Cinematography merit badge becomes Moviemaking merit badge

MoviemakingThink of it as the long-awaited sequel.

Cinematography merit badge is now Moviemaking merit badge, effective immediately. The design of the badge won’t change, and new pamphlets are expected in Scout shops in mid-November.

Why make this change? Well, anyone who sticks around to watch a movie’s credits knows that cinematography is just one specific part of making a movie. So calling a merit badge that covers all of moviemaking “Cinematography” was something of a misnomer.

The BSA’s merit badge team also saw this as a chance to make a few other changes, including:

  • Tweaked requirements in light of the title change and focus away from cinematography and more toward moviemaking in general (find the new requirements after the jump) 
  • Updated text in a number of places to reflect the name change and address newer technology
  • New information about intellectual property

Find the new requirements after the jump. 

Moviemaking merit badge requirements

1. Discuss and demonstrate the proper elements of a good motion picture. In your discussion, include visual storytelling, rhythm, the 180-axis rule, camera movement, framing and composition of camera shots, and lens selection.

2. Do the following:

a. In a three- or four-paragraph treatment, tell the story you plan to produce, making sure that the treatment conveys a visual picture.

b. Prepare a storyboard for your motion picture. (This can be done with rough sketches and stick figures.)

c. Demonstrate the following motion picture shooting techniques:

(1) Using a tripod

(2) Panning a camera

(3) Framing a shot

(4) Selecting an angle

(5) Selecting proper lighting

(6) Handheld shooting

d. Using motion picture shooting techniques, plan ONE of the following programs. Start with a treatment and complete the requirement by presenting this program to a pack or your troop, patrol, or class.

(1) Film or videotape a court of honor and show it to an audience.

(2) Create a short feature of your own design, using the techniques you learned.

(3) Shoot a vignette that could be used to train a new Scout in a Scouting skill.

3. Do ONE of the following:

a. With your parent’s permission and your counselor’s approval, visit a film set or television production studio and watch how production work is done.

b. Explain to your counselor the elements of the zoom lens and three important parts.

4. Find out about three career opportunities in moviemaking. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this career with your counselor. Explain why this profession might interest you.

Thanks to Scouter Troy Pugh for the tip!


  1. So if a scout that has already earned the cinematography merit badge can he now also earn the movie making merit badge as there has been a change in the requirements, or not?

  2. Eliminated req 1b
    2a. Changed “tell the story you plan to film” to “produce”
    4. changed “Cinematography” to moviemaking

    I love the MB team but is this really necessary?

  3. I really wish the BSA would not only rely on their merit badge team. I think they should give all current merit badge counselors who work on the badges directly with the youth throughout the country an opportunity to comment and contribute to any changes. This way there could be less of a disconnect between National and the youth merit badge program.

  4. Being part of the Cinematography Merit Badge staff at the last 2 National Jamborees, I like the change. The name is more relevant. This is a fun merit badge to teach and the boys enjoy earning it.

  5. Are Merit Badge Counselors that have been approved as Cinematography Counselors automatically also approved as Moviemaking Counselors, or must they put in a 34405 for Moviemaking.
    And, how do we get our Councils to change their lists?

  6. Since moviemaking is not really a new merit badge, if a scout already has cinematography, it seems that they wouldn’t need to take moviemaking also, correct? My son is considering trying to earn all the merit badges, so that’s the reason for the question.

    • Hi Rose,
      For some reason, I happened to look back at this post today (of all days!) and see your comment. He would not need to get Moviemaking, you are correct. Cinematography became Moviemaking, so they are essentially the same merit badge (even the merit badge itself is the same).

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