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Find Cinematic Inspiration For Filmmakers On YouTube

We all know the old adage: ‘good artists borrow, great artists steal.’ And while we don’t condone stealing, we do condone looking to other creatives for inspiration. Art is communal, we see an idea and we add our own creative flair to it, and the cycle continues on in a never-ending iterative process. For filmmakers, this can manifest itself through interesting angles, shots, lighting, interview setups, focal choices, etc. If you’re in the process of creating a film of your own, we’ve gathered a list of great films for you to check out and be inspired by. And for more great filmmaking inspiration, be sure to subscribe to Alpha Universe on YouTube.

These filmmakers are capturing stories and telling them on YouTube. See how they do it and get some inspiration for your own.

Jacques Crafford

Jacques Crafford is a freelance director of photography and editor living in South Africa. His YouTube is intended to teach his audience how to create cinematic videos. We love that he creates incredible cinematic films and then companion behind the scenes YouTube videos. That allows his audience to see his through process along with the final result. The videos below are a behind the scenes look at a documentary he created with the Sony FX6 and Sony Alpha 7S III and the resulting film. We also sat down with Jacques to learn even more about the film, and you can read that interview HERE

Ryan Kodak Brown

Ryan Brown, (trail name Kodak) is a filmmaker with a passion for long-distance hiking and bike-packing. He’s done some pretty epic adventures and filmed stories along the way. The film below, ‘Out There,’ is an extraordinary adventure along Canada's Great Divide Trail, a 1200 km long wilderness route through the heart of the Canadian Rockies. This outdoor film showcases the beauty and challenges of one of the world's most pristine and remote trails. Ryan filmed it alongside his wife, Ilse. They shot the film with the Sony Alpha 7C, Sony 20mm f/1.8 G and Sony 50mm f/2.5 G.

O. Cal Lawanson

Cinematographer and filmmaker O. Cal Lawanson uses his YouTube channel to share his cinematography reel, short films, and insights into his work. He uses his Sony Alpha 7 III to create personal films, such as a love letter to New York City and client work, such as a Nike Spec Ad. In the video below, Lawanson was inspired by fellow Sony shooter Danny Gervirtz to create a cinematic short film titled, “5:00 AM.” The film is slice of life style content, showing the main characters' experience waking up a 5 in the morning. It includes some creative shoots and great ASMR audio. Be sure to take a look and perhaps create your own 5:00 AM - type film! 


Continuing on the morning-style film content, we found this short film by Forrain. Forrain is a Denver based cinematographer who shares music and short films on YouTube. The film below, “2 AM COFFEE” was shot on the Sony FX3 and the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II. The film is less than two minutes long and it shows a nameless main character purchasing coffee from a gas station at 2 AM. We’re impressed with Forrain’s ability to tell a story in such a short time frame, with no lines. 

Cristian Ramírez

Photographer and filmmaker Cristian Ramírez has been sharing short films on his YouTube channel for about the past year. With his Sony FX3, Christian has a great ability to capture “day in the life” content with aesthetically pleasing colors and creative shots. We also love his use of music in storytelling. We definitely recommend checking out more videos on his channel if you’re hoping to create cinematic short films.

Bonus! – Danny Gevirtz

You might recognize Danny Gevirtz’s name from earlier in this article. O. Cal Lawanson was inspired by one of Danny’s pieces to create his own film, 5:00 AM. Danny Gevirtz is a director and cinematographer who makes YouTube videos showcasing all the work that goes on behind the making of films. He breaks down storyboarding, gear, selecting music, post production, and much more on his channel. We added the video below as a bonus because he shares his filmmaking advice for 2024. Danny is quite vulnerable in the lessons he shares and we are grateful for creating a safe space for filmmakers. If you’re hoping to create films in 2024, we recommend checking out these lessons, they will certainly help you gain some perspective and head into your filmmaking with confidence. 


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