Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy ( A Homeschool Crew Review)

I don't know how it happened but somewhere in the recent past, Ashleigh got it into her head that she is going to be the next YouTube sensation.  It's pretty funny, to be honest.  She gets her Kindle and gets the camera going and you can hear her say "Hey Youtube, this is Ashleigh and today I'm making a video about..."..   I've tried to embrace this passion for her by helping her make actual YouTube videos and she and our dog have starred in a couple of unboxing videos for subscription dog boxes that we receive.  But while these videos are very cute, they are far from looking anything remotely like a high quality production.  Let's face it, Mom is not a director or a film producer.   However, I'm hoping to fix that.

Recently, members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the one year  Online Christian Filmmakers Academy from Family Gravity Media, a division of Families For Christ Ministries, Inc.  I knew this would be a perfect opportunity for both myself and the kids to learn about the filmmaking process and pick up tips and tricks to create a more polished video for Ashleigh's subscribers (yes, she actually has a few.. lol).  

What is the Online Christian Filmmakers Academy?

The Online Christian Filmmakers Academy is an online instructional course for aspiring filmmakers to learn
the basics of producing quality video productions.  The course is taught by Ken and Zack Lawrence, a father and son team who have extensive experience in both in the secular and Christian film making industry. 

The course consists of five learning modules:

 Module 1: The Camera -  Introduces students to the DSLR camera, the various lenses, frame rate, shutter speed, and ISO settings
 Module 2:  Cinematography - Discusses types of lighting, color temp and white balance controls, framing and using lighting equipment.
 Module 3:  Sound - Using sound equipment such as external microphones, location recording and using ADR and Foley recordings
 Module 4: Pre Production - Teaches how to tell a story through video through proper screenplay writing and the important members of the production team.
 Module 5: Production - This module teaches how to put all the previous steps together along with proper etiquette on the set and how to properly direct your production

Each module is broken up in to individual video lessons.  As students view these videos, they are checked off to make it very easy to pick up where you left off.  You can also quickly see the topics of the video lesson so if there is a particular aspect that you might not have understood originally, you can quickly return to that topic and review the information.  

Upon selecting a Lesson, you are presented with a video that teaches the lesson, taught by either Ken or Zack.   The videos are in depth but both instructors have a knack for explaining the information in such a way that it is easy to understand and not too overwhelming.  Following the end of the lessons, a quiz is presented so that you can test your knowledge and see what you might want to go back and review before proceeding to the next module. 

Another nice function is there is a chat option where you can leave questions in regards to the material and either Ken or Zack will respond (in what appears to be a timely manner) to help with answers or to clarify information for the student.

What We Thought:

The Online Christian Filmmakers Academy is a one year course in filmmaking and while it would be very easy to fly through this course, we decided to take each step slowly and master each section before moving on.

There is lots of very helpful information for understanding how to make quality videos using nothing more than a standard DSLR. I personally shoot with a Canon t5i which has an available video mode option and I also own a few lenses in addition to my kit lens so we were able to follow along with the lessons easily using the equipment that we currently own.   While I consider myself pretty educated with my camera when it comes to still photography, I never really have used the video option for anything more than taking video of fireworks, to be honest.  Because of this, I found the lessons as they pertain to the actual video function on my camera very informative and educational and it is opening a whole new realm of possibilities for me.  The lessons are very informative and easy to understand, especially for someone who has prior knowledge of camera functions such as ISO, Fstops and aperture.  I really like how the the modules are broken down into easy to digest segments to keep from being overwhelmed by too much information..

While we haven't yet made a video just yet, we plan on using the various techniques that we have learned so far in our videos and I hope to see a big difference in the quality of the video we produce.  I don't expect to win an academy award anytime soon, but just producing a video that isn't a complete eyesore for Ashleigh's YouTube viewers would be nice :)

For a limited time, readers of my blog can use the following coupon code that will give you $100 off the regular price of $299. Please note that the coupon code is only valid through November 30th, 2016.    The code is: FALLCREW16 

For more information on the Online Christian Filmmakers Academy, please visit their website. They can also be found on the following social media:
Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}

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