The 14 best places to learn filmmaking & cinematography online right now. 🎥 Free and Paid
Hi, Focus Rat here.
Where should you learn filmmaking in the 21st Century? Today we are going to talk about a topic that the new generations of camera rats keep asking me.
What is the best place to learn filmmaking online? I have scoured the rat net, and came up with this list of 14 places, half paid and free, where you can start learning to create the best films possible.
Let's start so i can go back to eating cheese in peace.
7 free online places where you can learn filmmaking.
This is probably the most obvious one, but one cannot underestimate the power of Youtube. You can find just about any kind of tutorial on Youtube, from how to make scrambled eggs, to complex math problems explained by a tired Indian guy.
If you have the patience to sit through videos about filmmaking till you find one that clicks with you and you understand, YouTube is an excellent place to start and brush up on your skills.
A few good places to start: Filmmaking 101: Training for Scriptwriting, Camera, Shooting, Lighting, and Video Post Production, by NextWaveDV. This 1h 30 m video is an excellent introduction video about the basics of filmmaking
The next one is a playlist, that goes in-depth about a myriad of topics and content creation, from a three-point lighting tutorial to mastering compositions.
The third one is actually a video made by me, where i share with you all my cinematographer and film knowledge!
Studio Binder is a video, photo, TV & film production management software that is widely used in film creation. Besides their high-performing app, they have 3 high-quality video courses on Filmmaking techniques, Tv writing and development, and pre-production development.
This is one of the best places to start learning about these topics, and on their website, you can find a lot of other useful tips and tricks.
As the name suggests, Movie School Free is a website set up like a school, with university-level lectures, all for free.
One of the main features of this website is that it assumes that you want to learn movie making from scratch, and it teaches you the basics, slowly ramping up the complexity of the topics while building upon previous lessons constantly.
If you want something that is structured more like a traditional class setting, while having high-quality lessons, all for the low low price of free you should definitely check this site out.
Another popular media these days that you can listen to on the go is podcasts. They are a great way to absorb passive information while you go about washing dishes and walking your flea.
Some of the industry's greatest cinematographers and filmmakers have or appear on podcasts, and share specific stories and anecdotes that might give you unique insights about the industry.
3 podcasts worth checking out:
Just Shoot It: a mostly interview-based podcast that offers a breadth of impressive insights into a wide range of directors, writers, editors, DPs, actors, and everybody in between.
The Wandering DP: this is a great podcast to listen to for all things lighting and composition — and some nitty-gritty details on some of your favorite cameras.
Indie Film Hustle: Created by Alex Ferrari, a seasoned filmmaker with over twenty-five years of industry experience, Indie Film Hustle is dedicated to keeping its audience informed about the latest and greatest filmmaking news. I
Before writing this blog, I was not aware that LinkedIn had a learning section, and I didn't know that they were decent, well shot, contained a wealth of useful information, and most importantly, free.
The best part is, that if you frequently use Linkedin in your professional career, these courses show up on your profile and signal potential requiters that you have studied these topics, and make it easier to find a gig/job.
Vimeo is a strange place. It's probably the best-known competitor of Youtube, and mostly contains videos of old movies and animations. However, as you probably know, Youtube has strange and sometimes unknowable restrictions and copyright law, thus making Vimeo a perfect place for people to go if they are tired of YouTube's unknowable rules.
In recent years, there has been an uptake of quality content on Vimeo, along with content creators and filmmakers posting their tutorials there. The video showcased in this blog is from Hopscoh films, and it's intended to showcase how to learn film in 40 days, using bite-sized information that can be practiced each day for, you have guessed, 40 days.
You can find other tutorials and free content about filmmaking on Vimeo as well.
FilmmakeriIQ is more of a collection of articles, a community where people share information about editing techniques, camera angles, and anything under the sun about cinematography and content creation.
It's a useful and free site to frequent when you want a bite-sized analysis of your favorite moves and news about the latest techniques in filmmaking.
7 paid online courses where you can learn filmmaking.
Masterclass is probably one of the most famous if not the most famous online learning platforms. It has exclusive lessons from the greatest cinematographers in the industry, like Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron, showcasing not only skills and knowledge a videographer might want but how the greatest filmmakers in our current time developed theirs.
3 of the Masterclass's we recommend you start with:
James Cameron Masterclass: Learn Filmmaking For The Legend
- In this Masterclass, James Cameron breaks down how big-budget movies are made, and his struggles and experiences in creating the Titanic, Alien, and Terminator. He also offers practical advice that can be applied to every level of filmmaking, no matter the budget or size of the production.
Ken Burns Masterclass: Learn Documentary Filmmaking From The Legend
- In this lesson, Ken Burns teaches you how to identify the natural drama to truth, and how to distill it into a documentary format while keeping the essence of what happened pure and true to the original happenings.
Neil Gaiman MasterClass:
- The Art Of Storytelling. The creator of Caroline, American Gods, Good Omens, The Sandman, and many more teaches us about what makes a compelling character and how to take an idea and turn it into a story that engages your audience.
Udemy is full of curated and high-quality lectures, however, on this platform instead of the few hours-long classes presented on Masterclass, you can find university-level, 40+ hour detailed lectures on the topic of filmmaking, cinematography, camera work, and many more. Great choice if you want a more in-depth and step-by-step lesson.
One great place to start is Cinematography Masterclass: The Complete Videography Guide by Julian Melanson. This will give you a film school-level understanding of how to shotlist, light, frame, shoot, and capture crystal clear audio.
Skillshare is the second most famous learning platform and probably the most popular one. It is affordable, and its greatest strength is in a variety of courses. You can find short snappy 1-2 hour couriers about focus pulling or camera work, to behemoths that have 400 + hours of useful content about cinematography.
If you have the patience to search through thousands of courses till you find ones that click and don't want to spend too much, but still want a high quality, Skillshare is for you.
Creativelive is another learning platform, aimed at young entrepreneurs and creative people. It has a decent-sized collection of high-quality courses for cinematographers and filmmakers, curated and broken down into specific jobs that you might encounter on the set.
It has a good app that lets you watch courses from your phone and a responsive support system with a decent community. It's a bit on the pricy side, however from what we saw, you are getting your money's worth.
Takelessons is a platform created and maintained by Microsoft, and it's probably the most interesting platform on this list. Instead of watching a lecture, you connect directly with instructors.
It's surprisingly affordable, and the fact that you have someone live that you can ask specific questions and can help you explain things while you are doing it is something that classic video lectures can only dream of.
Indie film hustle is a bit like FilmmakerIQ, however, it has a long history and a yearly subscription-based model. You get articles, tutorials, and videos from indie films and indie cinematography.
If you want more curated, long-standing, and scoops from Indie movies around the world, this might be worth a subscription.
Mzed is another interesting learning platform. It's specifically made for cinematographers and filmmakers, and sponsored by massive brands in the industry like Arri, Cannon, NBC Universal, and Black Magic.
It has a pricy monthly subscription, however, if you want a platform specifically designed for filmmakers and cinematography, and all its courses are created and curated around this topic, it might be a good investment.
There is a wealth of online courses where you can find high-quality information about everything filmmaking related, both free and paid.
Free quality information may require a bit of time investment till you find the right lecture that clicks with you, while the paid options usually deliver high-quality information from the start.
The most important part of these lectures is not to find a free one or to pay high fees for courses, but to find the ones that click with you, that make you feel inspired and give you useful information, that you can understand and pushes you forward in your career.
I hope this blog will help you orient yourself in the world of online courses and gives you a more concrete idea of where to get your information.
I wish back in my day we had these online courses as well, would have skipped a lot of screaming and attempts to squash me when I went to University and sneaked on sets to learn from the best.
With Love, from
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