Lights, Camera, Action! Learn From 7 Digital Filmmaking Schools On YouTube

Saikat Basu 13-05-2013

filmmaking youtube channelsThere is an apocryphal story of Steven Spielberg sneaking into Universal Studios in an attempt to see what filmmaking was all about behind the scenes. The story was a fantasy. But what’s true is that one of our favorite directors was a prodigious talent from his teens. He shot 8mm adventure films, starting at the age of 13. It was 3 minutes long. By 30, he had blockbusters like Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind on his resume. What’s more important to note is that Steven Spielberg never went to film school. He also wasn’t born into Hollywood.

That was then. Now, I presume it is easier to train yourself for a career in the movie arts. You could take the indie route and make documentaries How To Make A Documentary Online That Will Spread Like Wildfire Read More for a start. The next Steven Spielberg is probably doing it right now. If you are as enthusiastic, what’s holding you back? You just have to tap into YouTube and join a digital filmmaking school for the price of a “free admission”.

Film Riot

Joshua covered this very well regarded DIY filmmaking YouTube channel in the article I have linked to earlier. So, it’s worth visiting again. Ryan Connolly takes you through many how-to’s and behinds the scene stuff like how to create cheap special effects. Don’t know how to create realistic blood splatters…I am sure you will find it here. There are weekly challenges, reviews, and giveaways amidst all the works. But the channel also covers the basics of filmmaking, from scripting to the end credits.

You can actually learn a lot by following the making of ‘Tell‘, short psychological horror film made by Ryan Connolly. The film was released last year and garnered positive reviews.


Indy Mogul is often regarded as THE channel for movie buffs who want to use YouTube as a launching platform, or want to make an Indie movie for that matter. 1000+ videos should be equivalent to a college level course. The channel has won quite a few Webby Awards. There’s the Backyard FX which again teaches you about making cheap effects. Fundamentals are covered in detail and quiet entertainingly.

I got stuck watching the video for storyboarding for people who can’t draw (like me!). There’s also a live Q&A every Friday. Indy Mogul deserves a bookmark right at the top.

Corridor Digital

Corridor Digital has two separate channels. The first one as named, is all about creative shorts made by the team behind the channel. The shorts usually star Sam Gorski and Niko Peuringer, the two guys behind the channel. They are special effects artists who have successfully transitioned into YouTube personalities. The shorts are mostly action which doesn’t hold back the SFX. Humor is a common denominator.

The second channel called samandniko is all about the techniques and special visual tricks that goes into making the shorts. With a combined subscriber base of 2 million plus, it should be on your self-learning curriculum.


Freddie Wong is an American musician and YouTube personality who gives us a double-decker package similar to Corridor Digital. In fact, they all live and work together. The first channel as linked is all about the shorts he has created, while the second YouTube channel breaks them down and explores the techniques that went into their making. The shorts are action-filled and replete with special effects.

He also runs a web series called Video Game High School on his channel. Brandon Laatsch is the other creative artist behind the channel.


Free film school with tips and training for video producers and filmmakers. You will probably come to this YouTube channel (and its associated website) after reaching a more advanced level. Get to watch and read gear reviews, camera techniques, and post-production wizardry. Quite a lot of the content is focused around cameras, so this could be a channel for aspiring cinematographers.


I came to this filmmaking channel from one of the sponsored posts one sees placed on top of YouTube pages. The New York Video School is a paid subscription course with professional instructors. It is delivered online and video tutorials that cover all aspects of filmmaking are part of it.

The 82 video tutorials are free for your consumption however. Videos like Common Editing Issues for Beginners and Lighting Tutorial Basics for Film and Video are great as learning hints for someone starting out.

Steve Johnson FX

Steve Johnson’s SFX channel on YouTube is not an instructional channel in that sense. But the 30 videos are very interesting because they take you behind the scenes and show how some of the more popular visual effects in Hollywood films were done (or how they could have been done better).

Steve Johnson is a make-up artist and an Emmy awardee with films like Spiderman 2, Predator, Ghostbusters, and The Abyss on his resume. The channel hasn’t been updated in a while but is still an entertaining watch.

The web is an open school. No wonder the indie film movemen 4 Blogs for Staying Updated on All Things Indie Film If you're like me, you probably spend hours swimming through (and sometimes cringing at) all of the independent films on Netflix. Sometimes, you may even try to find some indie flicks online. However, one of... Read More t has got a fillip. We do our bit too with occasional articles on filmmaking. Has the filmmaking bug got to you?  What do you feel about these filmmaking YouTube channels? Where have you taken your do-it-yourself zeal to learn everything about the art to? Tell us in the comments.

Image Credit: Two hands with a clack via Shutterstock

Related topics: Filmmaking, YouTube.

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