The Master Course
Yes. The course builds a complete understanding of camera work from the ground up, and is intended to be useful for filmmakers on as many levels as possible. Our users range from people just starting out, to Academy Award winners. However, the course requires a high level of commitment, especially for those newer to filmmaking. It's also highly recommended to stop often and practice.
The Master Course covers considerably more ground than all books on directing combined, and many of the techniques the course covers have never been taught before.
Additionally, learning camera work from a book is very hard, because one is grappling with trying to visualize the diagrams and storyboards. Doing camera work in 3D is a novel approach that enables us to discuss advanced techniques quickly and easily. Storyboards also preclude the use of a lot of techniques simply because they can't be drawn, which is never a problem in 3D.
The filmmaking videos that we know of are for the most part video-taped seminars, and are very introductory. Such videos provide a general introduction to filmmaking, and can be good for someone very new to the business.
The Master Course is not a general course in film production, but a master class in the single -- and crucial -- discipline of camera work.
Film school provides a general education in a production environment, and the course does not aim or claim to do that. But from a pure camera work and blocking perspective, The Master Course is considerably beyond what is taught in film school. We've heard from countless users that they learned in The Master Course what they thought they would have learned in film school./
Some sections of the course deal with the psychology of body language, which is an integral part of blocking, and determines how actors need to move or stand. But the course is primarily concerned with telling an effective visual story, and how to bring out emotions and meaning with the camera work, and does not deal with crafting acting performances as such. Check out our other course Directing Actors.
One note: Without good blocking skills, it's very (very) hard to concentrate on the actors. This often leaves us with an unfortunate choice: to work with the actors, or to do camera work. One of the major goals of the course is for great blocking to become so automatic that we don't have to sacrifice one over the other.
Yes, blocking literally has nothing to do with which medium you're working in. The decision-making process for excellent camera work is exactly the same whether you're framing a Panavision camera, or a 3D camera in software.
Per Holmes used to be a music producer with platinum-selling acts, Grammys and a World Music Award to his name. Using the music industry as a springboard to transition into high-budget music videos, he realized that he was better at narrative filmmaking, and set out to train himself "properly", including really learning the language of camera work.
Not finding any good training, he spent years cracking the code of camera-blocking, initially just creating a video for himself with everything he felt he had understood. He thought that this was a tool that everyone could use, and after a year of animation and editing, it became The Master Course, the first Hollywood Camera Work course.
And the rest is history. Since then, Per's methods have become the de-facto industry standard, utilized by filmmakers at all levels, from beginners to dozens of Academy Award and Emmy winners. Per has additionally taught Directing seminars around the world, including at Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, and at Weta Digital for the Hobbit animators and VFX crews, the only outside training they've ever brought in.