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MA in Filmmaking (Cinematography)

Course overview

This MA will consolidate your skills in narrative moving-image making to the level of Director of Photography. You will develop your visual storytelling ability during workshops and subsequent application in the context of live filmmaking projects.

What we offer

This Masters, a pathway of the MA Filmmaking, is housed in a new purpose-built media facility equipped with state-of-the art teaching spaces including film and photography studios equipped with Arri lighting and Greenscreen, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Film Editing, Animation, Digital Special Effects, Pro Tools Audio Postproduction and Foley suites.

We work with a range of digital formats from high-end cinema cameras like the Red Epic to smaller, flexible units like the Black Magic. You will additionally benefit from the discipline of working on Super-16mm film.

You work on at least one film per term in your specialist role, culminating in a major production towards the end of the degree. In addition to your specialist area, you attend classes in related disciplines such as Film Directing and Editing and collaborate with students across specialisations on film projects. This framework is designed to stimulate collaborative practice by providing you with a breadth of filmmaking knowledge combined with a high level of expertise in your chosen filmmaking discipline.


Our students say...

"The MA helped me understand how to translate a story into cinema and how to transfer a collective vision from script to screen."

"I have made true friendships beyond the level of collaboration with class-mates to the point that we can now consider ourselves to be colleagues in the same field."


Expert guidance

Experienced tutors such as the highly-regarded Witold Stock (Close My Eyes, Murphy’s Law, Best) and industry guests provide expert guidance designed to enhance the flow of your individual research, experimentation and artistic achievement.

At the same time, you advance your collaborative skills by working in teams on a variety of scheduled films across the year. You leave the course with a diverse portfolio of moving-image work that spans fiction, and documentary as well as hybrid and experimental genres.

You will learn sophisticated lighting and gripping techniques, and you perform all camera department roles from Director of Photography to Camera Operator, Focus-puller, Gaffer, Camera Assistant, Spark and Grip.  

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of Media & Communications

Modules & structure

For two terms you will spend a full day a week in specialised contact with your specific programme convenor, plus a further day in Screen Lab working with colleagues across the programme in a Talent Campus-style project-led learning structure with:

  • Masterclassess
  • Pitches
  • Role-plays
  • Exercises aimed at using your skills specialism in a variety of live shoot situations

You will also have a variety of research projects to undertake, as well as other module options.

The third term will be taken up with your final substantive project, and in writing up a process paper on your work and research over the year.

Screen Lab

You will also advance your collaborative skills by working in teams with fiction and documentary producers and directors and sound and edit students, on a variety of projects and at least three scheduled films across the year.

You will leave the programme with a diverse portfolio of moving-image work that may span a variety of formats – music video, web series drama, documentary, campaign/commercial, experimental art pieces and feature-scale short fiction films.

Screen School options

As well as your Cinematography specialism, you will undertake three short courses to enhance your other skills and critical approaches. Options include:

Module title Credits
  Social Activist Film 15 credits
  Adaptation and Script Editing 30 credits
  Archaeology of the Moving Image 15 credits
  Camera Fundamentals 15 credits
  Contemporary Screen Narratives in Practice and Theory 30 credits
  Experimental Media - Media Arts pathway 30 credits
  Filmmakers Make Theory 15 credits
  Film Producing Fundamentals 15 credits
  Representing Reality 15 credits
  Sound Design Fundamentals 15 credits
  The Ascent of the Image 15 credits
  Visual Storytelling 15 credits
  Doctor Holby: Writing for Existing Continuing TV Drama Series 15 credits
  Media Law and Ethics 15 credits
  Practical Law for Film-makers 15 credits.

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

We are ranked:
1st in the UK for the quality of our research* Joint 1st in the UK for effective teaching** 8th in the world for communication and media studies***

Media and Communications

We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for media professionals, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.

The department includes some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – the pioneers of media, communications and cultural studies. They actively teach on our programmes, and will introduce you to current research and debate in these areas. And many of our practice tutors are industry professionals active in TV, film, journalism, radio and animation.

We also run EastLondonLines.co.uk – our 24/7 student news website – which gives students the opportunity to gain experience working in a real-time news environment.

And we run regular public events featuring world-renowned writers and practitioners that have recently included Danny Boyle, Gurinda Chadha, Noel Clark and Tessa Ross. So you’ll get to experience the latest developments and debates in the industry.

Find out more about the Department of Media and Communications

*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
**Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
***QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Skills & careers

If you are passionate about fashioning an exciting career for yourself as a cinematographer in an environment that promotes innovative filmmaking, this course is for you.

On completing the programme you will be equipped to enter the global job market, armed with an enhanced understanding of your practical, intellectual and creative capacities as a cinematographer.

Possibly the most important skill we furnish you with is the rigorous discipline of working collaboratively under pressure as part of a creative team on challenging projects. 

In addition to your practical filmmaking skills, we enable you to develop a variety of transferable intellectual, organisational and communication skills to equip you for a broad range of employment opportunities across the arts and media landscape (film, television, online, the creative arts, advertising and related hybrid forms).

Our graduates

Recent alumni are active in the film, media and cultural industries around the world as:

  • directors of photography
  • cinematographers
  • camera operators
  • lighting designers

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student work

Aftermath, a Team3Films production
Happy Anniversary, by Prototype Film Company
True Love, a Team 3 final project

Student profiles

Doreen

"The MA helped me understand how to translate a story into cinema and how to transfer a collective vision from script to screen."

"Before enrolling on the MA in Filmmaking, I had little previous experience of Cinematography apart from learning some basic camera skills when I participated in a few independent television productions in my country, Cameroon. I knew I was fascinated by cinematography and I understood that lighting in particular was a painstaking skill that if successful, produced amazing results. However, I could not have consciously articulated the ways in which specific lighting techniques affected my understanding of a film.

As someone who began the course with limited experience in my specialist role, my learning curve has been dramatic. Our graduation film is a far cry from the first exterior exercise we attempted on campus. In between the two, I began to understand how to translate a story into cinema and how to transfer a collective vision from script to screen.

Being able to read a script and make informed choices about its visual representation is a priceless skill that makes the prospect of breaking into the film industry a little less daunting."

Doreen won the NAHEMI Best Cinematography Award at Encounters International Short Film Festival for her graduation film ‘Mrs Bates’.

Alisa

"This course enabled me to realise my future goal in life."

"This course helped me to improve my skills both at a personal and a professional level. The activities of the year enabled me to shape myself as an intellectual person as well as a creative one. The knowledge I gained throughout the last year helped me to trust my own professional capabilities. The scope and ambition of the coursework gave me the experience to approach my future film projects with confidence. In short, this course enabled me to realise my future goal in life – to become an astute and cultured Director of Photography."

Jan

"I have made true friendships beyond the level of collaboration with class-mates to the point that we can now consider ourselves to be colleagues in the same field."

"Now that our course has come to a close, I cannot help but express my joy about a year of experiencing so much learning. I’ve learnt a lot more than I expected to; not just about the craft of filmmaking, but more importantly, about the dynamics of the relationships that go into such a collaborative undertaking. And I have made true friendships beyond the level of collaboration with class-mates to the point that we can now consider ourselves to be colleagues in the same field. We encountered the mutual respect and genuine support  that each and everyone of us needs, especially when extending our capabilities to the utmost."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject as well as a level of practical experience from work in the arts or the media.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

The annual IELTS deadline for the programme is June 30th.

Because funding deadlines and requirements vary around the world, applications are considered on a rolling basis from February onwards and places on the programme fill up across the recruitment cycle. For this reason, we strongly advise you to submit your completed application as early as you can.

 

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online. Please tell us about your passion and aptitude for Filmmaking. What are your dreams and aspirations? How did your engagement with visual media develop, and how has it developed in terms of professional, voluntary and personal work?

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • Examples of your recent work in a related field (eg moving image samples), preferably via a web link to your online portfolio – please upload this under 'additional' in your online application (NB the maximum file size you can upload is 20MB)
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • IELTS test results, at the point of application

You should emphasise your practical/theoretical experience in the arts or the media in your application.

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

References

Our departmental preference is for referees to upload a confidential reference to the on-line admissions system. Please make sure to select the option for your referees to be automatically notified of the need for them to submit a reference on your behalf.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.

Application deadline: 30 June

We may consider late applications if there are vacancies. Applications are considered in batches from February onwards so we would advise you to apply as early as possible.

We encourage you to complete your application even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Please be aware that some pathways of MA Filmmaking tend to be heavily subscribed, so please feel free to apply for more than one pathway to increase your chances of being offered a place. If you do apply for more than one pathway, please indicate in your personal statement your preferred pathway.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Additional Costs

The materials and incidentals budget for your film projects is likely to amount to several thousand pounds. Each team member is responsible for raising approximately £600 to cover the material costs of the three films that each team makes on the course.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Scholarships

The Department of Media and Communications offers fee waivers for MA Filmmaking. Find out more on our departmental funding page.

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