The majority of degree and certificate programs focus on varying aspects of image generation. Programs in this field place an emphasis on collaborative efforts and creativity. For admissions, students will need a high school diploma for undergraduate degree and certificate programs, and a bachelor's degree and portfolio of creative work for master's program.
An associate's degree program highlights the various phases of the production process and fosters hands-on learning with production software and hardware. Bachelor's-level students are taught to utilize advanced software, write scripts and create budgets for video productions. Master's degree programs are designed to prepare graduates for positions of leadership by advancing their technical skills.
Certificate programs in the field are available that focus on core subjects such as editing or multimedia studies. A certificate-level course of study might appeal to working professionals wishing to gain additional skills.
Associate's Degree in Digital Production
Associate's degrees in the digital production field are typically referred to as digital video or digital media production degrees. These programs introduce students to the types of software and hardware used in video productions in hands-on, practical settings. Students in these programs create digital media portfolios or demo reels for skill demonstration. Associate's programs teach the basics of digital video production, from the initial concept to the final edit. Students can discover specific areas of interest by taking classes in:
- Interactive animation
- Electronic music
- Color theory in 2-D media
- Video lighting
- Digital image techniques and processing
Bachelor's Degree in Digital Production
In the bachelor's-level digital production program, students are taught to use advanced digital production software, such as Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Maya. Students are introduced to emerging techniques and trends in video production and gain hands-on learning through creative video projects. Students are likely to spend a lot of time on the computer and receive individual help and attention from the instructor. Some business courses may be taken as part of the general education requirements of the program. Courses specific to digital production include:
- Script writing for video
- Adobe software (Flash, Dreamweaver, Illustrator)
- Web design fundamentals
- Sound for video productions
- Scheduling and budgeting for videos
- Apple color-grading techniques
Master's Degree in Digital Production
Master's degree programs in digital production are very hands-on and project-intensive, with development of creativity and personal expression strongly encouraged. Some schools allow students in the program to choose a focus or emphasis in fields such as digital animation or media management. Most master's programs require a thesis. Along with both individual and group project work, courses also focus on research in innovative and emerging video concepts. Students might take courses in topics including:
- Shading and rendering
- Virtual reality design and implementation
- Digital representation of physical movement
- Digital cinematography studies
- Cognition, perception and technology
The associate's degree program prepares students for internships or entry-level positions in various media studios. Bachelor's degree graduates are also eligible for entry-level careers in the field. Potential job titles might include:
- Film editor
- Digital video equipment technician
- Multimedia artist
- Video producer
Graduates with a master's degree have a range of options both behind the camera and in the editing studio. Some of the job choices offered are:
- Digital producer
- Digital media director
- Digital cinematographer
- Interactive media developer
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Those with digital production skill sets fall under the broad U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classification of multimedia artists and animators. The BLS indicated that, while competition for jobs was keen at the advanced levels, multimedia artists and animators were projected to see an employment opportunity increase of 6% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). These workers made a median annual wage of $63,970 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Certificate programs in digital production typically last one year and may be completed either before or after earning a degree. Some certificate programs feature a similar curriculum to associate's-level programs, but cover only the core technical topics, such as digital video technology, multimedia and editing. These programs may be pursued by those seeking a job in the digital production field or by those working in other fields (like broadcasting) who could benefit from digital media skills. Other certificate programs may focus on one area of digital production, like image editing or the use of a specific software program, to advance students' skills.
Digital production degrees are available to students at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's levels. Courses in video lighting, Adobe software, and digital cinematography studies will prepare graduates for a career within the field.