We may never have this much free time on our hands ever again. Now's the perfect time to hone those filmmaking skills, learn more about our past and what makes us tick and get that veggie patch growing. Here are some ways you can learn something new in lockdown.
Art: Tate's How to series
Bring London’s famous Tate gallery into your home with this ambitious yet mesmerising how-to series that teaches you methods used by world renowned artists. Set up your living room and get ready to make some mess as you paint like Frank Bowling, weave like Anni Albers or print like Andy Warhol.
Filmmaking: ACMI’s visual effects guide
Dust off that camera hiding in the back of your cupboard – this is your chance to learn how to make a film. We’re going to show you the ins and outs of a few simple visual effects: from jump cuts, to layering and masking, keying and green screen. Skill up for a home movie project, your YouTube channel or just to add some spice to your isolation Tik Toks.
Australian science educator and psychology specialist Vanessa Hill runs this straight talking, easy to understand YouTube channel that explains what the hell is actually going on in our brains. Her latest videos cover everything we need in this crazy time of social distancing and working from home: how to get motivated, why we can’t stop snacking, how to stay sane when everything is uncertain, and how to procrastinate effectively (yes, it’s a thing).
Music: Synth sounds of Parliament, Pink Floyd & Dr. Dre
Attention musos, we’ve got good news: Moog’s synth app for iOS, Minimoog Model D, is temporarily free for download. It’s the perfect excuse to learn how to knock out some new sounds while you're locked down in your bedroom studios. Once you’ve got Dr. Dre down, teach yourself every famous synth sound on this playlist – starting with the iconic opening sequence from Stranger Things.
Korg lovers – their app is free for a limited time as well.
Science: National Geographic 101 series
Now’s your chance to watch every documentary you can lay your hands on, fill your brain with eclectic facts and absolutely ace the first pub trivia, post-isolation. National Geographic has all the bite-sized docos you could want in their 101 YouTube series. This playlist includes videos on everything from volcanoes and tornadoes, to cannabis and climate change.
Filmmaking: ARRI Master Classes
Leading camera and lighting company ARRI are supporting screen creatives during this strange time by releasing their popular online master classes for free, one by one. So far you can watch a five-part series on high dynamic range (HDR) by renowned cinematographer Karl Walter Lindenlaub, who’s worked on blockbuster films and TV shows such as Independence Day (1996), Stargate (1997–2007) and The Jackal (1997). Also free for a limited time only is James Laxton's large format cinematography class. He worked on 2016's Academy-Award-winning film, Moonlight. Just sign up, create an account and then download all the expertise directly into your brain.
Creative tech: Eyeo Festival
A creative technology conference held annually in the US, Eyeo Festival is four days of talks about art, data and creative technology. From data designers and creative coders, to researchers, storytellers and AI experts, Eyeo brings together all the people doing cool and creative things in tech. And – they’ve put every talk from the 2019 conference up on Vimeo for you to watch from home.
Cooking: Professional Icing at Home
Do you know the difference between fondant, royal icing and buttercream? You will now thanks to this cooking tutorial from the ACMI Collection. Get stuck into some isolation baking with these tips and tricks from Women’s Day and Home magazine’s instructional video, from 1952. We consider cake an isolation necessity.
Gardening: Self Sufficient Me
Green thumb or not, it's a good time to give your home veggie garden a lot of love. Mark Valencia is a self sufficiency expert, and his YouTube channel is a great place to start if you’re a total newbie. Watch this playlist on basic tips for beginners first, or this one on growing veggies in small spaces if you’re an inner city apartment dweller.
Social justice: Feroza Aziz's “beauty tutorial”
Never underestimate the power of young people on social media. 17-year-old Tik Tok-er Feroza Aziz went viral last year with a video about China’s inhumane treatment of the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority – masquerading as a beauty tutorial. Tik Tok, a Chinese-owned company, took the video down after it started racking up views despite much controversy. Watch the deleted video below and then do your own research on the Uighur minority.
History: First Australians
Directed by Australian cinema favourite Rachel Perkins – who also directed Radiance (1998), One Night the Moon (2001), Bran Nue Dae (2010) and Jasper Jones (2017) – landmark series First Australians needs to be at the top of your isolation watch list. It’s available to stream right now – so jump online and learn about the birth of contemporary Australian through the eyes of its first people. You’ve probably never heard our country’s history told quite like this before.
Cinema analysis: Like Stories of Old
Learn how to dive deeper into your favourite films with movie buff Tom van der Linden as he analyses popular films, explains the ideas and philosophies behind their storylines and compares them to the basic universal truths and complexities of human nature.
Paleontology: Melbourne Museum's dinosaur walk
Always a favourite at the Melbourne Museum for both young and old, the dinosaur walk takes you though 17 different skeletons from prehistoric times. The exhibition is now available to explore virtually, so you can learn your Inostrancevias from your Hypsilophodons, even in isolation.
Speaking of museums – a special mention goes to #MuseumFromHome where museum staff are talking about their favourite museum artefacts in just one minute.
Humanity: You Can't Ask That
If you somehow missed this when it premiered on ABC in 2016, you have plenty to catch up on. In this series – now in its fifth season – Australians from all walks of life are asked usually inappropriate questions on camera from anonymous submissions. Learn something about your fellow humans while we’re all socially distanced from one another. Remember – we’re all in this together.
Ready to sit back and enlighten yourself in lockdown? We've made you a YouTube playlist. Enjoy!
Looking for more to watch? Let us guide you through this period of solitude with home-viewing options for every lockdown mood in our Isolation Guides.