Film is the 21st century’s pre-eminent form of communicating ideas and shaping the way people think. This is why we at the Beijing Film Academy pride ourselves in approaching film from a practical point of view. We believe that guiding our students from the conception of a film idea all the way through to the finished product is the optimal path to success. Our program is recognized internationally as China’s most innovative and creative full-time undergraduate program taught in English in all of China.
In 2013 the Cinematography Department took the initiative to start the Academy’s first ever International Program. Therefore, we share the same resources, facilities and equipment that the Cinematography Department uses.
Our courses in the program have been divided into four categories: Production, Technique, Technology, Historical and Theoretical classes. At least 50% of all courses will be taught in the Production aspect, which gives our students a hands-on approach to film making.
We believe that students must navigate the world of film making by first examining all of its parts and figuring out which part fits best for them. That’s why for the first 2 years students will take a generalized approach to film and their classes will include the following:
- Visual Narrative 1 – Gain an understanding of how to express ideas and emotions using filmic language vs. literary language. Also, learn the fundamentals of how to use film equipment.
- Photography 1 – Production course learning the skills and language of how to take a professional photograph.
- Camera technique basics – Learn the technical elements of the camera such as aperture, lens, exposure, depth of field and methods like time lapse.
- Visual Art History – Theoretical class to understand the development of visual expression in the history of art. Also, explore different aspects of fine art forms like architecture, painting, sculpture. Supports Photography 1 class.
- Post-production of Photography – Gain a basic understanding of how to use post-production software like Photoshop. Learn techniques like color correction, how refine the image and adding special effects to a picture. Supports Photography 1 class.
- Visual Narrative 2 – Synthesizing the ideas and emotions in order to gain a deeper understanding of how to use film language. Learn the inner details of film equipment.
- Photography 2 – Create high quality professional photos that will be used for a photo exhibition as the final project.
- Editing – Gain a clear understanding of the fundamental concepts of editing and the different theories of how to assemble a film. Learning the basics of how to use Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere.
- Cultural Comparison – Comparing the similarities and differences of Chinese and Western cultures and customs.
- Digital Image technique – Importing and naming files, how to use photo software, how to compress and decompress video.
- Basic Lighting – Use fundamental lighting equipment to create basic set-ups in order to learn the different characteristics of light like shadow and texture and how to manipulate and control them.
- Experimental Image – how to combine technical elements of Cinematography with the concept of how to manipulate the form, color and shape of the image.
- Visual Effect Basics – Introduce the fundamentals of how to think digitally and to gain the necessary computer skills to create computer graphics. Students will first create a virtual world then light the world and use the camera’s POV to see the overall picture.
- Film History – Gain a broad understanding of the different periods, genres and major directors in film history.
- Beginner Screen writing - Students will learn the difference between telling a story through showing vs. telling. Also, they will learn the basics of format, structure, character and dialogue.
- Documentary Film Production – A research into society and humanity. How to explore the inner and outer conflicts, emotions and what drives peoples’ motivation. Learn the techniques of how to interview people and shoot a short documentary.
- Producing – Help students understand budgeting, scheduling, how to obtain financing and distribution.
- Film Sound – Production course to learn how to get good sound quality and the basic skills of sound recording, editing and mixing. This class supports documentary class.
- Intermediate Screen writing – A more in-depth look into feature film screen writing. Also, to write a professional script of 8-12 minutes of length that will be shot during the 1st semester of the 3rd year for Directing majors.
- Humanities – A general education class where we invite professors and expert from a variety of areas where they talk about history, culture, art and philosophy.
- Chinese language – There are 2 levels of classes: Beginner and Advanced Chinese.
3rdyear of study
After experiencing the different facets of film making students will now have a better idea of what they want to do and now they can choose to major in either:
- Visual Effects
If students choose to Major in Directing they will specialize in:
- Intermediate Directing – Students will develop their directing skills such as how to work together with actors, how to block a scene, how to design mise-en-scene, and improve their storytelling ability.
- Advanced Directing – Learn the role of the director in the overall system of a professional production and the strategies of how to work with a producer, distributor and the crew. Students will make their thesis film.
- Advanced Screen writing – Through personal 1 on 1 meetings students will finish a professional script that will be used for their thesis.
- Acting – Learn the fundamental skills of acting, how actors prepare and what’s the mental process of developing a character. In the end students will act in a play of15 or 20 minutes.
If students choose to Major in Cinematography they will specialize in:
- Intermediate Cinematography – To be introduced to more skills and methods of Cinematography and become familiar with advanced lighting and camera equipment. Work together with the director to shoot the directors film.
- Advanced Cinematography – To fully understand and comprehend the skills needed to be a professional Cinematographer. Learn how to make an equipment list, a budget, developing way to manage time on and controlling difficulties on set. Learn to set up a crew and how to efficiently manage people. Shoot the directors thesis film.
- Students who specialize in Cinematography will have the choice to shoot their own films or shoot a directors film or both.
If students choose Visual Effects they will learn:
- Advanced CGI training – Learn the in-depth details of color correction, compositing and computer graphics.
In order to graduate students must create a thesis film that will exemplify all of what they have learned in the previous 3 years.
An optional 4th year is offered to students who will be guided by their professors throughout the conception of their thesis film idea, to writing a script then scheduling and budgeting, to pre-production and storyboarding and eventually to the shooting and editing stages and the completion of the film.