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Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Lesson 1 of 39

Class Introduction

Victor Ha

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Hi, guys, I'm Victor. So, for those of you who don't know, this is a filmmaking class, so, just making sure. I'm not gonna spend too much time, who am I? So, I've been in this industry for 13 years. I know I look like I'm 12, but I'm really 33, so I started when I was kind of in my 20s as a photographer and kinda moved through a bunch of different things in the industry. And I'm passionate about education. That's why I'm here. So, because I'm passionate about education, I want you guys to do me a favor. I talk really fast, had a really tall cup of coffee this morning, so if I talk too fast, it's your job to help the people at home slow me down, okay? I talk a mile a minute. So do me a favor also, and if you have any questions, make sure you ask the questions, all that kind of good stuff, okay? All right, so I love to start off with goals. 'Cause at the end of this course, my goals hopefully will be your goals, all right? So we're gonna make sure to demystify the process of capturing mo...

tion. I wanna inspire you to capture motion, because I'm a photographer, guys. I know what you guys all think. I bought my 5D Mark II a number of years ago and said to myself, I will never turn on the video function. Because it's a camera, it's a still camera. Right? And you go, well, it kinda shoots really nice video, so you kind of experiment, and then you back off 'cause you get scared. So I wanna inspire you to do something. Next thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna provide you some tips so that you'll be able to kind of just venture off and start to do some video. Now, I'm gonna say it right now. The first few videos you make will be awful. Okay? It's okay. It's all right. Mine are kind of still awful. All the examples that I'm showing you that are mine are awful on purpose 'cause I don't want you to get engrossed on the content, I want you to get engrossed in what's being shown and the concepts. And it's a disclaimer, 'cause my stuff kinda sucks sometimes. It's okay. The thing is, if you just keep practicing, you're gonna get better. I'm a firm believer that if you're really, you're passionate about your craft, and are practicing and practicing and practicing and practicing, you're gonna get better. And same thing goes for video. Okay, I just want to get you, I just want you passionate about it. So... Why do we shoot video? Well, I have three reasons. It's multi-sensory, it's emotional, and it's fun. So, there's always great pictures, right? Stole that from Dirty Dancing. Okay? So, here's the thing. Sometimes, you just have to see the motion. Now, I was growing up, and when I was growing up, Michael Jordan was still playing basketball. Famous photograph, top of the key, three-pointer, buzzer hitting zero, lights on. You see that in sports highlights. You see the picture, what do they follow it up with? The video, right? So that's kind of like where we're at here. So if we take a look at something like this, and you just want to make, you just kinda wanna see what happens, right? So it's nice and slow, maybe add a little bit of music to it, all that kind of good stuff, and here we are. The actual process of watching the video becomes something that's so much more engaging, right? It's got no sound, it's got no music, it's got me being really goofy, and my buddy, and we're just super stoked to do this. Right? So that's why we shoot video. We shoot video because I want to engage you on another level. A still photograph will always have its place. But a video that's perfectly timed and perfectly applied will always be better, because it's multi-sensory. It's emotional, it's visceral. You feel it. So how do you get started? Well, you start simple. Okay, so I have a little task that I give a lot of my students when I work with them. I want them to think of a simple action and capture that action in five shots. Okay, so the act of drinking a Coke, or opening up your mail. And you get five shots. And the purpose of that assignment is to think about it in a way that allows you to edit it and understand the story. So this is one way. Here's another way. So did you notice the differences? Let's go back real quick. The first one looks like this. And so if you really think about it, a simple concept, when you edit in different ways and add five different shots and just make them compelling images to start, you can really have a wonderful way of telling a story. You guys have all seen that movie Memento, right? It's a really old movie. I'm not gonna spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but that's a very non-linear edit, whereas something like Saving Private Ryan is very linear. They both tell really great stories. But because they kind of are told differently, it appeals to different sensibilities, right? So when you take a look, and I'm gonna try to skip a couple slides here, show that last video. Okay, and I think this is the last right here. So I majored in Theater and everything that we talked about in Theater had something called subtext, right? So when you look at a video like that that has no dialogue, is just images, you gotta assume the subtext, right? So maybe the guy's working and he's just having a Coke or he's having multiple Cokes. Where you put the empty glass and where you put the glasses being picked up really has an impact on the overall subtext of the film. So as you guys start to kind of think about stuff, you're starting simple. You know, we're not even worrying about exposure, or cameras, or gear, or anything. I actually did that in an airport, having a Coke and lunch with my DSLR kind of just propped up on my bag, 'cause well, that's what I had and I just wanted to prove to myself and prove to you guys that it was something you can do without a lot of equipment to start. It's just about piecing together shots. It's about piecing together concepts and piecing together content that gives you an opportunity to really look at video and think what we call in sequences. Photographs, we think about the moment. I had a great shot, I had a great moment. In video, it's about the sequence, and it's about putting that sequence together in a variety of different angles and shots and that kind of thing. You feel me? Understand what I'm doing? Any questions so far? You're good? All right. So, I want you to think of something and film it. Now, we mentioned earlier that I do a lot of workshops and over the past year, I've had the privilege of working with a lot of different people all over the country. And in some of the workshops, we were actually able to think of a concept, film it out, and edit it and stuff. So what I wanna show you are just some very simple ideas and I wanna encourage you to think of something and really put some pen to paper, think about it, and then film it. And it doesn't matter if it's good, it doesn't matter if it's out of focus, it doesn't matter. What it will do is it will allow you to start thinking in shots, thinking in sequences, thinking in story. There's a big buzzword right now in filmmaking, it's storytelling. Everyone's telling you to be a storyteller, but they're not really showing you how to do it. So the only way you can be a good storyteller is to figure out a story, plan it, and film it. So here's one of them. ("Lemon Twist" by The Meltones) So, really, when it comes down to it, guys, it's a really simple concept. I was running around the block and I want to accent the point here that the people who actually made that video, about 80% of them had never shot video prior to that class. So they were able to come into a class with me, sit down, learn some content, and at the end of it, really put something together that they were proud of and is fun to watch and, you know, kinda works, right? Here's another one. ("Dynomite Instrumental" by Das Tapes) So what do these films have in common? Anybody? Come on. [Female Participant] They tell a story. Tell a story. Doing a lot of running. I do a lot of running. Different shots from different angles. Okay. You know, I think it tells a great story, especially that second one. Okay, so here's the thing, right? Was there any real audio or sound? No. No. So, let's think about this. Back when movies started, they called them moving pictures, because there wasn't sound, and you know, there's no sound. It was just hand-cranking, silent movies, you know, guy putting girl on the train tracks, guy saving the girl on the train tracks. It was all really compelling, right? Because it was something that told a story and it didn't require the audio aspect of it. So, when you start, that's your first tip. Don't worry about recording people. Or don't worry about recording sound. That's not important yet. It will be, it will be very important later. But when you're starting, just take it off a little bit and focus on very specific smaller things. So that's the first thing is, okay, if I don't have to worry about capturing sound right now and now all I gotta do is worry about capturing a good image, that's what I'm good at. I'm already a photographer, I already know how to frame, I already know how to compose, I already know how to do most of the stuff, I just gotta worry about the aspect of the motion, right?

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

If you own a DSLR camera, you already own a powerful filmmaking tool. Ready to learn how to use it? Join CreativeLive and Victor Ha for a course that will cover the core principles of capturing video with your DSLR.

Through hands-on demos - including how to create compelling video interviews - Victor will guide you through the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking. You’ll learn how to apply the compositional skills of still photography to taking video. You’ll also learn about how to navigate the video-capturing features of your DSLR, choose the right gear for your filmmaking needs, and incorporate audio into your shoots. From framing shots to producing simple projects to spatial relationships, the skills you gain in this course will leave you ready and inspired to create high-quality, engaging film projects.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Victors White Board Notes - High Resolution

Pre-Production Planner


Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Victor van Dijk

This course was quite a treat! I had been learning piecemeal about DSLR Filmmaking but never had the opportunity to follow a course that ties it all together. And my namesake Victor is ex-cel-lent!!! Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is a very very clear (I would almost say, lucid!), carefully, comprehensively tied together course teaching all you need and wanted to know about DSLR Filmmaking. Massive PLUS is that the course is first and before all NOT about the nitty-gritty technical details and numbers, but all about the basics of what filmmaking REALLY is all about. And yes, technique and gear are part of that but not for their own sake. And Victor shares that it's all about fun, and telling your story your way in the way that you like. I truly admire Victor's carefully planned and laid out path, in my opinion he planned the course exactly and meticulously like he would a full-blown movie production. And he is very open and honest and not belittling at all. He is really passionate, compassionate and 'infectious' with his happy happy mood :-)! I HIGHLY recommend this course for anyone wanting to properly and thoroughly learn the ins and outs of filmmaking, with a strong focus on using a DSLR.

Penny Foster

This is a very well constructed course by Victor Ha, who is very easy to watch, and very knowledgeable about using the DSLR for more than just taking pictures. For a Wedding Photographer like me, who wants to add some moving images into a slideshow for my client, this course was perfect. Victor shows us that, with the equipment you already own as a working professional photographer, you can get started into video RIGHT NOW, with baby steps. This is not a course on video editing, so if you need that tuition look elsewhere, BUT, Victor shows us how to set our cameras up for success right from the start, so that when we are at the editing stage, the footage is in the perfect state possible to produce excellently exposed, perfectly colour balanced material. He goes over the use of a light meter for capturing video, and how essential it is to get the exposure right 'in camera', so this is certainly a Fundamental DSLR Filmmaking course, for anyone who is already using their DSLR for stills, but who is interested in adding something else to their skill set. Victor is so enthusiastic in his teaching style, and this is a course I will keep coming back to time after time.

Sara safajar

Excellent overview on how to think as a storyteller with DSLR video. Great breakdown and really accessible examples- fun video on the making of a peanut butter sandwich- which inspire and make it feel like the video beast can be conquered. This course is packed with great ideas on not only figuring out to how to make the switch from still to motion, but also creative inspiration on how to begin thinking cinematically. Well worth the price. Great course!