Alex Buono's Visual Storytelling 2 Review: My Thoughts...

It took me up until January of this year to realize— I love cinematography. It’s honestly one of the things I love most about filmmaking—carefully lighting and composing a shot to add impact to a story, and submerging your audience even deeper into the narrative through stylistic choices.—It’s definitely a rewarding challenge to take on.

I’m always wondering how talented cinematographers like Simon Duggan, or Philippe Le Sourd achieve their amazing shots with such captivating dimension! Thus, when I learned MZed was releasing another Alex Buono’s Visual Storytelling 2 tour, the timing was perfect. The workshop consists of 11 hours of training that involved a morning workshop, and an evening lecture.  I quickly snagged the “Full Experience” crew seat, which guarantees a spot in the front row, and a chance at volunteering for some hands on time. 

So, let’s get to the meat of this post. Is it worth it? 

How much is it? 

It will run you $300 for the full experience, which includes the morning workshop & evening lecture. (Definitely check for coupons floating around—I was able to get $15 off using one). You can also opt for one or the other for a cheaper price. Admission comes with some other really awesome goodies—which are also listed below

Photos from http://vs2.mzed.com/

Some topics that are covered in the Full Experience (in no particular order..)

  • Custom Bokeh
  • Pixel Stick Demo
  • M0vI Demo (my favorite!)
  • Color Correction
  • Mixed Lighting Situations
  • How to shoot an Interview
  • How to shoot an Interior Car Scene
  • Lighting for Exterior Shots 
  • Practical Gear List 
  • Visual Subtext Lecture (Another favorite)

So to be honest, It sort of goes without saying, if you can actually attend the workshop vs. purchasing the DVD/Download you get WAY more bang for your buck. As, the DVD/Downloads is $50 MORE than actually experiencing it first hand. Not to mention the opportunity to just chat with Alex Buono himself and run some of your burning questions by him is pretty amazing. Both he and his team are very approachable, and definitely take the time to give you pointers and advice about your own personal projects—which is huge. 

Had a chat with Alex Buono during some down time. Super amazing cinematographer and person. ^_^ 

Had a chat with Alex Buono during some down time. Super amazing cinematographer and person. ^_^ 

 

That’s not to sell the download short though—you literally get all the details and knowledge that you would if you attended the workshop—Give or take a few things. The presentation of this workshop is extremely organized—so there’s nothing covered in the workshop that is not also on the HD download. It’s all there for the most part. 

 

Which is the best? The Morning Workshop or Evening Lecture?

Both sessions definitely hold their own weight. It’s like bacon and eggs. One without the other just isn’t quite right.  Go to both, seriously. The morning workshop walks you through techniques and how-to’s for achieving visually pleasing shots. Which of course is what we want to see! But the night lecture, in my opinion goes a whole lot deeper, and pushes you to figure out why you’re composing the shots the way you are, and how can you give your visuals a deeper meaning and purpose. I mean—I know this is vague, but I’m not trying to spoil it for those who are planning to go. So just trust me on this one…It gets deep. Just go to both. Bacon and eggs. 

 

What was it like to have a crew seat? 

So for those who don’t know, a crew seat guarantees you a front row seat to experience all the action, as well as a spiffy Visual Storytelling 2 “Crew” T-shirt. You also get the opportunity to do more hands-on-training if a volunteer is needed. 

If you miss out on getting a crew seat. It’s really no big deal honestly. Minus the shirt—You’re still right there in the action the whole time. Plus, if the crew aren’t up to volunteer, Buono does give those who are sitting further back an opportunity to participate. 

Don’t be nervous to volunteer either, he’s not having you set up a complex rig or anything. If it helps, I struggled with a c-stand (how embarrassing), but Alex still made the exercise super fun, and informative. So raise your hand!

 

Is it worth the price? 

Now for the verdict, is it worth the price? Again, I have to reiterate if you can actually go experience in person while he’s on tour, then YES! Absolutely worth the money. You get so many perks, special offers, opportunities to network, and of course 11 hours of intensive cinematography education for 300 bucks. If Buono had a Visual Storytelling 3 (Crosses fingers) I’d buy a ticket in a heartbeat. 

 

As for paying $350 for the download set? I’m going to be honest—that’s up for debate. You don’t get access to the freebies and perks, you lose the aspect of hands-on experience, and it’ll run you an additional 50 bucks. Grant it the education is still valuable information at your fingertips on this DVD….But for those on a tighter budget, if you go out in the field, network, and do some extensive researching on cinematography, you can find this information at a much smaller cost. Would I buy this DVD for $350 bucks?— Nah…

 

So I hope this answered any questions for those of you still on the fence. There are still a few open tour dates left—if you can, SNAG the tickets! If not, definitely see if Mzed has a sale where they reduce the price. All in all, I’m definitely a fan of the Visual Storytelling tour.