Program Overview

New for 2020! Cinematography is the art of combining elements such as lights, camera movements, frame composition, color pallet, etc. Cinematography is one aspect of filmmaking that combines the artistic and technical approach. The goal of this course is to introduce each student to the fundamentals of motion picture cinematography, exploring both technical knowledge and artistic application. We will explore the concept of visual strategies in filmmaking, the fundamental elements of cameras and lighting, and focus on the aspects of the new era of digital cinematography. During the two weeks, the students will be working on a 3 to 5 minutes length short-film.

  I loved Syracuse University Summer College because it was so much more than a class that I took. It was one of the best two weeks of my life! -Andrew B., Summer College student, 2019.

Program Objectives

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Plan a film production
  • Effectively use cameras, lenses and lights for film productions
  • Demonstrate their understanding of the basics of visual concepts and how to approach visual strategy
  • Approach post-production successfully (editing and color correction)

Learn more about Cinematography:

Program Dates & Details Eligibility Requirements Program Cost Program Requirements Typical Day Faculty Bios

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session II: July 11 – July 24, 2020
Duration: 2-weeks


Credit: Noncredit
Grading System: Pass/Fail


Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date. For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

Apply Now!

Program Cost

Program Costs:

  • Residential: $3,560
  • Commuter: $2,746

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Requirements

What to Pack

Syracuse University will provide all necessary equipment and facilities; however, students should bring their own laptops (with editing capabilities). Students are welcome to bring their own cameras as well.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to attend all classes every day and be on time. Collaboration is key in filmmaking. Students are expected to share ideas in class and actively collaborate with their colleagues during demo sessions, film pre-production, production and post-production.

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Week 1:

  • Morning, lecturers and demos (9:30am – 1:30pm)
    • digital cameras;
    • lenses;
    • lights: qualities of the light, exploring different light units;
    • grip: tools and techniques;
    • safety on-set;
    • working with actors on-set;
    • overview on sound recording techniques.
    • The demos will be hands-on, the students will have the possibility to use film gear under the supervision of the teacher, guests and teaching assistants.
  • Afternoon: working on their stories.
    • In groups, the students will be working on creating their stories.

Week 2:

  • On-set experience and post-production.
  • Time schedule based on projects, location and filming needs.
  • During the second week, the students will be working on planning, filming and editing their short-films.

During the two weeks, the class will meet with professional filmmakers to share on-set tips and experiences.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

End Event

On the last day of class we will host a short-film showcase. Family and friends are welcome.

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to leave upon completion of the final class on July 24. If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Faculty Bio

Donato Rossi

Donato Rossi is a southern Italian independent filmmaker, born and raised in Puglia. He spent 15 years in Tuscany (Sienna) working and studying Arts, Cinema and Theater at the University of Sienna.
After several years in broadcasting in Europe, in 2014 he moved to the US to attend an MFA program in film at the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University (New York).
Rossi’s projects have been screened in Milan, Bilbao, Florence, Siena, Reggio Emilia, Sicily, New York and Michigan, with many other festival accreditations in collaborations as cinematographer and colorist in several projects.

In 2016, Rossi began teaching film at Syracuse University. In the last years, he has taught basic and advanced film production, cinematography, screenwriting. He participated at Italian Film Studies and Filmmaking in Bologna (Summer program) and held a large number of workshop and guest lecturers. In the Summer of 2018, aside to his teaching activity, he started working For the Center for Online and Digital Learning (University College) at Syracuse University, coordinating the Studio production.

He is currently working on two new personal film projects.

Personal website: