenic yet meaningful visuals. 

Camera Techniques

Cinematography is a combination of various camera techniques that deliver creative visual illustrations. Imparting students with the knowledge of manipulating visuals and camera shots, Cinematography courses cover the basic concepts of handling different types of cameras ranging from 8mm to 16mm and a wide variety of lenses. Students get to learn about image controlling, lighting selection, exposure according to the scene, the type of lenses to use, and various angles. Further, you will also gain an understanding of various light and camera gears that are required for shooting on a large scale. 

Scene Composition

Scene composition is another important part of cinematography. It acts as an invisible structure that organizes shot elements into a visually compelling narrative. By pursuing Cinematography courses, you will be learning about the shooting and editing techniques that can help you in creating striking video and film compositions.

Cinematography Courses
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Credits: Studio Binder

Cinematography Skillset

A cinematographer must have a variety of skills and characteristics in addition to practical experience. The following are a few of them:

  • Networking Skills
  • Technical expertise, particularly in the areas of camera and film production.
  • Adaptability
  • Storytelling, both written and visual
  • Good Communication Skills
  • Exceptional listening abilities
  • Management abilities in a group

List of Cinematography Courses

There is an array of degree programs and diploma courses offered in the field of Cinematography. Here is a list of the most popular Cinematography courses as well as their duration:

Diploma/CertificateDiploma in Cinematography
Diploma in Animation
Diploma in Creative Media Production
Diploma in Digital Filmmaking
Bachelor’s DegreeBachelor’s in Cinematography
BA in Film and Media Production
Bachelor of Mass Media (BMM)
Bachelor’s in Film and Television Production
Bachelor of Applied Arts in Film and Media Production
Bachelor of Fine Arts – Major in Film
Bachelor of Film, Television, and Animation
BA in Film Production
Bachelor of Creative Media in Screen Production
BFA in Motion Picture Arts
Bachelor in Film Production and Cinematography
Master’s DegreeMaster’s in Film and Television
Master of Moving Image
Master of Screen Studies
MA in Filmmaking
MA in Cinematography
Master’s in Digital Film and Television Production

Eligibility Criteria

There are certain prerequisites that you need to fulfill to pursue Cinematography courses in India or abroad. Since the actual course criteria can vary as per the program and university, we have enlisted general eligibility requirements for Cinematography courses which you must know about:

  • For diploma or bachelor’s degree programs, you must have completed 10+2 in any stream from a recognized board with minimum scores specified by your chosen university. If you are applying for a master’s degree, then you must have graduated with a bachelor’s in a related field of specialization.
  • If you are planning to pursue cinematography courses abroad, then you will be required to provide language proficiency scores of IELTS/TOEFL/PTE, etc. along with an SOP and optional LORs.

Course Fees Cinematography

Course Minimum FeesMaximum Fees
UG2.12 Lakhs27.00 Lakhs
PG6.47 Lakhs21.00 Lakhs
DIPLOMA39.40 K1.50 Lakhs

Top 10 Universities Offering Cinematography Courses

There are a plethora of international universities and institutes that offer a wide range of cinematography courses, ranging from degree programs to short-term diploma and certificate programs. Here is a list of top colleges and film schools in the world that are renowned for their courses in Filmmaking:

  • California Institute of Arts
  • National Film and Television School, England
  • Beijing Film Academy
  • La Femis
  • New York Film Academy
  • London Film School
  • Met Film School
  • Global Cinematography Institute
  • Mount Saint Mary’s University
  • Columbia University School of Arts

Top Cinematography Colleges in India

Here are the major cinematography colleges and film schools in India that you can explore for courses in Film and Television Production, Cinematography, and Script Writing.

  • Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
  • Whistling Woods International, Mumbai
  • AAFT, Noida
  • Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute
  • International Institute of Mass Media (IIMM), Delhi
  • MIT School of Film and Television, Pune
  • YMCA, New Delhi
  • JNU, New Delhi 
  • Ramesh Sippy Academy of Cinema and Entertainment, Mumbai 
  • Sixteen by Nine Media, Pune
  • Annapurna College of Film and Media 
  • Calcutta University
  • NSHM Knowledge Campus, Kolkata
  • NICC International College of Design, Bangalore 
  • CREO Valley, Bangalore 
  • SRM Institute of Science & Technology, Rampuram Campus, Chennai

Scope of Cinematography in India and Abroad

Motion films are made possible by cinematographers. A cinematographer is involved in every film that you watch on the big screen. Because cinematography plays such an important part in the film and media industries, there is a high demand for successful students with a cinematography background. With the rise of high technology in the film and media industries, this course teaches students how to handle and operate high-tech devices such as drones, ultra HD technology, high-tech cameras, 3D technology, and other similar devices.

Cinematographers who work on a variety of projects and films can gain national and worldwide recognition for their work and establish a strong reputation. Most cinematographers begin their careers as assistant technicians and directors’ and producers’ assistants. After gaining experience and knowledge, they are given their autonomous projects in which they collaborate with directors, producers, light technicians, and set designers.

Every day, the scope of technology expands. When it comes to cameras and filmmaking, new ways and tactics are constantly being discussed. The course has been updated to include new techniques for directing and shooting images in motion. In research, new cameras and methods of handling them were also introduced. New research in lighting, optics, color correction, printing, and digital media is also being considered.

Job Profiles & Salary

By completing cinematography courses, graduates can explore promising opportunities in the Media, Entertainment, and Film industries. You can also discover shining career prospects in video production and editing. Based on the below-mentioned career options, here we provide you with the average salary range of candidates post completing cinematography courses:

Job Profile Salary Range(INR)Salary Range (USD)
Educational Lecturer3 – 8 LPA4,100 – 10,900
Camera Assistant 1  – 3 LPA1,300 – 4,100
Cinematographer1 – 15 LPA1,300 – 20,500
Camera Production Assistant80k – 1 LPA1,000 – 1,300
Motion Control Operator80k – 1.5 LPA1,000 – 2,050 
Video Editor2 – 6 LPA2,700 – 8,200

Top Recruiters

The following are the top recruiters if you are planning to study some cinematography courses:

  • Film Projects
  • Television Production Houses
  • Film Production Houses
  • Film and TV Academies
  • Photo Studios
  • Natural Photography Companies
  • Event Management Companies

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most common cinematography admissions exams?

Individual institutes may organize their admission examinations to admit students for specific degrees, even though there are no national-level entrance exams.

Is it possible for me to study cinematography in another country?

Yes, cinematography courses are available at institutions all around the world.

Is the job of a director similar to that of a cinematographer?

No. While the director is in charge of the camera, the cinematographer is in charge of making it happen. Exposure, or the act of adjusting camera settings to produce the desired appearance of a picture, is one of the cinematographers’ most challenging tasks.

What do you think the most important components of cinematography are?

The most important components are lighting, camera focus, shot composition, camera placement, and movement.

What are the major roles and tasks of a cinematographer?

In a film or television production, the Director of Photography (DP or DOP) is the most senior and important position. They are primarily responsible for carrying out the director’s vision and creating the film’s look and feel through lighting, setup, and camera operation.

Thus, we hope that this blog provided you with the key concepts covered in Cinematography courses and the top universities offering these courses around the world. If you’re planning to pursue a program in Cinematography, you can reach out to our counselors at Leverage Edu and we’ll assist you to find an ideal course that will help you delve deeper into the world of filmmaking and visual storytelling.

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