Cinematography: Courses, Admissions 2024, Eligibility, Exams, Syllabus, Top Colleges, Job Profiles

Updated on Feb 19, 2024 11:50 IST
Pragati Singh

Pragati SinghSenior Executive - Content

Cinematography, the art and science of crafting visual narratives for motion pictures and videos, demands a keen eye for detail and storytelling. Cinematographers shape the visual essence of a film, employing techniques such as lighting, camera angles, and composition to convey stories and elicit emotions. Lighting, framing, composition, camera motion, camera angles, film selection, lens options, depth of field, zoom, focus, colour, exposure, and filtration are all part of cinematography. Hence, a cinematographer is involved in every film that you watch on the big screen.

The Cinematography course duration can be within 1 to 4 years at fees ranging from INR 30,000 to 4 lakh. The graduates of this course can either work at different job profiles like Assistant Director, Assistant Manager, Assistant Producer, Film Editor, Cameraman, Cinematographer, or start their own work as freelancers.

Eligibility for Cinematography Courses typically requires completion of 10+2 from a recognized board, with some institutions conducting entrance exams or portfolio reviews. For postgraduate studies, a bachelor's degree in any discipline may be necessary.

Several renowned institutions offer cinematography courses, each with its own entry requirements and selection processes. For instance, the Joint Entrance Test (JET) is crucial for admission to the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), while the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) conducts written tests and interviews. Other institutes like Whistling Woods International and the Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT) have their own respective entrance exams. Top colleges offering Cinematography courses include FTII in Pune, SRFTI in Kolkata, WWI in Mumbai, and AAFT in Noida, among others.

Table of Contents
  1. Cinematography Course Details: Highlights
  2. What is Cinematography Course?
    • 2.1 Why Study Cinematography?
    • 2.2 Who Can Pursue Cinematography?
  3. Cinematography Eligibility Criteria
    • 3.1 Types of Cinematography Courses
  4. Cinematography Entrance Exams 2024
  5. Cinematography Syllabus
  6. Top Cinematography Colleges
    • 6.1 Top Cinematography Private Colleges 
    • 6.2 Top Cinematography Government Colleges 
  7. Cinematography Job Profiles & Top Recruiters
    • 7.1 Cinematography Job Profiles 
    • 7.2 Cinematography Top Recruiters
  8. FAQs on Cinematography

Cinematography Course Details: Highlights

All motion images we see today are made possible by cinematographers working in the photography and film industries. The film and television industries are rapidly expanding, and with it, the opportunities for cinematographers in India and overseas. Many youngsters get inclined towards this course.

They can go through the table below to know the key highlights about the Cinematography courses:

Particulars Details
Course Name Cinematography
Course Levels UG &PG
Course Duration 1 to 4 years
Entrance Exams Jamia Millia Islamia Entrance ExamXIC OETIIMC Entrance ExamFTII JETJNUEECUET, etc.
Average Fees INR 30,000-4 lakh
Average Annual Salary INR 4 lakh to INR 6 lakh
Job Profiles Assistant Director, Assistant Manager, Assistant Producer, Professor, Laboratory Assistant, Film Editor, Cameraman, Cinematographer, Video Editor
Top Recruiters Production Houses, TV Industry, Photo Studios, Film and Tv Academies, etc.
Top Colleges

Note- This information is sourced from the official website and may vary.

Cinematography Course Relevant Information:

Cinematography Courses

What is Cinematography Course?

Cinematography course entails the skill of capturing and visually telling a story in a film or television production.  Some of the most common undergraduate cinematography courses are BA Cinematography, BFA Cinematography, and BSc Cinematography. Some of the specialised courses available at the master's level include a Post Graduate Diploma in Television Production and a PG Diploma in Digital Cinematography. Cinematography courses can range in price from INR 5,000 to INR 3 lakh.

Why Study Cinematography?

Cinematographers are also known as directors of photography, because without them, there would be no motion pictures, documentaries, or films. The entertainment sector has grown so rapidly that it has created new chances for job profiles associated with the industry, including cinematographers. Students who have successfully completed this course are involving themselves in private and independent projects, while others are getting jobs as camera assistants, video editors, and cinematographers in existing production houses, studios, and projects.

Who Can Pursue Cinematography?

Every day, technology expands its horizons. When it comes to cameras and filming, new ways and tactics are constantly being discussed. New techniques for directing and capturing moving images have been included in the course for discussion. In research, new cameras and methods of using them have also been introduced. New research on lighting, optics, colour correction, printing, and digital media is also being considered.

Cinematography Eligibility Criteria

As mentioned above, candidates can pursue Cinematography at undergraduate, postgraduate, and other levels as well. A foundation degree is not required to get enrolled in a certificate or diploma programme, but determination and commitment will always take a long way.

However, a degree or certificate that demonstrates some experience in the field is usually a plus. A degree in subjects like Mass Communication & Media or Film making and more is relevant to the field.

  • Eligibility for UG Courses: Candidates must have passed the 12th standard test with at least 50% from a recognised board in India. Students may be required to take entrance examinations and pass personal interviews/group discussion rounds.
  • Eligibility for PG Courses: Students seeking admission to postgraduate studies in cinematography must have completed a graduation-level test in a related discipline with a minimum aggregate percentage of 55% or an equivalent score from an Indian institution or university.

Types of Cinematography Courses

Candidates interested in having a career in the field of Cinematography can pursue the programme at certification, diploma, dual diploma and degree level. The time duration for the courses can be as short as 3 months and as long as 3 years. Popular courses under the programme are given below:

Cinematography Diploma Courses

Cinematography Dual or Integrated Degree

Cinematography Certificate Courses

PG Diploma in Film, Television & Digital Video Production

BSc in Cinema + Diploma in Cinematography

PG Certificate Course in Electronic Cinematography

PG Diploma Cinematography

BSc in Cinema + Diploma in Direction

Certificate in Cinematography

Diploma in Video Camera & Lighting

B.Sc in Cinema + Diploma in Post Production

Digital Cinematography using RED

NCVTE Master in Diploma in Cinematography

MSc in Cinema + PG Diploma in Acting


NCVTE Diploma in Digital Cinematography

MSc in Cinema + PG Diploma in Direction



MSc in Cinema + PG Diploma in Post Production


Note: Apart from the courses mentioned above, there are various colleges that offer proper degree courses like B.Sc in Film Making, M.Sc in Film Making and more.

Cinematography Entrance Exams 2024

Generally, a candidate can directly apply for the programme by visiting the official website of cinematography colleges. But, there are a few entrance exams of a few institutes or colleges through which the admissions are conducted:


Exam Dates

Exam Schedule

JMI Entrance Exam

Apr '24 - May '24 (Tentative)

JMI Entrance Exam Schedule

IIMC Entrance Exam 

11 Mar '24 - 28 Mar '24

IIMC Entrance Exam Schedule

ACJ Entrance Exam 

Feb ‘24 (Tentative)

ACJ Entrance Exam Schedule


Mar '24 (Tentative)

FTII JET Schedule


Dec ‘24 (Tentative) 

GMCET Schedule

Note- This information is sourced from the official website of the institute/exam.

Cinematography Course Relevant Information:

Entrance Exams for Cinematography Courses

Cinematography Syllabus

The subjects taught in a Cinematography course vary according to the level of the course. Although the topics mentioned below are broadly covered in almost all the subjects:

Cinematography Syllabus
Cameras for Motion Picture Transfer of Film to Video Tele-Cine Different Types of Film Cameras
Cinema Projection Digital Film Production Shooting through Mirrors Underwater Shooting
Rigging the Camera Demo Reel Introduction to 3D Introduction to CGI
Cinematography Analysis Color Theory Film History and Theory Film and Digital Laboratory
Optics & Digital Art Media Workshops on Cinematography Batteries for Motion Picture Camera Various Sections of the Motion Picture Lab
Colour Negative and Intermediate Film Film and Digital Camera Techniques Digital Postproduction Exponometry
Color Film Printing Colour Correction Sensitometry Films in Motion Pictures
Screening of Films Aerial Photography Various Camera Tests Different Types of Shooting Formats
Web Designing Visual Effects Shooting in Snow Audio and Video Editing

Cinematography Course Relevant Information:

Cinematography Syllabus

Top Cinematography Colleges

 In India, numerous prestigious colleges offer courses in Cinematography. The tables below list the top colleges for mass communication and media. However, it should be noted that the colleges featured in the chart are not placed in any particular order of ranking hierarchy, but rather alphabetically.

Top Cinematography Private Colleges 

The top popular private colleges for Cinematography courses are as follows.

College Name Fees (in INR)

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Film, TV and Animation Studies, Delhi

JECRC, Jaipur 35,000
Asian Academy of Film and Television, Noida 5 Lakh
FTII, Pune 1.45 Lakh
5 Lakh

MGMU School of Film Arts, Aurangabad

4.5 Lakh
Bennett University, Greater Noida 10 Lakh
Calcutta Media Institute, Kolkata 35,000

Note- This information is sourced from the official website/ counselling body and may vary.

Top Cinematography Government Colleges 

The top popular government colleges for Cinematography courses are as follows.

College Name Fees (in INR)

Kushabhau Thakre Patrakarita Avam Jansanchar Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur

Gujarat University, Ahmedabad ---- 

Government Film and TV Technical Institute, Bangalore


Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Regional Government Film and Television Institute, Assam


Biju Pattanaik Film and Television Institute, Cuttak


Note- This information is sourced from the official website/ counselling body and may vary.

Cinematography Course Relevant Information:

Popular Colleges for Cinematography courses

Cinematography Job Profiles & Top Recruiters

Unlike in the past, when the film industry was the only option, cinematographers can now work in TV and web series, film development units, studios, and video businesses. Not only in India, but also worldwide, they have a plethora of work opportunities. Short films, web series, TV shows, documentaries, and other forms of media have also provided opportunities for aspiring cinematographers.

Cinematography Job Profiles 

Some of the main job profiles that can be pursued after Cinematography graduates are stated below:

Job Profile Job Description Average Annual Salary 
Camera Operator Operates the camera under the cinematographer's direction, framing shots and following camera movements. INR 3-6 LPA
Focus Puller Maintains sharp focus throughout the filming, ensuring clarity and visual quality. INR 2-4 LPA 
Gaffer Heads the lighting department, responsible for setting up and controlling lighting to create the desired effect. INR 4-8 LPA
Grip Sets up and operates camera support equipment, ensuring stability and smooth camera movements. INR 2-4 LPA
Dolly Grip Operates the dolly track, allowing for smooth camera movement along a set path. INR 3-5 LPA
Steadicam Operator Carries and operates a Steadicam camera system, enabling fluid, handheld shots. INR 5-8 LPA
Second Unit Cinematographer Films additional scenes or B-roll footage independently or assists the main cinematographer. INR 4-7 LPA
Drone Operator Captures aerial footage using drones, adding unique perspectives to the film. INR 3-6 LPA
Colorist Digitally grades the filmed footage, adjusting color, contrast, and other visual elements. INR 4-8 LPA
Cinematographer (DOP) Leads the camera department, responsible for the overall visual look and feel of the film. INR 8-20+ LPA

Note- The above salary has been taken from external sources, and hence may vary.

Cinematography Top Recruiters

Candidates can work with various production houses like Yashraj Films, Dharma Productions, Balaji Telefilms, India Today, Doordarshan etc. Students after completing a course in Cinematography can find work in the following fields:

Cinematography Top Recruiters

Entertainment Industry


Tv Academies

News Channels

Production Houses

Photo Studios

Streaming Platforms like Netflix Broadcasters NFDC

Read More:

FAQs on Cinematography

Q. Which are the basic and major topics covered under the Cinematography course at all levels?

A. The major topics that are common at all the levels are listed below:

  • Film screening, shooting, appreciation
  • About Cameras, types, angle and it's functioning
  • Lighting, its basics and techniques
  • Introduction to lenses

Q. What is the standard time duration of a Cinematography course in India?

A. In India, the duration of the Cinematography course can vary between 3 months to 3 years, depending on the level of the programme.

  • Courses leading to a diploma or certificate: Filmmaking diploma or certificate programmes normally last between six months and a year. These courses are frequently made to offer fundamental instruction in filmmaking and cinematography.
  • Programmes for Undergraduates: Bachelor's degree programmes in cinematography or film production typically last 3–4 years. These courses cover all facets of filmmaking and provide a thorough education in cinematography.
  • Postgraduate Studies: The length of master's degree programmes in cinematography or similar subjects varies. Some programmes last a year, while others might last two years or longer. Postgraduate courses frequently offer specialised training and in-depth understanding in cinematography.
  • Short-term Workshops and Courses: Some organisations and film schools provide brief workshops and courses, which can range from a few weeks to a few months.

Q, What are the top entrance exams for Cinematography courses?

A. Some of the top Cinematography entrance exams includes:

  • Joint Entrance Test (JET) for Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)
  • Written test and interview for Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI)
  • Creative Aptitude Test (CAT) for Whistling Woods International (WWI)
  • Entrance Exam for Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT)

Q. Why study Cinematography?

A. The art of filmmaking is called  cinematography. It conveys emotions, mood, and storytelling components using features like camera angles, framing, lighting, composition, movement, and colour. It enables filmmakers to express concepts and thoughts to viewers in a visual and emotional way.

By bringing the narrative to life, cinematography improves the storytelling process. It facilitates atmosphere development, tension building, character development, and emotional evocation. Audiences are better able to relate to characters and the tale by using visual storytelling.

Q. What are the different types of Cinematography courses available?

A. Courses range from certificate programs to diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and specialized workshops. You can choose to focus on film, television, digital filmmaking, or specific areas like documentary cinematography.

Q. Is the role of a Director similar to that of a Cinematographer?

A. No. While the director is in charge of the camera, the cinematographer is in charge of making it happen. Exposure — the technique of altering camera settings to achieve the intended look of an image — is one of the most important issues for cinematographers.

Director is primarily responsible for the overall creative vision of the film. They work closely with the screenwriter to interpret the script, develop the story, and determine the artistic direction of the film. Cinematographers are responsible for the visual execution of the director's vision. They collaborate with the director to achieve the desired look and feel of the film.

Q. Which are the popular colleges/ universities offering Cinematographer courses?

A. Some of the popular Screenplay Writing colleges in India are – Xavier Institute of Communications, BVBFTS, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Asian Academy of Film & Television, and many more.

Q. What resources can help me learn more about Cinematography?

A. Students can consider following options in order to learn more about Cinematography:

  • Film festivals, workshops, and industry events
  • Online communities and forums for discussion
  • Filmmaking books, magazines, and websites
  • Watch movies and analyze the visual storytelling

Q. Is a career in Cinematography a good choice?

A. It differs from one individual to the other, depending on one's choices and interests. It is true, though, that the more experience you have with this topic, the better it is. The field is both fascinating and exciting to work in. It is all about your perspective towards filmmaking and the process involved in it. For this role, one must have experience esp. in the camera department. With this; technical skills and in-depth knowledge of lighting and filmmaking is also important. The ability to make creative decisions and organisational skills are a must too. If you have all of this, then this is the field for you.

Q. What are the different career options available for Cinematographers?

A. Following are some of the career options Cinmeatographers can opt:

  • Feature films, documentaries, web series, and television shows
  • Advertising and corporate films
  • Music videos and event videography
  • Independent filmmaking and freelancing

Q. What are the average salaries for Cinematographers in India?

A. Salaries vary depending on experience, skill level, and the type of project. Entry-level roles might start around INR 30,000 - INR 40,000 per month, while experienced professionals can earn several lakhs for major projects.

Popular Cinematography Colleges in India

Following are the most popular Cinematography Colleges in India. Learn more about these Cinematography colleges (Courses, Reviews, Answers & more) by downloading the Brochure.
4.5 - 15 LPA
1 Course
74.98 K
2 Courses
48.31 K - 1.45 L
2 Courses
4.8 L

Popular Private Cinematography Colleges in India

2 Courses
4.8 L
3 Courses
10.04 L - 19.04 L
2 Courses
7 L - 12 L
4.1 - 6.45 LPA
1 L
1 Course
4.5 - 15 LPA

Most Popular Courses

Following are the most popular Cinematography courses, based on alumni reviews. Explore these reviews to choose the best course in Cinematography.

Popular Cinematography UG Courses in India

Following are the most popular Cinematography UG Courses . You can explore the top Colleges offering these UG Courses by clicking the links below.

UG Courses

Popular Cinematography PG Courses in India

Following are the most popular Cinematography PG Courses . You can explore the top Colleges offering these PG Courses by clicking the links below.

PG Courses


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Answered 2 weeks ago

To apply for admission in BSc in Cinema degree, students need to submit the duly filled application form along with the mandatory documents. The Application Form can be downloaded online at the official website or can be collected in person from the campus. The offices campus to collect the form are


Indrani Choudhury

Contributor-Level 10