So, you want to be a filmmaker or involved in filmmaking in some way. Maybe as a scriptwriter, editor, or cinematographer. Besides brick and mortar schools or interning on a production, the best online filmmaking courses, schools and tutorials can help you achieve that goal!
There are clear advantages to schooling online. A person could be just about anywhere in the world and have access to the courses. A person wanting to learn can generally do so on their own time. Costs are often lower, too.
To find out which online filmmaking course, school or tutorial is the best for you, keep on reading!
16 Best Online Filmmaking courses, schools & Tutorials In 2023
1. DSLR Filmmaking For Beginners (Free On Skillshare)
Coming in at my #1 spot definitely had to be the “DSLR Filmmaking For Beginners” course by Jordy Vandput (who is a full-time YouTuber and videographer). As of writing this, the course currently has over 12,461 students from all around the world!
What I really admired about this course was that it covers everything that a beginner filmmaker will need. There are even some more advanced teachings for those who already have some experience under their belt.
Modules that are covered include how to shoot in a manual model, storytelling, lighting, composition, frame rates, motion, histograms, b-roll, and the list literally goes on. Best of all is that this is all delivered in an easy to understand manner.
As for the price… It’s FREE when you signup for the Skillshare 2 free month trial. As an added bonus, this trial also gives users access to 100’s of other courses from editing, vlogging, cinematography, and more!
2. DIY Filming: Creating Pro Video Course (Free On Skillshare)
Up next on my list is another fantastic Skillshare course that teaches those how to create professional-grade film and video with their existing equipment.
So if you have an existing smartphone or point and shoot camera, and are resisting investing in a DSLR, this is the course for you! It is also a great foundation for those learning the filmmaking craft.
Taught by professional videographer Mark Cersosimo, he walks students through the whole process of creating a video from storyboarding, recording footage, transitions, using certain equipment, and also editing! Since the creation of the course, 23,000 students have completed these classes 😱.
Being hosted on Skillshare, students can get access to this course (plus the above one) for free on their 2-month trial that can be canceled at any time. Can’t go wrong!
Course studies include lecture notes, projects, and assignments. How much you get out of the courses depends on how deep into the course you want to get.
The only thing missing is real-time instructor feedback, but even that is sort of covered by online discussion groups you can join.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology makes available at no cost a whole lot of courses on many topics in their Open Courseware program.
Originally established in 1861, MIT has long been known and esteemed for its excellent engineering and science research and education programs. Besides science and engineering, MIT is also a leader in quality education in a wide range of fields from business to medicine.
To have their education courses available for free to whoever wants to take the time to go through them is really a big deal. We’re not just talking about a synopsis or review of topics. These are actual full courses of study.
Under the Visual Arts menu in the Fine Arts section of the courseware, you will find Graphic Design, Photography, and Film and Video. The courses are both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Some of the subjects currently on Udemy are DSLR Filmmaking, Video Editing, Shooting 16mm Film, Making iPhone Documentaries, and Screenwriting & Storytelling.
Interestingly, Udemy is not a school or university. Since 2007 it has been an online learning program geared towards professionals and interested parties wanting to further their knowledge and skills in all sorts of areas.
Courses are created by a variety of professionals who are leaders in their fields. Each course is available for purchase and completion on your own time.
However, some courses are video presentations of lectures, while others are downloadable multi-media presentations, and a few are actually live classes.
The costs of most courses are quite reasonable and the course may last anywhere from 3 to 10 hours each, usually split up into smaller, manageable parts.
Filmmaking, areas of study can be found in cinematography, directing, acting, screenwriting, and in the various business aspects such as raising capital, producing, and marketing films.
Coursera is an online learning platform founded by Stanford professors that offer courses, specializations, and even some degrees.
In addition, courses usually last from four to ten weeks, with one to two hours of video lectures a week. The courses provide quizzes, weekly exercises, peer-graded assignments, and sometimes a final project or exam.
You can join Coursera for free, but the courses do have fees, and if a certification certificate is offered, you will need to purchase it.
However, you will have access to many universities, colleges, and businesses worldwide that provide education in your chosen field.
The lesson plans and course material were designed by Louis La Volpe, a production supervisor for New York University’s Institute of Film and Television. It’s a great option for those wanting to learn about filmmaking but who are on a tight budget.
Though the name makes you think of an actual school, this is a series of courses that you can purchase separately or together. It uses the open-source Moodle platform for course study and presentation.
Furthermore, its complete online filmmaking program covers all the vital areas of filmmaking from script to screen, including film, video, and digital media.
When you purchase a course this allows you to cover it at your leisure within a two-year access window for course material.
Opened in 1979 and online since 2007, Full Sail University is a true university, offering degrees such as associate, bachelor’s, and master’s.
The range of degree programs are in Art & Design, Business, Film & Television, Games, Media & Communications, Music & Recording, Sports, and Technology.
Interestingly, degree programs are offered at an accelerated pace. According to Full Sail, this allows you to graduate in approximately half the time of a traditional bachelor’s program.
Also, programs are designed as close to a real-world experience as possible, oftentimes with on-the-job experience that goes beyond mere classroom teaching.
Start classes when you’re ready, instead of dealing with semester schedules. After graduation, students can come back to update their skills and knowledge as the entertainment industry continues to evolve.
A full art school, established in 1929, this school has programs in many art fields, with Animation and Motion Picture and Television being among the programs.
Full degrees are available online and on campus. Online courses allow you to complete your studies on your own time.
Additionally, there are degree specializations in Producing, Directing, Digital Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, and Screen Writing.
Study with professionals working in the entertainment industry, including Academy and Emmy Award winners.
By the time students graduate from the School of Motion Pictures & Television, they have created a thesis film, reel, or portfolio that showcases their talents.
Moreover, the Academy of Art also offers career and entrepreneurial services for students and in filmmaking positions.
In New York City since 1992, NYFA also has branches in Los Angeles, Miami, and smaller campuses around the world.
NYFA offers master, bachelor, and associate degrees, as well as shorter courses and programs in:
- acting for film
- fashion photography
- documentary filmmaking
- 3D animation and visual effects
- game design
- digital filmmaking
- broadcast journalism
- musical theatre
- music video
- digital editing
- graphic design
- virtual reality.
Many of these are available online. Learning by doing, or with hands-on experience, is at the core of the education from NYFA.
What better place to have a film school than right next door to Hollywood? UCLA has a great fine arts degree program that includes a specialization in digital and film media. Since 1919, UCLA has been the southern branch of the University of California.
If you want to increase your filmmaking skills but don’t have the time to commit to a semester-long course, UCLA offers online extension courses.
Even students still in high school can enroll in some of these online course programs. Some of the courses include:
- Introduction to Art and Technique of Filmmaking
- Digital Cinematography
- Screenwriting Fundamentals
- Advanced Screenwriting Workshop
- Art and Practice of Motion Picture Producing
- Planning Independent Feature Production
- Overview of Contemporary Film Industry.
More well known as a liberal arts college, ASU also has a complete online degree program in film and media studies.
Established in 1885, Arizona State University is a research and education facility with a lot of options for students.
Taught as a more traditional class with lectures and assignments, ASU online can provide aspiring directors, cinematographers, writers, and even actors with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the world of motion picture and TV entertainment.
Film Riot has a full series of videos on subjects related to filmmaking. This one on lighting is an introduction to proper lighting techniques using inexpensive equipment.
Even though not everyone can afford all the brand name stuff, you can get the same results with what you have on hand if you just know the right techniques.
Motion Array is another portal with many video tutorials. This one has tips and guidance for using Premier Pro, a film editing and enhancing program.
Additionally, it takes you beyond the instructions and shows how to create high-quality effects yourself.
Adobe After Effects is another industry-accepted program useful for filmmaking. It isn’t always clearly evident how to use the tools the program has or exactly what they do.
However, a tutorial like this one gives you a jump start on how to make a quick change effect for transitions.
Another great source of tutorials is Cinecom. In this one, a low budget is used to best advantage by creative use of available resources.
Importantly, lighting is essential for creating a beautiful scene. If you have bad lighting your scene will look dull and uninteresting. This tutorial has many tips to take your scenes to the next level.
16. Filmmaker IQ
This YouTube channel has tutorials for filmmakers on subjects such as Exposure, Dynamic Range, Depth of Field, Audio Recording, Sound Engineering, and how to properly use credits among the list.
Also, this channel offers many fine tips and guides for beginners and experienced filmmakers.
Wrapping It Up
We live in a digital world. Digital cameras have become the go-to medium for many photographers and filmmakers.
We are constantly connected to the world by means of smartphones, tablets, the internet, and other technologies. It is not a surprise that schooling for photographic and cinematographic skills can be found online and to high quality.