Learn About Filmmaking By Watching These Video Essays

The more I watch film, the more I enjoy breaking it down; learning about a director's style, the composition, the lighting, the blocking, the way story is structured. And that's why I subscribe to several video essayists on YouTube who masterfully analyze film and provide helpful insights into the process. Whether you are just starting out, trying to learn the basics of filmmaking, or you are a seasoned veteran, watching a well-crafted video essay is extremely helpful and educational. Watching them will only serve to improve your own filmmaking efforts. Here are some of my favorites.

Every Frame a Painting

I learn something new in every installment of Every Frame a Painting. And even if I don't learn something new, I'm exposed to a perspective on filmmaking that makes me stop and think, "Huh. I've never thought of it that way before," and that's just as beneficial. Start with these episodes.

How to Do Visual Comedy

The Spielberg Oner

Ensemble Staging


Cinefix is an incredibly entertaining channel, filled with "Best Of" videos, "Top 10" lists, "Things You Didn't Know" and more. But if you're interested in the analysis of filmmaking, check out the "Best Of" and "Top 10" lists. You can spend hours browsing through this channel, but it's worth it.

One Brilliant Moment of Tension

10 Best Structured Movies of All Time

Five Brilliant Moments of Camera Movement

Channel Criswell

Similar to Every Frame a Painting, each video on this channel dives into some deep analysis of story, editing, color, or composition. He also will dedicate entire episodes to a specific director, breaking down his/her style and what can be learned from his/her techniques.

Composition in Storytelling

Colour in Storytelling

Editing in Storytelling


Also, if you're interested in extensive biographies on specific directors and how they developed their styles over the course of their careers, I recommend The Directors Series from Raccord's Vimeo channel.

What other video essayists do you recommend? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section.