SACIA Certification
 
 

SA Society of Cinematographers (SASC)

 
SASC
 

Earn professional recognition for your competence as a cinematographer

In December 2016 the Board of Governors of the SA Society of Cinematographers (SASC) signed an affiliate agreement with the SA Communications Industries Association (SACIA) in terms of which the two organisations are working together to promote the adoption of professional standards in the field of cinematography.

In terms of this agreement, SACIA has developed a number of professional designations that are specifically relevant to individuals working in the “moving image” sector. Whether an individual shoots video footage at weddings and funerals, or high-end films for cinematic release, there is now a SAQA-recognised professional designation that allows his/her skill and competence to be formally recognised.

We have three professional designations now listed on the National Qualifications Framework and are inviting individuals, either working as camera operators/ cinematographers or working in the camera department, to apply for a designation.

At the Associate level, individuals are required to demonstrate a broad understanding of the cinematic process. They need a minimum three years work experience in the camera department, as well as an NQF level 4 qualification (National Senior Certificate or similar). In instances where an individual does not have a NQF 4 qualification, he/she can still qualify for the designation but needs a minimum six years work experience in the camera department. The candidate needs to demonstrate their understanding of the art, craft and technology used in capturing a moving image, and also needs to commit to a code of professional conduct that holds them to a higher standard of skill and ethics.

As we move through the Practitioner level designation we’re looking for a greater breadth and depth of knowledge, as well as a more creative understanding of the art and craft of cinematography, whilst at the professional SASC level, we’re looking for individuals who have a deep understanding of the cinematic process. Individuals applying for the SASC designation will generally be shooting feature films, high-end television drama or commercials, and their work must demonstrate creativity and an appreciation of the art of cinema. We’re looking beyond professional competence and will pay particular attention to how lighting, composition and camera movement have been used to enhance the story and mood of work submitted.

The idea is to create a development path that allows individuals to have their skill and competence recognised as they gain experience and progress through their career

A full description of the criteria used to assess each application is included in the SACIA Member’s Handbook which can be downloaded by clicking the button below.

View SASC handbook

Many members will have questions about this a affiliation and what it means to their SASC status – please see Frequently Asked Questions below.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 
QWhy do I need to complete the SACIA application form when I am already a member of the South African Society of Cinematographers?

AIn December 2016 the Board of Governors of the South African Society of Cinematographers signed an affiliate agreement with the Southern African Communications Industries Association in terms of which the two organisations undertook to work together to develop and award professional designations to individuals working in the field of cinematography.

In December 2017 the SASC designation was formally registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as a professional designation, and is now listed on the National Qualifications Framework. All SASC members are now listed on the National Learners’ Records Database. SAQA require that all documentation supporting the award of the designation is fully recorded

 
QI’m told that the SASC designation is now listed on the National Qualifications Framework. What does this mean to me?

AThe National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is a comprehensive system, approved by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, for the classification, registration and publication of articulated and quality‐assured national qualifications and part‐qualifications.

The objectives of the NQF are to:

  • Create a single integrated national framework for learning achievements;
  • Facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within, education, training and career paths;
  • Enhance the quality of education and training;
  • Accelerate the redress of past unfair discrimination in education, training and employment opportunities.

Professional designations are not articulated against a specific NQF level.

 
QWhat does SACIA membership cost?

AYes. Key to the registration of the SASC designation is the recognition that the South African Society of Cinematographers is a member body distinct from the SASC designation itself. The Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA) is a SAQA recognised professional body who award the SASC designation on a recommendation from the SASC Board of Governors.

 
QDo I need to maintain membership of both SACIA and the SASC?

AFor the first three years of this agreement, SACIA membership fees for existing members of the South African Society of Cinematographers are waived. Fees are set on an annual basis by the SACIA Board of Directors under guidelines published by the South African Qualifications Authority.

 
QWhy do I need to participate in a programme of continuing professional development?

AThe SASC designation doesn’t only signify your membership of the Society. It also indicates a commitment to excellence in all aspects of the cinematic profession. Individuals who hold the designation are required to keep up to date on the trends and technologies shaping the future of our industry.

There are many opportunities for individuals to earn CPD credits, including participation in training programmes, acting as a mentor or trainer, reading relevant literature, delivery of training and skills development programmes, participation in activities approved by the Board of Governors, etc.

 
QWhat happens if I do not meet the CPD requirements?

AIndividuals who fail to participate in the required CPD activity will lose the designation and forfeit the right to use the SASC acronym in screen credits.

 
QCan I continue my membership of the Society if my SASC designation lapses?

AYes. The South African Society of Cinematographers exists independently of the professional designation. Membership in the Society is open to individuals who meet the admission criteria. However, members whose SASC designation has lapsed are no longer able to use this on screencredits. In other communication (such as an email signature block, business card, website or social media platform) you should add (Emeritus) to the designation to signify that you are retired or honourably discharged from full‐time work, but use the title on an honorary basis.

 
QI’ve held my SASC designation for several years but am now retired. Can I continue to use my SASC designation?

AThe use of the SASC designation signifies that an individual is fully conversant with the latest trends and technologies being used in the field of cinematography. Retired members will be de‐listed from the National Learners’ Register Database. These individuals who maintain membership of the Society will add an (Emeritus) to the designation to signify their retired status [Example: John Smith SASC(Emeritus)].

 
QI’ve held my SASC designation for several years but have changed career and am no longer active in the film and video industry. Can I continue to use my SASC designation?

ATo maintain your use of the SASC designation an individual must maintain membership of SACIA, as well as the South African Society of Cinematographers. In addition, individuals need to participate in a programme of continuing professional development. They are also required to abide by a code of professional conduct.

Individuals who do not meet all these criteria will be de-listed from the National Learners’ Register Database. They forfeit their right to use the SASC designation in any way whatsoever.

 
QWhat is SAQA’s objective in registering professional designations?

APart of South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA’s) mandate is to ‘further develop and implement the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)’. By developing and implementing a policy for recognising professional bodies and registering professional designations, SAQA seeks to promote ‘coordination and collaboration across education, training, development and work’.

This promotes public awareness of these professional designations, inspiring pride in the profession, and sets the scene for public protection by requiring adherence to a code of professional conduct and applying a procedure to address contraventions of the code of conduct.

 
QWhich other designations apply to the field of cinematography?

ASACIA’s Certified BCT Associate level designation can be awarded to an individual who demonstrates a broad understanding of the content production process, and a comprehensive understanding of the art and craft of cinematography in the film/ video environment. In addition, SACIA’s Certified BCT Practitioner level designation can be awarded to an individual able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the content production process, and an in‐depth understanding of the art and craft of cinematography in the film/ video environment. In both instances, individuals applying for recognition need to demonstrate relevant work experience.

By recognising and formalising designations, professional bodies contribute to the development of career paths and a national career advice system, as well as promoting continuous professional development within the profession.

 
QWhat is the thinking behind the registration of the SASC acronym as a professional designation?

AThere has been much debate on the validity of referring to cinematography as a profession, as opposed to a discipline applied while performing a task. Both SACIA and the Board of Governors of the Society believes that cinematography has progressed from a discipline to a profession in its own right.

Evidence of this is a large and growing body of knowledge; formal education programmes in film and video production; the development of global standards relating to both the art, craft and technology used in cinematography; as well as career paths and opportunities for ongoing professional development.

By aligning to a national initiative, SACIA and the SASC Board of Governors can put the pieces in place for national recognition of cinematography as a profession, and to develop the profession within the framework put in place by SAQA. This framework is complementary to the views and membership criteria which the SASC has followed since inception in 1954. The opportunity now exists to take what used to be a voluntary membership to the next level – namely to a professional registration.

 
QWhat are the criteria for the award of the SACIA Certified BCT Associate (Cinematography) designation?

AAn individual applying for the CertBCT Assoc (Cinematography) should be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of the content production process, and a comprehensive understanding of the art and craft of cinematography in the film/ video environment.

Applicants must have:

  • At least 3‐year experience as a camera operator or camera assistant in the film or video industry.
  • Matric certificate (National Senior Certificate, NQF 4) or equivalent
  • Provide a portfolio of evidence demonstrating their comprehensive understanding of the craft and technology used in film and video cinematography.
  • Gained an endorsement from two people of good standing within the film and video industry
 
QWhat are the criteria for the award of the SACIA Certified BCT Practitioner (Cinematography) designation?

AAn individual applying for the CertBCT Pract (Cinematography) should be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the content production process, and an in‐depth understanding of the art and craft of cinematography in the film/ video environment.

Applicants must have:

  • Completed 5 years of industry related experience
  • Have gained an NQF registered qualification at NQF 5 or equivalent
  • Provide a portfolio of evidence demonstrating their comprehensive understanding of the art and craft applied by cinematographers in the film and video industry.
  • Gained an endorsement from two people of good standing within the film and video industry
 
QWhat are the criteria used for the award of the SASC – Professional Cinematographer designation?

ATo be considered for the SASC designation an individual should be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of the entire content production process, including an in‐depth understanding of the management and administration systems that apply to cinematography. The candidate should also demonstrate an in‐depth understanding of the art and craft of cinematography in the film/ video environment.

He/she should have:

  • completed at least 8 years of industry related experience
  • have gained an NQF registered qualification at NQF 6 or equivalent
  • Provide a portfolio of evidence demonstrating their in‐depth understanding of the art and craft of cinematography in the film/ video environment.
  • Gained an endorsement from three people of good standing within the film and video industry
 
QWho decided on the criteria for the designations?

AThe criteria used to assess individuals applying for the SASC designation were developed by the Board of Governors of the South African Society of Cinematographers, working in collaboration with SACIA’s certification council.

These criteria were published in the Government Gazette for public comment on 19 May 2017. The criteria are consistent with the requirements specified by SAQA and have received the necessary approvals from the SAQA Board, as well as the relevant quality councils.

 
QWhat are the academic criteria for the SASC designation, and what is the rationale behind this requirement?

AThrough its promotion of the NQF Act, SAQA stipulates that each designation must have its foundation in an NQF qualification. SACIA recognise that many cinematographers working in the market do not hold a relevant qualification and will award a designation based on a recognition of prior learning.

We recognise that learning does not only take place in an academic environment and will recognise vocational and workplace learning, as well as mentorships/ apprenticeships.

Individuals without an underlying qualification applying for any designation should demonstrate additional work experience in the film and video industry.

 
QHow do individuals articulate from the SACIA CertBCT Associate (Cinematography) and CertBCT Practitioner (Cinematography) designation to the SASC designation?

APart of the logic in developing these designations is that it creates a career path for individuals working in the field of cinematography. At the start of an individual’s career he/she could apply for recognition as a CertBCT Associate based upon their comprehensive understanding of the art and craft of cinematography in the film/ video environment. Over time they’ll gain experience and acquire new skills. As they elevate their knowledge and competence they’ll have an opportunity to apply for the Practitioner level designation, followed by the SASC designation. At each step they will provide a portfolio of evidence supporting their claim of increased knowledge and competence.

 
QIn the past, individuals were inducted into the South African Society of Cinematographers based on an invitation from the Board of Governors. It now appears that individuals can apply for the SASC designation without first receiving an invitation to do so. Is this correct?

AQuite right. The role of the cinematographer has changed fundamentally since the Society was established in 1954 and today, specialist cinematographers are working in many more fields than we envisaged in the past. In alignment with SAQA requirements, and in an effort to be as inclusive as possible, the SACIA certification council now encourages individuals who consider they have the requisite skills, knowledge and work experience to apply for a professional designation. All applications are assessed by a Certification Council that includes representation from the SASC Board of Governors. The award is based on an evaluation of a portfolio of evidence supporting the individual’s claim of competence. Work submitted by individuals applying for the SASC designation should establish creativity and go beyond professional competence by demonstrating an appreciation of the art and craft of cinema.

 
QAm I required to maintain membership of the SASC to maintain a professional designation?

AThe SASC designation is awarded by the Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA). To maintain the designation, individuals need to maintain membership of SACIA or a SACIA affiliate body such as the South African Society of Cinematographers.

 

If you have any other questions relating to the evolution of the Society of the registration of the SASC acronym as a professional designation, please do not hesitate to contact

sasc@sacia.org.za

 
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