How We Learn to Create Better Film and Video

I'm not an expert. Sometimes I think my YouTube videos confuse some people into thinking that I think I am. That's a mistake on my part. I'm not sure whether re-branding is the right strategy to make it crystal clear to everyone that I'm just a photographer that's learning to make better videos and films. I do some professional photography work and some volunteer video work. But I'd just like to make it clear: I'm no expert--just a guy doing his best to learn and improve. Traditionally, before the Internet was around, most people that became good filmmakers had one or more mentors, people with whom they got to assist in person and frequently. The learning process works pretty well this way for most people. If I could learn this way, I would, but it simply isn't practical for me at this point in my life.

Now that we have the Internet, many of us turn to it for opportunities to learn about filmmaking in our free time. This is an opportunity that simply didn't exist 25 years ago. And it is amazing in so many ways. But it isn't perfect. One way it differs from a mentoring relationship is that there typically is not immediate feedback.

I've been posting videos about the things I've learned over the last several years and that helps me accelerate my learning in ways I could not have imagined. Thanks to many of you and your comments, encouragement, and questions, I'm a little bit better at making films today.

So what prompted this little soapbox? Every once in a while, someone shows up on my YouTube channel leaves a comment that does nothing to facilitate learning for them or for me or for anyone else that visits the channel. And some times people leave comments that aren't very kind, but that make me think and in the end, help me improve. In one case on one of my color grading videos, one guy that evidently does professional color grading himself suggested that because I said, "You can think of lift, gamma, and gain as your shadows, mid tones, and highlights controls..." Because of this, he suggested that I should clearly not be doing DaVinci Resolve tutorials. This comment gave me pause.

While I disagree on his assessment that I should stop doing tutorials, I did learn something from his comment so I'm glad he left it. Technically, I was not totally correct. Lift, gamma, and gain are a different from shadows, mid tones, and highlight controls in some important ways. So his comment led me to research this in more detail. Now I understand that lift, for example, makes changes primarily to the shadows, but also affects the rest of the luminance range to a lesser extent--sort of an elastic effect to the overall luminance that is weighted at the shadows. Same for the other two controls but weighted at the mid tone and highlight ranges of luminance. I'm not sure when I would have come to that more detailed level of understanding if he had not said anything.

So while it can be painful to get these comments, my hope is that I will use them to improve and learn. It would be cool if they were all stated in a constructive, considerate way, but I'll take whatever I can get.

And for those ridiculous, off topic, and rude comments like, "F*** you, blue eyes!" I'll just delete those and move on with learning.