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Educational Programs



Program description

Learn the art and craft of Cinematography in the only program of its kind in Minnesota. MCTC’s Cinematography program boasts experienced instructors who are passionate about what they teach, and cutting edge facilities and technology. This innovative program uses a combination of aesthetic, technical and theoretical approaches, specializing in the photography of motion pictures.

Program start and location

New students are admitted into the Cinema programs 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

Please select the award below to view the degree options and requirements in the college catalog.

What you will learn

  • You will use both film and electronic media to record images while developing solid skills in camera operation, dramatic lighting and pre-visualization.
  • You will establish strong collaborations with Directing, Editing and Post-Production, and Screenwriting students
  • Program faculty are committed to following emerging technologies and will incorporate such technologies whenever possible.
  • You will learn the best practices for professional standards and expectations.

Points of pride

  • MCTC’s 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 film school programs in the U.S. and tuition covers almost all production costs for students.
  • Thanks to a low student-to-teacher ratio, students 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.
  • MCTC boasts Award-winning alumni. 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
  • As a freelancer
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Potential job titles

  • Production Assistant
  • Production Technician
  • Director of Photography
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  • Studio Camera Operator
  • Filmmaker
  • 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. 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.

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The job outlook is best for camera operators, computer specialists, multimedia artists, film and video editors and others who are skilled in digital filming, editing and computer-generated imaging. Good opportunities are also expected for broadcast and sound engineering technicians and craftspeople such as gaffers and set construction workers.

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Beyond-the-classroom opportunities

Strong relationships with the local film industry position MCTC students as sought-after candidates 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 School of Design and the Arts.

Additional resources

2014 Cinematography Award

2014 Cinema Excellence Awards

Zach Pirolli, "One Man's Trash"

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Dan Huiting

Dan Huiting

Feeling dissatisfied in his pursuit of becoming a professional musician, Dan Huiting enrolled in the cinematography program at MCTC after discovering a passion for film while producing a music video with friends. Now he is living his dream.

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MCTC's Cinema Program will help teach you to make movies with passionate instructors and some of the best facilities and equipment available. MCTC offers degrees and certificates in all areas of cinema.

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View images from MCTC's Cinema programs.

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2013 Cinematography Award

2013 Cinema Excellence Awards

Cory Strand, "213"

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