This course explores the many ways in which the cinematographer participates in the collaborative process of translating screenplays into meaningful and stimulating films. Exercises, workshops, masterclasses and productions, supported by critical and analytical study of the history and development of cinematography, give students a solid foundation in the art and craft of their future career.
The aim is to improve and expand the students' technical knowledge and skills using all of the above mentioned methods of image capture.
Cinematography graduates are in demand in the UK, Europe and the US and go on to work in both film and television. Recent new graduates have found work as 2nd Unit DoPs on feature films, and have shot commercials, episodic television series and documentaries for Channel 4, Granada and BSkyB, as well as short films and TV programmes for a variety of independent production companies.
The Head of department is BAFTA and BIFA-winning and EMMY-nominated cinematographer Brian Tufano BSC, whose credits include Trainspotting and Billy Elliott. Other tutors who often teach at the school include award-winning commercials cinematographer Stuart Harris, Barry Ackroyd (Riff Raff, My Name is Joe), Sean Bobbitt (Hunger, Shame), Nina Kellgren (Young Soul Rebels, Looking for Langston) and Academy Award winner Billy Williams (Gandhi).
Leading Hollywood cinematographers Roger Deakins (The Man Who Wasn't There, Fargo, The Shawshank Redemption), David Tattersall (Star Wars Episodes I - III, 007: Die Another Day) Oliver Stapleton (The Proposal, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People) trained at the NFTS.
Creative expression is developed alongside technical expertise. As well as film, training in High Definition, Digital Cinema and Digital Post Production is an integral part of the course. Visual storytelling is emphasised alongside the art of creating mood and evoking emotion through the right combination of composition and lighting. Working closely with students of other specialisations, student cinematographers have a creative involvement in fiction, animation and documentary films, commercials and multicamera television, lighting and shooting several productions during their time at the School.
During the course students will be provided with tutorials, seminars, screen studies, workshops and master classes with specialist tutors and visiting professionals. All workshops and master classes are mandatory. Through Tutorials students will be guided towards finding their own criteria for self assessment and finding their own individual challenges. The aim of the tutorials is to encourage the student to get the best out of themselves through discussions and critiques with their peers and through an awareness of self. While supportive overall, tutorials will have an element of critique and challenge. They should allow the student to step back and reflect on their own work.
Seminars will deal with stylistic approaches, principles of optics and photographic and video theory. Special attention will be given to the importance of relationships and interaction with other specialisations, like directors, editors, designers, sound and post production. Also, regular seminars and lectures will be conducted on Screen Art. Screen Art is crucial to broaden students' critical understanding of the art of cinema. This need is satisfied by providing systematic screenings, special events, seminars, discussions and analysis. These happen throughout the two year course.
Workshops and Practical Exercises are designed to teach most aspects of traditional and digital cinematography - cameras, lenses, grip equipment, originating materials (film stock/tape), light meters, location lighting, studio lighting, day for night, night for night, filming in moving vehicles and also film grammar, crew roles, studio protocol, laboratory procedures and special visual effects. The aim is also to develop responsibility and professionalism. This is supported and overseen by the teaching staff, who aim to challenge and nurture the student’s talent without undermining their independence.
Production Exercises provide a valuable experience in that they enable the student to work as part of a creative team. The cinematographer is able to utilise the skills and knowledge acquired whilst taking part in Workshops and Exercises.
Unlike other Schools, all production costs are met by the school. In addition you will be given a cash Production Budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.