Best Documentary Filmmaking Courses

Find the best online Documentary Filmmaking Courses for you. The courses are sorted based on popularity and user ratings. We do not allow paid placements in any of our rankings. We also have a separate page listing only the Free Documentary Filmmaking Courses.

Complete Filmmaker Guide: Become an Incredible Video Creator

Get 7 Years of Filmmaking Experience - Everything from Pre-Production to Editing - in 5 Hours

Created by Julian Melanson - Film Director & Teacher

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Students: 47731, Price: $124.99

Students: 47731, Price:  Paid

This filmmaking course covers all the creative aspects of planning, shooting, and editing an incredible video. 

If you are a beginner, youtuber, or filmmaker looking to successfully create awesome videos, then this course is made for you.

1. Creative & Personal Skill Development 

Before I even dive into the filmmaking aspects, I explain the secrets other courses leave out. These principles act as a framework for your creativity to build on, which include: 

•    Self Discovery 

•    Optimized daily routine 

•    Life map and progress tracking 

•    Emulating others success 

•    Clarity of video production

2. Understanding Pre-Production

This step is one of the most crucial and misunderstood parts of creating an incredible video. Here I explain how to properly plan and develop your video before the production process, including: 

•     Guidelines that all films follow 

•     Pre-Production Process 

•     Research and Development 

•     Creating Characters, Story, and Shot list

3. Secrets of Production

This is my favorite part, I share the golden rules and timeless principles of filmmaking that will allow you to create incredible videos regardless of what equipment or editing software you are using. This portion will absolutely have the most impactful effect on your videos. A few of these techniques include: 

•     Mastering Your Lenses 

•     Key Principles of Lighting 

•     Sound Recording Fundamentals 

•     Filming Fundamentals 

•     Mastering the framing, shot choice, and camera movement 

4. Mastering Post-Production

The most complex and time consuming part of any video is the post-production process. I shed some light on using this step to create an awesomely unique video that stands out among the sea of bland online content. 

•     Capturing, Organizing, and Creating a Rough Edit 

•    4 Main Factors of Knowing When to Cut 

•    Matching Color, Shape, Movement 

•    Montage Essentials 

•    Color Correction and Color Grading 

Documentary Filmmaking Step by Step

From a 3-time Sundance alum, learn to make documentary films and videos from production to distribution on any budget

Created by Adam Bhala Lough - Sundance Documentary Filmmaker

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Students: 12986, Price: $99.99

Students: 12986, Price:  Paid

Get filmmaking secrets, from finding (and securing) financing, through surviving production, through distribution and everything in between from me, Adam Bhala Lough, a Spirit Award nominated, 3-time Sundance Film Festival alum and one of Filmmaker Magazine's Top 25 Indie Filmmakers to Watch.

Who am I?

I'm an internationally acclaimed 14-year vet with four documentaries currently on Netflix and three that were the #1 documentary on the iTunes charts. I've had an incredible amount of success in my career but I have also failed many, many times. You will learn where I failed along the way so you won't make the same mistakes.

I'm also a mentor at the Sundance Native labs and Latino Screenwriting labs and was a mentor at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival mentor sessions so I know how to teach in a concise and clear way.

Why should you take this course and not another?

You will get secrets only a seasoned pro can reveal- from the beauty of not paying insane clearance fees by claiming "fair-use," to how to get into a film festival without any connections. It's all in this 5 hour course.

Other courses give general knowledge of how to make a film from people with very little actual real world experience. This course is taught directly from my experience making eight feature length documentary films, all of which have received worldwide distribution and been translated into many languages.

*Watch some of the documentary short films made by my students at youtube. com/worldcinema:

Rickshaw Girl by Muzahidul Islam Zahin, a filmmaker and activist based in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Kwizera: A Story of Hope Born from Risiliance by Sahil Laul, a filmmaker based in the USA

Secrets to Successful Documentary Film Production

Go behind-the-scenes with 24-EXCLUSIVE, VIDEO-BASED lessons covering everything from the PLANNING, to the SHOOTING, and

Created by Andrew St.Pierre White - Award-winning TV broadcaster and director

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Students: 3424, Price: $89.99

Students: 3424, Price:  Paid

Follow award-winning broadcast professional, Andrew St Pierre White as he takes you set-by-step, as he conceptualises, shoots and edits two of his highly acclaimed TV documentaries. The first is based on a one-hour special documentary broadcast by Discovery Channel, and the second a half-hour serialised episode of a 26-part African adventure travel story.

Once released, critics used the words, "gripping", "superb", outstanding" in their reviews of these films.

The course consists of a series of videos with details of what is being taught as written summaries.

The documentary is run, and as the story unfolds, the director/producer goes though all the thoughts, processes, equipment and creative processes used. This is a real-life event, valuable to those who both shoot and edit stories on video.

As every scene is covered, the shooting techniques, editing ideas and storytelling methods are revealed. This is an actual documentary, so what is taught is not just theory— it has become fact, and you can see the results for yourself.

The documentary was produced by an indie producer, yet still sold to major networks. How this was done is discussed.

The course lectures run to 247 minutes (±4,1 hours). With some, you may need to watch them more than once, because there is quite a lot of learning to do.

If you are interested in making serious documentary films, or telling thought-provoking videos for TV or social medial, then this course has a lot to offer.

Much of what is being taught here is not, and cannot be taught in a classroom. It goes beyond theory, as the course is based on actual, highly successful productions.

Documentary Filmmaking Masterclass

How to Make A Documentary - From Start to Finish by Award Winning Netflix Director

Created by Jonny Von Wallström - Netflix Film Director & Colorist

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Students: 3282, Price: $34.99

Students: 3282, Price:  Paid

Who is this course NOT for:

You need to have some basic filmmaking knowledge and skills. If you've never made at least a 3-5 minute story and video, this course will be too advanced for you.

Why take this course?

You won’t need a big team, budget, or a fancy diploma for my course. All you need is a story, and I’ll help you turn it into a documentary. This course is a view into my life, and how I make my documentaries. It takes you through the exact steps I took, when I made my award-winning film The Pearl of Africa and I’ll even share my personal lists of grants and festivals I applied for. It’s like a mentorship, with me, for your future film.

What you will get:

  • 42 lectures

  • 5-hours of educational content. 

  • Lifetime access to our online community

  • Lifetime access to all assignments that will take your project to the NEXT level. 

  • A unique insight into the life of a documentary filmmaker.

  • Pure and practical advice that you won't get in a film school or in a book.

  • ALL templates you need to make a documentary (pitch deck, budget, contracts, list of festivals and funders etc).

  • Personal advice  from an award-winning director and producer.

Who am I to teach you? 

Investing in yourself is the most important thing if you want to make a living working with a profession like this. During my 15 years as a professional filmmaker, I've invested in online courses, books, talks and workshops. There's been good ones, but also a lot of bad ones. But the education has really helped me get to where I am today.

Sign up now and don't wait! If you're not happy with the course, I'd be more than happy to refund all your money within 30 days. But I hope that doesn't happen! 

See you on the other side!

Documentary Filmmaking with Soul

How to Create a Modern, Cinematic, Story-Driven Documentary from Start to Finish

Created by Dandan Liu - Documentary Filmmaker | Passionate Creative

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Students: 3189, Price: $99.99

Students: 3189, Price:  Paid

It's time documentaries get a fresh lift. Typically, they are taught with outdated methods which stem from the 90's, with boring talking heads and bad imagery. This class, instead, teaches you how to make modern, cinematic, and story-driven character docs that engage viewers both visually and emotionally.

This class will cover the whole doc making lifecycle, covering how to plan, how to shoot, and how to edit. Part travelogue, part course, all of these lessons are designed to be applicable and get straight-to-the-point. Showing behind-the-scenes footage, they bring you along Dandan's journey of making her beautiful short doc in Tokyo about a female boxer.

All of the lessons are designed to be applicable, get straight-to-the-point, and use minimal equipment.

By the end of this course, you will have all the knowledge and a complete roadmap needed to make your first documentary short. 

DSLR Filmmaking: From Beginner to PRO!

Just you, your DSLR and exciting camera techniques will take your filmmaking skills to the next level!

Created by Jordy Vandeput - Professional Filmmaker and Successful Youtuber

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Students: 2760, Price: $69.99

Students: 2760, Price:  Paid

In this course you will learn the same techniques that professional filmmakers use to craft their videos. This course is produced by media training Cinecom, hosted by filmmaker and popular Youtuber Jordy Vandeput.

WHAT WILL I LEARN?

You will learn how to use your DSLR in full manual mode to gain more creative freedom. Next we'll cover the essentials of visual storytelling with composition, motion and lighting. The concept of this course is to make you understand the same techniques that a professional filmmaker uses. This means, we're focusing on bringing your skills to a next level!

Documentary Filmmaking – Concept to Creation for Documentary

Documentary Filmmaking from scratch - no previous Documentary, Filmmaking or Documentary Editing experience necessary

Created by James Buffin - Filmmaker

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Students: 612, Price: $94.99

Students: 612, Price:  Paid

Documentary Filmmaking has never been more accessible. There is nothing between you and the Filmmaking dream of making a Documentary. Take this course and start your Filmmaking journey right now.

The pro guidance and downloadable resources in this course will support your project from start to finish.

Learn and practice repeatable steps to keep things on track and get your Documentary film made in a most straightforward way. This process-focused course will lift you over many predictable hurdles so you can get straight to the point: use Documentary Filmmaking to express your voice.  Why reinvent the wheel? Take a proven Film Making path, centered on one big principle: simplicity

This course guides you through the steps of Documentary Filmmaking and keeps you on track with downloadable worksheets in the following:

  • developing your theme

  • evolving your idea into a specific achievable concept

  • choosing your tools

  • finding crew

  • finding subjects to be in your film

  • selecting locations

  • tips on shooting

  • tips for interviews

  • tips for equipment

  • story structure case study

  • shooting for the edit

  • success checklists leading up to shooting

  • tips for data management

  • complete guide through editing process

"Both your courses led to more than a few epiphanies. Love the way you reinforced the theory with practical exercises. Extremely helpful in so many respects. Wished I’d taken this course years ago… at least I did now!"

Filmmaking On The Go: Beginner’s Class to Shoot Great Video

Create AWESOME videos for Concerts, Documentaries, Weddings, Travel, any Live Event using Minimal Equipment

Created by Scott Baker - Filmmaker - Documentaries and Music

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Students: 313, Price: $69.99

Students: 313, Price:  Paid

Do you want to start filming Documentaries, Music Videos, Sporting Events, or Concerts?

This course will teach you the basics so you can get started filming and creating amazing videos while on the go, and using minimal equipment.

Why take this course now?

Video creation is now one of the most in-demand skills and by enrolling in this course you'll gain those skills and be able to shoot Weddings, Music, Sports, Bars and Restaurants etc. This course will save you time by learning from my 13 years of experience in the film industry as I share the knowledge, tips, and tricks I've learned to make sure you get your film projects started the right way.

Get straight to the point and study real life examples, to make sure by the end of this course you'll have the confidence and knowledge to start filming, using the basic equipment that most beginners will start off with. You'll learn about...

Pre-Production

  • Equipment (Camera, Lenses, Microphones, Hard Drives, Reflectors, Cleaning Kit)

  • Planning (Consultations, Shot Lists, Shoot Preparation)

Production

  • Camera Settings (Frame Rate, White Balance, ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed)

  • Shot Composition (Shot Type, Rule of Thirds, Back / Foreground, Camera Moves, 180 Degree Rule)

  • Focus (Auto vs Manual, Depth of Field, Focus Pulls)

  • Audio (Mic Set-Ups, Levels, Hazards)

  • Lighting (Natural Light, Practical Light, Reflectors)

  • Shooting Techniques (Padding, B-Roll)

Post-Production

  • Organize (Off-Load / Review / Label Footage)

  • Editing (Project Settings, Importing Footage, Edit Tools, Transitions, Exporting)

**The Editing section of this course is an Introduction, it is NOT meant to be a Masterclass in Editing**

Get Creative, Have Fun, and Take Risks

With a 30-day 100% money back guarantee, there is no risk!. Enroll now to start your filmmaking endeavours.

See you in the classroom.

Cheers,

Scott

Documentary Filmmaking – Production Masterclass

Telling Stories That Take People On Journeys

Created by Hein Ungerer - Documentary Storytelling Takes People On Journeys

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Students: 65, Price: $19.99

Students: 65, Price:  Paid

This course is for beginner and intermediate level students who want some insight into the process of making documentary films. There are nine lessons in total. The course starts off by looking at what defines a documentary film, then asks the question what constitutes a good story. We then discuss how to find the focus of your story. Once we have that we look at a narrative structure and how that determines your shooting script which leads to your shot-list something that is essential before going out to shoot your film. Finally we look at writing your edit script and in conclusion there is a lesson on writing voice over narration for your film.

The Filmmaking Process – BASIC

The process of how films are made - From Scripting to the completed film

Created by SKILLFORME Courses - Your destination for courses in M&E

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Students: 53, Price: $19.99

Students: 53, Price:  Paid

A introductory course for everyone wanting to learn how films are made.

The path to move ahead in becoming a filmmaker.

As a film student or a first time filmmaker, it is important to know the process behind the making of films.

This course takes you through the process of filmmaking. From the screenplay to the finished film. It will describe all the workflows & activities in the Pre-Production, Production & Post-Production phases of filmmaking. This course will also describe the activities of the cast and key crew members involved in the process.

Course contents include modules on the process flow, the screenplay, the pre-production, production & post-production phases and workflows along with a fun quiz.

Course includes:

The key phases of the Film making process.

The workflows in each phase.

The high level activities in each phase

Key above-the-line & below-the-line roles and their contribution.

The concept and definition of a shot, scene and take.

Fun Quiz.

By the end of this course the learner shall be able to:

Identify the roadmap of the filmmaking process.

Track and list the workflows & activities involved in each of the phases.

Understand & learn about the critical roles in film making.

List key functions and responsibilities of the cast & crew.

Identify the components of a set.

Course Highlights:

a. The process roadmap of how films are made.

b. Filmmaking process diagrams and charts.

c. Visual & sound related workflows and activities.

Smartphone Cinematography 101: Learn to Shoot Mobile Video

Learn essential techniques & craft of visual storytelling and how to shoot professional-quality video with a smartphone.

Created by Mobile Filmmaker Academy - Empowering Mobile & DIY Filmmakers

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Students: 31, Price: $99.99

Students: 31, Price:  Paid

Learn how to turn your smartphone into a professional quality camera and start creating amazing videos & films today.

  • Indie Films

  • YouTube Videos

  • Mobile Journalism

  • Travel Films

  • Documentaries

  • Music Videos

  • Corporate Videos

  • Real Estate Videos

  • Social Media

  • Promo & Marketing

And a lot more. Whatever you want to make.

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Student Feedback:

- "Your training has greatly improved my quality of filming! And greatly shortened my learning curve!" -Michel H.

- "Highly recommend this course!" -Monty D.

- "Just bought the course and already loving it!" -Michael G.

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In this course you'll first learn the fundamentals of cinematography and visual storytelling that applies to using any and all kinds of cameras. Then we explore the technical aspects that make shooting smartphone video different than shooting with traditional cameras. And finally we tie it all together with apps, filmmaking gear and accessories that will help best tell your story.

Covers these topics and more:

  • Composition & Framing

  • The Rule of Thirds

  • Stage Direction (The 180° Rule)

  • 3-Point Lighting

  • Types of Camera Movement (with real-world examples)

  • Aperture, ISO and Shutter (for traditional cameras & smartphones)

  • White Balance & Focus

  • Smartphone lenses (built-in and third-party)

  • Video Camera Apps (our favorites)

  • Third-Party Filmmaking Gear & Accessories (tripod mounts, gimbals, dollies, lighting, ND filters and a lot more)

And please note this course will be routinely updated whenever there are new app & tech advancements that are necessary to include!

The best thing is once you learn the basic principles of cinematography (composition, framing & lighting) those skills will stay with you forever and can be used regardless of the kind of camera (including smartphones) you shoot with in the future.

Don't wait to create! Start today and unlock the potential of the amazing camera you carry in your pocket.

The Key Roles in Filmmaking

All about the key players in filmmaking

Created by SKILLFORME Courses - Your destination for courses in M&E

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Students: 18, Price: $24.99

Students: 18, Price:  Paid

Apart from the Producer, Director & their immediate assistants,there are a group of other professionals such as the Screenwriter, Director of Photography, Editor, Music Director etc that play key roles in the making of a movie.

This course covers the role and responsibilities of a dozen such key players. It also gives insights into their capabilities, contributions and interactions with each other across the various phases of filmmaking.

The course covers Producer, Director, Screenwriter, lead Actors, 1st AD, DoP, Editor, Casting Director,Art Director, Line producer, Music Director, Sound designerEach role is broken down into role and responsibility, interactions etc.

Filmmaking is a team effort and every key role is crucial to the success of the film. This course also looks at how this team works together, to ensure the seamless progress of the project.

The key learning topics are:

1. Key contributors in the making of a film.

2. Key processes in filmmaking.

3. Part played by each role across phases.

4. Interactions between key roles.

5. Key Above & below the Line roles in filmmaking.

The course learning objectives are:

1. Identify key ATL & BTL roles.

2. Identify key contribution of eack key role.

3. Role and responsibility of each key role.

4. Typical team under each key role.

5. Process flow among the key roles.

Documentary Mini-Masterclass, Ethics, Research, Interviewing

Documentary Filmmaking Ethics, Research and Interviewing Skills

Created by Hein Ungerer - Documentary Storytelling Takes People On Journeys

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Students: 5, Price: $19.99

Students: 5, Price:  Paid

INTRODUCTION TO MINI-MASTERCLASS 1

This is the first in a series of Documentary Mini-Masterclasses that will cover a variety of subjects related to documentary filmmaking.

In this one I cover three subjects. Ethics, Research and Interviewing skills.

The first lesson looks at the ethics involved in filmmaking, looking specifically at a filmmaker’s relationship with viewers, film participants and then also of course their own production ethics. Making factual films demand that what is presented to the viewer is accurate and reflects reality. Furthermore factual filmmakers are charged with reflecting their participants truthfully and must not transgress any trust they place in the filmmaker. This demands that filmmakers develop a production ethic that meets both viewer and participant expectations.

The second lesson covers the importance of sound research practices in factual filmmaking and how to avoid the trap of fake information in your films. With the escalating numbers of people posting information on the internet, fact checking, is more crucial now than ever. This lesson takes a look at how facts should be checked to be able to distinguished between what is an opinion and what is a fact.

The third and final lesson is about interviewing skills and how to secure a good outcome through building a sound relationship between interviewer and interviewee.

Successful interviewing depends on the rapport that an interviewer established with the interviewee. And this is no easy task. There are clear guidelines that, if followed correctly, will deliver a deeper and more meaningful interview.

In addition to the lessons there are also handouts and exercises attached to each lesson.

I trust you will enjoy and benefit from these lessons.