The Art of Visual Storytelling

Alex Buono

The Art of Visual Storytelling

Alex Buono
4h 13m
13 modules (view curriculum)
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  • Total Time:

    4h 13m


Visual storytelling cuts to the heart of the filmmaker, combining all elements of the craft to engage the viewer. Over four and a half hours, Alex Buono will teach you advanced techniques for lighting, lens selection, blocking, camera movement, audio, workflow, camera settings, visual structure, and more, to help you improve your filmmaking results.



In the opening module Alex gives us an overview of his career before diving into workflow best-practices and how the filmmaking process is managed for the incredibly tight deadlines on Saturday Night Live. He then moves on to cover location scouting with a few hard-earned tips on how to find the best locations and times to shoot.


Continuing pre-production, Alex shows us how he diagrams his scenes and provides a step-by-step breakdown for an example scene.


Before kicking off the first live shooting demonstration of the course Alex gives us his take on still versus cine lenses and when and why he likes to choose one over the other. He finishes up the module by demystifying camera compression and color space.


In the first live shoot of the course Alex takes us through shooting the master shot from a scene in the SNL short "British Movie Trailer".


Using the SNL short "Rosetta Stone" as an example, Alex gives a step-by-step walkthrough of how to shoot a typical commercial featuring flattering high-key lighting, including how to use a hazer to subtly add contrast to any scene.


We then move on to shoot an interview scene where Alex shares his tips to get amazing-looking interview footage in almost any scenario, including how using camera filters can give your footage a professional look in very little time.


Finally we look at a 4K workflow when shooting on the Canon C500, as Alex uses inexpensive DIY lighting techniques to achieve the same luxurious effect captured in the SNL short "Red Flag".


In this module Alex continues to showcase low-cost DIY lighting techniques, and common everyday substitutes for high-end lighting and diffusion.


In this module Alex demonstrates how to best use a gimbal stabiliser and ensure you're using the footage to contribute to your narrative. Using both single and dual operator modes he gives a demonstration, showcasing how his team became the first to use to use such a device for broadcast television.


We then move on to a detailed breakdown of post workflow for cinema-style HD, and how this differs from 4K using multiple styles of data capture. Finally Alex gives his top tip for quickly and easily achieving any cinematic look using Adobe Speedgrade.


Alex delves into his experiences using DSLR and small footprint cameras for broadcast TV. He begins by giving an overview of the transition from film stock to today’s digital cinema cameras, including how he shot the 2009 SNL title sequence using only available light on a Canon DSLR. He then goes on to discuss camera sensor size and how it affects performance, before covering gear recommendations based on his extensive experience shooting on tight deadlines. Finally he touches briefly on timelapse sequences.


In this module Alex offers a complete studio primer on how to get the most cinematic shots from DSLR cameras.


Alex finishes the course with a history lesson on aspect ratios and how we’ve arrived at the 16x9 standard.

About the Educator

Alex Buono

Cinematographer, Producer, Director

2 Courses

Drawing on his experience as the Director of Photography for the Saturday Night Live film unit for 17 years, Alex is able to instantly deconstruct and replicate almost any genre or visual style. His work as a Cinematographer and Producer have earned him an Academy Award nomination as well as multiple film festival awards.


The information in this course is extremely helpful for beginner to intermediate filmmaker. Particularly the lighting setups portion is helpful especially if you don't have a lot of real world experience. Everything is explained in a clear concise manner that is well thought out beforehand. Mr. Buono also has great pace throughout, keeping it slow enough to catch everything but fast enough that your mind doesn't wander. The one gripe I have with this course is that the SNL videos don't play inside the video. This would actually be perfectly fine since they provide you with a link to the YouTube page for that video, however, the link states that it is not available in my country and does not play. I live in the U.S.A. so I'm assuming a lot of other people have this problem. Not the fault of MZed or Mr. Buono so I still rate 5 stars overall.
William Zollner
Amazing. It filled a lot of gaps for me about how to make a cinematic picture. Thank you!
khaled allahou
Very educative.
Ibitoye Ifeoluwa
I love the fact that he gets straight to the point and gives solid information.
Jerome Guy
Ravi Kaiwart
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