Cinematography Camera and Lens Master Course

View all courses
  • This course is open for Lifetime Access
  • 33 lesson series
  • Certificate of completion
  • 6 hours, 36 minutes of video



If you want to create more cinematic content, the FilmSkills Cinematography Master Camera Course will teach you the gear and techniques used by leading cinematographers. We partnered with Emmy and Academy Award cinematographers to teach you how to master your camera and lens.

In this course, taught by Emmy-winning cinematographer Jason Tomaric, you will learn:

  • How to build the camera package
  • Techniques to prepping your gear and test lenses for a shoot
  • How to find the sweet spot of the imaging sensor for the cleanest images
  • Frame rates, interlacing, pull-down, and time code
  • The types and classifications of lenses
  • How to keep your subject in sharp focus
  • How to properly expose your shot
  • How to use false color, waveform monitors, and histograms
  • How to use f-stops and T-stops
  • Neutral density filters
  • Polarizers
  • How to master the focal length
  • How to control the depth of Field as both a technical and creative tool
  • How to control the shutter to achieve the desired look

Framing and Composition

  • How to compose your shot like a pro
  • How to create depth in the frame
  • How to work with actors' eye lines
  • How to frame people in dialogue scenes
  • The Rule of 180, exceptions, and variations
  • Shot types and terminology
  • How to adapt frame aspect ratios to different mediums

Production Techniques

  • How to use a clapboard
  • How to calibrate your on-set monitor


The lessons
  • The Director of Photography

    Learn the duties and responsibilities of the director of photography.
  • Camera Operator

    Learn the duties and responsibilities of the camera operator both on and off the set.
  • 1st Assistant Camera

    Learn the duties and responsibilities of the 1st Assistant Camera.
  • 2nd Assistant Camera

    Learn the duties and responsibilities of the 2nd Assistant Camera on set
  • An Overview of Cinematography

    Learn the basic components of cinematography, the cinematographer's role, and how to work with the director.
  • How a Cinematographer Preps a Project

    Learn how a cinematographer first begins a project, starting with how to read and evaluate the script.
  • Building the Camera Package

    Learn the different components of the camera, accessories, and how to choose the tight combination for your project.
  • How to Prep a Camera

    Drew Lauer, from Hollywood Special Ops, takes us through the process of prepping a camera package for a shoot.
  • How to Test a Lens

    Learn how to test your lens and what problems to look for when preparing your equipment for a shoot.
  • Imaging Sensor and ISO

    Learn how the imaging sensor works and how to use the ISO as an exposure tool.
  • Frame Rates

    Learn about frame rates, how to choose the correct one, and the impact frame rates can have on your image.
  • Tripods and Sliders

    Learn the types of camera support equipment - from tripods to jibs - and how to properly use them.
  • Introduction to Lenses

    Learn about the attributes of the camera lens and how to choose the best lens for your production
  • Taking Care of Lenses

    Learn how to properly handle and care for a camera lens
  • Focusing Techniques

    Learn how to use focus tools - including the measuring technique, peaking, and 1:1 zoom to keep your shot in sharp focus
  • How to Expose a Shot

    From zebra strips and light meters to false color and waveform monitors, learn how to use these tools to get the perfect exposure.
  • The Art of Exposure

    We think of exposure as simply opening and closing the aperture, but it's really the balance of five settings, each of which alter the look of the shot.
  • F-stops and T-Stops

    Learn how f-stops and t-stops work, and how to use them as a measure of exposure.
  • Neutral Density Filters

    Learn how to use neutral density filters to control the exposure of your shot.
  • Polarizers

    Learn how to use polarizers to enhance the look of your footage.
  • Lens Focal Length

    Learn how the focal length of a lens affects the look of the shot.
  • Depth of Field

    Learn how to control the depth of field, the physics behind it, and how to use it as a creative tool to invoke emotion in a shot.
  • The Camera Shutter

    Learn how the camera shutter works, its limitations, and how you can use use it to change the look of your footage.
  • Managing Media

    Today's filmmakers almost always shoot on a digital format, and that makes digital media the new film negative. Learn how to properly manage your on-set media.
  • Using a Clapboard

    Learn how to properly use one of the most iconic tools in the film industry.
  • Using a Monitor

    Production monitors are used on practically every set.  In this module you will learn how to properly calibrate a production monitor to ensure that the image you see on screen is what is actually being recorded.
  • Composition

    Learn compositional techniques including the rule of thirds, how the great painters used mathematical principals like the golden ratio to create the perfectly composed images, how to balance line, color, and shape, and then how to break these rules.
  • Creating Depth

    Learn techniques for crafting foreground, midground, and background elements, how to manage depth or flatness as a narrative tool, techniques used in network television shows to cheat depth, and the ways the camera lens can affect depth.
  • Eye Lines

    Learn how to choose the best eye line, directing techniques for ideal camera placement, how to overcome challenges when working with visual effects, and how to fine tune actor’s eyelines within mere inches to achieve the desired emotional impact.
  • Framing People

    Learn techniques for framing people from lead room to headroom, how networks and major studios influence framing choices of their programs, how to use single and dirty shots to convey connection or distance between characters, and how directors and cinematographers decide on common guidelines for each production.
  • Shot Types

    Learn the intricacies of framing, the basic shot types, advanced variations on these shot types, how to quickly communicate your vision to the cinematographer, and the emotional responsive invoked by various shot types.
  • The Frame

    Identify and work with different aspect ratios, manage conversions from film to HD, NTSC to HD, title safe requirements, and how various aspect ratios are adjusted for different exhibition and broadcast formats.
  • Rule of 180

    Learn the core fundamentals of screen direction, how to establish the line of action, the rule of 180, exceptions to the rule of 180, instances where the line of action doesn’t apply, how to shoot multiple character with an ever-moving line of action, and how to prepare your shot lists to avoid catastrophic editing problems.