Career in Cinematography and Film Production

If the words Lights, Camera, Action” turn you on, then maybe it is time to evaluate Cinematography and Film Production as a career. With the Indian Entertainment and Media Industry expected to reach Rs. 2,272 by the end of 2018 according to a survey conducted by PwC-CII, a career in this industry is a very tempting choice.

While the share of print media is likely to decrease significantly by 2018 according to the survey, the television industry is believed to lead the revenue generation by contributing around 37 percent of the total earnings, followed by the internet which is expected to contribute around 22 percent of the total profits.

A Larger than Life career frame

A large number of jobs in the motion picture industry fall under the category of Cinematography or Film Production. While cinematographers determine how each scene should look on screen, film producers oversee the overall process of production and coordination with various stakeholders including actors, technicians, directors, and other personnel. Typically, both the careers are best suited for candidates with artistic, creative, and high organisational skills; however a degree in the field certainly helps polish your skills to make you a better candidate.

Being a cinematographer means you are constantly in the process of learning constant changes in technology, and changes in best practices are a part and parcel of the industry. While cinematographers are not required to handle the camera by themselves, they determine the whole plan of action regarding the shoot. From the angle and the distance of the camera to the light requirement at the location, they ensure that the shooting goes according to the plan. During post-production, cinematographers oversee the clipping and the editing of the shots. A Bachelors degree in Film, Broadcasting, Mass Media or a similarly related discipline is generally required, but an internship along with a Masters degree certainly helps in landing up an entry-level position quickly.

Roles and responsibilities of a producer

Producers require a high level of entrepreneurial skills and an in-depth knowledge of the motion picture industry. They are entrusted with planning and managing the technical and artistic resources for a film. They oversee the script development, recruit staff, coordinate the locations and resources required for sets and oversee the budgets of the project. Generally, producers have a Bachelors degree or a pursue a certificate programme in Film, Cinema, Theatre Production or a related discipline, whereas some people might enter the trade without any formal educational qualifications.

Career studios for Cinematographers

In India, courses related to Cinematography and Film Production are taught at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, Whistling Woods International, Mumbai, Center for Research in Art of Film and Television, Delhi, Asian Academy of Film and Television, Noida. A lot of Universities abroad like University of Miami, New York University, and institutes like National Film and Television School NFTS, MET Film School, London Film School are among the few destinations abroad that offer these courses. Many Institutes have recently started to deliver the course online providing a great ease of access.

Cinematographers generally work with Directors of Photography and set cameras for each scene based on the need of the occasion. Due to the wide scope of motion pictures, a cinematographer may specialise in one area like special effects, animation etc.

The monetary aspect

For producers, working on weekends, long hours spent in meetings and locations are the norm. A high-pressure absorbing capacity and high motivation are required to be successful on the job. An entry level job can fetch you anything from INR 2.5 to 7.5 lakh per annum and with an advance in expertise, the salaries tend to grow. The average salary in the industry ranges from INR 5 to 5.5 lakh per annum.

The media industry is growing at the rate of 15 percent annually and the advertisement industry is growing at the rate of 17 percent. The career option offers a good scope of a prosperous future. Both the courses offer scope in working in the Bollywood, Ad Agencies, Short Film Making Companies or working independently as a freelancer. Qualified professionals can also work with government agencies such as Doordarshan, or the Ministry of Communications for a stable income.

Institutes that offer cinematography and film production:

Ramesh Sippy Academy of Cinema and Entertainment

Creo Valley School of Creativity, Design and Management

Jawaharlal Nehru University

Atharva Institute of Film and Television

Balaji Telefilms – Institute of Creative Excellence

Film And Television Institute of Hyderabad

MGR Government Film and Television Institute

India Today Media Institute – ITMI

Ramoji Academy of Film and Television

The author is Paramjit Anand (Executive director, Acreaty Management Consultant Pvt. Ltd.)

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