Cinematography Majors: Salary and Career Facts
Do you have a passion for working behind a camera and a keen eye for working with actors, landscapes and sets? Do you have a knack for the technical facets of camera operations? If so, then consider pursuing a career in cinematography, which is described below. Schools offering Cinema Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Jobs Could I Pursue as a Cinematography Major?
As a cinematographer, you'll work as a camera operator in the entertainment industry. While most cinematographers work on motion pictures, some work in television, commercials or corporate videos. It will be your responsibility to ensure that the camera captures the images the director is seeking. This will require strong communication skills and the ability to interpret artistic direction. In addition, you'll need to have a strong understanding of lighting, lens use and color.
You may be required to work with a variety of camera set-ups. For example, some shots employ stationary, mounted cameras, while others use cameras mounted on cranes or tracks. In other situations, you may use hand-held cameras or stabilizers, to which cameras are mounted by harness to your shoulders. Stabilizers allow you to move at ground-level with the action while maintaining a focused shot. Additionally, you may work with traditional film-based camera or more modern digital cameras.
What Might I Earn?
You can find the latest salary information for cinematographers on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) website, included with the overall data for camera operators working in film, television and video production (www.bls.gov). As of May 2009, the BLS reported a median hourly wage of $20.64, which corresponds to an annual median salary was $42,940.
You'll find the most job opportunities in cinematography in California, where 3,470 camera operators were employed in 2009. New York had the second most, followed by Florida, Texas and Michigan. Oregon was the highest paying state, with an annual mean wage of $73,890, as of May 2009.
What Types of Bachelor's Degree Programs Are Available?
If you're looking to earn a bachelor's degree, consider pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that includes coursework in cinematography. The most common programs are those in film or film and television production, which are often found at art-focused schools or at the theater and film departments of universities. In some cases, you'll be able to major in film while completing a minor in cinematography, though you'll typically study cinematography to some extent regardless of your minor options.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: