ACS accreditation

ACS Accreditation is the highest honour that can be bestowed on an ACS member.

Membership Status

If it is your intention to apply for ACS Accreditation now or in the future, you should check your membership status, as to apply it is required that the applicant has at least eight years working as a professional cinematographer, including a minimum of at least three years as a Full member of the ACS and remained financial throughout.

It is member’s responsibility to monitor their own membership status and upgrade to Full membership when applicable to be able to apply for Accreditation after the compulsory three years.

If you are ready to upgrade to Full membership status contact your Treasurer and inform them before membership renewals. There is no allowance for not upgrading, you must serve the allocated time in the Full membership category.

Considering Applying?

If you are a Full member that has been winning numerous ACS Gold Awards at the State or Territory and possibly National ACS Awards, then maybe you could consider applying for ACS Accreditation.

Accreditation assessments take place at our National HQ usually in October. Submissions are accepted for one month annually during September 1 though to September 30. Late submissions will not be accepted.

How To Apply and Submit

Firstly, it may be wise to discuss with your Accredited Branch President or an Accredited Member about whether they believe your membership status is correct.

Secondly, discuss and apply for an Accreditation application form with the chair of the Accreditation Committee. Then submit your best work, with a brief bio and application fee between September 1 and September 30.

If you are considering applying for Accreditation, please be aware that should you be successful and receive your letters, it comes with a certain degree of responsibility and commitment. The Society expects your involvement in things like Awards Judging, Accreditation Assessments, participating as a member of your Branch committee or being involved Nationally on the Executive or on a subcommittee.

The Society is only as good as its members, and by gaining your letters, which is indeed a privilege and the highest honour the Society can bestow on you, does in turn mean the Society anticipates that you will be an ACTIVE contributor in order to continue the growth of the Society. We ask you to seriously consider this before you apply for Accreditation.

Email the Accreditation Committee Chair, Ernie Clark ACS »

Your Bio

We ask applicants to provide a brief bio (300 to 400 word max) of their career as a cinematographer, outlining their body of work, career path and experiences.

The Accreditation application fee is to be paid with the applicant’s submission and the hard drive of the cinematographer’s work, their bio and signed application paperwork which is to be forwarded by their branch, addressed to the Accreditation Committee Chair, to the National Headquarters. Please note the application fee covers a second application (if submitted within two years), in case their first application proves to be unsuccessful.

Assessment

The Accreditation process begins at the Branch level where the work to be submitted is, where possible, screened to confirm all material has been shot by the applicant and general assistance and advice relating to the submission may be offered.

An Accredited President or Accredited Member of the Branch should discuss the submission with the applicant. It may be suggested the submission should be strengthened, changed or they may even suggest waiting for another year before submitting. Once deemed suitable, the submission with a hard drive of the applicant’s work is sent by their Branch addressed to the Accreditation Committee chair to ACS National Headquarters for the next round of assessments which are held annually in October.

Accreditation assessments are not a mystery. The process involves a panel of ten ACS Accredited cinematographers, who work across as many genres as possible, gathered together (COVID willing) to assess the work. The order of viewing the submissions is by a random draw so no favouritism, advantage or disadvantage can be implied. 

The submitted works of the applying cinematographers are screened and assessed before voting on each submission by secret ballot.

To gain Accreditation 80% of the panel must vote in the positive. Over recent years we have averaged above a 60% positive Accreditation result and in recent years we have received around 18 to 23 submissions a year.

There is no restriction or guide on how many are approved for Accreditation each year – only the quality of the submissions received will determine how many get through.

Each submission is viewed at length, given equal opportunity and is judged entirely on its merits.  It is not a competition against the other submissions, each decision is by secret ballot and no discussion is entered into, unless the result is a borderline vote of 70% and even then, minimal discussion is allowed or required.

We encourage applicants to enter only their strongest work. Work that they are MOST happy with. It is not about volume but it is about substance. The work submitted must demonstrate more than just professional competence. 

Please keep in mind that a news/current affairs cinematographer is not necessarily assessed the same way as a Features or a Commercial cinematographer, as their work style and environment is very different. It is however all about the way the applicant handles and photographs their material.

Consideration is given to various criteria including the way the applicant composes shots, exposes, operates, lights, how they use available light to advantage and finally how the story is told and visually constructed. The work submitted needs to demonstrate more than just professional competence. Creativity, excellence and aesthetic innovation are just some of the qualities sought by the Accreditation panellists.

It’s only natural that if an applicant is unsuccessful, it can feel demoralising. That is certainly not the intent of the process. It is no slight on the work presented or the applicant, it’s simply that on this occasion the body of work was perceived as not being of a consistently high enough standard to achieve Accreditation.

Over the years there have been well-known cinematographers who have not got through on first submission, but we know quite a few have achieved Accreditation after resubmitting.

You can rest assured, that every applicant is given the same unbiased assessment by the panel of their peers.

If you do not gain Accreditation initially, we urge you not to become disillusioned and to try again – once you believe you have shot more great work that is worth adding to your submission.

Our Accreditation application fee allows you to reapply once more for Accreditation within two years without having to pay another fee. Generally, we suggest you have a gap year before reapplying to allow you to get sufficient new great work to upgrade your next submission.

Responsibilities and Commitment of Accredited Members

If you are considering applying for Accreditation, please be aware that should you be successful and receive your letters, it comes with a certain degree of responsibility and commitment. The Society expects your involvement in things like Awards Judging, Accreditation Assessments, participating as a member of your Branch committee or being involved Nationally on the Executive or on a subcommittee.

The Society is only as good as its members, and by gaining your letters, which is indeed a privilege and the highest honour the Society can bestow on you, does in turn mean the Society anticipates that you will be an ACTIVE contributor in order to continue the growth of the Society.

We ask you to seriously consider this before you apply for Accreditation.

Use of ACS letters

Only financial Accredited members of the ACS may use the letters ACS after their surname. The letters will be one space after the surname, in capitals, without stops or spaces between the letters, e.g. Carolyn Constantine ACS.

Should the Accredited member hold an honorific such as an OAM, etc. then this would precede their ACS letters, e.g. Ron Johanson OAM ACS

Or, if the Accredited member is also Accredited in another country then their first received accreditation should appear first, e.g. Dean Semler AM ACS ASC

Just being a member of the ACS does not allow a member to use the letters after their name. If you are a financial member who is not Accredited you may acknowledge you are a member of the society in your CV, email signature, etc. for example: Jane Citizen – I am a Full member (or Active, Student, etc) of the Queensland branch of the ACS.

Intending to apply for ACS Accreditation? READ THIS CHECKLIST BEFORE APPLYING

  1. I am a current financial member of the Australian Cinematographers Society. Members with fees in arrears may not apply.
  2. I have been a Full member of the ACS for the last three years and have been a professional cinematographer for at least eight years.
  3. I will contact my Branch in sufficient time to obtain assessment of the suitability of my submission prior to completing my Application for Accreditation within the prescribed dates.
  4. I will submit all my material within the prescribed dates and understand that material submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.
  5. I will include all documentation and signed forms with my submission.
  6. I will include full payment with my submission.
  7. I understand gaining ACS Accreditation is indeed a privilege and the highest honour that can be bestowed on me but in turn I know the Society expects and indeed needs my involvement.
  8. I understand and commit to that the Society will be calling on me for involvement in things like Awards Judging, Accreditation Assessments, participating as a member of your Branch committee or being involved Nationally on the Executive or on a subcommittee.

If you don’t believe you can commit to helping the Society in some of these ways then maybe you shouldn’t apply for Accreditation!