Film Editing & Design

*Fall Semester Lessons:


    Lesson - Movie Making Process and First Film Assignment

           Make a film based on either of these themes: “First Week of School” or “My first movie”


                1. Must be at least 1 minute in length

                2. You must be in a production team

                3. You may use any editing program

                4. You may not ask for assistance, but you can consult YouTube (or help pages) for

                    assistance with editing

                5. Goal = teamwork, self-instruction, starting point for your film portfolio      Must

                    contain plot and dialogue

      Lesson - Website Creation

Assignment - Using Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace, create a website with an original website adddress and Film Company Name (must be original).  You must include a Launch Page (Homepage), Videos Page, and Photography Page.


       Lesson - Into to Basic Editing in Final Cut Pro X

Assignment - Watch this video.  Then be able to complete each of the following tasks:

     1) Open Final Cut Pro

     2) Create New Library

     3) Create New Event

     4) Import Footage

     5) Create New Project

     6) Place Footage into the Timeline

     7) Adjust Audio of your clip

     8) Import Music and place in the timeline

     9) Make a cut to your footage, apply effects to that clip, and add fast or slow motion

     10) Add Transitions

     11) Add Text/Titles

     12) Share/Export your movie

    Lesson - Cinema Shorts (30 Second Films)

Assignment - Create a film that is exactly 30 seconds in length.  Your film should try to incorporate some kind of characterization, use quick cuts, and every person must direct and edit their own (you can have other people help you film).

Click here to see some previous examples


     Lesson - "A Thousand Words": Cinematography Storytelling

Assignment - Create a Pages/Word document with a single picture on each page.

     ▸     The pictures should be creative, and use different angles

     ▸     The pictures should be framed and shot in an artistic fashion

     ▸     Each picture must have a 1-2 paragraph narrative description of the story behind the picture

     ▸     Each narrative description should do one or more of the following:

     ▸     Create a setting for action

     ▸     Describe a subject (thoughts, feelings, character, etc)

     ▸     Tell a story that develops from a single frame

    Lesson - Camera Work/Cinematography (watch the playlist)

Assignment - Create a 1-3 minute Silent Film (click here to watch some examples) that uses creative cinematography and music to tell the story.  Your Film must include each of the following shot types at least once in your film:

     1) Establishing Shot

     2) Panning Shot

     3) Stable Motion Cam (moving shot)

     4) Long Shot (30 seconds or more)

     5) Bokeh (Shallow Depth of Field Shot)

Your film must also include at least ONE of the following (or more):

     1) Dutch Angle

     2) Low Angle

     3) Fast/Slow Motion

     4) Lens Flare (either natural sunlight or unnatural lighting)

     5) Point of View



    Lesson -- Acting Seminar

     Click here to see the lesson

    Semester Benchmark #1 - Original Character Design Film

     • You will write a character on an index card for other students to draw out of a hat

          • Your character must have a NAME, PERSONALITY TRAITS (provide specific details about this character and how they act), and their METHOD OF ACTING (are they crazy, fun-loving, rambunctious, eccentric, young, old, mean, kind, etc?).  A brief BACKGROUND should also be provided about your character to help your actor understand them better.

          • Click here to see an example of Character Descriptions

     • Each student will draw a character card out of a hat

     • Students will form film groups based on the characters that they have picked and find a way to write a story around those characters.

     • You will make a film that is at least 5 minutes in length and encorporates all of the characters from your group that you've chosen

     • You must write a screenplay for this film and have a project proposal completed in advance of the film being turned in

     Horror/Thriller Film (Optional)

      • Make a Film that is at least 7 minutes in length and is either a horror film

          (slasher, zombies, etc) or is a post-apocalyptic survival film

           • It must use basic horror movie techniques, including:

                    • Scare Techniques:  Smash Cuts, Inception Scares, "Peek-A-Boo" Scares

                    • Camera Techniques:  Disorienting Quick Cuts, Vertigo Zoom, Low Angle, Dutch Angle, Leading (Nose) Room, Dolley Cam, Point of View and Reverse Point of View, Motion Cam, Planimetric (Symmetrical) Angle, Shadows, Hard Lighting

                     • Production Techniques:  Costuming, Blood, Sound, Foley Audio Effects

           • Emphasize costuming, make-up, props, lighting, and filming location; you must

               de-emphasize special effects unless absolutely necessary

           • Characters, dialogue, and action should drive the story line

           • Group sizes = your choice (but everyone must be involved)

      • Must have a detailed storyboard and pitch

      • You must create a 30 second Trailer (due before the main project for anticipatory review)

      • Click here to see some information on how to mimic the horror genre

  Lesson - Screenplay Reading Presentation

      Before a film is made, you must have a brilliantly composed screenplay!  And before the film is shot, the actors and director must do a read through of the screenplay to prepare their roles.

      A Director will be appointed to choose a screenplay from the ones provided below (additional screenplays can be chosen if approved by your instructor).  

      The Director will also serve as the Casting Director and choose their Talent and assign them to character roles.  The Director will serve as the Narrator of the screenplay.

      The Director will be responsible for choosing a scene that does not contain inappropriate content (many of the screenplays have swearwords that you will need to edit for the presentation).

      The Director will choose 1-2 scenes (this scene should be an appropriate length -- not too long, not too short) from the screenplay, and the group will read the screenplay scene and perform it (that means you read it with some dramatic finesse and will be doing all the acting that goes along with it!).

      Every person in the class must be involved in ONE group (no more, unless necessary).

      You must bring in the CLIP for the scene you’ve chosen from the film for us to watch after your performance, and we will judge how well you did.

      You may choose from one of the following screenplays:


           Django: Unchained

           Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

           Kill Bill

           No Country For Old Men


           Star Wars: A New Hope

           The Dark Knight

           The Dark Knight Rises

           The Social Network

           Toy Story 3

           Good Will Hunting


           Children of Men


           12 Years a Slave

           The Imitation Game


    Lesson - Mise-En-Scene Remake

Choose ONE scene (2-5 minutes in length) from a film that you would like to remake

Your scene must copy the acting, camera angles, special effects, lighting, music/sound fx and dialogue of the original scene.  You are free to get creative (within reason) with your costuming and set design, but everything else must match it as closely as possible


     Create THREE scenes with 2-3 characters engaging in a dialogue that leads to some kind of dramatic conclusion, and must be filmed in a way that creates the following motifs

     Three Scene Motifs:  HORROR FILM, DRAMA, ACTION MOVIE

     Props and Locations Required:

          •Room with a window

          •Table (and chairs if necessary)

          •Glass or bottle of liquid

          •An old looking book (leather bound/hardcover)

     You may include other props, but it must include those in the list


    (Extra Credit) Lesson - Fast/Slow Motion Short Film (watch the playlist)

Assignment - Create a film that is 1-3 minutes in length and uses both fast and slow motion to create dynamic action.


    Lesson - Special FX and Slow Motion Tutorials


    Semester Benchmark - Action Movies Unit