The 11 Best Film Production YouTube Channels
The Power of YouTube
YouTube is an invaluable resource for film and video education. It has opened Pandora's Box as it were because now there is an overabundance of information available. Which sources are the best? And, which should you avoid?
Spare yourself hours of sifting by checking out the channels on this list.
Two things to note: This list is in no particular order, and I have tried to limit this list to some of the best "film production" channels - meaning, channels that are useful specifically for the production of cinematic narrative shorts, features, and series.
There are plenty of other channels out there for people who are interested in creating YouTube channels or documentaries. While some of the channels on this list cross over into those territories, I have selected all of these channels because they have provided value in some aspect of narrative filmmaking.
Take a look, and let me know what you think in the comments. Are there others that I missed? Which ones are your favorites?
Every Frame a Painting is probably one of the more well-known channels on this list - and that's because it appeals both to film professionals and the casual moviegoer.
The premise of the channel is to analyze movies and the process of making each scene. It celebrates the craftsmanship and artistry involved in making films and identifies what makes each film so great.
In some instances, it analyzes directors, cinematographers, or actors instead of specific movies.
Either way, it provides some valuable insight that can be taken into your own projects and is highly recommended by the Cinema Summit team.
Film Riot is one of the first filmmaking YouTube channels that I stumbled upon. The cool thing about this channel is to see the progression that Ryan and the rest of the team have made over the years.
The channel started as a "backyard filmmaking" channel of sorts and focused on building rigs out of PVC and using their smarts to create a cinematic look with their limited gear.
As time has gone on, and their skills/equipment stash has increased, the channel has become more of an independent filmmaking channel that highlights techniques to create high-quality independent short films.
Definitely worth a look.
I've met some old-timers that still scoff at the idea of shooting on DSLRs. I agree it's not ideal for a lot of things because of form factor, codec compression, and other limitations.
I also agree that the DSLR craze that happened in the late 2000s was quite annoying and left a lot of sofa-shooters believing that they were cinematic geniuses once they discovered how to shoot wide open.
But there are more positives than negatives, in my opinion. DSLRs are the best cameras to learn on. They are relatively inexpensive, can shoot fine quality footage, and provide an education on the basics of camera operation necessary for more professional cinema cameras.
Putting the camera on "manual" will teach you about the relationship between ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture. It will give you a chance to experiment with color temperature and even shooting in a LOG picture profile (depending on the camera).
Because of this, I've added DSLR Video Shooter to the list. Just because it's a channel about DSLRs doesn't mean there's nothing to learn from them.
I attribute much of my success as a DoP to Shane and his teachings.
There was always part of me that loved lighting and camera work. After I landed a camera op gig with Larry King's company Ora Media, I quickly researched techniques for cinematography because I immediately started to be called upon to DP Larry King Now and other shows for Ora when the original Director of Photography needed days off. Then, I started being called for outside videos including projects with The Rock, Playboy, Machinima, and other large media companies.
I stumbled upon him because of an advertisement for Mzed courses, where I swiftly purchased his Illumination Series and Workshop. (if you are in the market for a seriously great education on lighting, I highly recommend it)
Shane is a great teacher and offers a lot of insights on his YouTube channel. If you want to up your cinematography game, give it a look! But know, that most of his really juicy stuff is only available to members of his "Inner Circle" which is a membership site that costs roughly $18 bucks a month.
I first heard about Matt Workman from an interview he did with the Big League Cine Summit back in the day. He has a very interesting system of pre-visualization with Cinema4D to help prep for his shoots.
In addition, he has some really interesting videos where he breaks down the lighting in some big movies. It's fun to hear his theories about how things were lit and see what visual cues he looks for to come to his conclusions.
Check out his YouTube channel Cinematography Database to see more!
Surprisingly, Arri doesn't utilize their channel as much as one would think. Though they do post a good amount of promotional videos highlighting their lighting gear and cinema cameras, there is also a decent sprinkling of useful information and interviews from industry professionals.
Give it a looksy.
Everyone knows Cooke lenses. They are highly sought after, both in the new and vintage flavors.
Their YouTube channel is probably one of the best out there for interesting and informative film production insight.
Be sure to check out their channel's playlists for Masterclasses and Film Case Studies.
Easily reaching the top of my list is Video Copilot. It's the first on our list that dives primarily into the Post Production world. If you are interested in VFX and motion graphics, you've surely already heard of Andrew Kramer and Video Copilot, but if not, whoa boy! You are in for a treat.
What makes his videos so great? Firstly, he is hysterical and has a knack for making his videos interesting (even when it's just a 60-minute screencast video).
Secondly, his stuff is good. Really good. So good, he's been called upon to do opening titles for Fringe and Star Trek, as well as do FX on the recent Star Wars films.
Very cool. Get to it.
There aren't any good YouTube channels about editing films, right?
Check out this channel, This Guy Edits. He breaks down the techniques and mindset of feature film editors so you can understand the decisions they made in the final product.
Like Every Frame a Painting at the top of this list - this channel consists mostly of "video essays" instead of practical step-by-step instruction. With editing, I think that's the best way to go, since the actual technical know-how of editing programs is pretty minimal. It's mostly a conceptual battle and artistic vision.
Check out how they tackle it, on their channel!
We can't forget about color grading, despite the recent trend to provide LOG footage as a finished product. (That's another story)
If you want to learn how to use tools like Davinci Resolve or Denver's own Final Cut plugin Color Finale, look no further than the Denver Riddle YouTube channel. He offers crash courses as well as some in-depth insights into the elusive world of color correction.
If you don't use Davinci or FCPX, don't worry. The concepts and theories are the same and apply to whatever tool you are using.
Allan McKay burst into my world like a fiery inferno - literally. I was struck by the ads for his VFX courses that promised Hollywood level effects. He did not disappoint.
If you are serious about visual effects and programs like Maya, 3DsMax, Thinking Particles, FumeFX, Houdini, and more. Give him a real gander. His YouTube channel offers a wide variety of content and interviews from his successful podcast.
Every so often he offers a free multi-part course that dives deep into an FX shot like an exploding airplane or reverse-gravity beams from an alien spacecraft.
His full courses are at the higher end of the price pool but are totally worth it if you are in the market.
Lastly, I couldn't walk away from this article without mentioning our own YouTube channel.
It's new, fresh, and perhaps a little light on content at the moment, but that will be remedied very quickly.
We have done several interviews with different types of filmmakers so far. We are in the process of editing and releasing those videos.
In addition, we have other in-depth tutorials planned where we will dive into the multiple aspects of film production - breaking down the prep work involved, the shoot itself, and then the post.
Subscribe to our channel and stay tuned!