Course Overview

This course is a part of the Summer Filmmaking Academy.

The focus of this hands-on course is on the development of the student’s ability “to see” and to convey ideas, simple narratives, atmospheres and “feelings,” through the means of moving images. During the two weeks, students will create several short cinematic etudes, in which they will learn and explore the basic skills and principles of cinematography, such as working with light, movement, image composition, and thinking in terms of “film language”. 

Students will also learn the basics of optics and manual controls and settings on the camera, as these have a major impact on visual imagery and are among the main tools in a cinematographer’s toolbox. In addition to working with digital cameras, students will have the opportunity to shoot a team exercise on 16mm film.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Learning Objectives

In this course, students will:

  • Explore basic cinematography skills, such as lighting, deciding camera position and movements, location scouting, and communication with your creative team.
  • Experience the study of film with a distinguished creative team from the Syracuse University Film Program.
  • Have fun while working hard on a short film.
  • Develop a film portfolio.  

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 064

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate. 

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $4,095
  • Commuter: $3,166

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesSynchronous Class Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus2-Week Session II: Monday, July 22 – Friday, Aug. 2, 2024MTWThF;
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Course Requirements

Technology Requirements

Summer College will provide basic equipment needed for this course. Students checking out and using VPA film equipment are required to take good care of it and assume responsibility for its damage or loss. You are also welcome to bring your own camera & laptop, in which case please make sure you have it covered by insurance. Please remember that cinematography is not about fancy cameras and lenses but about the ability to see, your imagination, creativity and your ability to work effectively with the equipment and tools at your disposal, whether it’s an iPhone or an IMAX camera.

Student Expectations

Filmmaking requires self-discipline. A significant commitment in time, focus, and creative effort outside of scheduled class meetings is necessary and expected on the part of students to successfully complete this course. If students fully invest themselves into their creative work, they will be able to create successful portfolio projects. The ability to work and contribute as a member of a creative team is crucial to any filmmaker.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Students are required to attend morning and afternoon classes and the evening open studio open screen sessions. It is expected that you will find yourself writing scripts, filming on set, editing your project, or reviewing and discussing your project-in-progress or final edit with your instructors and classmates outside of schedule class time. The instructional team will work with students in small groups and in individual mentoring sessions. This is a fast paced intense hands-on program.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Faculty Bios

Tevvon Hines

Tevvon Hines is a filmmaker from Dallas, Texas, born 1998. Tevvon employs the film medium as a means of examining community, identity, and American culture through visual narrative storytelling. Since his graduation from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas in 2020, he has directed and produced numerous short fiction films including the thriller short Nightfall (2023), which has screened in Texas, New York State, and New Jersey. After completing his MFA at Syracuse University in 2024, he aspires to maintain a career as a working director in his own film productions as well as teaching filmmaking.

The Summer Filmmaking Academy is a cluster of film and art media courses:  Intro to Film & Media Arts; Filmmaking; and Cinematography.  This creative consortium invites and encourages creative collaboration and interaction beyond one’s own course. Please visit our vimeo links below to get a taste for the Summer Filmmaking Academy.

Summer Filmmaking Academy

🍊ORANGE SUMMER in Syracuse