Educational Programs

Cinematic Visual Effects


Program description

Throughout the history of film, visual effects artists have created the “wow” factor that that make movies magical. If you want to enter a career in Cinematic Visual Effects, MCTC’s program will give you the skills you need to integrate film/video footage with visual effects processes like motion graphics, compositing, 2D animation, green/blue screen work and other techniques at the cutting-edge of the field. 

Program start and location

You must begin this program in the fall semester only. Courses are taught on MCTC’s main campus. You will spend considerable time outside the classroom working on productions. 

Degree options and requirements

Cinematic Visual Effects Diploma—48 credits

Click here for program and course information.

Click here for the MCTC Cinema Division supplemental application form.

What you will learn

  • You will learn to integrate traditionally acquired film/video footage with visual effects processes like motion graphics, compositing, 2D animation and green/blue screen work.
  • You will establish strong collaborations with Post-production, Directing and Cinematography students in the Cinema Division.
  • You will learn how to use emerging technologies using state-of-the-art equipment.
  • You will learn best practices for professional standards and expectations.

Points of pride

  • The MCTC Cinema programs are amongst the very few two-year degree programs offered in cinema production in the U.S. The MCTC Cinema Division is the only comprehensive cinema production institution of its kind in the upper Midwest.
  • MCTC’s cinema programs are some of the most affordable programs in the U.S. and tuition covers almost all production costs for students.
  • Thanks to a low student-to-teacher ratio, you will receive personal attention from qualified, passionate faculty members who are working professionals and hold MFA or Ph.D. degrees.
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  • A diverse student base adds to the creative experience. Students come from all over the world, have varied professional backgrounds and range in age from 18 to 65.
  • Cutting-edge technology and facilities strengthen the programs’ practical experience. Students have access to the latest software, cameras and equipment as well as production and post-production facilities and studios.
  • Local and nationally recognized industry experts from Hollywood and New York serve as guest speakers and work with students every semester.
  • Former student achievements have included: producing a Super Bowl ad that was the most-watched television commercial of all time; writing and producing a short film that qualified for consideration as a 2010 Oscar nomination; earning the McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship Award in 2009; receiving Bush Foundation Artist Fellowships; and winning a 2008 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, one of the most prestigious screenwriting prizes in the world.
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Where you could work

  • Local and national film and video production houses
  • Local and national independent producers
  • Independent home video distribution companies
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  • In-house production departments within retail stores and corporations
  • Local and national film studios
  • Local and national television, cable stations and networks
  • National and local advertising agencies
  • Computer software companies
  • As a freelancer
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Potential job titles

  • Visual effects editor
  • Visual effects technician
  • Master control operator
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  • Production assistant
  • Independent producer
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Occupational outlook

Nationally, the number of jobs in the entertainment industry is expected to increase through the year 2016 as a growing population enjoys movies as entertainment, according to There is strong demand for productions from foreign and domestic television, cable television, pay TV services and feature film markets. In addition, computer and Internet services are providing new outlets for film productions, and there is also a demand for home movie rentals, music videos and video games.

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The job outlook is best for computer specialists, multimedia artists, film and video editors and others who are skilled in digital filming, editing and computer-generated imaging. Animators and artists are needed to work on video games, movie and television special effects and 3D animated movies. In addition, magazines and businesses with web pages will also need artists to create visually appealing ideas for their products, publications and videos.

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Beyond-the-classroom opportunities

Strong relationships with the local film industry position MCTC you as a sought-after candidate for internships and on-location work. These community collaborations also produce myriad programs, events and guest speakers, many of which are hosted on the MCTC campus.

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MCTC partners with: Minnesota Film and TV Board, IFP Minnesota, Screenwriter’s Workshop of Minnesota, the Jerome Foundation, the Guthrie Theater and the Walker Art Center. Local relationships helped establish the Annual Cinema Division Production Excellence Awards, which spotlight student work in film, video, screenwriting, sound arts, media production and digital photography.

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This program is part of the Academy of Media and Technology. Click here for more information.

Articulation Agreements, Common Course Outlines and Gainful Employment Information

Please contact the program dean for information about articulation agreements.

Click here for Common Course Outline information.

Click here for Gainful Employment information.

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