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Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

From video portraits to corporate profiles, transform your DSLR camera into a powerful tool for making exceptional films in these 39 lessons by a seasoned professional.
Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is rated 3.2 out of 5 by 21.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent well planned and executed Victor does an excellent job designing and executing this class showing how to plan and make video presentations including extensive discussions of techniques and needed equipment. Any bad reviews must be from folks who only watched the first couple of episodes. If you are thinking about competing in the video space whether for weddings, corporate interviews, or whatever, this whole series is a must watch!
Date published: 2024-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loads of info! A bit dated with gear but overall, great info. Learned plenty. Very grateful for finding this coarse.
Date published: 2022-04-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I ordered this on the 19th March 2022. It has not left the warehouse yet .Delivery service is bad.
Date published: 2022-04-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Needs an update Unfortunately, while this course does present some great material, the fact that it is 7 years old means it is woefully out of date. DSLR video has had so many advancements since this course came out that much of the material is really obsolete (ie. everyone shoots in 4K these days). This course should really be redone using more up to date technology including both hardware and software.
Date published: 2021-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional !!! This far exceeded my expectations. Exceptionally well organized and delivered. I can't think of anything that he could have added to added or changed. It motivated me to "get moving" in shooting video with my DSLR.
Date published: 2020-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dissapointed I have bought many courses but this is a total disappointment.
Date published: 2020-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good but Dated I was very happy with the presentations by Mr. Ha. Knows his stuff. It's just that this particular stuff is 7 years old. It is difficult to excited about the 'latest' technology when we're talking 2013. Were this a philosophy course, 7 years would be the blink of an eye, but in this highly technical area of digital photography, it's an eon. Of course some things never change, particularly with basic concepts of the craft, so there is much worth watching.
Date published: 2020-09-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Use the same content/syllabus and shoot again The topic is interesting but the presentation falls flat. The course is not aligned with The Teaching Company professional standards. After watching a few lectures via the GreatCoursesPlus, I abandoned the course and watched a few short YouTube videos that taught me exactly what I was hoping this course would teach me. I am not writing this review simply because the instructor showed up dressed way too informally, but that negative first impression created an impact that the subject matter could not overcome.
Date published: 2020-09-26
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From video portraits to corporate profiles, transform your DSLR camera into a powerful tool for making exceptional films in these 39 lessons by a seasoned professional.


Victor Ha

People learn in different ways, and what I hope I’ve done with this class is provide you an accessible, easy to understand, and watchable class.



Victor Ha is a former professional photographer that has transitioned into understanding the complexities of HDSLR filmmaking and overcoming the various challenges involved with making a transition from shooting stills to capturing video. Victor takes a very practical approach in helping other photographers make the transition to HDSLR video by leveraging their photographic knowledge into filmmaking prowess.

By This Expert

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking
Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking


Introduction to Filmmaking

01: Introduction to Filmmaking

In this introductory lesson, learn why filmmaking is all about storytelling. Using two silent videos as examples, determine the story from the way the video is shot, framed, and edited.

12 min
Shooting for the Edit, Part 1

02: Shooting for the Edit, Part 1

When shooting the story you want to tell, don’t throw caution to the wind and hope it all works out. Instead, learn how to think about different shots and perspectives—even when filming something as mundane as making a peanut butter sandwich.

29 min
Shooting for the Edit, Part 2

03: Shooting for the Edit, Part 2

Should the number of your shots depend on the mood of your video? What about B-roll footage that doesn’t necessarily relate to the story? How much room do you leave before and after a scene for editing? Gets answers to these and other questions.

27 min
Camera Basics, Part 1

04: Camera Basics, Part 1

In this first lesson on DSLR camera basics, Mr. Ha picks four different DSLR camera types and breaks them out into their individual strengths and weakness. They include: a full-frame camera, an APS-C camera, an APS-H camera, and a Micro 4/3 camera.

22 min
Camera Basics, Part 2

05: Camera Basics, Part 2

Continue exploring DSLR camera basics with a focus on, well, focusing. Mr. Ha reveals some best practices he likes to use and offers insights into how different lenses work to help filmmakers zero in on what’s most important in a shot.

29 min
Preferred Camera Settings with Q&A

06: Preferred Camera Settings with Q&A

In this lesson, Mr. Ha runs through the ways he sets his DSLR camera up for success. Along the way, you’ll cover such menu options as Custom White Balance and Image Stabilization, as well as Custom Picture Styles like Technicolor and CineStyle.

22 min
A Video a Day

07: A Video a Day

Practice, as they say, makes perfect. And that’s equally true when we’re talking about DSLR filmmaking. Here, discover how shooting one simple video every day using your smartphone can help hone your inner filmmaker’s eye.

17 min
180-Degree Rule

08: 180-Degree Rule

In this lesson on the importance of establishing shots (your film’s “introductory paragraph”), make sense of the “180-degree rule” when filming two subjects on screen. This simple rule helps you place your subjects in frame—without confusing your viewers.

15 min
Thinking in Sequences

09: Thinking in Sequences

So, you’ve got your perfect establishing shot. What comes next? A hard cut? A jump cut? Here, learn how to use insert and cutaway footage to build out sequences that enhance your narrative, and to soften transitions and make your film more cinematic.

13 min
Movement with Monopods

10: Movement with Monopods

Transitioning to motion and film can be difficult for photographers because it requires them to step away from their camera. Enter the monopod: a mobile, versatile tool that allows you to tap into movements like rocking-and-panning and push-in focus.

29 min
Movement with Video Tripods

11: Movement with Video Tripods

Consider the benefits of working with video tripods. You’ll explore the ball-bowl combination, which lets you stay level on an uneven surface, and the counterbalance feature, which acts as something of a camera spotter. Then, zoom in on the look and feel of different camera movements.

14 min
Movement with Sliders

12: Movement with Sliders

In this lesson, Mr. Ha uses video examples to teach you how to get the most out of your camera sliders. Topics include shooting in layers (foreground, middle ground, background) and choosing the right slider length based on what you’re filming.

32 min
Breaking into Video with Hybrid Portraits

13: Breaking into Video with Hybrid Portraits

Hybrid portraits are a short, 30-second combination of stills and motion. Think of them as vanity pieces designed to grab someone’s attention. Learn why, for photographers who’ve never shot motion before, hybrid portraits make for a great place to start.

29 min
The Portrait Film

14: The Portrait Film

Unlike hybrid portraits, portrait films are comprised entirely of motion. So, what makes for a good portrait film? One sign is that you can pause the portrait film in any frame and have a well-composed photograph. Learn some other tips and tricks in this lesson.

13 min
The Hybrid Wedding and Wedding Film

15: The Hybrid Wedding and Wedding Film

In this lesson, tackle a wedding shoot from two different perspectives. The first is a hybrid wedding film that can usually be done by a single person. The second is a traditional wedding film that’s a multiperson, multicamera job.

13 min
The Corporate Profile

16: The Corporate Profile

Being able to shoot a solid corporate profile can open up a lot of doors for you as a DSLR filmmaker. Taking you from pre-interview to post-production, Mr. Ha shows you how to capture someone talking about their business in the space of just two minutes.

24 min
Basics of Sound

17: Basics of Sound

Along with thinking about visuals as a DSLR filmmaker, you need to think about sound, whether it’s background noise at a party or the answer to an interview question. Examine the differences between sound (which is captured) and audio (which is played back).

16 min
Microphones and Their Differences

18: Microphones and Their Differences

There are many types of microphones out there for recording sound. So, what’s the one that’s right for your project? Focus on two types: directional (which capture sound from a single direction) and omni-directional (which capture sound from multiple directions).

21 min
Picking the Right Microphone

19: Picking the Right Microphone

Every microphone, says Mr. Ha, has a personality—a different way it picks up sound. As you’ll learn in this lesson on microphones and sound recorders, it’s not about how much money you spend, but about finding one that has a solid sound-capturing technique.

10 min
Double System Sound

20: Double System Sound

Double system sound means you’re capturing sound to another device that’s not your DSLR camera. That also means you’ve automatically dedicated yourself in post-production to doing what’s called syncing. Mr. Ha demonstrates how it all works here.

16 min
Hi-Hats and Low-Hats

21: Hi-Hats and Low-Hats

Hi-hats, low-hats, gorilla pods, GoPros. In this lesson, take a look at footage that’s shot with some of these tools noted for their stability and versatility. In addition to learning how to work with these helpful filmmaking tools, get insights on what situations are right for which ones.

25 min
Handheld Stabilization with Q&A

22: Handheld Stabilization with Q&A

Dive into the world of handheld stabilization, from Steadicams to glide cams to extremely expensive tools. Among the tips you’ll get are the three points of contact you need to make with your camera (and gear) when moving with it in your hands.

11 min

23: Timelapse

Here, Mr. Ha shows you the right way to do two-hour time lapses based on his experiences out in the field. They key is manual exposure, manual focus, and manual white balance. Also, take a peek at an app that takes the math aspect out of time lapse shooting.

17 min
Lensbaby, Copters, and 4K

24: Lensbaby, Copters, and 4K

First, explore how Lensbaby footage can add layers of instability to your narrative. Second, discover the perspectival impact of aerial footage from drones like quadcopters and hexicopters. Lastly, investigate some of the amazing things you can accomplish with 4K capture.

19 min
Using Your Current Photographic Tools for Video

25: Using Your Current Photographic Tools for Video

If you’re a photographer, chances are you already have plenty of tools you’ve invested time and money into buying and learning. But you can use many of these tools for video, as well. Learn how to work with these common photography tools in both worlds.

14 min
DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 1

26: DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 1

In the first of two lessons on DSLR filmmaking tools, join Mr. Ha for a spirited look at the essentials you’ll need to succeed on your next shoot. These tools include light meters for two types of metering, lenses for different budgets and tastes, and lens adaptors.

29 min
DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 2

27: DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 2

Continue exploring essential DSLR filmmaking tools. Now, learn the importance of external monitors that show what your camera’s seeing, lens gears that allow for a tactile experience with your lenses, and focusing tools to achieve choreographed movements.

27 min
Lighting 101

28: Lighting 101

If you understand the fundamentals of lighting and start by learning them from the ground up, you’re going to become a much better lighting technician in the future. Here, Mr. Ha focuses on ambient light to illustrate how patterns of daylight can have a powerful impact on your image.

15 min
Ambient Light, Part 1

29: Ambient Light, Part 1

What’s the difference between short lighting and broad lighting? What about the difference between key light and fill light? How do you deal with light in situations like weddings, where your subjects are constantly moving around? Find out here.

29 min
Ambient Light, Part 2

30: Ambient Light, Part 2

Continue exploring the beauty of ambient light—and the skills needed to make it work for your next project. Central to this lesson are Mr. Ha’s insights on working with shadows and manipulating them to highlight your subject and even create different moods.

33 min
Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 1

31: Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 1

What does your story sound like? That’s where soundtracks come in. In the first of two lessons on the topic, skip the legalese and focus on how to choose the right soundtrack for your content. And it all starts by picking three words to guide your search.

35 min
Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 2

32: Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 2

Delve into more topics related to film soundtracks. Learn the pros and cons of going with your gut when choosing music, when to pick a song with vocals versus instrumentals, and where to find affordable music with the correct rights.

24 min
Lighting 102

33: Lighting 102

Come back to lighting and learn how to make it less intimidating by breaking it down into more manageable pieces. In this lesson, consider the benefits and drawbacks to all types of lighting, from HMI and tungsten lights to florescent and LED lights.

10 min
One-Light Setup

34: One-Light Setup

How do you work with an economic setup involving just one light? What are some of the options you have? Mr. Ha discusses several of them here, including a butterfly light (which you see a lot of in older movies) and a clam shell light (which helps fill shadows).

17 min
Two- and Three-Light Setup

35: Two- and Three-Light Setup

You know how to work with one-light setups. Now move up to two- and three-light setups and all the different ways they allow you to play with shadows and light. Mr. Ha’s studio demonstrations prove especially helpful for understanding the intricacies of these setups.

28 min
Lighting Q&A

36: Lighting Q&A

In this helpful Q&A session, Mr. Ha fields audience questions about lighting. You’ll learn how much lighting is truly necessary for the average person, what kind of light stands to take with you on location, the right ISO to aim for when shooting indoors, and more.

26 min
Corporate Profile Pre-Production

37: Corporate Profile Pre-Production

Mr. Ha walks you step by step through the pre-production process for a hypothetical corporate profile of a gym, harnessing everything you’ve learned in the preceding lessons. It’s the perfect chance to break apart the nuances involved in getting a project off the ground.

36 min
Storyboarding, Shot List, and Gear List

38: Storyboarding, Shot List, and Gear List

To visually imagine your corporate profile, you need storyboards and shot lists. Learn strategies for creating both—and sharing them with a client. Also, learn how to build a comprehensive gear list so you have what you need to bring those storyboards to life.

26 min
Callsheet, Crew, and Sound

39: Callsheet, Crew, and Sound

On many shoots, you’ll likely work with multiple people on both the talent and client sides. Not to mention a range of locations and times. In this concluding lesson, learn how to better manage talent and crew so your production can run as efficiently as possible.

11 min