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Online filmmaking classes

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You can take online filmmaking courses from training providers like Masterclass, CreativeLive, Skillshare and Udemy. What’s the difference between them?

  • Masterclass courses give you insights from famous filmmakers, actors and writers.
  • CreativeLive has in-depth courses on filmmaking techniques, editing programs and cameras.
  • SkillShare and Udemy also have courses on filmmaking techniques; in general they’re shorter and more inexpensive.

All except Skillshare give you a choice of buying an individual course or paying a monthly/annual subscription.

Looking for free training? Skillshare has a range of free courses, and offers a month’s trial of the premium subscription. CreativeLive streams a few free live courses every week.


MasterClass

MasterClass courses are made to a very high standard. Each MasterClass film course is presented by an A-list director, actor or screenwriter: you can learn from David Lynch, Spike Lee, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese and many more. They give you an insight into their individual approach, philosophy and working methods. The courses are very well filmed and structured and come with useful supporting materials. And they’re substantial, with an average of 24 lessons per course.  I learnt a lot from Ken Burns’ excellent documentary course (review).

Individual courses cost $99/£79 each; all-access passes are $19.99/£39.99 monthly or $199/£170 a year.

Masterclass film and TV classes


CreativeLive

CreativeLive have a wide range of courses from experienced filmmakers and trainers. Most of their courses are based on video lectures recorded in front of a live audience. If you check out their schedule, you can watch upcoming live courses online for free.

The filmmaking classes range from camera guides (covering many SLRs and mirrorless cameras) to in-depth courses on programs like Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro and others, and courses on documentary, iPhone filmmaking and more. Most of the courses are substantial: for example, Larry Jordan’s Final Cut Pro X course has 42 lessons and almost 16 hours of video.

Costs of individual courses vary. The Creator Pass, which gives access to almost all their classes, is $39 a month, or $299 annually.

Filmmaking classes on CreativeLive


Skillshare

Skillshare has thousands of free classes. To access premium classes, get teacher support and watch offline you need to pay a monthly subscription. The standard of teaching is variable: some classes look great, others less so. In general the classes are shorter than CreativeLive courses, ranging from under half an hour to two or three hours. One big advantage of Skillshare is the free trial, which gives you a month’s unlimited access to their premium classes.

A premium subscription costs $15 monthly /$99 annually.


Udemy

Udemy courses cover all aspects of filmmaking, from iPhone videography to editing with Final Cut Pro, iMovie or Adobe Premiere. They also offer business subscriptions. They have regular sales, and deals for new students, where they offer classes for as little as $10.99/£12.09.

Cost varies according to course. Watch out for sales and introductory offers.

Filmmaking courses on Udemy


Buying safely

I recommend that you always check out student reviews, and watch a sample lesson, before you buy a course.  Masterclass, CreativeLive and Udemy offer a 30-day money back guarantee on individual courses. Skillshare offers a 7-day refund on annual subscriptions.


Tom Barrance

Tom Barrance I teach all kinds of people to make films. I provide training for businesses, arts organisations, nonprofits and education. I’ve worked on film education projects with Apple Education, the British Film Institute, Film Education, Film: 21st Century Literacy and many more. My publications include Making Movies Make Sense and Editshots