Week 8 – Video Editing

video editing

“I love editing. It’s one of my favourite parts about filmmaking.” Steven Spielberg

There are three main stages to making any film:

  • Pre-production is the part that happens before you start filming. This is where you get ideas, create mindmaps, storyboards, and work out how to make the film. If you spend sufficient time on this stage, you can save hours or days later on.
  • Production is the actual filming stage.
  • Post-production is where you edit the film, add or edit sound and titles, and get it ready to show to people.

To make the process even more creative in the pre-production stage, you could distribute different roles to students, such as: writers, composers, set designers, wardrobe and costume, makeup artists and prop makers, as well as directors, camera operators, production assistants, etc. However, we decided to promote guerrilla filmmaking strategies to enable students to become independent filmmakers, which does not require a lot of preparation in the pre-production stage, but it requires a good instinct for filmmaking, in terms of knowing when to take out the camera and shoot, when to change the shot size, or angle etc.

When it comes to the post-production stage, or the video editing part, this is where all those separate bits of video come together to make a film. The editing process itself consists of several stages: importing videos, putting the shots in order on the timeline and doing a lot of patchwork to make your story interesting to watch, trimming the clips so that you just have the important part of each clip, checking how the shots work together in sequence, rather than just looking at one shot at a time.

Video Editing Photo 1

TIPS: if there isn’t too much video, you can import it all into the computer, but if there’s loads, it is better to choose what to import, in order to save a lot of time.

The next stage to video editing is putting effects and titles to your video. Some young editors love adding effects and transitions like dissolves or fades. Bit it’s really important that these things make sense. Gimmicky effects can just create confusion.

TIPS: Use effects like black and white or sepia (to show something’s in the past or in somebody’s imagination). Use transitions like dissolves or fades (to show the passage of time). Add opening titles, subtitles, intertitles between scenes, and credits at the end.

It is also very important to allow enough time to sort the sound out: adding effects, music and voiceover, and adjusting the sound levels. This can make a massive difference to your film if done properly.

All in all, video editing is the part that requires a skilled editor to demonstrate the software used for the editing stage (in our case it was Final Cut we used). However, there is a variety of video editing software, you could use for your videos that are much easier to use.

The final stage is sharing the film. If you want to show it, you need to export or share it. That way, you’ll have a version that you can use on other computers or put online.

It’s a good idea to export one version in the highest quality possible, and then to make smaller versions to put on the school website or a video sharing site. You could also make a DVD.

You can check out our film on our school’s website, or on our YouTube channel.

Please share with us your experience with video editing in the comments section.

Week 7 – Filmmaking

filmmaking

We live in a visual age – a picture is worth a thousand words!

“When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.” Steven Spielberg

Have you ever thought about being the Steven Spielberg of your school, by making excellent films about various events?  School plays, football matches, graduation events, prom nights, excursions, success stories, weekly news, interviews… We live in a visual age, where pretty much everything is defined by the Flicker frequency, and filmmaking has become a necessity when it comes to promoting digital literacy skills to young people. That is why our Digital Literacy for EFL Students course offers this filmmaking and video editing workshop to help students gain more knowledge and improve their skills in the visual arts.

You may think that filmmaking and video editing in a school setting would be a very complicated thing to do. Of course, it requires some experience in filmmaking to be able to run a workshop of this kind. However, you probably have enough basic gear in your school to get started. Please check the links (10.Filmmaking and 11.Filmmaking Guide) available on our Padlet – Digital Literacy for EFL Students for more information.

Here are some tips to make sure students get good results, and to make the process manageable and enjoyable:

  • Keep it short – a number one rule for good filmmaking in school is to start with short and simple films before you try making longer films.
  • Build skills – start with simple activities to demonstrate different shots, and how to use them, as well as how to work together in filmmaking teams.
  • Be clear about the film – explain what kind of film you are going to make, define your target audience.
  • Cut the choice – instead of going into complicated solutions and dealing with unnecessary details, set really tight limits, for instance: time limit, limited number of close-ups, long shots, mid shots, angles, music etc.
  • Work with your gear – you should not get frustrated if your equipment is not up to the job, so if you do not have a microphone do not try and record live sound, make the soundtrack on your computer or tablet afterwards, or if you only have a basic camera, shoot outside or in rooms with plenty of light, and if you do not have a tripod, then zoom out and get in close.

For the purpose of the Digital Literacy for EFL Students course we decided to make a short film interviewing the students about their experiences with the training, and the lessons learned. What we needed to prepare beforehand was the script for the students’ interviews. We decided to focus on these questions: What do you think about digital literacy in the 21st century? What did you learn on the Digital Literacy for EFL Students course? Would you recommend it? Why?

We created a basic storyboard, and shooting schedule to list what was going to be filmed, where and when. We also discussed the various shot sizes such as: an extreme closeup (for important details), a closeup (showing parts of the subject), a mid shot (showing the top half of the body), a long shot (showing someone from head to foot), and extreme long shot (as a background video to show the setting).

Then we discussed camera angles such as: low angle, high angle, and birdseye angle; and we also explained what camera movements can be used to make the film more dynamic, such as: tracking shots (which can be done forward, backward or sideways), a tilt shot (it turns the camera upwards or downwards), with a pan (the camera turns left or right to scan a scene or follow a movement) etc.

The cameras we used during the recording stage were: Nikon D3100, GoPro Hero 3 (Silver Edition), and Phantom 2 Vision Plus Drone.

The next stage will be video editing on Final Cut. Check our next blog post for more details about the editing stage.

Have you ever recorded shots for a film? How easy/difficult was it? What cameras have you used? Have you ever created a storyboard?

Please share your answers in the comments section.