New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Cinematography

1-Year Hands-on Conservatory Cinematography Program

Cinematography school students operate a Red One digital video camera Cinematography school student shoots with a Panavision camera Cinematography school student using a Panavision camera Cinematography school student filming with a Red One camera

Overview of our 1-Year Cinematography Program


Cinematographers have one of the most essential jobs in any film production: bringing a director's vision to life. During the first semester of the one-year cinematography program, students are introduced to the aesthetics of both black and white and color cinematography. They begin shooting film on 16mm, progressing from black and white reversal to color negative. Students begin with the Arri S camera. Its basic construction is easy to access, and it challenges a student to be very precise. The students then move on to a larger body 16mm camera, a crystal-sync camera that shoots 400-foot magazines: the Arri SR II. From this point students begin using super speed lenses. The semester culminates in an introduction to HD video, using two HD Cameras, the Sony A7SII and the Red Scarlet.

  • Shoot a 1-2 minute Mise-en-scene project on 16mm black and white film.
  • Shoot a 2-3 minute continuity project on 16mm color film.
  • Shoot a 2-3 minute montage project with music on HD digital video.
  • Shoot a 5-10 minute cumulative semester one-film project on any format that has been taught during the first semester, 16mm black & white, 16mm color, or HD digital video.
  • Learn foundation aesthetics of photography and cinematography.
  • Learn the fundamentals of shooting 16mm film production.
  • Explore the benefits and limitations of 16mm film production.
  • Learn the fundamentals of interior and exterior lighting for 16mm and HD video.
  • Expand the aesthetic and creative application of cinematography skills.
  • Develop understanding of the cinematographer and director collaboration.
  • The hands-on course covers a wide range of cameras and lenses; with lessons related to managing the camera as a piece of gear as well as an artist's tool.


During the second semester, students' progress into shooting digitally on the Red Epic Dragon camera. High-definition video is used in many productions, from low budget independent features to blockbuster studio films. Students shoot a number of projects on high-definition video exploring the benefits and limitations of the medium.

In addition to shooting on Ultra HD, cinematography students begin working on 35mm film. The students shoot with two 35mm camera packages, the Panavision Platinum Package and the ArriCam Studio package. The lighting workshops focus on achieving optimum outcomes in ultra HD (Red Epic Dragon) and 35mm format as well as learning more advanced lighting equipment and techniques.

During the second semester production workshops, students use one of the industry's most popular cameras, 35mm or the RED DRAGON, to achieve an objective “look.” Production workshops place the emphasis on technical and aesthetic control of the image through careful equipment set-ups. Part of the goal is to explore and become familiar with the huge range of equipment that is available to cinematographers. This is the primary test of success for the students' work: can they tell a story using the gear and maintain a consistent aesthetic?

Through practice and experimentation, students develop their own style and vision. They will also learn to collaborate with other artists as they work together with directors in the 1-year filmmaking program to shoot their final semester projects

  • Shoot a 2-5 minute POV project in sync sound on the Red Epic Dragon.
  • Shoot a Thesis, a sync-sound narrative film of up to 15 minutes: on Ultra HD, 16mm, or 35mm.
  • Shoot a 1-Year Filmmaking Thesis project: on Ultra HD, 16mm, or 35mm.
  • Participate as a crew member on fellow students' films and group projects
  • Color grade Ultra HD, HD, 16mm, and 35mm.
  • Learn the fundamentals of high-definition video production.
  • Explore the benefits and limitations of the high definition format.
  • Learn the fundamentals of lighting for high-definition video and 35mm.
  • Learn how the cinematographer and director collaborate.
  • Understand the fundamentals of screen grammar necessary for the role of cinematographer.
  • Learn to analyze a screenplay in relation to the cinematographer's art.
  • Learn the postproduction process of Ultra HD, HD, 16mm, and 35mm film.

Course Description (*Optional)

  • Hands-On Photography The cinematographer's working units are image and light within the frame. This course explores the foundation skills of photography including the use of light and composition. Students use stills cameras to develop their understanding of photographic elements and how to paint with light.
  • Cinematography: Form and Function Shot composition, light, lenses and camera movement are central to the cinematographer's role. This course explores the aesthetic understanding of the cinematographer's work. Analysis of classic and contemporary cinematographers' work complements the understanding of universal photographic design principles.
  • Hands-On 16mm & 35mm Cinematography In this class, students learn to operate 16mm & 35mm cameras, using a range of lenses and film stocks. Students begin with the Arriflex-S 16mm camera and move to the Arriflex SR and Panavision 35mm. Students compare formats and explore the benefits and limitations of each. The students train to operate 16mm & 35mm cameras at a highly proficient level.
  • Interior Lighting In this course, fundamental skills in lighting for tungsten stock and interior lighting scenarios are taught. Students use a range of tungsten film stock, exploring the possibilities of shooting interiors with a selection of different lighting set-ups.
  • Editing Editing is an art unto itself. Regardless of the editing system a filmmaker uses, it is the editor's ability to work with the shots and tell a story that makes all the difference. Students learn to use the digital editing system. Each student edits his or her own films, and can supplement classes with individual consultations at the editing station. Students are taught the concepts of film editing, both practical and aesthetic including color grading. Classes consist of lectures and tutorials that combine technical information and demonstration.
  • Location Lighting Students develop their lighting skills using 16mm and 35mm film. Equipped with a range of cameras, students test various daylight film stocks and exterior lighting scenarios to understand the benefits and limitations of shooting outdoors.
  • Assistant Camera Workshop The Director of Photography is dependent upon a great camera crew to bring the Director's vision to life. One of the entry positions into the camera crew is the Assistant Camera role. This course explores essential skills and procedures that every camera assistant must know to progress in his or her career.
  • Hands-On Steadicam A major advancement in cinema took place when the camera could move freely through a location. The Steadicam has become a permanent fixture on contemporary films sets. This course enables students to explore the practical application of the Steadicam and its functions.
  • Visual Storytelling The screenplay is the architectural blueprint for a movie. The cinematographer should understand thematic concerns of the screenplay to bring the subtext and drama to life. In this subject, cinematographers study a range of screenplays and explore how professional cinematographers visually bring the content of the screenplays to the screen.
  • Hands-On Digital Cinematography Students are trained to operate high-definition cameras including the Panasonic HD and RED Epic cameras. Students learn the roles of the camera crew, the benefits and limitations of each camera, formats, lenses, shutter speeds, focal lengths, and more. Each class is taught using hands-on exploration of the cameras with students learning to become proficient with the high-definition format. Incorporating lessons from the previous semester, students explore framing and camera movement.
  • Feature Film Lighting The cinematographer's art lies in the creation of an image that captures the mood and emotion of a scene. In this subject, students explore a range of lighting techniques for the high-definition format. Students use the tools to light feature films. Lighting techniques incorporate the creation of mood based on theme, emotion and tone in a screenplay. Areas such as image systems and metaphors are explored.
  • Television Lighting Lighting for television can require different skills than feature films. This course explores the range of lighting techniques for television including; dramas, sitcoms, gameshows, and news programs. Students participate in hands-on classes and light a range of different genres and formats.
  • Directing the Lens This course introduces cinematography students to the language and craft of directing. From screenplay analysis to shot composition, students learn how Directors and Cinematographers collaborate to achieve a complete vision. Students explore the aesthetic elements of mise-en-scene, shot choice, composition, setting, point of view, action of the picture plane, movement of the camera, how to cover a dialogue scene with a series of shots, as well as more sophisticated approaches to coverage including the use of dollies. Students break down scenes from selected screenplays to practice a variety of approaches.

Dates & Tuition

Fees Per Year

Tuition: $39,292 (USD) +
Equipment Fee: $4,136(USD)

Number of Semesters: 2

Students will also incur additional expenses on their own productions. This varies depending on how much film they shoot and scale of the projects.

Location & Available Dates

For New York City:
September 2017 - July 2018
January 2018 - November 2018
September 2018 - July 2019

For Los Angeles:
September 2017 - May 2018

Please note: Dates and Tuition are subject to change
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