27 Best Online Filmmaking Courses for 2020 πŸŽ₯

There’s simply no need to go to film-school anymore to take quality filmmaking courses.

In the era of independent filmmaking on the internet, you can learn all you need right at your computer.

We’ve collected the best filmmaking courses from the top providers broken down by category.

If you’re looking at any of the Skillshare courses, you can watch them free by getting the free trial month!

Directing / Filmmaking Courses 🎬

For those looking for to enter more traditional filmmaking on-set and work in the industry, these collection of courses from Masterclass might do the trick.

Each of the courses are taken by an experienced director.

They are fantastic insight into the filmmaking process of the most successful directors on the planet.

1. Ron Howard Teaches Directing

Ron Howard Masterclass Online Filmmaking Course

In his first ever online filmmaking course, Howard takes you through the directing process. The 32 lesson Masterclass teaches you how to work with the different elements and roles involved in making a film.

Chapters include: Evaluating a Script, Developing the Film, Working with Cinematographers, Production Design, Research, Casting, and Working with Actors.

Howard dedicated several lessons to teaching you how to stage a scene, focused on the Frost/Nixon case study. These lessons are interesting as it is something you would normally have to go to film-school to see!

Ron Howard is an American Oscar-winning director, actor and producer. His films include, A Beautiful Mind, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Da Vinci Code and Rush, to name just a few. His lifetime dedication to film have made him the 10th highest grossing director in the world, with his films making over $4.298 billion.

2. Martin Scorsese Teaching Filmmaking

Martin Scorsese Masterclass Online Filmmaking Course

In his 30 chapter Masterclass course, Scorsese shares all the lessons he has learned in his lifetime of film-making. In the course, he emphasises the personal aspect of filmmaking, with chapters including: Discovering Your Process, Channelling Your Influences and Developing Your Style.

Also included are the typical course material, such as how to work with different film departments to your benefit and analysis of select scenes. Even if you’re not a Scorsese fan, this course has invaluable insight that any budding filmmaker will love.

Martin Scorsese is an Oscar-winning American filmmaker, actor and historian from Queens, New York. He is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished and critically acclaimed film-makers of our time.

3. David Lynch Teaches Creativity and Film

David Lynch Teaches Creativity and Film Course

In this Masterclass online course, David Lynch shares not only his vast filmmaking experience but the creative process behind it. Chapters include ‘Catching Ideas’, ‘Creativity and the Writing Process’, ‘Production Design: Building Unique Worlds’ and ‘Breaking the Rules’.

For any student looking to capture and nourish their unique creative style, then Lynch’s Masterclass course is a must see!

David Lynch is an American filmmaker, painter, musician, actor, photographer and is regarded as one of the greatest creative minds of our generation. His film work includes The Elephant Man, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive and the TV show Twin Peaks.

4. Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking

Jodie Foster Masterclass Online Filmmaking Course

Jodie’s insight as both a director, actor and producer gives her a unique overview of the filmmaking process. Her course is constructed with all of these different skills in mind.

The Masterclass course itself is 18 lessons long and explores a few different concepts not found in the other Masterclass filmmaking classes, such as ‘Prepping and Scheduling’, ‘Casting‘ and ‘Directing Actors’. For anyone into both acting and directing, this is a great course, which is certainly worth checking out!

Jodie Foster is an American Actress, Producer and Director. Her decades long career in film has seen her earn two Academy Awards. Jodie’s recent career has been in television, where she has guest-directed on several big shows, including Black Mirror, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.

5. Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking

Werner Herzon Masterclass Online Filmmaking Course

In this 26 lesson Masterclass, Herzog shares what he has learned over a lifetime of self-taught filmmaking, both in feature films and documentaries.

Lessons include typical topics such as cinematography, sound, editing and camera techniques. However, the course also has some unexpected lessons on financing and negotiation skills within the industry. This is something that not many independent filmmakers think about when first starting out and it provides some excellent insight not to be missed!

Werner Herzog is a multi-award winning German filmmaker, screenwriter and producer, author, actor, and opera director. His catalogue of over 70 films has solidified his position as one of the most accomplished filmmakers of his generation. In recent years, Herzog has become particularly well-known for his documentaries, such as Grizzly Man and Meeting Gorbachev.

6. Spike Lee Teaches Independent Filmmaking

Spike Lee Teaches Independent Filmmaking Masterclass Course

In his independent filmmaking Masterclass, Spike Lee takes students through his creative and technical process when creating for cinema.

Lessons include ‘Putting Words On Paper’, ‘Storytelling with Camera Coverage’, ‘Storyboards: Malcon X’, ‘Directing Actors’, Opening Title Sequences’ and many more.

Spike Lee is an Oscar winning American film director, producer, writer, and actor. He is also the owner of the production company 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, that since 1983 has produced more than 35 films. His films include Inside Man, Malcom X, and BlacKkKlansman to name just a few.

7. Mira Nair Teaches Independent Filmmaking

In her first ever online Masterclass, Mira Nair shares her unique approach to independent filmmaking. Students taking her course will learn how cast, budget, direct actors, utilize sound, and much more.

The course includes an incredibly useful scene-workshop in which Mira shows how to direct actors, helping get the most out of their performances. For the independent filmmakers out there, this Masterclass offers tons of actionable advice, helping you get out there and film with confidence.

Mira Nair is an oscar-nominated New York based Indian-American filmmaker. Mira’s production company specializes in films on Indian society, she is known for both her powerful documentaries and feature films.


Cinematography Courses πŸ”­

A cinematographer’s job is to bring the director’s vision to the screen. They are in-charge of the look and feel of the production. Cinematographers do this by manipulating the cameras, lights and other aesthetic variables.

Many of the most important filmmaking decisions fall to the cinematographer and it is good for beginners to understand the role.

Here we’ve selected some courses to get you started.

8. Become a Cinematographer

Linkedin Learning Cinematography Path

This learning path is a collection of courses from the Linkedin Learning library ordered and organised to learning cinematography in an optimal way. The course features four different teachers, which include an emmy-winning filmmaker.

Students will learn about narrative, pre-production, assembling a team, composition, lighting, re-shoots, post-production, camera operation and movement and more. This learning path features an amazing amount of information about lighting on-set. Something that is hard to learn without going to film school! You don’t have to complete every lesson in the learning path, so you can pick and choose which content you want to focus on.

9. Cinematography Basics: Understanding Filmmaking Style

Cinematography Basics: Understanding Filmmaking Style Skillshare Course

In this short Skillshare course, Zak breaks down what exactly a cinematographer’s role is, how to breakdown a script and transfer it to the screen and how to create a shot list, using his work on Obselidia as a guide.

Cinematography can be a confusing role for those without industry or film-school experience, which means this short-course is a fantastic insight into the role.

Zak Mulligan is a US based cinematographer working in television, film and commercials. In 2010, Zak won the Excellence in Cinematography Award Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival for his work on Obselidia.

10. DIY Cinematography: Make Your Video Look Like a Movie

DIY Cinematography Course

In his Skillshare Original short-course, Booth explores the concepts important to DIY cinematographers by creating a mini documentary step-by-step for the viewers.

The course focuses on the tools used, how to get the best out of your location as well as working with and manipulating light. It makes this short course is time well spent for any indie filmmaker.

Ryan Booth is an American filmmaker, cinematographer and director based out of Texas, whose work has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Booth has also worked as a director of photography, in which he helped create music videos, commercial advertisements, as well as documentaries.

11. Low Budget Filmmaking β€” Tips and Tricks for an Indie Look

Low Budget Filmmaking Tips and Tricks for an Indie Look Skillshare Course

Matty Brown’s Skillshare Original course is one of the shortest course we’ve featured here in our filmmaking courses list. However, it is here for good reason.

This 29 minute course will teach students to explore their experimental side and to think more creatively in the moment on-set. This short course is a must see for any indie filmmaker and especially those who make films solo!

Matty Brown is an emmy nominated freelance director, cinematographer, and editor. He also holds the records for most Vimeo staff picks. Brown is an a-typical filmmaker, concerned more with the end product and the creativity of the piece than the technical details.

12. Learn Cinematography

For aspiring cinematographers, directors and filmmakers Learn Cinematography is your one-stop-shop replacement for film school. In their course, creators Jakob Owens and Thomas Taugher share their knowledge, both from film school and their time in the industry. The course is currently in early-access, however, even in this early stage it is incredibly extensive and covers more than most completed ever could.

Jakob Owens and Thomas Taugher are cinematographers and DPs based in Los Angeles, California. Together they are the creators and instructors of Learn Cinematography. Jakob specialises in music videos, where he has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. He is the owner of The Buff Nerds YouTube channel and co-founder of Tropic Colour.


Specialist Filmmaking Courses πŸ“Ί

Within filmmaking there are many specialisms. You probably have your heart set on one already!

Here we’ve arranged a selection of courses that deal specifically with one particular niche of filmmaking.

13. Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking

Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking

Ken Burns’ Masterclasss is not only a course in how to technically create a documentary, but how to craft a captivating story with real-life characters. Students will learn to research and order the vast amount of information needed to make a documentary.

Lessons include: Treatments, Pitching, and Funding, Structuring a Documentary Narrative, Conducting an Interview and many more. Ken uses case studies throughout this course to illustrate various principles, which are fantastic to learn from.

Ken Burns is an American filmmaker, best known for his historical documentaries and archival footage style. Burns has received numerous accolades for his work, mostly for his work on Civil War.

14. Creative Filmmaking: Crafting Your Vision for Music Videos

Isaiah Seret Music Video Course

In this Skillshare Original, Isaiah takes you through the process of creating a music video treatment. You’ll get to grips with each of the stages a professional goes through when creating a music video for high-end clients.

Chapters include: Script and Story, Building the ‘World’, Locations, Talent & Pacing, and Production Elements.

Whilst not the longest course, this 35 minute course provides excellent insight into the creation process, making it a worthwhile watch for any beginner!

Isaiah Seret is an Afghanistan born filmmaker and director based in Los Angeles. Seret has created commercials for Adidas, Burger King, Comcast XFinity, Adobe, Coca Cola, Jack Daniels, Microsoft, and Bacardi’s Dewar’s Scotch. He has also found success with his short film β€œQuarantine”,winning a 2015 Webby award. What Isaiah is perhaps best known for and what we’re here for is his skills making music videos. He has created videos for MGMT, Devendra Barnhart, Norah Jones, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Raphael Saadiq and Cults.

15. Wedding Cinematography

This Creative Live course consists of 33 video lessons, which is just under 14 hours of content! You will learn what kind of gear you need, the basic film structure and time-shifting methods, composition techniques, and how to organise your workflow.

As a bonus, Ray shares how to market you services in order to attract clients. This course is undoubtedly one of the best for learning wedding videography.

Ray Roman is considered one of the world’s best wedding filmmakers. He has shot weddings for NBA stars, F1 drivers, Royalty, CEOs and a bunch of celebrities. For the past decade he has also been an educator, teaching thousands of wedding filmmakers around the globe.

16. DSLR Camera Essentials: Film & Edit Stunning Timelapse Videos

DSLR Camera Essentials: Film & Edit Stunning Timelapse Videos

In this Skillshare course, Geraci teaches students how to create both a still and 3-axis-motion timelapse piece. You will learn what equipment you need, how to use it and how to edit with the adobe suite to bring it all together.

Students have already created some amazing work with this course. For a relatively short amount of time, you can add a powerful tool to your filmmaking arsenal.

Drew Geraci is a D.C based award-winning photographer and videographer who has has nearly 15 years experience in the industry. Geraci particular focus of interest is in motion timelapse videography. You may have seen his work in the Netflix House of Cards introduction sequence, which featured his time lapse work.

17. Vlogging for Business

Linkedin Learning Vlogging Course

In his Linkedin Learning course, Jem takes students through the process of how to set-up, shoot and post-process a vlog. You will learn the different types of cameras typically used, what audio equipment you’ll need and how to light your vlogging setup.

The lessons follow a case study of sorts, where Jem teaches a business owner how to set up his business vlog.

The course is directed at those wishing to vlog for business, but is just as suitable for those looking to make a personal vlog, like a YouTube channel for example. There aren’t that many courses that tackle vlogging so directly, so having all this information in one place makes for a great course.

Jem Schofield is an filmmaker, consultant, content creator and the owner the C47 company, which amongst other things, provides production and post-production services to business and individuals.


Film Scoring & Composition Courses 🎼

Film scoring and compositions are often the backbone of a film or TV show. Can you imagine Star Wars or Harry Potter with a different theme tune?

These courses from Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman, provided by Masterclass offer aspiring film composers an amazing opportunity to learn from the industry’s best, all from the comfort of your computer!

18. Hans Zimmer Teaches Film Scoring

Hans Zimmer Teaches Film Scoring Masterclass Course

In his 31 lesson online Masterclass course, Zimmer shares his lifetime of experience on the job, teaching students how not only how to score a theme and soundtrack, but also how to converse with directors, work with musicians and also how to use feedback. The course utilizes Zimmers vast library of work in the form of case studies throughout the course.

For anyone looking for a career in film scoring, this course is an obvious choice. Hans Zimmer is a powerhouse of the industry and the chance to learn from him directly isn’t to be missed!

Hans Zimmer is widely recognised as the most accomplished film composer of our time. He is responsible for many of the most iconic and popular film music of the last 30 years. Scores include those from Gladiator, The Lion King, Inception, Sherlock Holmes, The Dark Knight Trilogy and countless more.

19. Danny Elfman Teaches Music for Film

Danny Elfman Teaches Music for Film

Elfman’s 21 lesson Masterclass course is a mix of advice from his lifetime of experience in the industry and an insight into the process he uses to create his compositions.

Lessons include ‘Starting Your Score: The Spotting Session’, ‘Storytelling Through Music’, ‘Workflow’, ‘Writing Feature Scores’, and more.

If you’re into music for film, then this course combined with the Hans Zimmer class is an amazing combination, if you choose to go down this route then the yearly Masterclass pass might be for you!

Danny Elfman is an American composer, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor and voice artist. He has seen him score for some of the biggest films of the last few decades. These include Spiderman, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Justice League, Men in Black, Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland and countless more.


Screenwriting Courses πŸ“‘

If you’re just starting out and making your own movies, you’ll be doing every job, and that includes screenwriting.

we’ve only got one course featured here at the moment, but if you’re serious about pursuing screenwriting as a career then we would certainly recommend it. Also worth checking out is the YouTube channel Behind the Curtain. The creator Nehemiah T. Jordan collects amazing advice from all the world’s best screenwriters and puts them in video format.

20. Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting

Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting

Sorkin’s 35 lesson Masterclass course gives an often unseen insight into the world of screenwriting.

The beginning of his courses teaches you what drives storytelling in film, how to come up with story ideas, how to research and how to develop characters. He also takes you through the structural process of screenwriting with the rules of storytelling and how a film story arc works. The latter part of the course focuses heavily on case studies and how to write individual scenes.

Online screenwriting courses a few and far between, which makes this masterclass by Aaron Sorkin such a fantastic resource. If you’re looking for other writing resources, be sure to check out our list of the best online writing courses post!

Aaron Sorkin is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, director, producer, and playwright. His work has made him one of the most well-known and prolific writer in the industry today.


Editing Courses 🎦

21. Premiere Pro CC 2019 Essential Training: The Basics

In this extensive Premiere Pro CC course on Linkedin Learning, Ashley takes students from complete beginner to being able to comfortably control all aspects of the program.

Students will learn along by creating their own edited product with available course files, meaning even if you don’t yet have any footage of your own, you can learn using all aspects of the program.

Ashley Kennedy is a senior staff author at LinkedIn Learning, former instructor at Avid and Columbia College Chicago, and has authored two textbooks on editing used by editors and students worldwide.

22. Premiere Pro CC for Beginners: Video Editing in Premiere

In his massive 131 chapter Udemy course on Premiere Pro CC, students will learn all the ins and outs of the program. Viewers can practice as they watch, following along either with their own footage or by using the downloadable course files provided.

By the end of this course, students will be able to comfortably use all the essential elements of Premiere Pro CC, ready to work on their own projects!

Phil Ebiner is a filmmaker, photographer, top rated online course instructor and the owner of Video School Online, with which he has taught over 1 million students worldwide.


Color Correction & Grading Courses πŸŸ₯

23. Introduction to Video Color Correction

Color Correction with Ashley Kennedy

This Linkedin Learning course by Ashley Kennedy serves an introduction to the world of color correction and grading.

By the end of the course, students will understand the color correction and grading workflow, the terminology and tools used by colorists in the industry, and how best of all, how to color correct their own footage.

Ashley Kennedy is a senior staff author at LinkedIn Learning, former instructor at Avid and Columbia College Chicago, and has authored two textbooks on editing used by editors and students worldwide.

24. Color Grading for Filmmaking: The Vision, Art, and Science

Color Grading for Filmmaking Skillshare Course

Dandan Liu’s skillshare course is just under an hour long and unlike other color grading and color correction courses, her’s addresses not just how, but why each technical decision is made. This course is a great introduction to color correction and grading and acts a springboard to those looking to take advanced lessons.

Dandan Liu is a commercial and documentary filmmaker, born in the U.K and raised in France, Texas and N. California. Her work is heavily focuses on color and cinematography to tell impactful visual stories.


Technical & Equipment Courses πŸ“Ή

Beginner filmmakers need to be able to not only operate their camera, but understand what each function does and how it affects the shot.

Beginner’s won’t need all of the equipment. However, a knowledge of what each does will help you determine what you personally need.

25. DSLR Video Tips: Technical Knowledge

DSLR Video Tips: Technical Knowledge Course

In this Linkedin Learning course, Rich and Robbie take beginner students through the essentials of the technical knowledge required to shoot great video.

Topics include, What is moirΓ© and how to deal with it, What causes rolling shutter?, and the exposure triangle. If you’re looking for a in depth view on the essentials then this course is a fantastic choice!

Both Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman are published authors, Apple certified trainers and between them have decades of digital video experience. They are some of the original content creators in the online filmmaking courses space!

26. Video Gear Filmmaking Course

Video Gear Linkedin Learning Course

This video gear course is also taken by Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman. Over the years, together they have hosted the Video Gear Weekly class on Linkedin Learning. This course is a collection of the episodes over the years.

This extensive course is the best one we have found that gets students up-to-date with all the gear used by videographers, both independent and in industry.

As the course is so long, students will likely pick and choose what classes to watch. Topics include, drones, gimbals, greenscreen, display monitors, LED lighting and sliders to name just a few.

As the Linkedin Learning courses come together part of a subscription (free trial) library, you will get access to all other filmmaking courses if you choose to try them out.

27. The Minimalist DSLR Filmmaking Guide: How to Film in 20 Min

The Minimalist DSLR Filmmaking Guide: How to Film in 20 Min

In her no-fluff Skillshare Original course, Dandan Liu teaches students the technical essentials to shooting video with a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

If you’re short on time or not the type to watch lengthy explanations, then Dandan’s course is perfect for you. Students will learn about camera setting, focus, audio and most importantly for beginners, the exposure triangle, which includes shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Dandan Liu is a commercial and documentary filmmaker, born in the U.K, and raised in France, Texas and N. California. Her work is heavily focused on color and cinematography to tell impactful visual stories. She is also a top teacher on Skillshare.


Looking for more online learning opportunities? Check out our Ultimate List of Online Learning Platforms πŸ”°