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Adrien Sicart

PhD in Cinematography in California: Best School?

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In your opinion, which would be the best film school in California to do a PhD in Cinematography?


My subject would be on the technical side, namely a study of out-if-the-ordinary lenses (Lensbaby, Panavision Hylen, Anamorphic, Soft Focus, Lytro...).


Additionally, if you know of someone doing research in this field, I am extremely interested.



I have a Director and a school in France but would like to do this PhD with two schools, one in France and one in California (I will split my time between both for work on my company anyway).

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Hi David,


Here in France the PhD I would do seeks projects mixing Arts and Science. I would be working with:

- la Fémis (responsible for the artistic side)

- ENS Louis-Lumière (because my director is a teacher there)

- ENS Ulm (referent for the scientific part).


My background is maths and physics (MS in one of the very best French grande-école: ENS Lyon).

I invented special lenses (think a much better version of Panavision-Hylen mixed with tilt), I created a company around this, patent pending.

The PhD is for me a way to go back to research, while working on the company at the same time.


My French director is the main teacher in optics for Cinematographers and Photographers both at la Fémis and Louis-Lumière. He would direct the technical part of the thesis, including precise technical analysis of the lenses I will focus on (Lensbaby, Panavision Hylen, Anamorphic, Soft Focus, zone plate, light-field -although it's not a lens-...).


I am looking for another director for my thesis who would be based in California and teaching Cinematography there, more on the artistic side. If the school they teach at grants a PhD, I would like to do two or three semesters there.


I will come to California for my company anyway, starting with next April. 1 week in SF, 1 week in Las Vegas for NAB show, 10 days in Los Angeles to meet with potential PhD directors and hopefully potential clients for my company). And then Cinegear in June, where I plan on renting a booth to showcase my lenses.

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