5 Best Documentary Filmmaking Courses [2021 SEPTEMBER][UPDATED]

After conducting in-depth research, our team of global experts compiled this list of Best Five Documentary Filmmaking Courses, Classes, Tutorials, Training, and Certification programs available online for 2021. This list includes both paid and free courses that will help aspiring filmmakers in learning the art of documentary filming. Also, it is ideal for beginners, intermediates, as well as experts.


5 Best Documentary Filmmaking Courses & Classes [2021 SEPTEMBER]

1. Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking (Masterclass) 

Documentary Filmmaking is a challenging task as you are representing something beyond the fictional world. If you aspire to make a compelling documentary, you can check out the Documentary Filmmaking by Ken Burns on Masterclass. His debut, the Vietnam War, has shown the truth and incited the emotions that are expected of such documentaries. In this course, students will learn the ins and outs of scriptwriting for a documentary. You will learn how to choose the people you interview for the film to strike the right emotional chords of your audience. The course also covers the cinematic aspects of documentary making, along with the sound design needed to give appealing background music. Have a look at the Best Filmmaking Courses compiled by us.


Key USPs –

 Identify the niche and topic that you want to explore in documentary filmmaking

– Build your story around the facts of the event or entities that you are going to portray

– Learn the concepts of storytelling to engage your audience till the end through well-researched content

– Select the right set of people to tell an impacting story

– Learn about music and editing to add the right tones and notes to your documentary

– Use voice-overs for your documentary to add extraordinary sound effects


Duration: 4 Hours 56 Minutes

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

You can Sign up Here 


2. TV Documentary Professional Productions. Start to finish (Udemy)

Many creators make and edit videos across various social media platforms. But if you want to carry out this task professionally and get your documentaries broadcasted as TV shows, you can register for this Udemy course. Andrew St Pierre White has over 38 years of experience in films and TV. In this documentary course, he has shared a stepwise guide on how to shoot and edit a documentary along with the subsequent approach for publishing and broadcasting the same. You will gain insights into the process of documentary making that includes thorough research, fact-gathering, interviewing people, and presenting it.


Key USPs – 

– Understand the process of documentary making through the stepwise guide from the expert instructor

– Develop a story from the researched content for the documentary to build a compelling narrative

– Talk with people for interviews and control the audience while interviewing people on-the-go

– Edit the documentary with music that resonates its feel

– Devise openings of documentaries along with title creations to add impact


Duration: 4.5 Hours

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

You can Sign up Here


Review: It is what I expected – it grabbed my attention straight away. Excellent. What a great film. Very far above expectations. – Willem Prinsloo.


3. Documentary Filmmaking Step by Step (Udemy)

Adam Bhala Lough, who was featured by Filmmaker Magazine as the Top 25 Independent Filmmakers to watch, has designed this course on Udemy. If you are inclined towards learning how to write, shoot, and produce independent Documentaries, you have a lot to learn from Adam. He brings 14 years of experience of filmmaking on board for students that will help them in realizing the potential of the strategic process of Documentary making. He has laid out the entire lifecycle of filmmaking, from pre-production, to subject and crew selection to shooting, editing, and post-production. He has also shared insights on how you can participate in various filmmaking competitions or give a commercial angle to your documentaries. Don’t forget to check the Best Video Editing Courses curated by us.


Key USPs – 

– Understand the pre-production process for documentary making

– Learn how to draw a budget and get financing for your documentary project

– Get the rates of working straight for various crew members

– Identify your subject for interviews in the documentary

– Learn not to repeat the mistakes that were made by the instructor

– Get a template of the instructor’s documentation like contracts, budgets, forms, schedule, etc.


Duration: 5 Hours

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

You can Sign up Here


Review: Lots of helpful information was packed in this course it’s really worth watching. I started making a documentary and wish to see this course earlier. Good job, I enjoyed. – Sebastian Kulwicki.


4. Documentary Filmmaking with Soul (Udemy) 

This course on Udemy for Documentary Filmmaking has a different approach towards filmmaking. This said, you would learn documentary making as a craft rather than as a process. The course will help you in creating and curating contemporary documentaries and short films that are powered by storytelling. You will go through the process that precedes the creation of the documentary, i.e., location scouting, formulating a compelling story around factual information, contacting artists, and seeing things through your unique taste and style. In this course, you will also learn the technicalities of cinematography that involves working with lights and figuring out compositions.


Key USPs –

– Work on the subject that you want to cover in the documentary

– Carry out location scouting and scheduling to ease the shooting process

– Be prepared with audio equipment to get higher quality interviews

– Develop your cinematic skills to get good shots

– Get an idea of how to work with music for your documentary

– Edit your documentary, add transitions and level all the audio files throughout the project

– Bonus material covering Ken Burns effect in documentary making


Duration: 2 Hours

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

You can Sign up Here


Review: Right balance of theoretical, technical and easy to follow methodology to making a documentary! Well done Dandan! – Costas.


5. Documentary Courses (SkillShare) 

If you are a budding creator and want to venture out in the broad spectrum of documentary making, Skillshare can help you in learning and understanding the entire process. There are several courses on documentary making, and you can select one of your choices and start learning. You will find courses for all levels of learners. Apart from this, the segregation of courses is done on the bases of the role that you will be playing in the documentary, i.e., writer, cinematographer, editor, etc. You will also find courses that can help you make budgeted films. Some courses can help you in making videos for your Social Media platforms. Be it for commercial purposes, or for making your vlog or getting entry into filmmaking competition; you will find the courses that will help you advance in your filmmaking skills. Check out our curation of Best Videography Classes & Courses.


Key USPs –

– Understand the art of documentary making through interactive video tutorials

– Learn storytelling to script a compelling story for documentary purpose

– Shoot and edit videos for your YouTube channel

– Learn to make short films that can be managed at lower budgets

– Understand the technicalities of cinematography that play a significant role in documentary making


Duration: Variable

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

You can Sign up Here


So these were the Best 5 Documentary Filmmaking Courses, Classes, Tutorials, Training, and Certification programs available online for 2021. Hope you found what you were looking for. Wish you Happy Learning!