Filmmaking is an exciting and creative field of pursuit. Whether you are looking to learn the art of filmmaking for the purpose of creating entertaining content, soulful digital essays, crisp advertising short films full of animation or full-length classic feature-length films—there are courses available online for you to pursue this direction. Besides the genre that you choose to go with in the world of filmmaking, there is even more choice in the avenue that you choose to exhibit these films in. You could be producing for the big screen, or the small screen, or even smaller screens i.e. films for social media that are viewed on smartphones. Given these many distinctions and the many different directions and approaches the universities and experts take on the art of filmmaking, it is important to be able to choose the right course and expert teacher for your ambitions.
Added to this, there are also different levels of courses available on this list in terms of time and other resources it takes to complete each. There are levels of exhaustive effort the courses demand. Some like online filmmaking tutorial videos are simple and teach the art in easy-to-follow beginner steps. Besides this, there are also online filmmaking courses that take the approach of online lectures and specially designed exams to impart the knowledge and test it before offering certification in filmmaking. There are also some universities that offer online filmmaking courses that are exhaustive and come with credits that need to be completed in order to get a degree in the specialization.
Filmmaking, much like other creative fields of profession (like photography), is highly subjective and demanding. Learning online requires one to be highly motivated and driven. One would also need the right kind of filming gear and opportunities to bring their vision for films to fruition. So, let's go through some of the best online filmmaking courses and see which one fits your needs.
Coursera’s Transmedia Storytelling via UNSW
Looking for a good online filmmaking course? Through the University of New South Wales, Coursera offers a 6-week module in storytelling via various media. The course is designed to be a transmedia experience in traditional and digital forms of cohesive storytelling. The objectives and learning deliverables of the course will be to bring ideas and technology in harmony to deliver the imagined story worlds. The course is partnered with X Media Lab which brings the world of Hollywood USA, Canada, and Australia to the student.
The faculty of the program are compelling names like Tom Ellard of the UNSW Art & Design department, Seth Shapiro of New Amsterdam Media from Los Angeles, etc.
Udemy’s Complete Filmmaking Guide
Udemy’s course on filmmaking comes from Julian Melanson who is a film director and a teacher. He has over 25,000 students on the portal and has worked for brands such as Red Bull, Pioneer, etc. His motive is to “create films that engage the visual and auditory senses in ways that move people”.
The goal of this online course is to enable the learners to become adept in video content creation. The course consists of 116 lectures that require about 6 hours of keen participation. The students will learn the art of production in lighting, sound, camera work, cinematography, etc. After the course, the students will get a certificate of completion.
Full Sail University: Certificate in Film and Video
In this list of levels of qualification you can get in professional filmmaking, Full Sail University features two of its courses. As one of the oldest online available universities in Florida, it has a well-rounded approach in teaching remote students in a personable manner.
This certification in Film and Video from Full Sail University is finished in 7 months and the distant learning guidance is in place. This is a professional course for those who don’t want to complete a full degree program but want to learn filmmaking with complete industry terminology and learn film production in its current technological status.
Full Sail University: Digital Cinematography Bachelor’s Degree
This is a holistic degree in filmmaking that follows all the steps of the process. The course work starts with script development, followed by production planning, and lastly dealing with post-production and distribution. The course deals with all aspects of this process. It gives a foundation in storytelling with art history and psychology of play and brings the ideation to fruition with composition and visual design, and story development case studies and projects.
The course has a total of 120 credit hours and is completed online in 29 months.
Masterclass with Martin Scorsese
Learning filmmaking from an Oscar-winning filmmaker? Is that an opportunity an aspiring filmmaker can pass? Hardly.
Masterclass brings the opportunity to literally everyone in the world with 30 well-thought-out lectures by Martin Scorsese. These are videos of him deconstructing his films to the bone and giving insights into his process, his influences, direction, technology, etc. A general theme of empowering the learner to develop their own style and vision is evident. The legendary director touches upon everything including costume, lighting, location, design, etc. An unmissable opportunity for one to understand not just the world of films but the appeal that draws people into the theatres time and time again.
Creativelive Brings DSLR Filmmaking
This is an indispensable course for beginners who are looking to explore the basics of handling a camera and edits. This is a DSLR-specific course that teaches the students the entire process and top-down of the filmmaking process. It has 39 lessons that come as a part of the course.
It is important to note that it is a highly comprehensive course that comes for a price as low as this one. It not only familiarizes the student with handheld camera techniques, ambient lighting, soundtrack and audio editing, 180-degree rule, etc. It also goes on to familiarize a filmmaker with storyboarding, call sheets, shot list, gear list, etc. A highly recommended course that is taught by Victor Ha who is a filmmaker and comes from the background of being a photographer.
FutureLearn’s Filmmaking Collection of Courses
Future Learn brings a unique collection of five courses in filmmaking that equip the student with a holistic understanding and approach. A student can purchase an unlimited option on the website which is billed for the entire year and access all five courses at once.
Each course explores a specialism that makes one filmmaker. These are offered by leading universities and are taught by industry leaders.
- An Introduction to Screenwriting: A key course in the beginner level of every filmmaker to understand the storyboard process and The Three Act Structure. The course is taught and led by Michael Lengsfield from the University of Anglia, which is also where the course is sourced from. The screenplay taught in this course will become pivotal in the life of any filmmaker. It is a 2-week course that totals 6 hours of lectures.
- The Business of Film: A key lesson in how films are made, funded and distributed. The course is undertaken by The Open University. A 6-week lesson on the various fronts of filmmaking like development, production, finance and the life of a filmmaker as an entrepreneur. A total of 18 hours of coursework is included. The course is taught by Hilary who is a strategic design professional.
- Short Film in Language Teaching: The British Film Institute brings the course in using short films as the medium to teach new languages in educational institutions. Various teaching pedagogies are used by Muriel Huet and Mark Reid to teach the understanding of the learnings of a short film lent to language learning.
- Explore Animation: For a student exploring animation for the first time, this is a real opportunity to learn in an environment of filmmaking such that the understanding is integrated into the imagination and process of the production.
A 4-week course with a total of 12 hours of coursework, this is sourced from National Film and Television School. Key topics explored, introduced and dived into in this period include stop motion, 2D, big-scale animation in real-world and CGI.
- Film Distribution: This is a 4-week course offered by Film Distribution Association. The facilitator is Ian Wall who is a two-time BAFTA winner. He is also an author, screenwriter, and director. This course talks about target audiences, distribution, film openings, and box offices. A total of 12 hours of coursework.
Given this variety of options to learn and explore filmmaking in various capacities including screenplay writing, camera work, production, distribution, animation and even teaching this list will help you dive right into the world’s most in-demand industry of work. All social media platforms have been long cognizant that the future of content consumption is in the video format. To enable this, people are diving right into creating films as well as visualizing their ideas to take to those who can make these visions come true.
So get creative and use one of these amazing online filmmaking courses to make your dreams come true!