But that’s the beautiful thing about the Internet and the film community — it’s growing and not slowing down anytime soon.
So I’ve reached back into the well and found another 100 resources perfect for filmmakers, cinematographers, camera assistants, and just about anyone who has ever stepped on a film set.
I suggest you bookmark this post to keep it as a reference — it’s full of great info.
This list is separated into sections which can be accessed quickly below:
- Blogs and Websites
- Filmmaking Courses
- YouTube Channels
- Cinematography Web Apps
- Picture Profiles
- Used Gear
Blogs and Websites
Ted Hope is a film producer with a strong voice in the independent film community. What makes him a must-follow and lands him a spot on this list is his ability to tackle complex subjects with a razor. His writing is easy to follow, but always multi-faceted. Hope may not teach you how to set up a C-stand, but he will keep you abreast of the zeitgeist of the indie film community and filmmaking in general.
Chris’ blog, Through the Lens, first caught my eye when he published a post titled, “30 Tips for Being an Outstanding Camera Assistant.” From that, I could tell Chris knows what he’s talking about. And he covers the same area of below-the-line crew work I like to write about and you like to read.
Often we take title sequences for granted or ignore them completely as we finish adding more salt to our popcorn. But this website — through video, images, and interviews — deconstructs the titles of well-known films and TV shows to reveal what they really are: masterpieces of short form storytelling.
Do you love cinematography? Then drop everything you’re doing and read everything “Cinevenger” offers. Its thoughtful, long-form evaluations of modern cinematography are indispensable to furthering your own career and understanding of how lighting influences film.
The Frugal Filmmaker — Scott Eggleston — sums up his mission quite succinctly on his site: “Make Movies! Don’t Go Broke!” Often we can get crippled by fictitious barriers of entry to filmmaking, mostly costs of equipment. What Scott does is teach you how to make the movies you want to make without spending all your money keeping up with endless amounts of gear.
6. John Brawley
If you have a keen eye, you may recognize John Brawley as a photographer whose images have been featured on this site before (via Flickr). But Mr. Brawley is actually an accomplished cinematographer by trade. At his website he shares practical camera tests as well as behind-the-scenes evaluations on new camera systems — usually with advanced access to them.
Besides providing extensive film and video services, Crews Control has a bustling blog and social media presence. They are perpetually sharing helpful tips and advice on filmmaking that often cater to filmmakers who work with clients.
A.J., the writer behind this Hollywood blog, is “a freelance grip and electric specializing in poorly run indie productions and ‘living the dream’ / trying to survive in Hollywood.” Oh, and A.J. is female, which makes her journey throughout the Hollywood ranks even more interesting. Plus, she’s a damn good writer — you really get a feeling for her ride through the Hollywood machine.
Cineblur, a filmmaking site run by Brent Pierce, is under appreciated. Brent is continually doling out free stuff (lots of After Effects presets) and handy tips and more people need to take advantage of it! Plus, from my interactions with him, he’s just a cool dude.
When this site first launched, its founder lamented to me that I had already covered so much of what he was going to write. I told him it never hurts to have more people sharing and encouraged him to push forward. Now when I visit his site, I find several articles covering topics I’ve never written about and don’t even know how to do. It’s still a young site, so the content is thin, but it’s growing — fast.
11. Tom Guilmette
My introduction to Tom Guilmette was this brilliantly executed “Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom” video. That video shows why Tom’s website is as good to read as that video is to watch — because you can tell he loves the camera.
I’m generally not a fan of gear websites, but I do like Cinescopophila — mostly because it’s run by an Aussie with a twisted sense of humor (@VisionWrangler) who isn’t afraid to dive beyond the press releases for more info and dig up juicy tidbits other, bigger sites generally pass by.
While not strictly a filmmaking website, F-Stoppers’ focus on photography is still beneficial to those who use DSLR’s as their weapon of choice on set. It also doesn’t hurt to explore lighting, composition, and time-lapse techniques photographers use.
14. Peta Pixel
Peta Pixel is sort of like the Buzzfeed of the photography niche — lots of juicy viral content and up-to-date news. I don’t mean that comparison to be negative, but if you’re looking for a more personalized experience, Peta Pixel isn’t the place to go. Instead, it provides a great pulse of the digital photography industry and the direction it’s going in.
15. Negative Spaces
A lot of people ask me for more information about D.I.T. work and digital workflows. There’s lots of decent sites that touch on the subject, but Ben Cain’s Negative Spaces is the full monty. Want to learn about workflows, color spaces, and stuff like scaling? Look no further.
The video sharing site shares videos about making videos that will be good to share. Or, to put it less confusingly, “Learn how to make better videos through lessons, tutorials, and sage advice from us, your friendly personal creativity consultants.”
Premiumbeat may be a stock music website, but they also run a killer blog called “The Beat.” It covers everything from After Effects to Final Cut to production and working in the industry.
If you want it to be, Film School Rejects is a high profile film news website that focuses on casting news, box office figures, and script purchases. But they also sneak in a featured article every now and then worth checking out — specifically this series of film directing tips.
19. Visual Hollywood
For a site called “Visual Hollywood,” you kind of have to look past the visuals to get to what’s good: beyond the comic sans font, the clashing colors, and the old-school gradients. Do that and you’ll find a website with information on a bunch of movies. In particular, the “Production Notes” section of movies (like Skyfall) are in-depth collections of everything you need to know about the film.
20. RedShark News
RedShark News bills itself as “News, Views and Know-How for the Moving Image Professional.” Notice how that doesn’t exclude digital cinema or film? RedShark is a new site to me, but having discovered it in writing this article, I’m excited to further explore what it has to offer.
Like a real cow, the Creative Cow bears milk that makes all sorts of delicious dairy products. From training to a strong community to podcasts and videos. Creative Cow even has a jobs board which, from the looks of it, is more active than most job sites. And because Creative Cow has been around for awhile, it’s a name familiar to a lot of professionals.
22. Film and TV Pro
Film and TV Pro has a clean design that makes it easy to navigate, plus crew/talent can register for free (and see job listings for free). Though most of the listings I come across are LA and New York based, it’s worth keeping an eye on these job boards as they potentially grow larger.
23. Film Crew Gigs
What Film Crew Gigs might lack in features it makes up for in a variety of listings. One thing I always check on job boards is if they are even listing for camera assistants, grips, electricians — all those below the line gigs. Sure enough, Film Crew Gigs does.
24. Film Sourcing
Film Sourcing promises to help connect filmmakers with everything they might need — crew, costumes, gear, funding, etc. The only problem is, it’s still in beta testing. But applying for an invite is easy and looks to be worth the wait for this ambitious project to fully launch.
25. Staff Me Up
Formerly known as Production Notices, Staff Me Up is a brand new venture to connect film crews with productions that need them. Though it’s not free, you can see job listings before you have to pay a fee to get the details. That means even though you have to cough up some cash to submit your resume, you at least get to know if the jobs are there.
Ignore the late-90′s look of this website and you’ll find yourself in the midst of a Filmmaking 101 article series. Though this course isn’t about filmmaking as a craft necessarily, it teaches how to analyze films with concepts like mise-en-scene and cinematography basics.
Professor Richard Slotkin brings you a class that looks exclusively at the Western genre — a staple of Hollywood filmmaking. Maybe you’re not the biggest Western fan, but this meditation on the genre will help you appreciate Westerns more and also help you identify conventions of other genres.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a premiere university with top-notch educators. A free course on filmmaking from a top college is hard to look-over – it’s just a shame you can’t actually be there. Or, as Ryan Koo says, “Video content might be a curse more than a blessing, however, as lectures recorded on video — free of context and live interaction — are even drier than they would be in a real classroom.”
UReddit is a crowdsourced approach to teaching — users with expertise in a field create the class. What’s great about this approach is the information comes across as practical, built from experience, and without the pomp and circumstance surrounding normal educational atmospheres.
This audio podcast won’t teach you how to set up a camera or operate a boom mic, but it will help you appreciate the art of film. And that’s an under appreciated skill. Most filmmakers, whether they know it or not, are helped or hindered by their knowledge of the art.
Another crowdsourced film school, this time from the same group that runs Wikipedia. Though this particular “Wikiversity” lacks a bit of substance, it is a satisfactory introduction for younger filmmakers or those who want a brief overview of the process.
From Columbia University Film School, “this e-seminar provides lessons on filmmaking from Oscar-winning director Milos Forman. With an emphasis on scriptwriting and casting, Forman advises film students based on his thirty years of experience as a director.”
The Open University provides a wonderful, in-depth, 17-part audio podcast about digital filmmaking. Like most of these online film schools, the subject matter is at a beginner level, but the episodes are clearly defined allowing you to pick and choose areas to study (i.e. editing or producing).
34. A Curriculum for Digital Media Creation (PDF)
Apple provides this PDF document that’s essentially a lesson plan for a digital media class. That may not sound useful to you, but consider that the lesson plan talks about projects, assignments, etc. If you’re looking to self-educate, just use those suggestions on yourself — like the assignment that prompts you to shoot a one-minute short with only 25 shots. That’s a cool little exercise.
Before you consider investing your time in a more robust online film school (like one you pay for), think about what screenwriter John August has to say about them: “Get yourself there and get hired on a movie. You’ll learn more your first week as a PA than you have so far in your online classes.”
36. Shanks FX
It was this video of steel wool being turned into a warp engine that caught my attention on Joey Shanks’ practical effects YouTube channel. Since then I’ve subscribed and enjoyed each video covering a new, original way to perform special effects practically.
37. Indy Mogul
Widely acknowledged as one of the best YouTube channels for filmmakers, Indy Mogul “is the first network for the YouTube generation of independent filmmakers. We focus on DIY effects, filmmaking tips, and showcasing creative work.” Plus, it’s entertaining.
Optical illusions and weird science tricks may not obviously fit within the realm of filmmaking, but anything that inspires ideas creation belongs in the filmmakers’ toolkit. Like this vortex cannon.
39. Frugal Filmmaker
If the Frugal Filmmaker finds financing from fifty thrifty farmers, does he make a YouTube video about it? Probably. With 137 videos and over 2.6 million views, our buddy Scott the “Frugal Filmmaker” (website listed #5 above) is prolific, informative, and generous with his knowledge.
Ryan Connolly hosts this tongue-in-cheek series produced by Kessler U about filmmaking gear. Longtime readers will know I’m not a big proponent of gear over craft, but even I have to acknowledge that being capable with tools enables you to pursue your craft.
Combined, these two channels will feed your thirst for nerdy shorts and “how did they do that?” explanations. The first channel contains short films made by Freddie W. and the second channel is a bit of a “B-Sides” channel with extras, bonus scenes, and behind-the-scenes videos. It’s really fun to see the effort put into these digestible YouTube shorts.
Much like freddiew, the guys behind Corridor Digital make YouTube shorts and then show you how they did it. Or at least, show you what it was like making it. And just like above, the first link is the channel with the films while the second link is the “behind-the-scenes” vids.
43. Steve Johnson FX
Recognize this? That’s because I listed in on last year’s 100 resources. But since we’re talking about YouTube channels — and since this one is so awesome — I have to list it again. Seriously. You rarely get access to somebody who is working on the level Steve Johnson is. It’s worth listing twice because every video is worth watching twice.
Tony Reale’s NextWaveDV is a website I’ve mentioned before, but his YouTube channel deserves its own mention because of the depth to it. What I enjoy about NextWaveDV’s YouTube efforts is the multiple types of shows they do — from lighting tutorials to what to wear on set. There’s still a singular focus on filmmaking, but Tony’s not afraid to explore fringe topics as well.
45. Quick FX
Quick FX is all about “Filmmaking Tutorials, DIY Builds, Props, DSLR Stuff, Short Films and MORE! Fast, Fun, Filmmaking FX!” How can you not subscribe once you see their banner contains a dinosaur with a machine gun? Consider me a viewer.
Not every resource for filmmakers is about how to make films. This Vimeo user is the perfect example. He does cool compilations, usually exploring a signature of a director, that makes you look at film in a whole new way. And that is often more powerful than even the best DSLR tip. Just check out this Stanley Kubrick cut.
This podcast may be old and only 12 episodes long, but that doesn’t mean it can’t educate and inform. The DIY Filmmaking podcast is just what it sounds like: tips and tutorials on making movies by rolling up your sleeves.
Executive Producer Brent Altomare covers film crew jobs that he finds his students know nothing about. Gigs like 1st AD, animal trainer, colorist, etc. I love that Brent is talks about more than just directing and producing in this new podcast.
49. Filmmaking Stuff
Consider this podcast a filmmaking blog in audio form. Jason Brubaker covers topics like “How to Fail as a Filmmaker” and “Stop Talking and Make Your Movie,” tough talk, but needed at times.
Interviews, screenings, and Q&A’s from top notch directors (Brad Bird, Ron Howard, Ben Affleck) from one of the most respected film institutions in the country. What more do you want?
“The Double Down Film Show is an hour long experience of “real talk” about what it takes to get your project from script to screen.”
Ignore for a bit your opinion of Baz Luhrmann’s films and you might be open to this revealing podcast about filmmaking. While his movies aren’t always critical smashes, the man does operate at a level in Hollywood most of us would kill to get near. So, you know, his advice might be worth something…
After 99 episodes, Cindy Freeman finally said goodbye to the Film Method podcast — leaving behind an expansive archive of filmmaking knowledge and expertise. Plan accordingly to get through it all.
This podcast is still active and hosted by Moviola weekly. It features conversations that cover the gamut of the digital filmmaking process: from pre-pro to post; storyboarding to workflow.
Red Giant makes premiere tools for post-production and this podcast teaches you how to use them to their full potential. That may sound self-serving, but considering Red Giant’s products are often the standard, it’s more helpful than anything.
You have to listen when there’s a description like this: “Dedicated to the creative process of visual storytelling, 2 Reel Guys shows that telling a good story doesn’t require a lot of money – a lot of gear – or a lot of people. Mainly, you just need the knowledge of how to shape the story into something other people want to watch.” Amen.
Cinematography Web Apps
From RED Digital Cinema, the company behind the Epic and Scarlet, this series of “Cinephotography” tools contains a crop factor, recording time, flicker free, and depth of field calculator. Best used with RED cameras as you’ll be getting the info straight from the source.
This web-app is designed and hosted by Sony for calculating record times and other data about their SR series of memory cards used most notably with the Sony F65 camera.
ARRI is ahead of everyone when it comes to equipping their customers and users with tools for their cameras. This link has all of them in one place: Frame Line Composer, Camera Simulator, Pocket Guide Webapp, Look Creator, ARRIRAW Converter, Meta Extract, and the LUT Generator.
As the first company to make a menu simulator, ARRI got it right. This was an invaluable tool for me before I worked with the ARRI Alexa. It may seem silly to play with a menu to a non-existent object, but knowing how to move your way through a camera can help you save precious seconds on set.
This menu simulator for the C300 gives you that extra edge to learn the camera before you’re on set — which, given the complexity of this particular menu, is extremely useful.
Building a camera package — whether you’re an AC or a DP — can be tough without holding the camera and its accessories in your hand. At least with this virtual builder, you can get an idea for the physical size of the rig and the limitations it could potentially pose.
Though this DSLR simulator aims to teach you about still photography, it’s an easy way to learn about the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO — among other settings. Cinematography beginners should dive into this and start playing around.
When working with super slow motion (and super high frame rates), you can get slowed down in the math required to get the shot you want. After all, off the top of your head, how much memory do you need for a 2.5 second shot at 1480 fps with a Phantom Miro M320S? With this Abel Cine recording time calculator, you can quickly find you need all 12 gigs.
You could call this tool a fancy spec sheet, but that would undermine its genuine usefulness. After all, comparing specs of film stocks can help guide you in the right direction. Digital cinema filmmakers need not apply for this one.
Take a “virtual tour” (remember those?) of a lit scene and see where the actors are, where the lights are, and how all of that plays together to create the image the audience sees on screen.
DSLR Picture Profiles/Presets
Scene files are useful for dialing in the type of image you want on set, but people don’t always use them because they take a long time to set up, tweak, and perfect. Luckily, Abel Cine has done a lot of legwork and provided different types of scene files for different cameras all for free.
The last commercial I worked on with a DSLR, the cinematographer had me install this picture style along with Technicolor’s CineStyle. Surprisingly, he preferred this picture style created by Marvel’s Film Production. Even if you think you’re in love with CineStyle, at least give this a shot.
In the name of options, here are several other Canon EOS Picture Styles. Again, I urge you to look at them yourself and find one that suits your preferences.
Another Canon Picture Style created by a man named Jorgen Escher, who “devised and tested using the Canon 5DmkII, a MacBeth colour card, two different calibrated light sources (3200k & 5600k soft floods), Adobe Color, Adobe Photoshop and a few software tools I have developed myself.”
And not to leave all you Nikon lovers out in the cold, here’s a flat picture control for your Nikon DSLRs. There’s not a lot of love out their for Nikon DSLRs as video cameras, but they are slowly grabbing some share of the market — hopefully more picture controls will appear as that happens.
Click on each image to see the infographic
83. Keh Camera
Keh Camera is one of the most trusted gear exchanges on the web. It has a thriving marketplace — necessary for those who shop used often — and a good reputation. I’ve never bought from here personally, but I have heard good things.
As one of the larger rental houses/gear sales places on the east coast, I’m positive Abel Cine gets its fair share of refurbished, used, or plain run-down gear. That’s good news for you, then, that they put it on sale. The best part about most film gear is that it will last a long time when taken care of by a company like Abel Cine.
Don’t tell cross-town rival B&H that I listed them after Abel Cine, but they also have a good shop of used gear. Though Abel Cine came first, you couldn’t go wrong with either company — look for who has what you need since finding the perfect piece of used equipment can be fleeting.
Dealing with a rental house usually means going local, but if you don’t have a strong film market in your town, finding the right gear can be tough. In comes Borrowlenses to save the day: they’ll ship rented gear to you. And they also buy/sell used gear.
87. Adorama Exchange
What I like about Adorama’s gear exchange is that you can sell your stuff back to them for cash. eBay doesn’t always fetch a fair price and, frankly, some of us don’t have the time nor energy to host a killer auction. So go to Adorama, sell your stuff, and buy something else. You may not get the most bang for your buck, but you’ll make up for it in convenience.
If you’re looking for a more personal transaction (honestly, one-to-one sales are where you get the best deals), Cinematography.com has a section of their forum for finding, trading, buying, and selling equipment. Plus, as a forum poster, I can vouch that those who tend to these boards are legitimate industry crew.
12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network… those are just a few of the films on Sidney Lumet’s rap sheet. So this, his definitive work on making movies, is well worth the read to glean whatever insight you can from a master of cinema.
Legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock sits down with French new wave filmmaker Francois Truffaut to record a series of conversations in which they talk about movies and film production. A wonderful mix of film history, criticism, theory and application of principles from two masters of the art form.
So maybe you want to work below the line, but you don’t want to be a grip and you don’t want to be an AC. Do you like bright things? Plugging stingers into outlets? There’s much more to a juicer’s job than just that, which is why you’ll want to grab this book to brush up before you ever put on gloves.
What are the five C’s of cinematography? Camera angles, continuity, cutting, close-ups, and composition. Simple, right? Until you realize the infinite possibilities in which they can be combined. That’s why there’s a whole book about it — one of the best cinematography books, ever.
In the original 100 Resources post, I mentioned this book “provides a basis of knowledge that is practical for anyone within the world of film.” That’s still true and, with the new 2013 edition, there’s even more focus on the ever expanding digital cinema market.
On one of the first feature films I worked on, the director of photography lent me this book to read. The result was a grueling 12 hours on set the next day as I had stayed up reading so much of this wonderful book the night before. I was so drawn to the real conversations, the practical advice, and the connection with actual crew.
I’ll admit: this book makes the list because a professor assigned it to me in college. But it’s one of the few books I kept from school and that still has a place on my shelf. It’s thick, it’s comprehensive, and it’s a solid mix of practical reality and inspiring vision.
Another textbook assigned to me in school, the reason I kept this one is for the sole fact that it actually talked about camera assisting. It was the first book I ever read on filmmaking that didn’t brush over “crew” as if one broad description covers every job that isn’t directing or producing. It’s also an easy read for those looking to make the jump from intermediate to advanced.
Say what you want about James Cameron and his films, but his determination and sheer guts to shoot movies made me admire the man even more. He also has made a few of the highest grossing movies of all time so the pedigree is there too. The journey Cameron took to survive — and later thrive — in the film industry will immediately inspire you to push yourself harder.
Director Spike Jonze has always been a favorite filmmaker of mine. Whether or not you found Where the Wild Things Are to be an enjoyable movie, reading and seeing the incredible process it took them to make the film makes you realize how hard everybody in this industry works. As Jonze said, “when you make movies, you totally lose touch with reality.”
Michael Caine is already an accomplished actor. He could, if he wanted, sit back and let the paychecks roll in. Instead he’s incredibly prolific, both in appearing in films and spreading his knowledge of the film industry. And it’s hard not to listen when he talks.
This book, written by the “Yoda” of editing, Walter Murch, doesn’t have much to do with L-Cuts or Eyeline Matches, but instead Murch’s musings on why we are drawn to films and how editing brings us deeper into the rabbit hole. The wisdom, though abstract, is fascinating and you will never look at editing — or filmmaking — the same way once you read it.
Hey, Bookmark This Already!
It’s good to come back to on a rainy day, a day off, or on a weekend.
Don’y worry — I’m not going to judge you if you just scrolled all the way through it. If you actually read every single word in this article and ended up here, well then bravo! For most of us, however, there’s just too much to consume in one sitting.
That’s why I urge you to bookmark this page so you can reference it whenever you need to.
Whenever you get a moment, instead of looking down at your phone or clicking on an empty screen like a zombie, pick something on this list and explore it. Discover a new skill. Brush up on older ones.
Finally, make sure to check out these 200 other great resources for filmmakers:
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