The advent of the internet is arguably the biggest revolution in education since the invention of the printing press. Anything and everything you want to learn about is at the tips of your fingertips including the best cinematography courses. It may be overwhelming to find the best sites and courses online, so we curated a list of the best online cinematography courses that you can start today. 

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Cinematography online course

1. Introduction to Lighting Techniques

Zak Mulligan Cinematography online course

Zak Mulligan Cinematography online course

First on our list of cinematography courses is “Cinematography Basics: Introduction to Lighting Techniques'' by Zak Mulligan. The course is one of the most popular beginner cinematography courses on Skill Share. It focuses solely on the use of lighting within cinematography.

Throughout this cinematography online course, Mulligan breaks down the fundamentals of lighting into the following seven elements: direction, shape, color, intensity, quality, texture, and movement. To finish the class, Mulligan demonstrates how to put all of these techniques together to create a visual haiku — a series of shots that aim to create a specific mood and tone. 

You can access the course with a subscription membership to that costs $18 per month and starts with a 7 day free trial. 

Cinematography classes online

2. UDEMY Cinematography Masterclass

The Rule of Thirds in 5 minutes  •  Cinematography online course

If you’re looking to create more cinematic images in your videography with a DSLR camera, mirrorless cameras, or even just your iPhone, this cinematography online course is for you. In this cinematography masterclass by Julian Melanson on UDEMY, the focus is on the fundamentals for beginner videographers. 

Melanson covers topics such as frame composition, lighting techniques, camera settings, and even shot listing

With just about 6 hours of video lessons, Melanson aims to teach videographers at any production level how to create cinematic images. The entire cinematography online course costs a one time payment of $94.99.

To get an idea of Melanson’s teaching style, check out one of his Youtube videos above. 

Best cinematography courses

3. StudioBinder

Guide to Camera Shots: Film cinematography courses  •  Subscribe on YouTube

Next on our list is our very own collection of cinematography resources. Here at StudioBinder, we’ve created a plethora of both articles and videos covering all the bases of cinematography. From different types of cameras, to different types of lenses, to cinematic camera movements, you can find everything you need to learn about cinematography throughout our blog and StudioBinder YouTube channel.

The best part of StudioBinder’s cinematography online course? They are completely free to access. To get started learning about the ins and outs of cinematography, check out the first episode of our cinematography series “The Shot List” above. 

Online cinematography school

4. Become a Cinematographer 

LinkedIn Cinematography classes online

LinkedIn: Cinematography classes online

If you’re looking for a comprehensive course that focuses solely on cinematography check out the “Become a Cinematographer” course from LinkedIn Learning. The course is taught by various experts ranging from film educators and working filmmakers. 

The course is structured into six modules: video production and editing, narrative fundamentals, working on set, hands-on techniques, camera movement, and cinematic lighting.  

With over seven hours of content, the course requires a subscription to LinkedIn Learning at a cost of $19.99 per month. 

Online cinematography school

5. Understanding Filmmaking Style

SkillShare Cinematography Course

SkillShare Cinematography Course

Next up is another SkillShare cinematography course by Zak Mulligan that focuses primarily on developing a cinematography style that best tells a story. Mulligan has experience working on television shows for HBO and Netflix as well as his own indie work. He uses this experience to share his knowledge on combining technique with style to create specific moods and feelings in a shot. 

Mulligan breaks down the cinematography of his own scenes, breaks down how to create a shot list as well, as well as how to find inspiration for your cinematography. 

Online digital cinematography courses

6. DIY Cinematography

Cinematography online workshop

Maybe you’re looking for a course that’s a bit more for the "run and gun" sort of cinematographer. This DIY Cinematography course will teach you how to work with natural light, maximizing your location, and becoming an all around great cinematographer no matter what resources you have.

The course is also available on SkillShare for a monthly subscription of $18 per month with a 7 day free trial. 

Cinematography online workshop

7. LEARN Cinematography

LEARN Digital cinematography course

LEARN Digital cinematography course

LEARN cinematography is an in-depth course that is designed to teach you how to become a director of photography. The course is incredibly comprehensive covering each of the following topics in depth: pre-production, camera gear, lighting breakdown, lighting fundamentals, quality of light, directionality, diffusion, shaping light, power, color, and the film crew

The course also has exclusive behind the scenes footage of various productions to get an idea of how DPs work in the field. The entire cinematography course costs $250 which will give you access to all of the video lectures, breakdowns, BTS footage, and templates from LEARN academy. 

How to learn cinematography online for free

8. Werner Herzog’s MasterClass

Werner Herzog   •  Film cinematography courses

Sometimes the best way to learn about your craft is to learn from the masters. Werner Herzog’s MasterClass encompasses various aspects of filmmaking including a focus on shooting strategies, cinematography, and camera techniques. 

In this master class, the legendary filmmaker imparts his knowledge that he’s accumulated over the years, most of which can only be realized with the experience Herzog has. Access to the class requires a subscription to MasterClass which costs $15 per month billed annually. 

Part time cinematography courses

9. Mastering Cinematic Compositions 

The Story Behind Handheld Camera Movements

Within cinematography, lighting and camera gear will depend on the equipment your budget allows. However, one thing that costs nothing but makes all the difference in a shot is composition. This SkillShare cinematography course on Mastering Cinematic Compositions breaks down the fundamental guidelines of compositions.

In this course, you’ll learn how to use compositional rules, depth of field, focal lengths, and color theory to create cinematic images. The course is taught by filmmaker and YouTuber Jordy Vandeput. Check out his teaching style in one of his free YouTube lessons above. 


Best Cinematography Techniques & Tips

Looking for an in depth read on the best cinematography techniques you probably didn’t learn in film school? In our next article, we have cinematography tips from opening shots to camera techniques, to on set leadership that will help you become a better cinematographer.

Up Next: Cinematography Tips →
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  • Kyle DeGuzman graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Television, Film, & New Media. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado spending his time writing, filmmaking, and traveling.

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