More About Our Curriculum

Class Descriptions


Our Core Session has two sections which are structured together and make up the complete two-week curriculum, which runs back-to-back twice a year with our Advanced Session.


Section 1:
Traditional Approach

Lighting and Composition

Art and Science of Lighting

Practical Lighting Workshop

Critique and Analysis

Digital Cinematography


Section 2:
Modern Path

Guest Artist DP Workshops

Career Management

Virtual Cinematography

Modern Tools and Concepts

Cinematography for VFX

Video Game Cinematography




The two sections of the Core Session are interwoven, structured alongside each other, and together make up the complete two-week Core Session in Expanded Cinematography®, which runs back-to-back twice a year with the Advanced Session in Expanded Cinematography®.

We have found that Students who take both sections of the Core Session together and then continue into the Advanced classes get much more out of their experience, and this is the best way for working professionals and traveling students to maximize their study time and finances to get to that next level as a cinematographer.

We have found that Students who take both sections of the Core Session together and then continue into the Advanced classes get much more out of their experience, and this is the best way for working professionals and traveling students to maximize their study time and finances to progress in their skills and careers.




Section 1: Traditional Approach

Lighting and Composition

This course will cover the basics of visual aesthetics and topics such as framing, quality of light and how visual elements help to create an expressive image. The course will include elements of History of Cinematography and Photography by looking at films and images by some of the masters of the art.

Art and Science of Lighting

The visual expression of creative lighting is one of the most critical tools of the Cinematographer. This course at GCI aims to further explore the artistic and technical aspects of lighting. Included in this class is the Practical Lighting Workshop where students complete hands-on lighting assignments on the GCI Soundstage. This class also goes in-depth on new LED lighting technology and applications.

Student Practical Lighting Workshop

Students work on-set under guidance of a G.C.I. Teacher, learning how to create different lighting situations and scenarios. Students crew for each other and rotate positions, gaining valuable experience working together.

Critique and Analysis of Student Work

This interdisciplinary approach to the study of cinematography by analysis of visual art helps reinforces understanding of composition in imagery, and pushes cinematographers to view the profession as a specific kind of art which uses sophisticated technological tools for creating imagery that artistically tells all kinds of stories.

Digital Cinematography

Creating images through digital formats is the way of the present and future. This course will look at how these digital tools and techniques can be used by a trained cinematography, examining the benefits and limitations of digital cinema cameras in comparison to film technologies. Students will walk away from the course with a strong foundations in how the digital image is captured, converted and compressed, resulting in an image we can actual see!


Historically a vital part of planning for shooting a film (storyboards), the role of previsualization is expanding beyond the storyboard and into more realms of production to assist the cinematographer, production designer, VFX artist, etc. to see their contribution to the image.




Section 2: Modern Path

Learning From Experience (Guest Artist DP Workshop)

The classical approach to meaningful lighting for narrative films. This course, originally created by GCI Co-Founder Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, will examine the "why" and "how" through conversions with master Hollywood cinematographers. Lighting techniques, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises will be part of the class.

Career Management (How to Combine Artistry and Business)

This class instructs students on the nature of creativity and the mix of Artistry, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. The course not only teaches students the work that they need to do in order to succeed, but more importantly, it teaches how to avoid the pitfalls that lead to stagnant careers.

Virtual Cinematography

Modern technology is making what was one impossible, now possible for today's cinematographers - to shoot with green or blue screen with traditional cameras and see "real-time" compositing results on the monitor. This results in a stronger integration of traditional cinematography elements, such as lighting, when approaching shots in a "virtual" setting. The course is an examination of new cutting-edge technology and how it can be put into use for practical application.

Modern Tools & Concepts for Digital Imaging

Cinematography is changing with rapid evolution of new technology. This class aims to bring students "up-to-speed" on current tools and concepts which aim to enhance the role of the cinematographer in all phases of pre-production, production and post. This class includes hands-on software and mobile app demonstrations designed for the "expanded cinematographer".

Cinematography for VFX

Shooting for visual effects often requires special considerations and skills provided by the Director of Photography. In this course, students learn the fundamentals of how visual effects shots are created - including aspects of compositing (blue/green screen), motion control and other technologies which effect the work of the cinematographer.

Cinematography for Video Games

Learn the intricacies of shooting cinematography for video games. Taught by Dori Arazi, Director of Photography on the recent “Game of the Year” God of War.