Review – 5DFilmSchool Canon EOS 5D Mark II 101 and 102

by planetmitch7 Comments

Alex Fox has created a new Canon EOS 5D Mark II training DVD that is really outstanding. For someone just wanting to get started with making movies with the Canon hybrids like the 5D2 or the Canon EOS 7D, this is a really good introduction to the entire process.

Update – I've decided to donate 100% of any commissions generated via purchases of this disk to holiday gifts for local needy families — so buy between Dec 1 and Dec 15 to help me donate a bunch!

Redrock Micro

Over the last 10 years, Alex has been a producer, videographer, cinematographer, director and photographer and has plenty of experience to pass along to you in these two DVDs. There are plenty of things to like about this training. Alex brings so much experience and passes on lots of tips and tricks of the trade as he goes.

In 101, he starts with a few of the basics of how to record video with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. He doesn't cover each and every function (like we've seen on the “Canon EOS 5D Mark II Made Easy” training DVD (see our review)), but he gives you the functions you need to set to record a movie. In this first bit of the DVD, he's going to go thru the entire process of creating a Public Service Announcement so that at then end, you'll have a compete idea of how to not only use the 5D2 for making a movie, but you'll get some additional “film making” advice along the way (like tripods and how ISO, Aperture and shutter speed impact the light levels).

Alex covers all of the important topics. Pulling focus, audio (including the problems with the limited audio on the 5D2), microphones and how to set them up, lighting, data management, understanding exposure, codecs, transcoding, exporting and editing are all covered in great detail.

In the second DVD called Class 102, Alex dives into many ‘movie' techniques. Pre-production, production styles, narrative vs. documentary, workflows, motivation, shooting ratios and coverage, lens selection, the 180 degree rule, shot lists and much more.

Here's Alex's introduction to the training:

Training guide

Here's the sample project created in Class 101 (note, the PSA is meant to be an example, and isn't intended to make fun of a serious problem).


Ok, so what's the bottom line on the 5DFilmSchool DVDs? Worth the $89.95 purchase? I'd have to say absolutely – especially at these prices (you can buy the DVDs thru planet5D). If you were going to take a class or seminar somewhere, you'd probably pay a lot more. Granted this is only 2 1/2 hours, but there's a lot of material covered.

So far, I've watched several different training courses aimed at the 5D2 market. And this is probably the most complete training I've seen. It is aimed at the beginner who probably doesn't know a lot about setup for video (or even stills – some of this applies). If you're already experienced with making movies (maybe you've had some classes or are a pro), then you'll not get much out of this. But if you're wanting to learn how to use the Canon EOS 5D Mark II or even the other Canon hybrids like the Canon EOS 7D or Canon Rebel T1i/500D, then this DVD is a very good introduction to the process. It isn't incredibly flashy and filled with high tech graphics (tho the graphics are good, just not the million dollar kind), but the information provided is very high quality.

If you're looking for a lot of specifics about how to set up your 5D2 or 7D for getting the cinema feel, you also want to supplement the 5dFilmSchool DVD with the Philip Bloom discs (we'll review them soon, but you can find out more information about the 5D2 one or the one aimed at the 7D). Alex's discs cover much of the same materials tho, and often in a bit more depth, but the overall coverage of the 5dFilmSchool disks is about learning how to use the 5D2 to make movies not in tweeking the 5D2 to make it more cinematic. And, the 5dFilmSchool is over 2 hours of material!

Alex covers a lot of material in these 2 DVDs (most of the other training is only 1 disk) and he covers the generalities as well as getting into material I haven't seen covered on the other training. His style is a tiny bit dry (he's not a comedian or a professional actor), but won't be falling asleep either. The actors he uses in the promos aren't experienced pros, but that's not the point. You understand from the samples exactly what Alex is trying to teach and when you're a beginner, your results might look a bit similar when you first start out, so they should make you feel right at home. I was initially a bit concerned because the actors don't appear to be experienced pros, but after I thought about it a bit, it actually makes more sense to have less experienced actors because that's where this DVD is aimed – someone just starting out wanting to make movies and those individuals aren't likely to have big budgets or highly skilled crews.

So, overall, there is a great deal of material in this training for only $89 that will help you learn what it takes to become a big time movie maker. And, as long as you don't expect a lot of flashy video production (fancy wipes and graphics), this basic introduction to the processes and ‘rules' of film making with DSLR cameras will be a great purchase for you.

Options in Canon EOS 5D Mark II training:

So, with this new 5D2 training, we've got 4 options for training materials (each has a page here on planet5D).

Disclaimer: planet5D does get a commission from any 5DFilmSchool DVD set purchased thru planet5D, but we try very hard to be objective and we don't support products we don't believe in. We have reviewed the entire product and believe it is a good value.

(Photo credit: snap from )


  1. I just got the film school DVDs and watched them over the weekend. Glad I bought it. That said, I’m the target audience as someone who comes from photography and is self taught. As the title makes clear, these are introductory lessons. Personally, I tend to jump into a new field somewhere in the middle assuming the basics will be obvious but I learned in the course that my haste was ill advised.
    I’ll be coming back for more and will also revisit most chapter of this production again.
    I’ll give the DVD high marks for its production values as it showcases how a great instructional video should look like: a studio environment without distractions, perfect lighting and sound, easily flowing and concise narration (no hint of a teleprompter), and a style of narration that is both sincere and unpretentious.
    One thing though: Alex looks like a spitting image of my day job boss, only 75 pounds lighter 🙂

  2. I bought this course and am going through it as we speak, and it is worth 4x the price Alex charges. This is the training us still photogs need, hands down. Sure, we learned how shoot video and cut frames in Premiere or FCP, but how do you orchestrate a professional shoot? What are all the unkowns and the expected standards? THIS COURSE COVERS IT. You’re off your nut a mile and a half if you don’t get it.

    1. BTW Mitch, compensated or not, I am so glad you exposed this course on your blog. Every 5D2/7D owner who’s serious about video needs this. Can you imagine to get a pro’s inside scoop in the film industry, who also understands the 5D2 and where DSLRs are going? This type of experience is priceless. The cost is incredibly low, I think Alex should be charging more, but get it while he’s being generous! No, I don’t know Alex nor am I connected to this project, I’m just one happy customer.

  3. Not being a hoarder I’d like to resell the DVDs now that I’ve enjoyed them. Make me an offer nouturnradio yahoo

  4. Pingback: 5D FilmSchool training DVD review | Canon 5D tips

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