Diploma in Cinematography Top Colleges, Duration, Syllabus, Salary

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Pranjal Singhal

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Diploma in Cinematography is an undergraduate course having 1 or 2 years duration. It’s conducted as a full-time course and the minimum qualification to learn cinematography is 10+2. There is no minimum percentage required to apply for the course.

Interested students can pursue the course from a filming institute as a full-time course or choose it as an additional course along with another major course in filmmaking. Hereunder is a list of institutions offering course Diploma in Cinematography:

The average fee for Diploma in Cinematography course would range between INR 35,000 and INR 1,25,000.

During the course, students will be taught various skills and techniques for planning and coordinating film. They are taught several techniques of cinematography like the handling of the camera, size of a shot, use of special effects, camera angle, movement and shot, lightning techniques and aesthetics, editing and transitional devices, sound effects, and many more.

Diploma in Cinematography course helps students in aiming for job profiles like Director of Photography, Cinematographer, Video Editor, Cameraman, and Videographer. The entry-level salary for a cinematographer would be between INR 7,000 and 8,000 per month. With experience, the cinematographer may earn anywhere between INR 40,000 and 50,000 per month or even more depending upon the project.

Diploma in Cinematography: Course Highlights

Course Level Graduation
Duration of Course 1 or 2 year
Eligibility Pass in class 12th examination in any stream
Admission Process Personal Interview
Course Fee INR 35,000 – INR 1,25,000
Average Starting Salary INR 7,000 – INR 8,000
Top Recruiting Companies Doordarshan, Zee Studios, Film studios, TV Studios, Associated Broadcasting Company Ltd.
Job Positions Camera Production Assistant, Motion Control Operator, Camera Operator and Camera Assistant

Diploma in Cinematography: What it is about?

The cinematography is a profession for those who are eager, committed, and passionate about pursuing a career in filmmaking. Students can increase the scope of their study by pursuing a bachelor’s degree side by side by from a film institution. Diploma in Cinematography course primarily teaches its students about camera and light crews working on film production, television production or any other live event and making technical and artistic decisions related to the image.

Concepts in Cinematography include visual storytelling, camera techniques, lighting methods and techniques, scene composition and working with the entire film crew. During the course, students are introduced to several concepts on editing through short film projects genres, film lighting, basics of cinematography and digital cinematography.

The important topics covered under the curriculum of Diploma in Cinematography include:

  • Film Dimension and Packaging, Processing and Printing, Films for Motion Picture, Motion Picture Cameras and Shooting Format
  • Various Camera Test, Types of Film Cameras, Types of Digital filmmaking, Special Cinematography and Cinema Projection.

A start in a career as Cinematographer can be challenging but turns lucrative depending on candidates’ project and experience. A two-year Diploma in Cinematography is sufficient to start a career in movies, television, and documentaries. The course structure will largely help a student in gaining experience required in field work.

Diploma in Cinematography: Top Institutes

Name of the Institute Location Average Fee
CRAFT Film School New Delhi INR 1,25,000
Asian Academy of Film and Television Noida, UP On Request
Rayat Bahra University Mohali, Punjab On Request
FA School of Media & Films Mumbai, Maharashtra On Request
MV Media Institute Lucknow, U.P INR 35,000

Diploma in Cinematography: Eligibility

Students need a pass in class 12th examination in any stream. There is no minimum percentage requirement to seek admissions. In some institutes students above 15 years of age can also apply for admissions.  

Diploma in Cinematography: Admission Process

The selection criteria is based on candidate’s performance in personal interview. The institute shall evaluate whether the student is really passionate about studying Diploma in Cinematography course. Some institutes will offer direct admission based on first come first serve.

Diploma in Cinematography: Syllabus and Course Description

The course structure and topics covered in the syllabus depend on the duration of the course. A full-time Diploma in Cinematography course of two years would have more modules then short-term course which covers broader concepts. Presented below are the important modules covered under the syllabus as provided by some leading institutes:

Module Topics Covered
Film Dimension and Packaging Negative and positive perforation
Edge No
Cores and camera spool
Edge marking
16mm film winding
A-winding and B-winding
CAN. label information
Processing and printing Various section of Motion picture lab
Colour negative and intermediate film
Intermediate film
Positive film
Wash, Drying, Development
Colour film printing
Liquid gate printing
Step printer, optical printer
Printing colour Correction
Necessity of colour correction
Additive colour correction method
Scene to scene colour correction
Trimmer correction
Colour correction effect
Colour correction determination
Black and white film printing
Films for Motion Pictures Screening of films
Studying the conceptual lighting
Music video-styling of lighting
Motion Picture Cameras Various parts of Motion picture cameras
Perforation loop
Pressure plate
Plate catch
Pull down claw
Threading of film
Loading unloading of magazine
Types of magazine
Intermittent Movement
Analysis of Claw motion
Registration pin
Sprocket wheel
Frames per sec
View finder.
Eye piece adjustment
Camera Motors
Slow motion and Fast motion
Reverse Movement
Tacho meter
Lens Mount Flange Depth
Matte Box
Changing bag
Magazine Cover/rain cover
Transfer of Film to Video Tele-cine basic
Type of Tele-cine machine
Frame per sec
File type
Digital Intermediate
Various Camera Test Physical condition of the camera and lenses
Optical path and focusing
Camera Choking
Fogging of film
Sample lens test
Eye piece /viewfinder/ground glass
Batteries for Motion Picture Camera
Shooting Format 16mm
Types of film Cameras AATON.35-III
Aspect ratio
Video assist
Cinema Projection Print Colour balance
Screen luminance
Print loading and rewind
Random points about projection
Electronic Display Devices
Special Cinematography Rigging the camera
Underwater shooting
Shooting in snow
Aerial photography
Shooting through Mirrors
Use of Acrylic Mirror
Digital film making LFR(Laser Film Recorder)
DI (Digital Intermediate)

Diploma in Cinematography: Career Prospects

Cinematography has become a career option since the requirement for cinematographers is always high owing to ever-expanding film and television industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S states that the demand for cinematographers will increase in near future due to a globalized network that is being formed in the entertainment industry. Diploma in Cinematography graduates may take up entry-level job roles in the capacity of Camera Production Assistant, Motion Control Operator, Camera Operator, and Camera Assistant.

With experience, cinematographers find jobs as:

  • Director of Photography
  • Cinematographer
  • Video Editor
  • Cameraman
  • Videographer

The top recruiters for cinematographers are Doordarshan, film studios, television studios, news studios and corporate. They can also work in wedding cinematography, which has a huge scope now or takes up freelancing work.

Students don’t need to study further in Cinematography and a two-year Diploma is sufficient. The scope and future prospects for cinematographers depend on the nature of work they’ve been associated with and largely on personal contacts and references.

Diploma in Cinematography annual salary
Job Profile Job Description Average Salary (in INR)
Camera Production Assistant Set up and position the camera equipment and more. INR 8,4000 – 96,000
Motion Control Operator Systematically repeat camera moves for special effects purposes. INR 80,000 to 1 Lac
Camera Operator Operates the camera as per the direction of the Director of Photography. INR 70,000 to 80,000
Camera Assistant Keeps the camera on the focus of the subject, loads the clapper-board at the start of each take and loads the film stock onto the camera. INR 3,00,000 – 3,20,000