Designing For The Camera

Understanding Cameras & Lenses


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Learn how to design sets for the camera

Architects design buildings for people.

Film Designers create environments for the camera.

Why I designed this course for you

As a film designer you must understand how cameras capture and record images, because that's how the audience sees and experiences your work.

Few if any film design schools include optics as part of the curriculum leaving film designers with a huge disadvantage when working with the cinematographer on a new project.  The information in this course will help you create effective and believable sets that help the camera tell the film's visual story as successfully as possible.

The Result

You will be able to discuss the camera requirements for your sets with the cinematographer and visual effects supervisor and not be excluded from important decisions that affect your designs. It will further your knowledge for a successful career in the Art Department as a set designer, art director, or production designer.

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Hear from Peers in the Industry

"Randall is the most qualified and talented set designer I have ever had the pleasure to know and work with.

He not only has knowledge, talent, and craftsmanship as a set designer, but his experiences as a filmmaker and director give him unique insight into the whole design process."
Richard Hankins - Production Designer
Emmy Award Winner -
Private Practice

"If you want to understand Set Design, you could do no better than to study with Randall.

His knowledge is extensive and he is one of the most technically all-around talented designers I have ever worked with. He has all the imagination anyone would need to augment their experience.”
Jeannine Oppewall - Production Designer
Academy Award Nominee: 
Best Art Direction- The Good Shephard
Best Art Direction- Seabiscuit
Best Art Direction- Pleasantville
Best Art Direction- L.A. Confidential

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What's Included



Unlimited access 24/7

There is no expiration date for this course. 



Work at your own pace

Fits in to your busy schedule



Recorded Instructions

Over 4 hours of video instruction



Weekly live Q&A sessions

Boosts the learning process



Community Lounge

Ask questions & interact with your peers



2 x 1/2-hour personal calls

with your instructor, Randall Wilkins

What You'll Learn in this Course

Until now, no one has created a class that explains cameras to designers.

You'll not only learn the technical information that will help you understand the mechanic of cameras and optics but you'll learn how they capture your scenery and how they can affect your design decisions.

  •  Cameras - Film vs. Digital
  •  Lenses - spherical vs. anamorphic, prime vs. zoom
  •  Specialty lenses - lenses and attachments that solve tricky shooting issues
  •  Understanding focal lengths
  •  Understanding depth-of-field
  •  Aperture settings - F-stops vs. T-stops
  •  Dynamic range - over and under exposure comparisons
  •  Lighting - color temperature, typical lighting styles
  •  The Inverse square law of lighting
  •  The basics of optics for in-camera effects such as foreground  miniatures and forced perspective sets.
  • Understanding color grading vs. color correction,  and digital intermediates or D.I.'s
  • Why is resolution important? Understanding the race for more pixel depth.
  • User Manual - you'll get a manual with both text and diagrams that explains the concepts of the course for later reference

And in addition, I provide an analysis of some of the camera work of the new German film, All Quiet On The Western Front, which won the Oscars for both Art Direction and Cinematography in 2023. Using stills from the film, I'll examine how the choices of shots and image framing influenced and affected the set design. 

With 3D model recreations of some of the sets and locations, I'll discuss why certain shots were difficult to get and how they achieved them. I'll also discuss how physical locations and built sets can sometimes make shooting problematic and how careful pre-planning can avoid frustrating situations during production.


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Meet your Instructor

Randall Wilkins 

  • Over 30 years of experience in the film and television industry in Hollywood
  • Credits span more than 80 film and television titles including Thor: Love and Thunder, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Catch Me If You Can
  • Awards include Westworld & Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Teaches classes in design at the Art Directors Guild in Los Angeles,  UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) Masters program in Theater and Film Design
  • Guest lectures at schools internationally
  • Professional photographer
  • Directing Fellow at American Film Intitute

I developed these courses to provide those interested in film design, a fundamental and foundational knowledge of designing and constructing the environments created for film and television in all its forms and genres, digital, built, futuristic or historical periods.

Hear what past students say about our programs

Patricia Witt

"The Set Design Fundamentals Series was an invaluable part of my Art Department education. It answered my questions about working full-time as a Set Designer and making a career in the entertainment industry. I learned so much about the tools, practices, and technical skills necessary for a successful start in film and TV. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and would recommend it to anyone looking to further their design skills.

Olesya Golub

"When I started the 12-Week Set Design Fundamentals Series class, I was hoping to learn about the drawings that a Set Designer needs to produce, but I learned much more. This course covered everything: drawings, how to do a site survey, what the set designer's responsibilities are, and their position in the Art Department. My favorite part was learning about what not to do as a set designer. Learning from others' mistakes made me feel more confident in my work process. I started a Set Design job shortly after finishing the class. The class helped me do my first job with confidence. This class is a perfect start for anyone who is beginning a career in Set Design."

Garrett Brown

"This is an amazing course taught by an industry pro. Randall is an excellent, kind, and patient teacher who somehow manages to cover everything from the construction of a single flat to measuring a cathedral in Florence from just photos. I cannot speak highly enough about this class. Anyone who is serious about a career in set design should be required to take this course.

Your Investment

One-Time Price


  • Self-paced with unlimited access
  • Over 4 hours of recorded instruction
  • Weekly live Q&A calls
  • Community Lounge to interact with peers


Because of the special nature of the class and proprietary materials, refunds will only be offered within 14 days of course registration. Please be sure this class is for you before you commit to it. If you have any reservations, schedule a free discovery call with Randall to discuss whether or not this course fits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions