By Jack Kenny
Any one who has worked with products for what passes for media education in some schools will know how vital Editsense is. Many schools are starting courses on making moviesm, and new GCSE specifications mean that there will be more. One essential lesson will be that making movies is not just about using a camera. Editing is the focus.
As the Editsense creators explain: "However many times you explain the importance of changing shot size and camera position, and dividing a film up into shots, the theory tends to go out of the window as soon as young film-makers get hold of the cameras. Because a lot of our film projects are very short and intensive, we needed a quicker way of getting the participants up to speed."
The Editsense DVD, from Media Education Wales, come in versions for PC and Mac, and is packed with great material. Also included is Filmsense, an interactive guide to film language (available separately on CD-Rom or as a download). There are films that can be edited, and storyboard templates for teachers to use. It includes more than 199 video clips and 24 stills. The clips are there for students to sequence, trim and adjust. They can learn how to add music and sound effects, about mise-en-scène and setting, costume, gesture, light and colour.
There are five films: "Beach", "Crash", "Lift", "Stairs", "Building". For example, "Beach" has 54 shots: a boy waiting on a beach gets a text, looks around but can't see anything. A girl approaches him from behind. There's no soundtrack but, once edited, the movie can be exported and a soundtrack created. The student who compiles the shots and sounds can create a sequence illustrating a particular genre. There is a guide for the novice showing how editing decisions can and will affect meaning.
Without ever touching a camera, students can learn so much about the medium that is a crucial influence on their lives.
Editsense is available in Mac and PC versions. The Mac version is designed for iMovie 09 and Final Cut Express/Pro. The clips will also work with iMovie 08 and earlier versions, but they will take a while to import into iMovie HD. The PC version should work with all current PC editing programs: it's been tested with recent versions of MovieMaker, Premiere Elements and Pro, Vegas and Pinnacle.
There is nothing remarkable or ground breaking on the DVD but I would recommend it to every media or English department. You could compile everything that is here yourself but most will not and few will achieve the quality of the materials. The best recommendation is that it is difficult to imagine it being done better.
Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 5
Ease of use 4.5
Value for money 5
DVD, for Apple Mac or PC from Media Education Wales, packed with tools, video clips/stills and storyboards for school video editing work (total 3.9Gb of materials): single user licence, £39; five users £79; 10 users £129; 20 users £199; 50 users £299. You can buy a single user version and then upgrade to a multi-user version by paying the difference. Bulk discount and larger-scale licensing is available.
Media Education Wales