ACS accreditation

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

Considering Applying?

Membership status: If you intend to apply for ACS accreditation you must be aware of your level of membership or ‘membership status’.

Accreditation application member requirements:

  1. Only full members may apply.
  2. The applying member must have worked a minimum of eight years in the role of professional cinematographer, of which they must have held the membership status of Full ACS member for at least three years continuously.
  3. Members whose fees were in arrears at any time during the three-year period and members currently in arrears are not eligible to apply for accreditation.
  4. ACS accreditation is intended for ACS members who satisfy the accreditation guidelines, have been approved by the accreditation panel and the ACS board and are either citizens of Australia who currently reside in Australia or have a strong affiliation with Australia.

ACS members are responsible for monitoring their own membership status. If you are not yet a full member, you should contact your branch treasurer and request a change to full membership as soon as you are eligible. Once a full member, you may apply after the three-year period is concluded.

Applying: If you meet the membership conditions above, then you need to get a body of your work together in the form of a proposed submission.

Achieving ACS accreditation is a really important step in your career but it may not be easy to attain and therefore the ACS recommends the following:

  1. Consider if you really believe you are ready to apply based on the range and quality of your work to date.
  2. Put considerable thought, research and time into selecting what to include in your proposed submission.
  3. Allow ample time to prepare your submission as it can take a lot of time sourcing and collating your media and creating the written components.
  4. It is mandatory that you have your proposed submission reviewed by at least two ACS Accredited members to get their opinions and feedback on your submission before you can apply for an accreditation application form.

This is the process:

  1. The applicant (you) must choose and contact at least two ACS accredited members to review your proposed submission. They could be your branch president (if accredited) or other accredited members. ACS accredited member list
  2. This process must take place well in advance of the accreditation Application window which opens between September 1st and September 14th, as all submissions can only be entered between these dates each year. Late entries will not be accepted.
  3. If changes are recommended by either of the two accredited members, make those changes, then resubmit to them for further review.
  4. If the two accredited members agree your work should be submitted for assessment you must then contact the ACS Accreditation Committee Chair, Ernie Clark ACS. You will need to advise him of the names of your reviewers and he will contact them for verification. Email the Accreditation Committee Chair, Ernie Clark ACS »
  5. Once confirmed, you will be emailed a link to an online application form. Then you will be allowed to enter your submission between September 1st and September 14th
  6. Your completed online application form including your bio (see below) and proof of payment of the application fee receipt, need to be completed by September 14. Applications received after this date will not be accepted.
  7. All media drives are to be delivered (with tracking) to Accreditation Chair, Ernie Clark ACS, PO Box 278 Normanville SA 5204 by September 21 at the latest. Make sure, if using a courier service they will deliver to a PO box. If sending drives from overseas please ensure sufficient time to arrive by the deadline.
  8. In applying for accreditation, applicants must agree to consent to the terms and conditions and that the accreditation committee’s decisions are final and no discussion or correspondence will be entered into.

Advice: Past experiences have shown us that underprepared and ill-considered submissions will not be successful. Take the time to submit well. The judging panel’s time is valuable and they will not waste it on poor submissions. Avoid being disappointed.

Your bio

We ask applicants to provide a brief biography (300 to 400 word maximum) of your career as a cinematographer, outlining your body of work, career path and experiences. The panel does not need a ‘who’s who’ of everyone you have worked with, but they may be interested in who mentored you, or anyone you have mentored, how long you have been an ACS member, whether you have been actively involved in the ACS at either the state or national level, etc. If you wish, you could also supply a filmography and a list of your awards won during your career.

Your body of work

You should supply us with a good cross section of your work which the accreditation panel can view at the highest image quality. Substandard images quality will adversely affect your outcome.

We prefer your submission to be supplied on a drive. Experience has shown us this is the smoothest method of seeing an applicant’s portfolio. We understand that some pieces may only be available from a streaming platform and if this is the case you need to nominate the platforms.

We have had issues with links in the past as often they have expired or are password protected. We encourage you not to attempt to supply files this way.

If you have files which need to be downloaded, the applicant (you) needs to do this and supply them on your drive. Be sure to deliver in time as noted above.

Expectation 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 on awards judging panels, on accreditation panels, offering advice to prospective accreditation applicants, participating as a member of a Branch committee or being involved nationally on the Board 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 expects 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.

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!

Accreditation submission guidelines

Peruse the list of ACS accreditation considerations in the section below to get an idea of some of the things the accreditation panel may be looking for.

The accreditation judging panel require a good cross section of your range of work. As cinematographers have such a varying mix of work, it is impossible to make a definitive list of what to submit with your submission, but please use some of the following suggestions as a guide:

  • If you only shoot feature films then at least three complete features.
  • If you only shoot TV drama then a minimum of 5 shows. 
  • If you work in various areas then perhaps a feature followed by your other work, a TV drama or two, maybe a documentary, a few music clips and a few commercials.
  • If your background is only documentaries then a minimum of 5.
  •  If you shoot only commercials then you should present at least 12 commercials or if you only shoot music clips then 8 – 10 clips or if you shot both music clips & TVC’s then say 4 clips and say 8 commercials.
  • Please note: showreel montages are not accepted.
  • If your background is factual television acquisition – news, news magazine, current affairs etc. the committee look for your ability to tell the story, your creative use of light, whether it be artificial or the light available to you in the situation. Successful applicants in this area have shown an uncanny ability to use the surroundings available to them, both in light and composition for a creative result. In these genres probably 6 – 8 examples should suffice depending on the length of the pieces.
  • The overall recommendation is ‘less is more’. Do not submit everything you have ever shot. Only submit what you have been the happiest with. Only enter the best of your best work. If you have any doubt about an item then you probably shouldn’t submit it.
  • The submitted work needs to demonstrate more than just professional competence. Creativity and aesthetic innovation are some of the qualities sought by the panellists.
  • Accreditation submissions will only be accepted between September 1st and 14th each year.
  • Drives are to be delivered (with tracking) to accreditation Chair, Ernie Clark ACS, PO Box 278 Normanville SA 5204 by September 21 at the latest. Make sure, if using a courier service they will deliver to a PO box. If sending drives from overseas please ensure sufficient time to arrive by the deadline.

Media submission requirements

Accreditation submissions of your range of work will be accepted in the following formats.

Data video files delivered on hard drives formatted to MacOS or ExFAT are preferred. ACS recommends high quality codecs that will play easily such as ProRes422 or DNxHD, h264 (5 -10 Mbps bitrate), HEVC (h265) or MPEG4. Resolution should be no greater than 2k (2048×1080). 1920×1080 is preferred.

  1. Commercially produced DVDs or Blu-rays.  Impotant: self-authored disks will not be accepted.
  2. Streamed VOD. This method should only be used when all other methods are not possible. This must be a common, Australian-based platform. Note that a stream which fails for any reason, will result in the video not being accepted or judged. Applicants will not be contacted to remedy the stream.
  3. Links to professional Vimeo accounts. In certain circumstances, applicants may not have access other than on a secure server at Vimeo (or similar). Only when this is the case may this option be chosen. Again, if the link fails, the clip will not be accepted or judged.
  4. Do not supply links to download files – the applicant must download their own files and supply them on their drive.

16:9 monitors are used for judging, therefore all entries to be submitted 16:9 full height anamorphic.
4:3 and 9:16 (vertical) entries should be pillar boxed. Widescreen entries to be letterboxed.

Checklist for ACS accreditation application

If you are applying for ACS accreditation, please review the following checklist.

  1. I am a current financial full member of the Australian Cinematographers Society and have been for at least three continuous years. (Members with fees in arrears may not apply.)
  2. I have been a professional cinematographer for at least eight years.
  3. I have shown my proposed submission of my work to at least two accredited ACS members, accepted their advice before applying for an application form and will submit their names.
  4. I will submit all my material within the prescribed dates and understand that material arriving after the deadline will not be accepted.
  5. I will give information about all footage not shot by me*, computer generated or affected images, AI images and include any other relevant information. *Please watermark footage that is not yours – NOT APPLICANT If you do this you will not need to supply timecodes for that footage!
  6. I will include all documentation and signed form with my submission.
  7. I will ensure proof of my full payment is included with my submission.
  8. 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 needs and expects my involvement and contribution to the Society in things such as awards judging, accreditation advice, accreditation assessments, participating as a member of a branch committee or being involved nationally on the board 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!

ACS accreditation considerations

Some of the things that may be considered by the accreditation panel when assessing ACS accreditation submissions. (NB: depending on the field of cinematography an applicant works in, not all points may be applicable.)

  • Does the applicant shoot in a specialised field? If so, is the applicant’s work outstanding in their specialised field?
  • Is the work composed consistently well?
  • Is the work technically excellent?
  • Is the work lit extremely well?
  • Is the camera movement right for the work?
  • Is the work aesthetically innovative, creative or artistic?
  • Does the visual construction impress?
  • Do the cinematographer’s contributions carry the narrative well?
  • Are the images of a consistently high standard that the work can be considered above just professional competence?
  • Does the cinematographer demonstrate the ability to achieve different looks and/or lighting?
  • Is there enough work of a consistently high standard to fairly appraise the submission?
  • Has any of the work been recognised Nationally or Internationally or is it of that standard?
  • Has the applicant mentored others or been actively involved in the ACS?
  • Finally, is the applicant worthy of ACS accreditation?

Upon accreditation

An accredited member may adopt the post nominal letters ACS for only as long as they remain a member of the society. The use of the ACS letters after a person’s name is exclusively reserved for those who have received ACS accreditation.