I have been around film and video production for almost 25 years. While I’ve gone into audio and online work, I’ve always had great admiration for filmmakers – directors, writers, editors, and especially cinematographers. Making movies has traditionally been an endeavor that required big budgets and a large group of people who are very skilled at what they do.
That’s why I find it totally mind-blowing that the technology of today allows us not just to shoot our own quality video that looks like film but to complete the whole process on our home computers all by ourselves!
And that’s why today I’d like to look at the best online options when it comes to learning the craft and skill of being a videographer, the cinematographer’s little brother. How do you become a one-man videomaking show? What are the best videography courses online, DSLR videography in particular? And for those of you who are business minded, I’ll mention some wedding videography courses as well.
- Is Videography Hard?
- Business Or Pleasure?
- Is Videography Only About Shooting?
- Best Online Videography Courses
- Improve Your Editing Skills
Is Videography Difficult?
If you’ve read my photography course reviews, videography production is not that different. Ultimately, it is all about lighting. The skill itself is the balance between technical know-how that has to do with the camera settings, its creative aspects such as composition and depth of field, and knowing which useful trick you’ll need to pull out of your sleeve to achieve your creative vision.
In a word, no – I don’t think it’s hard; as long as you can grasp the underlying concepts and learn how to use your gear. For the creative side, you may have more or less talent. But even if you don’t have much (yet), the good thing – if that’s good – is that most people have questionable taste LOL All I’m saying is that even if your work is objectively not great at first, there is only a small number of people that will be able to determine that. So press on!
Business Or Pleasure?
Now, I have no way of knowing what your videography motivation is. Maybe you just want to improve these skills for your personal use. If you shoot videos of your family at home or while traveling, this is definitely time and money well spent. Buying the latest and greatest gear can only help you so much. Learning how to do it right is priceless. Documenting the only life you have deserves to be done in the best way possible.
If you’re interested in starting a business, your reasons to master the basics and take it at least to the next level are obvious. There are many opportunities to make money shooting video: making movies, creating vlogs, travel, food, providing video services for the real estate industry, course making, events, church services, weddings… The opportunities are pretty much endless.
Is Videography Only About Shooting?
If you want to be able to complete the whole process, then no – it is most definitely not just about learning how to shoot video. Your footage needs to be edited, each shot color corrected, your sound needs processing, audio levels have to be set correctly, and music added to the mix. There will also be some static and motion graphics involved, and your final product must be compressed and delivered. This is all post-production. And back during the production process, you also need to be able to capture the audio properly and deal with lighting, whether natural or artificial.
Don’t be alarmed by this long list, though. You will learn some of these skills in the courses you take and the rest will come together over time and improve as you gain experience. And you can always take additional courses to further develop each of these skills.
I will focus mainly on the courses about the shooting process, but the rest can’t be ignored. Some of the courses touch upon the other aspects and I will also mention some additional useful resources and courses that your videographer career can benefit from.
Best Online Videography Courses
SkillShare Online Videography Courses
Let’s start this list of videography picks with the simplest and least expensive options. SkillShare’s premium membership is by far the best bang for the buck you can get out there. Granted, the courses vary in quality and are not very long. But for the price of one Udemy course, you can get month-long access to this great platform and watch hundreds of courses.
I will not go in depth about any of these courses as I believe it would be unnecessary. They are all basic beginner courses and will give you everything you need to get started shooting with your DSLR. You can and should watch all of them and let any material overlap help you remember those specific and important concepts.
All the lessons in these courses are very short. The total course durations vary from about an hour and a half to three and a half hours so you can easily watch all of them.
Here are my four SkillShare top picks.
1) Video Production – The Complete Course is the longest of these courses and makes this an especially great deal. This course is led by three professionals, one of them being Phil Ebiner who has almost a hundred video and digital photography training courses online.
This course covers everything you need to know, from coming up with ideas, choosing the right equipment, and planning your shoot on to all the technical production skills you’ll need all the way to the post production. There is not a single topic that is missing in this course. But in three and a half hours, you can only cram so much information.
Finally, the course ends with five very different case studies to help you see how all of these skills come together in practical real-life projects.
2) Next, I would recommend Cinematography Course | Shoot Expert Video on Any Camera by Dale McManus. I was actually going to recommend you take this same course at Udemy, but I don’t think it’s necessary to keep this course forever.
For me, this kind of knowledge is fine to be taken in once. Then again, I am not a total newbie whereas you may need to watch this again.
Either way, this professional cinematographer, photographer, and YouTuber can teach you some very practical skills in an hour and fifteen minutes. This is a beginner course and it’s geared toward those who want to capture travel video and/or short films and who need to do it on a limited budget.
3) Another cinematography course that packs a punch is called DSLR Filmmaking: From Beginner to PRO!
This course is by Jordy Vandeput, a well-known online teacher, filmmaker, and YouTuber from Belgium. His courses are always highly rated and so is this one. Don’t take this short paragraph as anything but the fact that I have nothing to add. Just watch this one!
4) Finally, Videography For Beginners: Learn How to Make 4 Types of Short Videos for Business or Hobby is a course by Randy Alan who is a self-taught instructor.
He covers everything that the other guys deliver so you won’t be lacking anything. While he is the least “pro” of these courses, he has the best-rated course. There’s something about his simple approach and excellent delivery that sits great with his students.
If you were to look at the curriculum for each one of these courses, they may seem very similar to one another. And in many ways they are. This is because the bulk of cinematography knowledge is evergreen. The rest is details and experience.
Taking similar short courses has never been more affordable than nowadays and especially on a platform like SkillShare. Whatever is worth repeating and remembering will be reiterated in each of the courses. In addition to that, you will pick up different tips and tricks from every course because the teachers have varied backgrounds and experiences.
Not only that, but my experience is that sometimes some concepts don’t even sink in unless they are repeated several times. Hearing them from different instructors can only help you retain that information.
So SkillShare courses should be your first choice if you are a total beginner and if you are on a tight budget or maybe even unsure if cinematography is for you.
Udemy Videography Courses
Udemy is such a wonderful platform that’s been greatly influencing the world of online education for years. Like at SkillShare, anyone can create a course so there is a wide range of courses and they naturally vary in quality. But Udemy has a higher standard at least when it comes to the technical quality of their courses, and that’s why I tend to prefer their platform. Oh, and let’s not forget their satisfaction guarantee!
The one slight disadvantage that Udemy might have is that you are buying each and every course separately. Overall, you will end up spending more money per course watched. But the same counter argument could be made against the subscription-based platforms – you don’t get to keep any of their courses to watch again at a later date!
Keep that in mind as you choose your courses. I don’t mean that just for videography but in general. If a course gives you information that you will want to revisit or have access to a teacher so that you can ask questions, it’s absolutely worth paying a few dollars more (and this is literally just a few dollars) for having those options.
Bottom line is that we all love Udemy and most of their courses are worth every penny. They run sales all year round and you’ll typically end up paying around ten to fifteen dollars per course. And that is an absolute bargain!
On to the selections.
At this moment, it is difficult to find online video courses that are taught by videographers with decades of top-level professional experience. By top-level, I mean guys who shoot actual movies and TV programs. VIDEO SHOOTING techniques loved by pro broadcast filmmakers by Andrew St. Pierre White is one such course.
As expected from such a professional, this course is not for made for beginners but for improving intermediate skills or from stepping up and away from the beginner level. It doesn’t talk about tools but about how and why a tool can be used in a certain way. It’s not necessarily a course that a beginner will not understand because the presentation is fairly simple.
If you’re a beginner and still getting a handle on your equipment, you will probably not have an opportunity to utilize this knowledge. On the other hand, watching this course may inspire you to start thinking about how you can take your videomaking further. Either way, it’s an excellent highly-rated course and hopefully, you can catch a good deal on it!
Another intermediate course is Video Content Accelerator: improve your video skills by Yarin Goren. He has experience in various videography fields and is bringing all his knowledge to this quality 4-hour course.
His topics cover more technical ground such as lighting, editing, color correction, and motion graphics. While he covers some business, most of the syllabus is about post-production and using Adobe software.
Yarin has a beginner course that like other entry-level courses revolves mostly around using the equipment and covers essential storytelling and composition. However, I think that the SkillShare courses may provide better value mainly because they are a part of a subscription. In addition, I wanted to provide a choice of different types of courses as this is not necessarily a list of online videography courses for beginners.
Speaking of choices, my final Udemy recommendation is for those of you interested in wedding videography courses. Wedding Videography: Complete Guide to Wedding Videography is a course by Phil Ebiner. Maybe you remember his name from my top pick as SkillShare.
As is the case with most if not all of Phil’s courses, it gets updated over time and grows in content. This course is currently 5.5 hours long as he takes any comments into considerations and strives to improve his courses.
This is a professional wedding videographer course and it is aimed at a beginner. To be clear, it’s not for a total beginner in a technical sense. Obviously, you’d need to be comfortable with your gear to be able to shoot a wedding. But it’s certainly an excellent starter course if you are serious about getting into wedding videography.
Phil’s course covers many technical, creative, and business aspects needed to successfully operate a wedding videography business. I do have one more wedding course coming up. This one is probably a simpler one of the two and the one I’d start with as they do complement each other.
CreativeLive DSLR Videography Courses
As usual, when it comes to creative skills, CreativeLive has some great courses on offer. There are almost fifty courses and classes that are relevant to our topic, but they go wide into topics such as cinemagraphs, virtual reality, film scoring, and the business side of funding and distributing your creative work.
For our videography needs, there are still many courses to choose from and I would highly recommend returning here later for more in-depth specific skill-sharpening. But for now, I have picked three different courses.
Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is a beginner course by Victor Ha. He used to be a photographer who has now switched to shooting video with an SLR camera. I have to repeat that this is a beginner course because if you have some video and even photography knowledge, some of the lessons will be familiar to you.
The course is called Fundamentals and that is exactly what it is, but it does go deep in many areas. It covers a lot of technical ground and that also means that some specific topics are going to be outdated by the time you take the course. That’s an unfortunate fact of all the courses about technology. And this is also the reason why you need to take many or at least several courses to fully cover any of these types of skills.
That being said, this course does consist mostly of evergreen knowledge. On the technical side of things, you will learn a lot about setting up the lights and capturing sound. Creatively, you will learn how to plan and frame your shots, and a bunch of concepts that Victor has developed over the years that can be extremely useful to you.
This is a great starter DSLR videography course.
If you are interested in either improving your own skills in order to take better home videos for yourself or to use that as a business, then look no further than Filming Families: The Modern Family Video.
Courtney Holmes is a family photographer and her goal with this course is to help professional photographers add video services to their business. Not only to help them, but also to excite them about the prospects of video. However, being that she is a family photographer, all of this knowledge can easily be applied to your personal videography.
She is not much into technology so there won’t be much geeky talk about specific gear. Still, as with all photo and video education, there is plenty of information about technical skills such as slow motion, exposure, lighting, and sound. A good part of her curriculum is about storytelling, which I think is the hardest skill to learn and is possibly the biggest appeal of this course.
There are five demo lessons that break down specific practical real-life examples. And finally, the last third of her lessons cover post-production and the business side of shooting family videos. All this makes for a complete videography course. You would get the most from this course if you already have some photography skills so definitely NOT a beginner course.
Courtney is a very knowledgeable photographer and an excellent presenter. I should also point out that this is one of those rare courses that have absolutely stellar reviews left by students who are in love with the presenter.
A highly recommended videography course if this is a topic for you.
My last pick from CreativeLive is a great course simply named Wedding Cinematography. It’s a business-minded course that shoots for the stars when it comes to becoming a wedding videographer and starting a wedding video business.
Ray Roman is an award-winning wedding and event cinematographer. He is known for his exquisite work all over the world and his resume includes many NBA and NFL starts. He has worked with numerous celebrities and wealthy business-people and he knows this business inside out.
The course covers everything from planning to post-production. He goes over gear, film structure, and time-shifting, basic and advanced composition. He breaks down the wedding stages from bridal prep via the ceremony to the reception.
Finally, Ray shares his marketing techniques and other business insights that are essential for landing high-profile clients and growing your wedding cinematography business.
This is a specialized and highly rated course. If shooting weddings is what interests you, this is an excellent choice to start with.
If you are thinking about taking more than one course on CreativeLive, you must consider the yearly access pass. Apart from the fifty courses just in videography, for the price of several quality courses, you will get access to over 1,500 courses for a full year! These are not only courses in photo and video, but varied creative subjects such as art, design, business, crafts, and many many more.
Improve Your Editing Skills
With all these videography courses, I’ve been taking mostly about production. Some of the courses did touch upon editing and other aspects of post, but as I know from personal experience, that is never enough. Over time, you will need to improve your post-production process, expand your capabilities, and find ways to deliver more and do it faster.
To wrap things up, I wanted to leave you with two more options for improving your editing skills.
Larry Jordan is one of the first video guys I’ve heard of online. I used to look forward to his columns in DV Magazine for years. His website has a store section with over 350 different courses, all available on a subscription basis. I like Larry very much and I miss his friendly teaching approach and in-depth knowledge.
He’s an old school style guy and while his topics are mostly technical, the overall knowledge is evergreen. He uses and teaches both Final Cut and Premiere.
Paddy Bird is an experienced TV editor who runs a website called Inside the Edit. He has several membership options giving access to different levels of editing.
I was gonna say that he is less technical than Larry, but that would not be true. He is simply much more focused on the creative aspects of editing. He uses Media Composer but as the courses are not very technical, that doesn’t matter.
This paragraph is often the hardest one for me to write because I feel I don’t have much to say or add and that I would just be repeating myself from previous reviews. It always seems to come down to that these are my best selections and you need to pick what works for you.
It is no different this time. As usual, I’ve given you a selection of different entry points and several interests to choose from. If you dig just a little deeper in any of these platforms, you are bound to find more great courses that are totally up your alley.
You have to start somewhere and I hope I’ve given you a great starting point.