Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

In partnership with
Instructor Victor Ha,
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18% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 80090
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Transform your DSLR camera into a powerful tool for making exceptional films
  • numbers Discover how to take the same skill set of a still photographer and apply it to video compositions
  • numbers Elevate your filmmaking to the next level with tips and tricks from a seasoned professional

Course Overview

A still photograph taken with your trusty DSLR camera will always have its place. But a DSLR film, perfectly timed and perfectly applied, will always be superior when it comes to telling dynamic, engaging stories.

One of the many beauties of a DSLR camera is that you can take both still photographs and films. It’s the perfect tool for photographers and filmmakers who are either just starting out on their professional or amateur path or are already out there publishing photographs and shooting entire independent films.

You may be surprised to discover the versatility of the video function of DSLR cameras, since using a still camera to create videos can seem counterintuitive, or even intimidating. But the process of capturing motion isn’t as mystical as it might seem. Essentially, it’s just building up from a set of tools and principles that all filmmakers use to practice their craft.

“You’ve got to get into video because you’re missing out on an opportunity,” says DSLR video instructor Victor Ha. “And if you do your due diligence and if you stay committed to the cause and you push hard and you learn and you work, you’re going to be so much better off.”

Challenging you to get better acquainted with DSLR filmmaking—and to get out there and shoot your own stories, whether for pay or pleasure—is one of the overarching goals of Mr. Ha’s course, Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking. Over the course of 39 lessons, you’ll join a studio of like-minded visual artists and discover the many opportunities DSLR filmmaking affords. It’s a unique, immersive chance to be creative and to step up your game the next time you feel compelled to tell a story with your DSLR camera.

Through hands-on demonstrations, Mr. Ha guides you through the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking. You’ll learn how to take the same skill set of a still photographer and apply it to video compositions. You’ll navigate the many video-capturing features of your DSLR camera and the right gear for your particular filmmaking needs. From framing shots to shadows to spatial relationships, the skills you’ll develop in Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking will leave you inspired and prepared to create high-quality, engaging film projects.

Explore Different DSLR Film Productions

Mr. Ha is a firm believer in the age-old idea that practice makes perfect. If you really want to be passionate about your videography, you’re going to need to practice. And Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is filled with inspirational insights, strategies, pro-tips, and engaging experiments that will have you eager to get out in the world and tell a story through sound and motion and light.

Not all film productions are the same, of course. Throughout this course, Mr. Ha guides you through some of the many ways DSLR filmmaking can bring out the best in professional assignments and everyday storytelling.

  • Portrait Films: Think of portrait films as a portrait in motion. Brief, they can run anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute. And they’re best when shot around a loose thematic element (for example, a child playing with their favorite toy). You know you have a solid portrait film when you can pause it in any frame and have a well-composed photograph.
  • Wedding Films: Weddings are some of the most popular events to film, and they make excellent opportunities for DSLR filmmakers. Mr. Ha touches on two different sorts of the wedding films: those that combine still photography and motion and can be shot with a single camera and those that are a multi-person job requiring multiple DSLR cameras.
  • Corporate Profiles: If you’re looking to go professional with your DSLR filmmaking, a corporate profile can open up a lot of doors for you. Most corporate profiles run a length of two to three minutes and require at least two production days. They also require you to hone your skills in communicating directly with your subjects.

And those are just three of the types of projects you’ll explore in Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking. Whatever you’re shooting, whatever stage of the production process you’re in, Mr. Ha emphasizes the importance of recognizing your role as a storyteller. Always think in shots, always think in sequences, and always think in story.

Learn Best Practices from a DSLR Filmmaker

One of the joys of learning DSLR filmmaking alongside a seasoned professional like Mr. Ha is the insider tips and tricks he shares with you—not only on how to make great DSLR films but also how to elevate your filmmaking to the next level.

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is a veritable compendium of best practices that encompasses everything from choosing the right film gear and lighting a scene properly to capturing sound and planning shoots so your productions run seamlessly.

  • Shopping for the Right Lens: There are tons of third-party lenses out there reflecting a variety of budgets and tastes. Mr. Ha recommends looking for three key things in a camera lens: edge-to-edge sharpness, chromatic aberration, and consistency.
  • Picking the Perfect Soundtrack: Start with three words, then match the music you sample to them. For example, if your three words are “happy,” “innocent,” and “fun,” you’ll better focus your search on music that fits those moods if you keep them top of mind.
  • Shooting for the Edit: Don’t go into a film project shooting everything and praying that you find what you need. Instead, Mr. Ha recommends shooting for the edit, which means premeditating a shoot to ensure you capture the specific shots in the story you want.
  • Taking the Wide Shots: A starting rule for using DSLR cameras is to shoot wide to better manage your focus. If you were to shoot with a portrait lens, for example, the compression element would mitigate your depth of field in terms of aesthetics.
  • Following the 180-Degree Rule: This standard filmmaking rule helps you from confusing your viewers by ensuring you place subjects correctly in your frame. Remember that subjects who should be on the right, stay on the right side of your frame, and vice versa.
  • Nurture Your Inner Filmmaker

    Making the switch from photography to filmmaking might seem complicated, but with Mr. Ha, you’re in the hands of an exceptional teacher who can give you the tools you need to make the transition easily and with confidence.

    A former professional photographer who himself has now become an expert in DSLR filmmaking, he knows all about the various challenges involved in going from shooting stills to capturing video—and how to overcome them.

    Filled with in-studio demonstrations and sample video projects, Mr. Ha’s engaging, practical approach makes Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking the perfect primer on how to uncover and nurture your inner filmmaker.

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39 lectures
 |  Average 21 minutes each
  • 1
    Introduction to Filmmaking
    In this introductory lesson, learn why filmmaking is all about storytelling. Using two silent videos as examples, determine the story from the way the video is shot, framed, and edited. x
  • 2
    Shooting for the Edit, Part 1
    When shooting the story you want to tell, don't throw caution to the wind and hope it all works out. Instead, learn how to think about different shots and perspectives-even when filming something as mundane as making a peanut butter sandwich. x
  • 3
    Shooting for the Edit, Part 2
    Should the number of your shots depend on the mood of your video? What about B-roll footage that doesn't necessarily relate to the story? How much room do you leave before and after a scene for editing? Gets answers to these and other questions. x
  • 4
    Camera Basics, Part 1
    In this first lesson on DSLR camera basics, Mr. Ha picks four different DSLR camera types and breaks them out into their individual strengths and weakness. They include: a full-frame camera, an APS-C camera, an APS-H camera, and a Micro 4/3 camera. x
  • 5
    Camera Basics, Part 2
    Continue exploring DSLR camera basics with a focus on, well, focusing. Mr. Ha reveals some best practices he likes to use and offers insights into how different lenses work to help filmmakers zero in on what's most important in a shot. x
  • 6
    Preferred Camera Settings with Q&A
    In this lesson, Mr. Ha runs through the ways he sets his DSLR camera up for success. Along the way, you'll cover such menu options as Custom White Balance and Image Stabilization, as well as Custom Picture Styles like Technicolor and CineStyle. x
  • 7
    A Video a Day
    Practice, as they say, makes perfect. And that's equally true when we're talking about DSLR filmmaking. Here, discover how shooting one simple video every day using your smartphone can help hone your inner filmmaker's eye. x
  • 8
    180-Degree Rule
    In this lesson on the importance of establishing shots (your film's introductory paragraph"), make sense of the "180-degree rule" when filming two subjects on screen. This simple rule helps you place your subjects in frame-without confusing your viewers." x
  • 9
    Thinking in Sequences
    So, you've got your perfect establishing shot. What comes next? A hard cut? A jump cut? Here, learn how to use insert and cutaway footage to build out sequences that enhance your narrative, and to soften transitions and make your film more cinematic. x
  • 10
    Movement with Monopods
    Transitioning to motion and film can be difficult for photographers because it requires them to step away from their camera. Enter the monopod: a mobile, versatile tool that allows you to tap into movements like rocking-and-panning and push-in focus. x
  • 11
    Movement with Video Tripods
    Consider the benefits of working with video tripods. You'll explore the ball-bowl combination, which lets you stay level on an uneven surface, and the counterbalance feature, which acts as something of a camera spotter. Then, zoom in on the look and feel of different camera movements. x
  • 12
    Movement with Sliders
    In this lesson, Mr. Ha uses video examples to teach you how to get the most out of your camera sliders. Topics include shooting in layers (foreground, middle ground, background) and choosing the right slider length based on what you're filming. x
  • 13
    Breaking into Video with Hybrid Portraits
    Hybrid portraits are a short, 30-second combination of stills and motion. Think of them as vanity pieces designed to grab someone's attention. Learn why, for photographers who've never shot motion before, hybrid portraits make for a great place to start. x
  • 14
    The Portrait Film
    Unlike hybrid portraits, portrait films are comprised entirely of motion. So, what makes for a good portrait film? One sign is that you can pause the portrait film in any frame and have a well-composed photograph. Learn some other tips and tricks in this lesson. x
  • 15
    The Hybrid Wedding and Wedding Film
    In this lesson, tackle a wedding shoot from two different perspectives. The first is a hybrid wedding film that can usually be done by a single person. The second is a traditional wedding film that's a multiperson, multicamera job. x
  • 16
    The Corporate Profile
    Being able to shoot a solid corporate profile can open up a lot of doors for you as a DSLR filmmaker. Taking you from pre-interview to post-production, Mr. Ha shows you how to capture someone talking about their business in the space of just two minutes. x
  • 17
    Basics of Sound
    Along with thinking about visuals as a DSLR filmmaker, you need to think about sound, whether it's background noise at a party or the answer to an interview question. Examine the differences between sound (which is captured) and audio (which is played back). x
  • 18
    Microphones and Their Differences
    There are many types of microphones out there for recording sound. So, what's the one that's right for your project? Focus on two types: directional (which capture sound from a single direction) and omni-directional (which capture sound from multiple directions). x
  • 19
    Picking the Right Microphone
    Every microphone, says Mr. Ha, has a personality-a different way it picks up sound. As you'll learn in this lesson on microphones and sound recorders, it's not about how much money you spend, but about finding one that has a solid sound-capturing technique. x
  • 20
    Double System Sound
    Double system sound means you're capturing sound to another device that's not your DSLR camera. That also means you've automatically dedicated yourself in post-production to doing what's called syncing. Mr. Ha demonstrates how it all works here. x
  • 21
    Hi-Hats and Low-Hats
    Hi-hats, low-hats, gorilla pods, GoPros. In this lesson, take a look at footage that's shot with some of these tools noted for their stability and versatility. In addition to learning how to work with these helpful filmmaking tools, get insights on what situations are right for which ones. x
  • 22
    Handheld Stabilization with Q&A
    Dive into the world of handheld stabilization, from Steadicams to glide cams to extremely expensive tools. Among the tips you'll get are the three points of contact you need to make with your camera (and gear) when moving with it in your hands. x
  • 23
    Here, Mr. Ha shows you the right way to do two-hour time lapses based on his experiences out in the field. They key is manual exposure, manual focus, and manual white balance. Also, take a peek at an app that takes the math aspect out of time lapse shooting. x
  • 24
    Lensbaby, Copters, and 4K
    First, explore how Lensbaby footage can add layers of instability to your narrative. Second, discover the perspectival impact of aerial footage from drones like quadcopters and hexicopters. Lastly, investigate some of the amazing things you can accomplish with 4K capture. x
  • 25
    Using Your Current Photographic Tools for Video
    If you're a photographer, chances are you already have plenty of tools you've invested time and money into buying and learning. But you can use many of these tools for video, as well. Learn how to work with these common photography tools in both worlds. x
  • 26
    DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 1
    In the first of two lessons on DSLR filmmaking tools, join Mr. Ha for a spirited look at the essentials you'll need to succeed on your next shoot. These tools include light meters for two types of metering, lenses for different budgets and tastes, and lens adaptors. x
  • 27
    DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 2
    Continue exploring essential DSLR filmmaking tools. Now, learn the importance of external monitors that show what your camera's seeing, lens gears that allow for a tactile experience with your lenses, and focusing tools to achieve choreographed movements. x
  • 28
    Lighting 101
    If you understand the fundamentals of lighting and start by learning them from the ground up, you're going to become a much better lighting technician in the future. Here, Mr. Ha focuses on ambient light to illustrate how patterns of daylight can have a powerful impact on your image. x
  • 29
    Ambient Light, Part 1
    What's the difference between short lighting and broad lighting? What about the difference between key light and fill light? How do you deal with light in situations like weddings, where your subjects are constantly moving around? Find out here. x
  • 30
    Ambient Light, Part 2
    Continue exploring the beauty of ambient light-and the skills needed to make it work for your next project. Central to this lesson are Mr. Ha's insights on working with shadows and manipulating them to highlight your subject and even create different moods. x
  • 31
    Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 1
    What does your story sound like? That's where soundtracks come in. In the first of two lessons on the topic, skip the legalese and focus on how to choose the right soundtrack for your content. And it all starts by picking three words to guide your search. x
  • 32
    Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 2
    Delve into more topics related to film soundtracks. Learn the pros and cons of going with your gut when choosing music, when to pick a song with vocals versus instrumentals, and where to find affordable music with the correct rights. x
  • 33
    Lighting 102
    Come back to lighting and learn how to make it less intimidating by breaking it down into more manageable pieces. In this lesson, consider the benefits and drawbacks to all types of lighting, from HMI and tungsten lights to florescent and LED lights. x
  • 34
    One-Light Setup
    How do you work with an economic setup involving just one light? What are some of the options you have? Mr. Ha discusses several of them here, including a butterfly light (which you see a lot of in older movies) and a clam shell light (which helps fill shadows). x
  • 35
    Two- and Three-Light Setup
    You know how to work with one-light setups. Now move up to two- and three-light setups and all the different ways they allow you to play with shadows and light. Mr. Ha's studio demonstrations prove especially helpful for understanding the intricacies of these setups. x
  • 36
    Lighting Q&A
    In this helpful Q&A session, Mr. Ha fields audience questions about lighting. You'll learn how much lighting is truly necessary for the average person, what kind of light stands to take with you on location, the right ISO to aim for when shooting indoors, and more. x
  • 37
    Corporate Profile Pre-Production
    Mr. Ha walks you step by step through the pre-production process for a hypothetical corporate profile of a gym, harnessing everything you've learned in the preceding lessons. It's the perfect chance to break apart the nuances involved in getting a project off the ground. x
  • 38
    Storyboarding, Shot List, and Gear List
    To visually imagine your corporate profile, you need storyboards and shot lists. Learn strategies for creating both-and sharing them with a client. Also, learn how to build a comprehensive gear list so you have what you need to bring those storyboards to life. x
  • 39
    Callsheet, Crew, and Sound
    On many shoots, you'll likely work with multiple people on both the talent and client sides. Not to mention a range of locations and times. In this concluding lesson, learn how to better manage talent and crew so your production can run as efficiently as possible. x

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Ability to download 39 video lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course companion book
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 39 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • Downloadable PDF of the course companion book
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • Digial-only companion book
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Charts & graphs
  • Camera function diagrams

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Your professor

Victor Ha

About Your Professor

Victor Ha
Victor Ha is a former professional photographer that has transitioned into understanding the complexities of HDSLR filmmaking and overcoming the various challenges involved with making a transition from shooting stills to capturing video. Victor takes a very practical approach in helping other photographers make the transition to HDSLR video by leveraging their photographic knowledge into filmmaking prowess.
Learn More About This Professor


Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is rated 2.9 out of 5 by 12.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing The course title should have been: Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking for Wedding Photographers. This was another course repackaged as a Great Course. And, not up to The Great Courses standards. I'll be able to get better information for free on Youtube.
Date published: 2020-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good for beginners and intermediate photographers The teacher is entertaining and easy to understand. He goes from basics to more advanced in simple ways. I have a DSLR and a camcorder, and the lessons apply to both cameras. I recommend this course unless you are a professional.
Date published: 2020-08-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Some useful information but disappointing Although the course had some useful tips it was hard to watch due to demeanor and sloppy millennial language of the presenter. Not up to Great Course Standards
Date published: 2020-08-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Considerable information, disappointing presentati Production by an outside company fell short of Great Courses excellence. The presenter, frankly, was sophomoric, tangential, and, well, flip. A significant amount of useful information was presented, but I did a significant amount of fast forwarding and skipping as well.
Date published: 2020-08-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Only OK The teacher seems quite competent and can explain things clearly. I do not like the format. The course instructor speaks to an audience of about 6 people that can ask questions and make comments, in addition there are two people taking questions over the internet. I have listened to all the other photography courses and found them to be excellent. Unfortunately this on is not one of them. It is the format and not the instructor.
Date published: 2020-08-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Rebranding Six Year Old Seminar This rebranding of a production from CreativeLive is a great example of what NOT to waste much money on. The format is without structure and program titles are a joke. Because of its age in a quickly developing area many references are obsolete... though some timeless techniques might justify the purchase. I'll definitely be more discerning before buying my 11th course from The Great Courses!
Date published: 2020-08-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Somewhat dissapointed This is not a Great Course production and is of inferior quality compared to anything I have ever purchased in the past.
Date published: 2020-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great content and presentation. This is one of the most interesting,comprehensive course I have seen on the topic.
Date published: 2020-08-07
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