There are a lot of lessons here at MZed that you can watch for free, without having to purchase a course or enrolling in an MZed Pro subscription. The only requirement is to create a login - which you can do here. Below is an up-to-date summary of all of our freebies so you can start learning right here and now!
As a reminder, MZed does have a generous 7-day return guarantee, outlined in the terms of service. Essentially, you can request a refund within seven days of purchasing an MZed Pro subscription, as long as you have not watched a majority of a course. But a refund is not guaranteed, and we look at each request on a case-by-case basis to ensure a user hasn’t overstepped the terms agreement.
So if you’re hoping to get a free ride for a week, we don’t recommend the 7-day guarantee unless you really are unsure if you plan to keep your subscription. On the other hand, these following lessons are absolutely free and you might as well watch them first if you’re on the fence about MZed.
Shane Hurlbut’s Illumination Cinematography Workshop
For a limited time, Shane Hurlbut’s Illumination Cinematography Workshop course is completely free to stream. That’s over six hours of lessons in lighting, lensing, scene composition, and live cinematography demonstrations.
The course is being offered for free as a courtesy to the many creatives who are at home during the COVID-19 global pandemic. A huge thank you to Shane and his team for encouraging education and positive outlooks during a time when many filmmakers are out of work.
Master the Moment: Ray Roman's Wedding Film Masterclass
Master the Moment is the wedding filmmaking masterclass that everyone has been waiting for. Join Ray Roman as he takes you on-location throughout an entire wedding and breaks down his blueprint for creating films that have made him the world's most influential and in-demand wedding filmmaker.
Whether you’re about to shoot your first wedding or are a seasoned professional who wants a behind-the-curtain look at how it's done at the very highest level, this masterclass is a must-see.
In the first 21-minute lesson, which is free to watch, Ray describes how he transitioned from a police detectice to become the world's most sought-after wedding filmmaker, shaping the industry along the way.
If you want to dip your toes into the world of audio production, the first lesson of Cinema Sound is free to watch. “Recording: Process, Perfection, and Purpose” is an hour and a half lesson on recording theory and Hollywood secrets in quality audio production.
This is a great introduction to the Cinema Sound course, which is one of the best values for MZed Pro subscribers. Audio guru Mark Edward Lewis guides viewers through every aspect of sound that you may need to know as a filmmaker. From recording, dialogue, sound effects, to foley, ADR, mixing and fixing, this is the most comprehensive audio-for-film course ever created.
Philip Bloom’s Cinematic Masterclass
One of our most popular courses begins with an epic lesson on “free lensing” - also known as “lens whacking” - a creative technique that uses affordable, old lenses to achieve a stylized look.
The 20 minute lesson is completely free to watch, and it also provides a brief look into what the rest of the Cinematic Masterclass course entails, from visual storytelling to interviews, slow motion, timelapse, aerial cinematography, story development, post production and more.
If you haven’t already experienced a tutorial by Philip Bloom, give the first lesson a go and you’ll see just why he’s one of the most popular filmmaking educators today.
Directing Color and Mastering Color
The combination of Directing Color and Mastering Color makes for two of the best courses in color grading out there. And in both courses, the first lessons are completely free to watch for anyone - no subscription required.
In Directing Color, filmmaker, editor and colorist Ollie Kenchington explores how visual language cues, color theory and even color grading techniques can be used throughout the filmmaking process to not just create a “look” but to enhance storytelling. He challenges directors, cinematographers and filmmakers to think of color first, rather than the more common approach of leaving color considerations until post-production.
In the first module of Directing Color, which is free to watch, Ollie begins to produce a commercial and takes us through the process of developing a color palette and creating a compositional balance in a film’s images.
In Mastering Color, Ollie deconstructs the art and science of color grading, providing a complete guide to professional color for video producers. From color fundamentals to HDR workflows and RAW media, Mastering Color is a masterclass that’s applicable for both beginners and professional colorists alike.
The first lesson in Mastering Color is all about the Grading Suite setup. Ollie demonstrates how to set up an environment where eyes and monitors can be trusted, and he provides tips on how to create a home suite on a budget. At nearly an hour long the lesson also features advice on working with clients, including collaboration etiquette and how to communicate successfully about color with clients who use a variety of words to describe what they’re thinking.
The Definitive Guide to DaVinci Resolve
It’s no secret that DaVinci Resolve is the fastest growing video editing software today, with many filmmakers choosing to use it for all of their post-production needs. From media organization, to rough cuts, color grading, motion and effects, and final delivery, there is a lot to master for anyone new to Resolve.
To give you a head start, educator Ollie Kenchington provides a free 40-minute overview on editing a short movie in Resolve. This lesson alone is enough to get many beginners comfortable with the layout and menus and tools that enable a basic editing job.
To learn more about this course and why we believe it’s the perfect introduction course for anyone learning post-production, check out our article on Learning DaVinci Resolve.
ARRI Master Classes
Thanks to our partnership with ARRI Academy, we’re proud to offer the exclusive web version of the official ARRI camera certification. But for those of you who aren’t ready to dive into the world of ARRI cameras just yet, ARRI has made a few of their master classes free for anyone to watch. As a bonus, these classes are presented with optional subtitles.
Large Format Cinematography with James Laxton ASC
As he begins his ARRI Academy masterclass, James Laxton ASC summarizes his views on large format cameras by stating his guiding cinematography principle: make choices based on the context of the story. You want to match the tool to the story.
So, while people usually associate large format cameras with big Marvel-esque special effects sequences or large vistas, Laxton chose the ARRI Alexa 65 for If Beale Street Could Talk, a "character-driven love story.”
Why use a giant sensor for an intimate film where most of the scenes have only one or two subjects in them? “To me it’s all about immersiveness, the proximity from subject to lens, where you’re close enough to feel emotional connectivity," says Laxton.
That’s the premise for the two-and-a-half hour masterclass on Large Format Cinematography with James Laxton ASC. As part of our partnership with ARRI Academy, we’re excited to offer this course free of charge, even if you aren’t currently an MZed Pro member. Just create a free MZed account here.
ARRI Christmas Master Class with Julio Macat ASC
At the beginning of this 3-hour master class, Julio Macat ASC discusses his philosophy on cinematography and how he got his start. Incredibly, his first feature film was Home Alone, which went on to top box office sales for 12 weeks.
In the interview, Julio recalls he was scared everyday that he was going to get fired when everyone found out he didn’t know how the film would come together. He knew he had to depend on music to stitch his first feature film together, so he called up the composer who was hired to score Home Alone - someone Julio didn’t know previously - and told the composer to make the music really stand out. That composer turned out to be the John Williams!
But background stories aside, there are endless bits of advice in this course from a cinematographer who knows the art and science through and through. We follow Julio along as he directs a few different scenes, all set in a home interior during the holiday season.
For beginning filmmakers, this course also features some insightful interviews about crewing on a film production and how to get a foot in the door. During the interview portion of the course, we hear from a First AC, a DIT, and a Steadicam Operator. There's a vast amount of wisdom in this course, and it's completely free to watch for anyone, even if you don't have a subscription.
ARRI Alexa Mini Camera Primer
Interested in learning more about the ARRI Alexa Mini? This short, free lesson provides an introduction to the camera and to the educator, AbelCine’s Corey Christian.
ARRI Amira Camera Primer
In this opening module, AbelCine camera specialist Megan Donnely introduces us to the ARRI AMIRA and gives an overview of the main specifications and features of the camera. The AMIRA is a workhorse professional camera that finds itself on both documentary and commercial sets around the globe, and this primer is a good way to learn how to make the AMIRA shine even if you’ve never picked one up before.
Canon C300 MkII Camera Primer
The Canon C300 MkII has proven to be a workhorse for a wide variety of productions, and it’s become a popular rental camera for both reality and commercial camera operators. In this first lesson of the camera primer, AbelCine’s Megan Donnelly introduces the camera and summarizes the developments over the original C300.
Panasonic EVA1 Camera Primer
In this first lesson of the EVA1 camera primer, AbelCine’s Nic Somera introduces the Panasonic AU-EVA1 digital cinema camera and explains some of its key features and benefits. The EVA1 has become an attractive camera on shoots ranging from one-man crews to large multi-camera productions, and this course is a great way to familiarize yourself with the camera before taking it for a spin.
Writing 101 and 201
If you’re interested in writing for film, Seth Worley’s Writing 101 and Writing 201 courses at MZed are essential viewing. The first lessons are free and introduce viewers to what they can expect with the courses, and some general advice about approaching a screenplay.
The Secrets of Optics
Ever been confused by focal length? Lens breathing? How about crop factors? In the Secrets of Optics you’ll learn the basics of lenses - what they do, how they do it, what types of lenses there are - so you have a solid foundation for selecting and operating lenses.
In the first free lesson, educator Mitch Gross defines what a lens is, and how modern lenses came about. Even if you think you know about photography and cinema lenses, this is a great refresher and you may learn something new.
With over 200 hours of high quality filmmaking education, we stronly believe that an MZed Pro subscription is one of the best investments for filmmakers of all skill levels. But if you haven’t made up your mind, there’s plenty of free courses and introduction lessons for you to watch, without having to make a single purchase. Just create a login and you’re ready to get started.