Curious Refuge AI Filmmaking Course: Reviewed

#Curious #Refuge #Filmmaking #Reviewed

Course Structure

The AI Filmmaking Course unfolds over four weeks, each packed with content ranging from industry overviews to hands-on projects.  Below I’ll give a brief of each week, but note that aside from major platforms, I will not be linking to the tools the Curious Refuge course instructs you on.  Personally, I see that a lot of the value that the course offers, aside from its instruction, is that it collects these tools into an easy to reference location that is hard come by anywhere else.

Week 1 – Filmmaking 101

Sets the foundation with an AI filmmaking industry overview, a film school crash that course Cal Arts would be proud of, and introductions to scriptwriting and pitch writing using Chat GPT.  Midway through the week, a slow roll into setting up and using Midjourney for visuals begins, and the week culminates with ways to pitch film ideas to studios.  

If you have previous experience with any of these tools or filmmaking in general, this week may feel slow, but to that end, the course covers all the bases so that novice and experienced users get elevated to the same level quickly.

Week 2 – Generating Cinematic Content

This is where the fun begins.  Now the course dives into advanced Midjourney prompting, directing, and cinematography styles.  You’ll learn methods for creating consistent faces, generating unheard voice-overs, cloning voices, and even a crash course in Premiere Pro.  Already a Better Editor?  Feel free to skip the Premiere portion.

As someone with a little prior experience playing with generative AI, what fascinated me most about this week is how concepts that had literally taken me reading multitudes of Medium blog posts and watching numerous YouTube tutorials to learn were succinctly collected and laid out in an organized package. Moreover, that organized package came with downloadable cheat sheet PDFs!  More on those later.

Week 3 – Making Images Move

Now the focus shifts to upscaling imagery and adding camera movements using Runway and After Effects.  Runway is used to create videos from static images (and much more).  It’s a slider-friendly platform to begin with and Caleb walks you through his favorite settings – the same ones that helped propel his Wes Anderson Star Wars trailer to a viral sensation.  

The course then looks into animating AI stills in a more classic way, using Photoshop and After Effects.  For strangers of the programs, Caleb takes the time to teach a crash course in each.  By the end of the week you’re knowledgeable enough in the Adobe programs to create basic visual effects and camera movements.

Week 4 – Advanced Techniques for Realism

If week 3 were the confetti cake, week 4 is the rainbow frosting.  Having already learned the bulk of how to create an AI film, the course moves into how to set your film apart by making it as real as possible.  This includes methods for lip syncing, object removal, and advanced face-swapping techniques.  You’ll also dive back into After Effects to learn some more advanced animation and color compositing techniques.


At the end of each week, homework is assigned that’s meant to test you on the knowledge you’ve gained through the week.  In every case, the assignments can take as little or as much time as you’d like and you’re not graded, per se.  But so far as growing your skills are concerned, you very much get out of this course what you put into it.  Once completed with each assignment, you’re asked to upload homework to a private Discord channel where feedback is given.  Caleb regularly highlights some of the student’s best work on the Curious Refuge YouTube channel.