For other NFTS masters courses
- The only specialist 2-year Cinematography course in the UK.
- Three stages, bluescreen and greenscreen facilities.
- Shoot live action and animated films.
- Students use 16mm, Super 16mm and 35mm film, digital video and HD cameras.
- Unlike other Schools, all production costs are met by the school.
We welcome EU/EEA Students. Those accepted onto the course starting in 2018 and 2019 will have their fees guaranteed at the UK rate for both years of the course. Postgraduate students can apply for a loan to help with their studies via the Student Loans Company Loans. A £10,240 loan is available to contribute to course and living costs. The Postgraduate Loan is only open to EU/EEA and UK Students who normally live in England. It is not currently available to Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland Students. Find out more here.
This course commences in January each year. 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.
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.
For the outline programme specification and MA course student agreement, please view the documents available on our entry requirements page for more information.
Heads of Department are award-winning cinematographers Oliver Stapleton (NFTS graduate) and Stuart Harris.
Oliver is a graduate of the NFTS and started out with music videos for legendary artists such as David Bowie and the Rolling Stones and won the MTV award for best cinematography for A-Ha’s The Sun always Shines on TV. He has worked on a wide range of films including My Beautiful Laundrette, The Grifters, Cider House Rules and The Proposal.
Stuart Harris began his career at Elstree Studios. He worked on many productions before working on films including Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, Ken Russell’s The Boyfriend and Peter Hall’s Three Into Two Won’t Go. He became an award winning cinematographer photographing David Hare’s Wetherby which won him the coveted Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Stuart then went on to win many awards for his creative work on commercials and music videos throughout the world. He is particularly proud of his work with the late legendary Storm Thorgerson for Pink Floyd.
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.
We are looking for people with innate talent. Therefore previous training in these areas is not mandatory but some basic technical knowledge is required. Experience gained from working in the camera department of the film and television industry is helpful but is not essential.
You must have an understanding of the role of the Director of Photography and its creative and logistical responsibilities. You would also need to be able to demonstrate good communication and collaborative skills and leadership qualities.
You must have a good understanding of “cinematic language” and demonstrate this in your submitted film material.
We would like to see examples of your work that are exclusively yours. The showreel must contain fiction filming. It should demonstrate a strong visual sensibility and an awareness of the considerations of camera operating, composition and lighting and their potential for creating mood and atmosphere. Most importantly your fiction film should have a clear element of visual narrative and show your ability to tell a story with images, using all the elements that can be brought to contribute to it. This we refer to as “cinematic language”.
Materials submitted with your application should be of a good technical standard.
Showreel of your work (15 minutes max): (Vimeo links or downloadable links via Dropbox or WeTransfer)
We require a continuous narrative piece of fiction storytelling. You should clearly identify your role on the production in the titles at the beginning and end of the piece. It should clearly identify you as the camera operator and also the creator of the lighting design, i.e. that you are Cinematographer/Director of Photography.
Each submitted item must have original titles and credits at the beginning and the end. Work in progress is not acceptable.
We will watch the first 15 minutes if your showreel is longer than this
How to Apply
The application deadline has now passed, please contact registry via email stating your name, course of interest and email address if you would like to be added to a mailing list:
- 2 Year Course
- Course runs Jan-Dec each year
- Next intake: January 2019
- NFTS Scholarships available for UK Students