Overall Rating: 5 stars
Ease of Use: A
Product Support: A
Company: Videocraft Workshop, 10869 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85254. Phone: (480) 443-8669; Internet: www.videocraftworkshop.com.
Price: $129.95—single copy.
Audience: Teachers and middle school or older students learning to edit video.
Format: Three DVDs containing PDF files, text, and video files for illustration and practice.
Minimum System Requirements: The START EDITING NOW! Classroom Workshop Edition is intended for use with most Windows or Macintosh video-editing programs, including those that may come with a computer. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read some of the files.
A DVD player and a computer powerful enough to support DVD use is required. The program can be viewed on anything that can play standard DVDs.
To work with film, a fast computer with a large amount of hard-drive space and RAM is needed.
Description: The three DVDs contain lessons and lesson plans that demonstrate editing techniques. Videos illustrate editing principles. Additional royalty-free video material can be used for student and teacher projects.
Installation: There is no real installation required if Adobe Acrobat Reader is present. If needed, Acrobat Reader is a free download from the Adobe Web site.
The DVD material is used either directly from the DVD or printed. The video files can be copied to an individual hard drive for faster editing. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: The START EDITING NOW! Classroom Workshop Edition is basically an editing textbook on DVD. The program’s first DVD contains a semester’s lesson plans, printable curriculum materials, enrichment activities, and a teachers’ guide on video.
Additional materials include movie maps, lesson plans, activities, clip guides, and shot logs in PDF or text and other formats.
Students use the provided movie maps to create their own movies. The movie maps offer visual road maps of the major storyline components and help students select the track they want to take with their videos. The maps can be used to guide discussions of storytelling, main ideas, supporting ideas, character development, and more.
The video-clip guides are designed to be printed and used by the students to select clips as they build their own movies. The guides include a screen-grab and a short description of scenes. They also help illustrate the wide variety of shots needed to create a video story.
The shot logs provide another movie overview and can be used in conjunction with the movie maps. They offer an additional way to communicate the need for a concise storyline before video material is created.
Lesson plans for each instructional lesson portion of the three included workshops are available in PDF and text formats. Teachers can print this material for inclusion in plan books. The text version can be modified to accommodate individual teaching styles.
The lessons are objective-based and allow teachers to start and stop, giving students ample time to practice with the included royalty-free video footage. Teachers can decide to have students view the materials individually or in small or large groups.
Printable copies of all lesson scripts are available for teachers who choose to view the lessons in
advance and teach them directly themselves. The lessons are designed to help students learn and practice some of the basic concepts behind good editing. The material covers cuts, dialogue editing, and scene pacing. In “Cuts,” for example, students learn about the most common type of edit: a basic cut. They learn where to place a cut as well as how to use jump cuts and cutaways.
The dialogue-editing section helps students learn how to make scenes focused on two people talking that will be interesting to an audience. Master shots and two-camera editing are covered, as well as single-camera footage taken from two points of view. Using extra footage to add visual interest is also discussed. Scene pacing covers taking a simple event and lengthening the tension or storyline through pacing and dialogue.
The enrichment activities are called “Take Two” activities; these are intended to take students beyond the basic lesson. The 12 activities can be printed out and used in several ways, such as working with a high-achieving student or stretching the learning to cover an entire semester. The activities may be used as a learning center along with whole-class work.
The teachers’ guide on video provides an overview of the START EDITING NOW! Classroom Workshop Edition, gives a tour of what’s included, and offers ways to use the material in the classroom. The guide can be used as an orientation to the program for staff meetings or staff development.
The second and third DVDs contain royalty-free footage in the form of three professionally filmed “mini-movies.” These can be edited in hundreds of ways using the more than 150 individual scenes or “takes” provided. This multi-track movie footage provides the video necessary for students to deal with common editing challenges such as jump cuts and action changes that require cutaway shots.
Instructors can use the footage to demonstrate common challenges in video editing and illustrate ways to address them. By using the different takes and camera positions, students learn how variety affects the pacing and continuity of film.
The movie used in Workshop 1, “Busted?”, is about a female student who is worried about having been called to the principal’s office. She uses her cell phone to call a friend to discuss the situation.
The movie for Workshop 2, “Mocha Latte Hot Spot,” is about two teens who meet in a coffee shop. Their conversation gives students a chance to learn digital storytelling through a dialogue scene.
The movie in Workshop 3, “King of the Hill,” is about a skatepark contest. This gives students a chance to learn and practice action editing.
All in all, the START EDITING NOW! Classroom Workshop Edition is carefully thought out, well written, and well filmed. It provides a wealth of excellent material that can be used in a variety of ways to meet the needs of individual teachers and various classes. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: The clearly written, high-quality material in the START EDITING NOW! Classroom Workshop Edition is very easy to use, especially for those with previous computer experience. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: The company provides an email form on its Web site for questions about using the material or about system and software compatibility. The program is user-friendly and is not likely to need much in the way of support. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: The START EDITING NOW! Classroom Workshop Edition is a unique, quality product. It is useful for anyone learning to edit video and I highly recommend it. Highly Recommended.
Reviewer: Charles Doe, Media Specialist, Hastings Area Schools, Hastings, MI.