CineArk’s Ark Academy aims to train next generation of film technicians

May 16, 2023
The programme aims to train the next generation of technician talent

DIT, video assist and RF solutions provider CineArk has established the Ark Academy to train and nurture the next generation of film technicians. This two-year training programme is designed to provide a supportive training environment where participants are paid to learn by specialising in departments such as video, DIT, RF, networking and comms.

The Ark Academy programme teaches trainees how to troubleshoot and provide technical liaison and support for CineArk’s operators out on set, whilst also supervising the checking in and out of equipment, asset and inventory control. The final year sees trainees take paid on-set placements, introducing them to the CineArk network and helping them build their freelance careers.

Dan Hartley, strategic director at CineArk, is proud of how successful this important training initiative has proved to be: “After a successful launch our first-year graduates have already carved out freelance careers on titles such as Rings of Power, Ant Man 3, Captain Marvel 2 and Wicked. We’ve recognised that the majority of new entrants to our industry are hungry to get work on set, so rather than discourage our in-house staff we felt that supporting these ambitions with the new scheme could help address the skills shortage by building a pipeline to prepare them for on-set roles, while as a company, we continue to provide the cutting edge support our reputation is built on.”

Testimonials from Ark Academy alumni

Alex Charlesworth, now a DIT Assistant was an early graduate of the Academy and now works as a freelancer on set. “Fast and effective problem-solving is what makes someone good at their job on set and daily problem-solving at CineArk taught me how to find creative solutions. That knowledge and insight has been invaluable to me.”

Kieran Toman, another recent graduate, also praised CineArk for the opportunities the scheme afforded him: “It’s been an incredible initiative that has given me a thorough understanding of highly specialised film equipment whilst building my professional network and providing a springboard to my current role as a freelance DIT assistant on studio films and high-end television.”

CineArk has ten graduates at various stages of progression and will be hiring two more trainees later in 2023.

CineArk is also building lasting relationships with higher education establishments such as the NFTS and Bristol University to provide ongoing placements for their students.

The Academy’s burgeoning relationship with Bristol University enabled students Jameson White and Daisy Balmont to complete 75-100 hours industrial placement with CineArk as part of their degrees. White has graduated and now works at Films at 59 in Bristol. During his tenure with CineArk, he created a dissertation about how wireless technology helped the film industry keep working through the COVID pandemic. Born from an appreciation of technology and how it is driven by circumstances and innovation, he was drawn to CineArk as they were a key innovator at that time and a key player in getting the industry back up and running during the pandemic due to wireless technology. He received a first for his paper and his long-term goal is to become a cinematographer. “Working in post and working in CineArk’s Kit Room made me appreciate how important prep is for a smooth journey into post-production,” said White.

Daisy Balmont is currently in her third year studying Film Production at Bristol and she completed a two-week placement with CineArk. Balmont initially studied physics and worked with software companies before switching to film. She was really pleased to get hands-on with complicated high-end stuff such as lens data encoders, fibre link and advanced video assist which she had never encountered before. The CineArk experience made her feel more comfortable about going onto set and encountering this sort of hardware. “CineArk opened my eyes to a whole new world of on-set roles that I never knew existed and it made me consider becoming a DIT in the future,” she said.

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