Course Location
Sydney On-Campus
2018 Graduate Certificate Screen: Cinematography
Postgraduate (AQF Level 8)
Delivery Mode
32 weeks / 2 semesters. Semester starts week commencing February 26, 2018
Course Fee
Compulsory on campus Orientation week commencing Monday February 19, 2018. Further details will be provided post-enrolment
Attendance Pattern
12 x 2 day workshops plus 8 Saturdays for the year. In addition, 2 x evening sessions each semester (see Indicative Timetable for more details)


Sharpen your eye as a cinematic storyteller and strengthen your professional knowledge, skills and practices in cinematography.

This course will enhance your creative and technical skills in a practice-based learning environment. You will explore the visual storytelling principles of cinematography and apply this learning across different story forms, including drama and documentary. You will also investigate key theories, techniques and technologies of cinematography within AFTRS’s challenging and supportive culture of critically-informed creative practice.

An essential component of this course is cross-disciplinary collaboration. You will investigate the different perspectives of cinematic storytelling and engage in collaborative exercises to build your network.


The Graduate Certificate Screen: Cinematography is a part-time postgraduate course, which is delivered across two semesters, on Fridays and Saturdays, at the AFTRS campus. The course is structured so that you can maintain your employment while you gain your qualification.


This course will appeal to:

  • emerging cinematographers who are committed to acquiring the knowledge and skills of cinematography (assistants, focus pullers, camera operators; videographers of music videos, corporates, wedding and sports, cinematographers on a range of formats);practitioners transitioning from other professions (stills photographers, visual effects); and
  • higher education graduates looking for the next step in their career path.


You will have the opportunity to hone your creative voice; and consolidate professional knowledge, skills and practices in cinematography to take your career to the next level. You will shoot a micro-shoot, short documentary and short drama to use as calling cards for future work; and you will find a network of key collaborators.

AFTRS has a long and successful history of postgraduate study. It is consistently rated as one of the top 15 film schools in the world by industry publication The Hollywood Reporter, the only Australian education institution on this list. AFTRS works closely with industry to ensure its courses are relevant and future-focused. Our graduates are sought after by industry across the country and around the world and have won and been nominated for a slate of Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy, BAFTA and AACTA awards.


For details of help to pay for your fees, please refer to the Study Assist website.​

Contact our Student Centre or call 1300 131 461 or (02) 9805 6444 with any questions or to learn more about your study options. You can also contact the Indigenous Unit​.

Changes in circumstances may impact upon the accuracy or currency of information. While AFTRS takes all due care to ensure that the information is accurate, it reserves the right to vary any information described here without notice.

Last updated October 16, 2017



Semester 1

Cinematography 1:
6 x 2 Friday/Saturdays from 9.30 to 5.30pm plus 2 x 3 hour sessions on Fridays.

Collaborative Practice 1:
4 Saturdays per semester.
Currently scheduled on March 3, April 7, April 28 and May 26, 2018 from 9.30am to 5.30pm

Semester 2

Cinematography 2:
6 x 2 Friday/Saturdays from 9.30 to 5.30pm plus 2 x 3 hour sessions on Fridays.

Collaborative Practice 2:
4 Saturdays per semester (dates to be confirmed) from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Disclaimer: Please note this indicative timetable is subject to change.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:
  1. Critically evaluate and apply key principles, techniques and technologies of cinematography.

  2. Research, interpret, and reflect on different approaches to cinematic practice.

  3. Apply specialist knowledge in the creative and technical execution of cinematography to visually interpret stories.

  4. Identify, analyse and apply cinematic principles across different story forms.

Access to AFTRS equipment and facilities is determined by the specific requirements of the course learning outcomes.

Admission Requirements

Places in this course are competitive and are based on merit selection.

Candidates are required to submit the following:

1. Prerequisites

Applicants to postgraduate programs are required to hold a relevant undergraduate degree at bachelor level, or to have completed equivalent work experience and/or training.

The typical duration of a bachelor degree is 3-4 years, and candidates applying by degree equivalence are required to demonstrate they have achieved corresponding learning outcomes by completing a similar volume of relevant work experience and/or training. If you wish to apply for admission to a postgraduate program by degree equivalence, please contact the Student Centre​.

2. Application Tasks

2.1 Personal Audio-visual Work that Presents Who You Are

In the audio-visual work articulate your strengths, experience in cinematography and creative influences. What stories so you want to tell and why? Outline what you think you need at this stage of your career (submit as media file - up to 3 minutes).

2.2. Creative Task: Visual Piece of Screen Material plus Visual Treatment

Visual Piece of Screen Material:

Create a visually compelling piece of screen material long on the theme of joy. It may include sound but excludes dialogue, text and captions (up to one minute - submit as media file).

Visual Treatment:

In your visual treatment, tell us about your creative process. How did you arrive at your approach to your shoot and edit? You might include a short written summary of your narrative, your visual references for mood/tone/colour/style. You can submit visual treatment either:

  • Text and images up to 3 pages in length (submit as PDF file) or
  • Audio-visual form of no more that 2 minutes (submit as media file).

3. Creative Work

Submit screen content of any format where you were the sole cinematographer. Your creative work should demonstrate your talent and potential. Be selective with your choices; we want your best work (up to 15 minutes - submit as media file). Clearly outline your role on the work submitted in your creative work (submit as PDF file).

4. Uploading your Documents and Media File

You will be able to upload your written documents and media file/s as part of the application process. Ensure you conform to the required file type and size specified as follows:

  • Written documents can be uploaded to the application portal and have a maximum of 10MB in size;
  • Media files under 50MB can be uploaded to the application portal;

When you are uploading your application in the AFTRS portal you will be able to upload PDF documents and some media files directly into the portal. Any media files larger than 50MB must be uploaded as follows:

  • Creative work must be uploaded to a dedicated, secure AFTRS Dropbox folder online. A hyperlink will be provided to you in an email when you complete the online application process.
  • Once you have uploaded your creative work to the Dropbox folder it will automatically be transferred into our database leaving the Dropbox empty. Do not upload the files again. Student Centre staff check all applications and will contact you if there are any files missing.

Go to this link if you need information on how to compress a media file.

5. Resume and Educational Qualifications

Provide a list of your achievements, educational qualifications and work experience. You must also provide a certified copy​ of your highest education level as detailed on the How and When to Apply​ page on the AFTRS website. Use the link provided for information on how to certify documents.

6. Proof of Residency

Ensure you submit a certified copy​ of your birth certificate or passport as detailed on the How and When to Apply​ page on the AFTRS website. Use the link provided for information on how to certify documents.

Selection Criteria

Places in this course are competitive and are based on merit selection. The selection criteria are:

  • Evidence of visual storytelling ability.

  • Evidence of creative thinking.

  • Demonstrated reflective capacity.


Subject 1: Cinematography 1

Key topics taught in this semester include Lighting the Frame, Framing the Story and Professional Practice.

Subject 2: Collaborative Practice 1

Through a series of practical exercises you will examine cinematic storytelling and related practices through the lens of other disciplines; evaluate and reflect upon your own practice within screen arts; and apply your understanding of interdisciplinary collaborative work practices.

Subject 3: Cinematography 2

Topics explored in semester 1 - Lighting the Frame, Framing the Story and Professional Practice – will be investigated in greater depth and complexity and applied to different story forms.

Subject 4: Collaborative Practice 2

Developing your work in Semester 1, you will continue to demonstrate your capacity to create relationships between content, form and audiences in this interdisciplinary context.


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.