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Frequently Asked Questions
For Prospective Digital Cinema Students


What is the difference between a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Cinema and a Bachelor
of Arts or Bachelor of Science?

The BFA is considered the professional studio degree, as it has more credits in the Digital Cinema concentration and more specific requirements in studio, such as Graphic Communication and Electronic Imaging. The BFA also has more art history requirements and does not allow a minor. The BA and BS degrees provide students with the option to pursue a minor such as a major in Digital Cinema and a minor in Music (20 credit hours). The BA also has a language requirement.

Does the school require a portfolio review before you are accepted
into our programs?

If you are accepted into the university you are able to pursue a degree within the school. However, you can present a portfolio to the professor in your studio area who will use your work to gauge whether you should receive advanced placement credit (replaces course and credit hours) or a waiver (replaces course but not the credit hours) or at what studio level you should begin. This portfolio can be reviewed during a campus visit or with a faculty member during an office hour during the semester. Although there is no required portfolio review to enter the program, Art and Design majors must participate and complete a faculty review of their portfolios (Individual Art Review AD 303) is scheduled the twelfth week of each semester.

What equipment is required for Digital Cinema majors?

For the first two studio courses, AD 112: Introduction and AD 212: Expermential & Documentry Narratives, all equipment is provided including video cameras, tripods and lighting kits. The fourth course in the concentration AD 412: Seminar, requires all majors to own a digital-video camera with features that include manual focus and aperture control. In recent years the cost of digital-video cameras has been reduced considerably with prices for HD cameras falling bellow $500 and prosumer cameras available for purchase below $1000. Students are encouraged to discuss their potential camera purchase with Digital Cinema course instructors, who will review the specifications to determine if they will meet the requirements of the course projects. All Art and Design majors are provided with an Apple MacBook and iMovie software that will allow students to edit video on their laptop. However, Digital Cinema majors have also purchased Final Cut Express to utilize a more professional software that is similar to Final Cut Pro that is available in the Electronic Imaging Studio.

What are the prospects for employment with a degree in Digital Cinema?

Although Digital Cinema is a very competitive field, the employment outlook is very optimistic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of jobs in the U.S. motion picture and video industries increased by over 100,000 jobs form 1994 to 2004. The bureau estimates that the number will grow by 31 percent in the next eight years. According to the Chicago Tribune, “that is roughly double the 16 percent growth projected by the bureau for other U.S. industries in the same time....these are jobs primarily with the major U.S. studios and smaller independent motion picture companies; the statistics do not include jobs with companies that make documentary and industrial films and videos, and those that create visual material for computer games, cell phones and other new media”. Requirements for the BFA degree in Digital Cinema include Graphic Communication, Photography and 12 credit hours in Electronic Imaging. These requirements expand the professional skills and knowledge of Digital Cinema graduates, who are currently employed in a range of occupations that include television producers, independent filmmakers and Internet animators.

What emphasis will I find in the Digital Cinema program?

The Digital Cinema program presents a curriculum that exposes students to a broad experience that includes preproduction (storyboarding, scriptwriting, art direction), production (directing, videography, animation) and postproduction (editing, sound production, DVD design and distribution). Although technical competency is required, the emphasis of all projects is to develop understandable concepts with the original intention realized in the final video production. Each studio course has a video production and cinema history component that presents the chronological development of a cinematic genre and its relationship to the current student project.

For example, in editing, the crosscut or simultaneous narration is introduced in 1903 by Edwin S. Porter in "The Great Train Robbery" allowing the director to cut between scenes to depict several stories occurring at the same time, while time moves forward.



After viewing this film, students would complete a narrative video that demonstrates their understanding of this cinematic concept, using digital video cameras and non-linear editing software; hence the name: digital cinema. AD 112 emphasizes narrative cinema including commercials, shorts and feature films. AD 212 presents various documentry approaches and experimental narrative approaches. AD 312 presents traditional animation using digital tools and is illustrated with examples of animation film history and genres. AD 412 features contemporary genres, independent and international cinema. AD 458 BFA Seminar, includes a review of classic American and world cinema. The program stresses no single philosophical approach or cinematic genre, but allows students to pursue their own interests in the senior and BFA courses.

Are there scholarships for incoming freshman?

The school offers the High School Freshman Scholarship (four $1000 awards) that is available each year with applications due in mid-April. See the web for details at http://art.nmu.edu/department/ad_info_scholar.html

Should you have any additional questions please contact

Michael Cinelli at mcinelli@nmu.edu or 906-227-2194