Friday, October 14, 2016

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {REVIEW}

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}
As some of you may know, I also work as a photographer. I mainly do weddings and engagement photos, and I'll do family photos a few times a year. I also volunteer at our local hospitals as an on call photographer who goes in and takes photos of babies who were born sleeping, born too early to live, etc. These are sometimes the only photos the family will ever have of their precious angel. As you can imagine, understanding my equipment, and learning to add a video component is very important. I also want Mr. B to learn, as he has shown a great natural talent for spotting interesting angles. 
With that said, I was super excited to learn of Family Gravity Media, a division of Families For Christ Ministries, Inc.  They have a nifty Online Christian Filmmakers Academy that I found to be VERY comprehensive and educational. I initially intended for Mr. B to use this as a way to fine tune his video making skills. He loves to take the iPad or iPhone and create his own news segments, so I thought this would be a great addition. I discovered that this online class is just as good for me as it is him! From the first module, I was hooked!

What is it:

This is an online streaming video class that teaches you all you need to know about filmmaking. From the camera gear to editing, everything is covered. 

Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}
Our Experience:

This is GREAT! Seriously, fantastic. I have been super impressed with all I'm learning. I'll be honest, I'm good at what I do. I'm not bragging, but stating what others have said. I've been featured in magazines, etc. I see big time people in the wedding photography business (like Jerry Ghionis) and I try to emulate their style. With that said, I know nothing about the technical aspects.  For example, I had NO idea whatsoever that one could use an adapter ring and use a Nikon lens on a Canon camera!  I know how to use my camera to get the effects I want, but I never know HOW it does what it does. I know my full frame camera is different than my first, but I didn't realize how. I knew certain lenses behaved better in certain situations-but I learned this through trial and error. Now I understand WHY they work better, so as a result I was able to really step up my photography game at the last wedding I worked. Eventhough the work I did was not videography, this online class helped me tremendously with frame photography, and I wasn't expecting that at all!

Mr. B watched the video modules, then we would take my gear and experiment with what we learned. He would watch a video segment 2-3 times a week, but sometimes he would rewatch the same one from before. Then we'd spend a day playing with my camera. Unfortunately, my camera was damaged at the last wedding and I haven't purchased a replacement yet. When I do, I'll make a special post with his movie! He's making a tornado movie!!!!! Anyway, we did take some pictures using different lenses, even using my old camera that is not a full frame just to see the difference between the two. We used various settings with shutter speed, etc. Once he watched the video modules a time or 3, and he felt ready, he would take the corresponding quiz. I'm big on mastering the basics, so we spent a great deal of time on the Camera segment so that Mr. B could really learn the camera, and how the lenses function. His favorite lesson is in module 2. This was learning how a green screen works, since that's used so much with TV Meteorologists. He got the chance to play around with a green screen at COSI, so he replayed this lesson several times.

Login is easy (you know my pet peeve with hard to find login buttons!) You don't need to search all over the page for the log in button. Once you have logged in, there is an intro video you can watch or you can click on "Get Started," and this sends you to the course lessons. Navigation is simple. You do a lesson, mark it complete, and click next at the bottom. You can go back to previous lessons-which we did a LOT. Seriously, shutter speed is now my friend. I watched that lessons myself at least 4 times.

One of the coolest things is the comments section where you can ask a question and get an answer. A couple of times I had a question or comment, and I'd see someone else had already asked so I was able to see their answer. That's a great feature, and really makes you feel like you're in an active learning environment.

Here are a few screen shots!


The videos are great quality, and pull you into the lesson. 


Here's a screen shot showing the comments section. Hi Teresa! She's also a Crew member!



My favorite lesson thus far. There's a PDF of this, and I keep it in my camera bag. 

Here are a few photos I did at the last wedding to show how I applied the lessons taught on lenses and aperture. 


The difference in frame censor! 


A bit more blurry background.


Real blurry background. Stronger depth of field makes her stand out more. 


Lighting makes all the difference. 


Less blurry background.


Again, lighting and exposure made the difference here. It was getting dark.



Shows how a faster shutter keeps everything sharp.




See the difference in background blur (Also called Bokeh...) Sometimes I have the background sharp, like the rest of the photo, and other times it is really blurry to make the subject stand out. That's all in shutter speed-which also will effect exposure. In the bottom two pics, I wanted the subject to remain really sharp. She was moving a lot as she was dancing her way to throw her bouquet, so I needed a faster shutter.

Here are a few experimental shots with shutter speed and water. While research shutter speed even more, I came across some really nice water pictures. I wanted to duplicate that.





I need to work on this more. I need to get a tri pod (covered in module 1) so that I can use a remote shutter to reduce camera wobble. That way I can leave the shutter wide open and get more water movement and less camera shake.

Overall:

This has been the best online videography class I've ever seen. I have learned so much for photography from this class, and I didn't expect that at all! I can't wait until Mr. B finishes his "Clear the Ground! Tornado's Coming!" movie! I HIGHLY recommend this!

You can save $100 now through Nov. 30th, 2016 with coupon code FALLCREW2016
**Please check out The Homeschool Review Crew to see what the others have to say!**


Online Christian Filmmakers Academy {Family Gravity Media}
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