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Course information

Length

1 year full-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

If you are passionate about pursuing a career as a cinematographer in an environment that promotes innovative filmmaking, this programme is for you. With its unique blend of hands-on workshops, studio and location filming exercises, and high production value collaborative film projects, the MA in Filmmaking (Cinematography) elevates your skills as a moving-image storyteller to the level of Director of Photography.

What we offer

The MA in Filmmaking (Cinematography) is a pathway of the Goldsmiths MA in Filmmaking. It is housed in a new purpose-built media facility with state-of-the-art teaching spaces including film and photography studios equipped with Arri cameras and lighting. 

You'll learn sophisticated camera, lighting and gripping techniques, and will perform all camera department roles from Director of Photography to Camera Operator, Focus-puller, Gaffer, Camera Assistant, Spark and Grip. You’ll work on a number of exercises and films per term in your specialist role, culminating in a major film production towards the end of the degree. Throughout the degree, you’ll also gain parallel experience in related cine roles by crewing for your fellow cinematographer classmates.

In addition to developing professional-level skills in your specialist craft area, you’ll attend classes in related disciplines such as Directing and Editing and advance your collaborative skills by working with students across all specialisations, including writers, producers and sound designers. The horizontal framework is designed to stimulate collaborative practice by introducing you to a breadth of filmmaking knowledge combined with a high level of expertise as an accomplished cinematographer.

Expert guidance

Experienced tutors and industry guests provide expert guidance designed to enhance the flow of your individual research, experimentation and artistic achievement. Recent guest speakers include Barry Ackroyd BSC, Cesar Charlone ABC, Jess Hall BSC, Martin ‘Teddy’ Testar BKSTS, Adam Scarfe (DoP), Howard Davidson (Gaffer), Steve MacCarthy (Operator) and our very own Witold Stok BSC.

You'll be able to join the British Society of Cinematographers Club as student members and have the opportunity to interact with the world’s top cinematographers during our annual trip to the world’s largest cinematography festival Camerimage in Poland.

You'll leave the MA with a diverse portfolio of moving-image work that spans fiction and documentary, as well as hybrid and experimental genres. The programme will prepare you to enter the global job market, armed with an enhanced understanding of your practical, intellectual and creative capacities as a cinematographer. You will also 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.

Our students say:

“I won the NAHEMI Best Cinematography award at Encounters International Short Film Festival for my Goldsmiths graduation film. Yet, before enrolling on the MA, I had little previous experience of cinematography. I knew I was fascinated by cinematography and I understood that lighting, in particular, was a painstaking skill."

“Since I graduated from the MA, things have gone really well. So far this year, I've done nineteen short films and two feature films, one of which was picked up at Cannes. It’s all a bit manic and I have no social life, but I love it! So, I would just like to thank the Goldsmiths staff again for taking a chance with me, and accepting me onto the programme.”

“I always used to think of filmmaking as a craft, but after making my graduation film at Goldsmiths, my vision has shifted and I am now convinced that filmmaking is truly an art. It’s not just about planning sophisticated camera moves or complex editing; it's about linking creative techniques to tell a powerful story in ways that people can experience for themselves and literally ‘feel’.”

Contact the department

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

What you'll study

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 15 credits
  Experimental Media 30 credits or 15 credits
  Filmmakers Make Theory 15 credits
  Film Producing Fundamentals 15 credits
  Representing Reality 30 credits or 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 for the 2018-19 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.

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.

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.

 

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

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.

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.

Careers

Our graduates

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

  • cinematographers
  • film camera operators
  • television camera operators
  • lighting designers
  • focus pullers
  • gaffers
  • grips
  • steadicam operators

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

What our students say

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."

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